Looking for Something?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A lick and a promise

It's been a sweet beginning to 2011. It should have been a sweet restart to this blog as well. But what can I say? It was a sunny, smoggy day, and the strawberries turned out to be soporific.

No cooking was involved in breakfast. Just splitting of flaky croissants, slathering of Nutella, slicing of strawberries — and sandwiching to sit beside a tall, dark and hot espresso.

But not for long. The last chocolate-sticky flakes and fragrant, bleeding-red berry bits were gone in under 20 seconds, and the nap was irresistible — until it was time to turn out lunch (which is the tale on another post).

However, the milestone of that first meal of the year, the decade (and the revived blog) will be remembered — and, I hope, repeated — for long beyond strawberry season. It's my newfound favourite no-cook breakfast. Sure, nothing beats a fresh-laid egg freshly and simply poached — as friends wishing me a 'sunny side up' year well know; or a superior scramble alongside crisp rashers and smoky maple syrup; and I dare anyone to turn up their noses at the fragrance of blueberry-banana muffins just popping out of the oven. But there's a luxury about the lack of effort involved in these strawberry-chocolate croissants.

There's a lot else to love.

Combining one of the few fruits truly still seasonal with the never-out-of-fashion indulgence of ganache-like chocolate.

The fact that it comes wrapped in my favourite breakfast patisserie.

The perfect balance of textures and flavours: crisp, soft, slight bite, creamy; tart, sweet, offset by bitter black coffee.

The scent of fresh strawberries mingling with the steam curling up from the coffee pot...

And the truth that you can almost assemble and eat this with your eyes still in sleepy valley.

But above all, it's a pick-me-up and a promise. Of good things to come. Of the good life. Of the wholesomeness of really good food.

The strawberries, just coming into season in December, are still a bit pricey, but not at sticker-shock levels any longer. The time is just right for that extra course of vitamin C (in fact, a glass of fresh orange juice and the zest as garnish for the sandwich are the only possible 'improvements' I can imagine to this meal). It's the month of (over)indulgence — just the moment to reassure yourself that loving your food does not mean succumbing to excesses of suet and sugar and starch. And it is, most importantly, of the moment — a food that will soon be impossible to fish out of a freezer of the most organized, refrigeration-dependent cook. This is one berry that you can't usefully put on ice. Which alone makes it an old-fashioned luxurious treat — a food that not only tastes divine, looks luscious and is good for you, but one which is in limited supply, yes, even if you throw money at it.

That's why I'll indulge again and anon, while I still can — though not too often. After all, my new year resolutions for 2011 perforce include the tightening of more than one proverbial belt. And Rs.220 by breakfast — or what Amit calls 'a high-class little snack' — would waylay such good intentions all too easily, long before I could tot up the calories in that crescent-shaped package. Even if it's unlikely ever to be digest with a side order of buyer's regrets, it's no everyday outlay.

But it's all good. It wouldn't be so special if I could eat it every day, would it?* For now, the promise of one next weekend will get me through a work-full week.

*Actually, there is some uncertainty on this head — let me get back to you on that. (Once I can afford to!)

PS: I have, incidentally, licked the Nutella jar clean. And to match that example of application and honest effort, I also promise to post more soon.

No comments: