Un pain plein de bonheur
Today's post is coming your way a little bit later than usual. I have suddenly found myself slightly overwhelemed with things to do, when my mind keeps running back to one thing and one thing only, making it hard for me to concentrate on anything else. Be it housework, be it rest, be it the blog.
You see, I am reaching the last leg of my neverending novel's - as my son calls it - second volume, pompously known as Book II, and with just a couple of chapters to go, I cannot focus on anything aside. Whenever I reach this stage in my writingl, I find my thoughts coming in full speed, all the time, and all I can think of is those final chapters, those final lines and words. It is as if I am living inside that universe, and my whole body is gripped by a force bigger and stronger than me, where I have to put down to writing all the ideas coming to my head. The narrative is heading towards a stand off, those really important things in the story are either about to happen or to be revealed, and I cannot stray from there. I always get a huge push whenever I reach this stage. And I like it.
Actually, not even the dreading of Book III - let me keep on being pompous, please - where battle scenes are bound to happen, and oh how I fear the writing of my first battle scene, which I have been avoiding for years and years! is deterring me from being pulled towards my laptop and pass the day away writing. The rest is just white noise, right now, and though I can hear those emails I must, must really reply to, or those pictures I must, must really start editing, It's like my brain just cannot be bothered with them. But in the midst of all this obsessiveness with putting to words the wild ideas and narrative I have in my head, there is a pause, a respite, much needed. Some days I use it to clean up the house - last Wednesday! - others to get some exercise done - that was Tuesday - and others to post here. Like today. Now. And as I'm writing this post, my head is at the same time building up parts of the narrative I still haven't come up with a way of dealing with.
Dialogues. I'm lousy with dialogues. I envision them in my head as if it were a movie - I always have a clear picture of what my characters look like, how they dress, how they speak, how they behave, their whole body language, I know them intimately - having these deep conversations, the arguments, the shouting matches or the loving, romantic confessions. I see them all in my head. But writing them down, that is another story. I have to translate first the images into words, creating the dialogue in a cinematic way - I once had to write a script for my Cinema class in college and the process was quite similar - and then I have to tweak it in my head and turn it into a literary something. And it's not always easy, nor obvious, nor possible of getting it right at the first time. Sometimes, very much like all of us, my characters end up saying things they did not want to. That's when I know it went well, really.
But enough of this! See how my mind is clearly obsessed? This post is supposed to be about bread, not writing processes. So bread it is. This is a piece of heaven, if you're anything like me. Cheese and chorizo, with a hint of garlic. I could call it a spanish bread, as we used fuet and manchego on this, but as you can use prosciutto and parmigianno - or grana padano, to which I'm rather more particular as I prefer the taste - one can also call it an italian bread. But it could be french. Or English, as I tell you from my experience that the use of mature cheddar on a bread like this is: To. Die. For. Ultimately, this is a portuguese bread through and through as I would advise you to get your hand on a good Queijo da Ilha - Island Cheese, a delicacy from the Azores - and a prime portuguese chorizo.
Just make yourself a batch of this simple white bread dough, and much to the similarity of what has been done here, add the savoury elements close to the kneading stage. We used a small fuet, cut into chunky slices, a piece of manchego we diced, and some garlic we crushed, as I'm rather fond of that hint of heat the raw garlic gives. And you can form it into any shape you'd like, or even bake it in a bread tin, it will look gorgeous everytime, it's kind of a top model material bread, this one is.
Like I mentioned, feel free to use any kind of chorizo or ham, even bacon, you might prefer, and the same goes towards the cheese, but here I would caution you to use a hard cheese. Soft cheeses will not turn this bread into something you can slice up, and this is a slicing up bread, one you will want to cover with some scambled eggs for a late morning brunch, or use as side dish for a roast, or even make a meal of it. If you wait for it to just cool down to lukewarm stage before you cut it into slices, that crust being crunchy and full of bite, those pieces of cheese bursting with flavour inside your mouth, the garlic coming through, and then the savouriness of the chorizo... You will not be sorry and it will be worth the wait.