Fruitful Summers: an apricot clafoutis with vanilla ice cream and a weekend away
We decided to take off last friday for a weekend away at our Summer place, on a bit of a spur of the moment thing. I decided to leave my laptop behind and so stay away from revising and editing my novel and from working on this blog. There's like a million photos that need to be sorted and edited and filed properly, there's like a million recipes that need to be joted down and adjusted and shared, there's like a million ideas running through my head of new things to cook up, but I actually needed to leave all that behind for a couple of days. I guess I needed to rest my head.
And yet, I found myself missing my novel like one misses a friend. All through the weekend I would catch myself going over chapters in my head and wondering if I had written it like this or like that, if I had made sure this information was there, or if I had this character saying this or that, acting this way or that so it would all be coherent. Whenever I caught myself at it, I made sure to plug it all down, as I wanted very much to put some space between me and that story. Still, if I wasn't doing revisions in my head, I would find myself writing the start of the second volume in my brain. There was no escaping it, it seemed. I suppose I'm kind of obsessed with writing!
But I managed to actually enjoy myself somewhat and make the most of it all. There was fine grilled fish and tasty grilled meat, there were a lot of salads - maybe too many? - and yogurt dips and chunks of bread, there was tons of fresh fruit eaten casually as snacks, there were rye toasts dripping with butter and there were 'jesuits' - a cake I only ever eat there! - and there were Loto games into the night with the kid, and walks and bike rides and trips to the farmer's market. There was a world of good things, reassuring as they are that the world is still spinning on its proper edge, filling my heart with joy and gratitude and a sense that I am on the right track and that my life is not a waste. Even if I'm obsessing over a novel...
There's Summer fruit all around, redolent and juicy, and that in itself is reassuring and soothing. The cherries have been few but sweet and fleshy, the plums are beggining to make their debut, the figs are giving out their sweet scent, and despite their being as always quite overpriced, I indulged in a couple of them, as I am the only one who likes figs in this household. Something that has come to me from my maternal grandfather, actually, as I quite remember the first time I tried a fig during a Summer vacation at my grandparents', where I ended up eating about six or seven of them. My grandad called my mother at work, worried that they might sit badly with me, as I wouldn't stop begging for more figs. I have never stoped loving them, ripe and juicy and purple.
And the apricots have been around as well, and they have been looking better than I can ever remember them. I haven't had an apricot in years! They have not managed to look appetizing, lately, never coming out with rosy cheeks and yellow like the sun, the way I like them. They have looked small and dry and pale all these years, but this Summer I have come across them looking like they're perfectly done by nature for me to enjoy them, so I have allowed myself a few apricots. Most people don't like apricots eaten simple, raw, I do. They do tend to be a little dry, yes, but I don't really mind that. They taste of Summer and smell of sunshine.
But some of those apricots I put aside for something that had been on my mind for quite a while. I wanted to try a clafoutis. I have a bucket list of food I want to try and clafoutis has been on it for quite sometime, but I couldn't be bothered with a cherry clafoutis - the most common of them all - because quite frankly, the thought of pitting copious amounts of cherries made me skirt away from it. So the thought of an apricot clafoutis began to seep itself into my mind, as it reeked of Summer to me, of warm, lazy days with bright light blinding you whenever you walk outside, the romanticized fantasy of a stint in the country, a cottage amidst an orchard, the tall grass becoming blond under the heat, windows and doors opened to let in the breeze, always elusive, the hum of cicadas in the heat and a scent of deliciousness comig out of the oven. An apricot clafoutis it was to be.
I thought this apricot clafoutis would go wonderfully well with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, so that's what I had it with. Scrumptious! For the vanilla ice cream recipe, you can find a pretty great one here, as for the clafoutis, it is as follows:
- 1/2 cup of milk + 1 tbsp
- 1 large egg or 2 small ones
- 1 1/2 tbsp dark rum
- 3 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
- 3 1/2 tbsp flour
- pinch of vanilla extract
- about 4 large apricots, 6 small ones