Today was not a particularly good day. I was super exhausted after my weekend, I lost something precious, my wound was causing me a bit of grief and I experienced extreme frustration at a child.
I left my house in a hurry this morning, nearly running late for my morning briefing, due to a nasty run-in between the alcoholic sanitiser and open hand wound. I closed the door, flew down the first few steps and then heard a light ting ting as I realised a charm from my bracelet was hurtling down two flights of steps into the school corridors, i.e. the land of lost things. Never to be seen again. As I walked to work passing many of my students, each one cheerfully crying “Hello!”, I put on my “hospo” smile and tried to sound vaguely enthusiastic.
My next battle was unfortunately during one of my favourite classes, except for one especially revolting child. I’m no stranger to this particular child’s antics but today I reached my limit. I had found a colouring page of the map of New Zealand that included various symbols for regions in NZ. For Christchurch, the image was the Cathedral and no bigger than a 50c piece at that. This child took offence at the religious symbol and began to twink it out declaring “Ce n’est pas bon pour les Musulmans.” If this is his attitude at 8, I dread to think of him at 28. NZ, like France, is a secular country and I was by no means trying to push my own agenda; me of very little faith… It was a colouring activity to kill time and that is all!
I left the class angrier than I had been in a while. Not even my blissful Monday afternoon trip to the supermarket could lighten my mood. I knew that the only way to recover from such a day would be to bake something outrageously delicious, preferably complicated and time consuming and with warm, comforting flavours that would return me to my general calm positive nature. This was the perfect opportunity to create one of the riz au lait recipes from my 2000 Recettes Française book…
Alors, Gâteau de Riz d’Amélie was born into my life-and I am never looking back!
I started off by making a vanilla rice pudding. Off the element, I stirred in a beaten egg. I then filled my kitchen with the undeniably comforting, soul-warming scent of apples cooking in butter with a pinch of cinnamon. To my compote I added a handful of raisins and a sprinkle of sugar. I dissolved a few tablespoons of sugar in some water and vinegar for the bottom of my oven dish. (This is where my translation skills got a bit cloudy: I think I was meant to make a caramel toffee here but it was really more like sugar syrup…) I topped the rice pudding with the apple compote and baked until bubbling and golden. Hello, dinner.
Sometimes, in one’s life, it is necessary to eat rice pudding with delicious spicy apples for dinner on a Monday night. Maybe not start the week as you mean to go on, but rather ease yourself into it. It’s only reheated soup, porridge and rice crackers from here on in.
I won’t mention that my “entrée” tonight was a couple of spoonfuls of Nutella washed down with the last few slugs of milk straight from the bottle…