When you’re poorly, food becomes something of an issue – depending on what you’ve got wrong with you, needless to say. In my case, along with the Shingles, I had the oddest sore throat in the Universe. I could eat without bothering it – and in fact, eating improved the sore throat situation. It didn’t matter what I ate, it could have been a packet of crisps or a slice of fresh lemon, nothing aggravated it except coughing (and, perhaps, snoring – but we’ll skip lightly over that).
Of course, what you might want to eat is another matter. In this instance, I was happy enough to eat whatever was put in front of me (so we knew I wasn’t dying, put it that way) but my very definite preference was for high carbohydrate “comfort food”.
Enter the Bloomer.
A bloomer loaf (of bread, for those from abroad) is one of the most adaptable things.
Over the last few weeks, we have eaten slices of bloomer in many and varied ways and, to be quite honest, I’ve wondered what I would have eaten in certain situations, had we not have been all bloomered-up in the bread bin department.
I’ve had toasted bloomer (toasted under the grill, instead of in the toaster. Makes a far superior piece of toast) as a late-night “keep the wolf from the door” snack with just plain old butter on, or rather more exotically, with marmalade. Breakfast at 10pm. Naughty, but nice!
Speaking of breakfast, toasted bloomer has accompanied many denominations of same. With butter and accompanying a boiled egg, it forms perfect “feel better” food. Again, buttered but with scrambled or a fried egg (in olive oil, of course!) it always hits the spot.
A couple of tinned tomatoes with lots of freshly ground black pepper are a superb breakfast when twinned with toasted bloomer. Crunchy, tart, savoury – it wakes your taste buds up from their virus-induced slumber.
Good old baked beans will make an admirable plate-fellow for two slices of bloomer, for breakfast or with some grilled cheese hiding under the beans, for lunch.
When you’re deep in the worst of your malaise, good old warming, comforting soup always comes to the fore. Team it with some lovely soft bloomer with its chewy crusts and you’ve the best of all worlds. Eaten in bed is by far the best way, but beware the fallen crumbs!
Needless to say, the meal planning went a tad A.W.O.L. during this time. Hubby manfully took over the stove duties and as such, looked at several of my planned meals and artfully down-sized them to meals with just as much taste appeal, but with far less work involved. I don’t blame him, either. Poor soul had enough to do, without working out how small he should be chopping his parsley.
Inevitably, this meant that we had several ingredients sitting aimlessly in the fridge, all lost and without a recipe to go to.
Like the large vine-ripened tomatoes, the olives and the mozzarella.
Cue, for lunch one day, grilled mozzarella on vine-ripened tomatoes and sliced olives, with Worcestershire sauce sprinkled over. All on slices of toasted bloomer, of course!
In fact, I’ve just waded my way through two slices of toasted bloomer, covered in chicken in white sauce, which has brought about the following (which should be read with a discontented pout hovering around one’s mouth) :
Whatever happened to the tins of “Chunky Chicken”, made by Shippams, that you used to be able to get? The Princes’ variety just didn’t shape up well against the memory of the pieces of actual chicken, taken from the bone, that Shippams used to cover in their gorgeously savoury sauce. Yes, Princes’ version had used breast of chicken, but it was in boringly square pieces. No leg meat in evidence at all.
I can remember my Grandad taking the whole family on a tour of a Shippams factory, once, many, many moons ago. We saw the chicken paste being made as well as the cans of Chunky Chicken being sealed. I remember there was a vast pile of chicken wishbones in one corner of the factory, just waiting to be used in some (hopefully lucky!) way. I can only have been around 8 years old (or maybe less!). We had the whole canning process for the Chunky Chicken explained to us and I’ve been a fan of the product ever since.
But I digress. The next time you’re poorly, get someone to bring you a bloomer loaf and a bread knife. Apart from the pleasure gained from eating it, just think of the fun you’ll have working out how you can use it!