The sun shines and we cook over flame. It is tradition. There is a certain ceremony. Thick black lines impart their char upon the food as the smoke curls into the air and wafts its scent upon the neighbour’s washing. We barbecue meat like paleo cavemen. Or maybe halloumi, peppers, skewers. We make bowls of salad, place multiple bottles of coloured sauces on the table, smile. Dessert is an afterthought or a grilled nectarine. But how about cake? Grilled cake. A friend told me about barbecued cake long ago, and I only just now got around to making it. Why, oh why, did I wait so long? The white hot metal grid sears across the sweet cake and gives it a crispy sweet smokey taste and texture as it caramelizes the sugars. The celeriac (celery root) adds mildly earthy notes against the tart apple in the cake.
A warmed, barbecued, cake topped with cold apple ice cream and drizzled in a sweet-salty butterscotch booze sauce. That, my friends, is how to finish a barbecue meal.
There is a pox upon my house. My two-year-old daughter smiles up at me with her spotty face. She scratches, she moans, she is bored out of her tiny mind. We are quarantined. Banished from preschool and playgroups. Libraries and the park. Not for lack of trying, her brother has not yet caught her plague, yet he must join in the confinement. Our little colony must make our own entertainment within the prison of the house and garden. Staring out of the window, the children watch wistfully at the freedoms of others that have cruelly been taken from them. I rack my brain for ideas on how to amuse the little ones. We’ve had a rather over-the-top birthday party for their favourite teddies. We’ve turned the garden into a water park. Today is the Great Baby Bake Off.
The unmistakable scent of the thick pink lotion wafts through the house on the summer breeze, making them feel fine, blowing through the jasmine of their minds. Manicures are performed daily. Baths contain socks full of porridge oats. Nights are restless.
And so, as the sun beats down upon the garden of our little bubble-world, we barbecue. We barbecue cake.
Let’s use up the rest of that fruit and veg, shall we?
Celeriac is a late autumn root vegetable, but it always seems to be around. With the leftovers from this cake, how about a Celeriac Remoulade or this Celery Root and Mushroom Lasagne. And how amazing does Beth’s Celeriac and Goat’s Cheese Agnolotti look?