We had lunch and talk and fine-tuned the parenting plan for the coming school year and apart from a single moment of irritation it had gone very well. Since we got divorced and I moved, my ex and I rarely speak privately. Well, he has a baby and then of course you don’t have time for anything. Plus, I think he still finds it a little uncomfortable. But now it almost felt like old times between us. We had even laughed old-fashioned and he had genuinely interested in asking how I was doing.
In this nostalgic mood I walked to his house for a while to pick up a lamp. My old house. Now I come there once a week, to drop off or pick up my children, but this was the first time he and I were alone. I sat down on the couch in the kitchen. My old kitchen. But a new sofa, selected by him and no doubt also by his girlfriend. Never thought that a box would fit in this corner besides a sofa.
He made an espresso and gave it to me in a cup. My old espresso machine, new cup. When the coffee was finished and after we had disconnected the lamp together, we did another round of the house to see if there was anything left of mine – he didn’t want me to come and pick something up every month, and I neither. And when we came down again he said, “Would you like to bring some grapes?”
Oh yes, the grapes. Against the back wall of our house grew three stories high a gigantic grape-bush that every autumn almost collapsed under the weight of its own produce. Now that it was no longer my grape bush, it was no different. I remember all too well how we were always peddling those fruits around this time. Anyone who dared to enter our house had about 10 bunches pushed into their hands. They were delicious, you know. Small, round, blue grapes with pleasantly sweet flesh and only a single bitter seed per grape. But there were so insufferably many of them. And letting them rot made you feel so guilty.
As my ex was clipping grapes for me, something deep inside me smiled. I may have lost this nice house, but I was also nicely freed from this annual grape infarction.
Grape bread with buckwheat, hazelnuts, cumin and fennel
The original idea for this grape bread – more of a spice cake actually – comes from the book Niven 80/20 by Niven Kunz. I’ve ciphered quite a bit on it, so it’s actually a completely different bake. For a gluten-free version, replace the flour with gluten-free flour; that works perfectly.
300 g of blue grapes; 150 g flour; 100 g of buckwheat flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 225 g brown sugar; 100 g hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped; ¾ tsp cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar; ¾ tsp fennel seed; 250 ml buttermilk
Heat preheat the oven to 100 degrees.
Put the loose grapes on a baking tray and dry them in the oven until they are half dried. (Depending on your oven, this may take as long as 3 – 4 hours.)
Heat the oven now to 160 degrees.
mix the flour and buckwheat flour with the sugar, hazelnuts, cumin and fennel seeds, dried grapes and buttermilk into a batter.
lined a cake tin with baking paper and spoon the batter into it.
Bin the bread is done in about 45 minutes. Let it cool, but try a slice of it while it’s still lukewarm, smeared with butter.