Saved by the crouton

DIY garlic & Parmesan croutons
It is a crappy feeling when you have resigned to the fact that work has taken over your life. Everyday is an ongoing battle of desperately trying to hold on to the things that keep me sane and not letting what I do for a living completely overwhelm me. One too many canceled plans and missed yoga classes are frustrating, but I’m trying my best to wash it all away with a smile, considering I am in the position that I am in based on choices that I have made for myself.

So what does one do to forcefully chisel that smile onto your face to avoid the urge to break things when you are pulled into yet another late nighter, canceling the millionth yoga class? I cook. Yes, even at 2 am in the morning. In London I was always able to overcome any feelings of rage by running around Regents’ Park because it was safe to run at any time of the day/night (I have been guilty of a few midnight runs). In Malaysia however, this approach would run the risk of me dropping off the face of the universe, which at this point sounds like a rather viable option (just kidding, I think). So in the absence of running or yoga, I turn to the kitchen. Cooking at rather insane hours of the night is my form of defiance, to regain control and prove that I am still able to do the things I love, despite the doom and gloom of career pulling the strings.

Tonight after finally managing to leave the office a little past midnight, rather than go to bed feeling angry, disappointed, or frustrated, I decided to embark on a little escapism project of turning a leftover baguette into homemade croutons. Croutons are one of those food extras that are much more convenient when bought in-store. Life is already short and with so many other main meals to cook, who wants to waste time cutting up stale bread to turn into little cubes that are just a condiment to a salad? Despite this, I actually prefer making them. Most shop bought croutons are fried, whereas making my own means I can bake the bread (healthier!) and experiment with different flavours and seasonings. Tonight’s crunchy gems have had a sprinkling of garlic, paprika, Parmesan and dried Italian herbs to add a Mediterranean twist to any simple salad. And they did not take that long to make – I started at 1.30, was done by 2.00 am, and am about to crawl into bed as soon as I finish this writeup. Calm. Content. Who needs a life when you have a golden jarful of DIY croutons in your kitchen cupboard?

Garlic & Parmesan croutons

The Ingredients
Any bread will do, I used a baguette (good to use bread that is a day or two old for the extra crunch), olive oil, garlic, dry Italian mixed herbs, paprika, grated Parmesan.

The Preparation
1. Mix olive oil, garlic, mixed herbs, paprika and 1/2 of the Parmesan into a bowl.

2. Cut bread into squares and add to bowl.
3. Bake at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. When bread is golden brown, pour remaining Parmesan. Bake for another 15 minutes.