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For someone who doesn’t go for brown much, there’s a lot of brown in my life right now. The bananas in the fruit bowl have even turned brown, mocking me, discarding their traditional yellow garb to fall into step with all the brown in my life.  Some browns are bad:

Bad brown! Bad!

Despite that tasty-looking gentle golden-brownness, this bread is a dud with a capital Duh. See how tall and puffy it is? That’s right! Not very. I made the dough waaaay too wet and there was just no structural integrity. The yeasts did their best, bless their little hearts, and it swelled and rose; but it was like a rising porridge rather than a dough. I baked it anyway to see what would happen because that’s the kind of cook I am! Curious!  It did not go well. This is an exception, though. Most browns are good.

Brown yet zesty!

Pretty, huh? No. No they’re not pretty and I resent your patronising lies. They are awesome, zesty and tangy and interesting, but they are not pretty. They are very brown and mushy-looking. The jar on the left contains a lime, chilli and ginger pickle I made about a month ago, and the jar on the right contains a wholegrain mustard I made a week ago.  Both recipes recommended allowing them to mellow for a month and a week, respectively, so they were ready at the same time. Synchronicity, yo! I love it.

Despite heralding from my extensive “mysterious things in jars” collection of cooking endeavours, they’re pretty good. The lime, chilli and ginger pickle was an adaptation of this spiced lemon pickle from (swap limes for lemons, double the ginger); I tasted it warm, as soon as it was made — actually, I seem to remember I burnt my mouth on the bloody stuff) and it was…ehhh, so-so.  Although it was rich and deliciously lime-o-licious, it had a bitter aftertaste, and was overall a bit like a really savoury marmalade. But, as per the recipe, I left it in the fridge for a month with an informative post-it note attached, alerting the unwary fridge explorer as to its contents.  The flavours have indeed mellowed, blended and softened, and now it is a really tasty, sour, gingery relish.  Hooray!  I haven’t the faintest idea what to serve it with. Toast? Most things go well with toast.

The mustard in the other jar is teetering on a rickety fence, a puff of wind away from toppling into dud-territory. I used apple cider vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, but I don’t think they’re as interchangeable as I assumed — the apple cider vinegar is really pungent and sour and comes through very strongly. Freshly made, it was not pleasant. No no no. However, maturity is a process. After a week of mellowing in the pantry, there’s been a big change in Mr Mustard Jar.  He’s grown out of his pushy, aggressive ways and is beginning to be a bit more laid back, letting his inner beauty, the warmer mustard tones, come through.  He’s still a little vinegary, a little pushy, but another week and who knows? He might be fit for polite society.

A lot of things I cook are brown, which is both entirely coincidental and a challenge to photograph alluringly. You know what else is hard to photograph alluringly? Bran loaf.

Brown yet wholesome!

This has been breakfast for the past couple of days: toasted slices of sultana and carrot bran loaf.  God, I’m going to have to think of a sexier name. How about…Cowgirl Slices?  Or Sex-in-a-Circus-Tent Breakfast Bread?

Sliced, toasted and tasty --- and brown!

These pictures are making me hungry. I don’t wear brown, I dye my hair because it’s brown, and I don’t think of myself as a brown-fancier. But when I look around, it’s everywhere. A lot of things I cook come out brown; I want them to, they’re notably delicious when they do.  Not just baked bread, either: daal, mushroom bourguignon, lentil soups, toast, muesli, brown rice. I could go on. I shan’t. You’re welcome.

Some browns are just sexy and they know it:

Brown: you either got it or you don't.

Brown is like nature’s default: nourishing, wholesome, natural things tend to be brown.  Wood, soil, my four-legged little sex bomb up there, bread, grains, seeds, nuts — all brown (except pistachios, which straddle the line dividing brown from green and are therefore either endowed with sanctity or an abomination, and either way the less said the better).

I may not wear brown, but I respect it.  Brown, we salute you!

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