It’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day which calls for a sandwich like no other. Introducing Sophie White’s mercy sandwich; the Pan-fried Bacon, Brie and Apricot Jam Sandwich from her part cookbook, part memoir, part self-help manual Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown and how to cook yourself sane(ish).
Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown is Sophie White’s life on a plate: from a nervous breakdown as a result of dabbling in recreational drugs and picking up the pieces (with the help of some prescription drugs); from surviving her mother and her son – her arch nemeses and her two favourite people in the whole wide world – to meeting and falling in love with Himself; from contemplating running away from it all to losing her father in his fifties to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. And eating. Always eating.
Pan-fried Bacon, Brie and Apricot Jam Sandwich
For many years, Himself’s nights out were plagued by bad luck. He was always getting a ‘bad pint’ or an ‘iffy curry chips’ and could usually be found spooning a toilet before dawn. For a brief time, we had a bedroom that had a cast-iron, free-standing bathtub beside the bed. I had visions of enjoying a Cadbury’s Flake in it, while sheet music swirled to the floor around me, until Himself, after nights out, began to treat the bath as a remote toilet. I couldn’t even look at it without images of something that looked like mango chutney and smelled like badness flashing across my brain. In our current home, the bathtub is downstairs, and I dared to hope that this inconvenience might cure Himself of his predilection for tub-spewing. I figured that we are parents now, and that defiling bathtubs was a thing of the past.
However, not long after Yer Man was born, I was proved wrong. I woke in the night to that old familiar sound of the ‘bad pint’ being regurgitated. I was aware that the sounds were disturbingly close, but I was too tired to take action and went back to sleep. In the morning, however, I uncovered a depraved scene. Himself was curled, foetus-like, around the baby bath. Even more horrific was the fact that he hadn’t even bothered to put in the stopper, and some kind of hell juice was slowly draining out onto the floor. My first instinct was to launch a reign of intense passive-aggression, manifesting as prolonged silent treatment, during which I would do housework really loudly. But I pulled back and realised that the best course of action was mercy. That is how this sandwich came to be ...
It can really only be attempted when you are so filled with self-loathing and remorse that eating a fried cheese-and-bacon sandwich doesn’t seem so bad when compared with your original crimes.
2 tablespoons butter (don’t skip this bit, as it is the main source of the cure)
2 slices thick white bread (I think sourdough is the nicest, rather than sliced pan)
2 crispy bacon rashers
4 slices Brie
1 tablespoon apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas 2. Put about 1 tablespoon of the butter in an ovenproof castiron frying pan over a medium–high heat and heat until melted. Put a slice of bread on the pan and then top it with the bacon and cheese. Spread the jam on one side of the other slice of bread and place this, jam-side down, on top of the bread in the pan. Spread the top of this slice with the remaining butter. When the underside of the sandwich is golden brown, flip it, then put the pan in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes to finish.
Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown is available on our website, Eason, Amazon and in all good bookstores.
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