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He said he would come by around 10. They had their first group assignment at the University, he was sitting across her at the tutorial room. The rest of the students knew each other, groups formed quickly. At the end it was only her and him left, the newcomers, the foreigners. She was blushing, she could feel her cheecks changing colour, her voice was trembling slightly. Yes, sure they could work together. Hi, Lydia. Nice to meet you, I ‘m Boris. Firm handshake, hers was always weak and sweaty. On Saturday morning. No, the library was too crowded. He had two flatmates, it was always noisy in his home. Her place? Kate was going away for the weekend, she would be alone. Sure. Can I have your number, just in case I don’t find it? She had to look her number up in her mobile, she could never memorise it. Made him laugh. See you on Saturday then.

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She spent Friday night cleaning. Kate was nice, but she was a mess. Clothes covering the sofa, makeup scattered on the sink, dust. Lydia just piled her stuff up and left it on her bed. Door closed, problem solved. Now at least the living room looked decent. She went shopping too. Orange juice, the good one. Freshly ground espresso. A bottle of sparkling water. She glanced at the flowers’ section for a minute, but no, this would be too much. A cake maybe. At home, she was out of baking powder. Yeast she had. A sweet bread would do. Chocolate. And coconut. It worked out well.

She changed her clothes 3 times. Jeans and T-shirt were the winners. Comped hair, let it loose. A bit of mascara. No, it looks like trying too much. Took it off, then put it back on. Sigh. He was late. She was sitting at the sofa, staring at her shocks. Fifteen minutes. Seventeen. Twenty one. DRINNN. She let a small cry, and jumped up to open the door.

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Hi, sorry, I am always late. A paper bag with croissants, a bit torn on the top. Shoes off? Sure, if you don’t mind, but you don’t have to, really. His socks are black, with narrow green stripes. His smile leans more on the right. Coffee sounds great, thanks, wow, is that brioche? Nope. Coffee cups, plates, crumbs. Maybe we should start the assignment. Books, charts, articles, highlighters. He highlights everything, 5 different colours. Each colour has a meaning. Lydia hates highlighters. Hours pass, pages float and then it’s done. It’s almost 6. Does she have plans? They will go with his flatmates for a beer later, there is an Irish pub next to the Uni. She hesitates for a moment. No, another time maybe, a bit tired. Sure. She walks him to the door. Shoes on, coat on. Thanks a lot, no worries, see you on Tuesday, bye. She goes back to the sofa. The room smells like him. It feels evaded and deserted at the same time. She keeps smiling to herself, a content little smile. He’s nice to talk to. Touching his hand felt weird. His eyes are pretty. DRINNNN. Sorry, I forgot my notes! Some lingering on the doorstep. Wanna grab some dinner maybe instead of the beers? She smiles. Coat on, shoes on. Let’s do this.

Coconut Chocolate Bread

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Make the bread!

  • 200 ml lukewarm milk
  • 7 grams yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

1. Combine in a cup, let in a warm place to proof.

  • 2 cups of flower
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of powder sugar

2. Shift the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the middle.

  • 100 ml coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg

3. Pour coconut oil, egg and yeast-milk mixture in the well. Stir with a spoon, once a dough starts forming, knead until smooth and elastic. If sticky, add a bit of flour, a tablespoon at a time. It should take around 10-15 mins of kneading. Let proof in a warm place, covered with a damp towel until doubled in size, around an hour.

Fill it!

  • 100 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut

Roll out the dough to a rectangle, around 12×40 cm. Dust it with the cocoa  powder, scatter chocolate and coconut all over it, leaving a margin on the edges. Roll the rectangle into a long cylinder carefully, then fold it in two and twist the two parts together. Let bread proof below a damp towel for 15 mins, on a lined baking sheet.

Bake it!

  • egg wash: 1 egg white sligtly beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • left-over pieces of chocolate chopping

Brush bread with eggwash; scater coconut flakes and chocolate pieces on it. Bake at 180 ºC/ 356 ºF for around 35 mins, until golden. Let cool for 10 mins, while you are making fresh coffee. Eat it all for breakfast. Or bring some at work on Monday morning.

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