Whoever said the camera never lied didn't know squat. According to these photos, I've spent today reclining in the garden; perhaps plucking sprigs of lavender from time to time and declaring 'how delightful!', and then drinking tea with honey and cutting slices of apricot tart for my friends and be-hatted mother. The reality is, I've spent today driving back and forth into town from bank to bank, retrieving forms, sending letters with URGENT on the front, power-walking through Manchester city centre and standing in extremely long queues. You name it, I've queued for it. I took these photos when my mum had to nip back inside the house to ask my sister a question, when rather than wait in the car, I lay on my stomach on the pavement outside my house with my camera glued to my eye, while men with beer bellies eyed me in confusion. If you've ever wanted a 'behind the scenes' of any of my photography: these are the scenes.
And I totally made this tart last night and left it in the fridge with a 'DON'T EAT THIS YET OR I SHALL BEAT YOU SEVERELY' note until I got back this evening. Ah, tranquility.
But at least now the reason for my compulsive, haphazard hyperactivity is out... and I want to thank you all for your congratulations and your support in the comments of my last post (Okay, not Bex. But the rest of you). It's so great to hear from people who have done JET - or know people who have - before; and even if you know next to nothing about it, it means so much to me and I'm so proud and excited to be on the programme. And, you know... to be employed in any capacity. And have I mentioned how much I love it when you leave comments? Cause I love it when you leave comments. They get me through the trauma of bank meetings... kind of.
Other things that got me through the trauma of today:
- The prospect of shooting this tart and photo-editing when I got home. No, seriously... I have small dreams. At one point I declared (perhaps a touch over-dramatically), 'ALL I WANT IN LIFE IS TO TAKE PHOTOS OF MY TART!'... apparently that can be misconstrued.
- Napping in the car on the way home. I think this was mostly an exercise in physical comedy for my mum's benefit, cause I kept dropping off and then jerking awake... and then dropping off, and then jerking awake... and then dropping off... and then sitting bolt upright and shouting 'WHAT?'
- Shouting? According to my last two bullet points, I've loved to shout today.
- Finding maca powder in the Holland & Barrett's in town! I sat and recited the nutritional stats to my mum as we drove to Manchester; they are fantastic. Almost 10g of (vegan!) protein per dessertspoon? Hell to the yes. I don't know what this shit tastes like, but I know I want it.
- A sale in Fatface. Especially in cute, just-my-size, suitable-for-work dresses. Thank you.
If you need something to get you through the crazy days (or the long 'n' lonely nights? I need to listen to less country music) (I don't really listen to country music) (Maybe I should start?), may I recommend this tart? I'm tagging this recipe as vegan, cause I'm a wild, devil-may-care kind of girl, or something. But I know honey isn't officially vegan - personally, I don't have a problem with it, cause call me a terrible person but I just don't have the same issues with the treatment of bees as I do with, say, cows. If you want to know more about my official take on veganism... just ask. In the meantime, this is dairy- and egg-free, and that's gotta count for something.
Honeyed Apricot & Lavender TartThe idea for this comes from Four & Twenty Blackbirds, a Brooklyn based pie company that I have... never visited. But I have visited their website, stolen all their flavour combination ideas, and created my own version. Bite me. By which I mean, thank you very much Four & Twenty Blackbirds.
For Lavender Tart Crust:175g (1 1/4c.) plain (all-purpose) flour3 Tbsp icing sugar1/2 tsp salt115g (1 stick) vegan margarine or butter2-3 tsp fresh lavender
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Add in the margarine and pulse until coarsely cut in. Add the lavender, then drizzle in a little ice-cold water and process in long pulses until the dough starts to form clumps. The sound of the machine working the dough will change around here as the dough forms a solid lump: turn it out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, before rolling out and pressing into a 8" tart case with a removable bottom (ohoho). Seal any cracks, and reinforce the sides with any overhang, then pierce all over with a fork. I like to freeze it for half an hour at this point to prevent shrinkage.
To parbake: press parchment paper or aluminium foil tightly over the crust, fill with baking beads or dried beans, and parbake at 180C for around 15 minutes. If you froze the crust, then yay! you don't need to weight it down. Go you.
For Filling:120ml (1/2c.) clear honey75g (1/3c.) vegan margarine or butter40g (1/3c.) ground almonds (almond meal)2 Tbsp of cornflour + 1 Tbsp of water, mixed to a paste (or one egg)
8-10 ripe apricots
Cream together the honey and margarine (or butter). Add the almonds and cornflour paste. Does it look gross? Mine looked really gross. Mine looked super-curdled and confusingly like scrambled egg for something that contained no egg. I swear once it bakes it goes smooth and clear. I tested it twice: trust me. Pour your gross scrambled mixture into the bottom of your pastry case and don't freak out.
Halve and pit your apricots and place, cut side up, on top of the filling. Mine looks messy cause I did it the other way around, so go filling first. Bake at 180C for around 45 minutes (keep an eye on it; I'm not certain on times). It may need covering with foil after a little while so that the pastry doesn't go too brown.
Serve with non-dairy (or dairy, if that's your bag) icecream & a sprinkle of fresh lavender.
So, share. What gets you through the dark 'n' difficult days (or the long 'n' lonely nights)? And should I stop using "'n'" in blog posts? It's not even a word. I know. No hate.