11.7.11

lavender / butterfly
lavender & apricot
honeyed apricot & lavender tart
lavender & apricot

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 Tart
The 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) flour
3 Tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
115g (1 stick) vegan margarine or butter
2-3 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 honey
75g (1/3c.) vegan margarine or butter
40g (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.

11 comments:

  1. haha your blog is seriously officially one of my favorite blogs. i love your smart, witty writing style and your forthrightness. i love all the images in my head that are conjured up as i read your writing, and of course, i love the food. this tart sounds amazing, with the honey and lavender. im the kind of gal who eats honey by the spoonful.

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  2. Can I make a suggestion. A little less lavender (yuk) and a little more bacon (yum) :)

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  3. Just found your blog! what a wonderful set of pictures. The tart looks so yummy and seems easy to make, thanks for sharing it :)

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  4. I haven't got a fresh lavender plant, or apricots, not even a farmer's market. I live in the middle of 100+ degree Fahrenheit Texas for gosh sake.
    Furthermore, I don't believe you weren't lazing on acres of beautifully kept lawn passing tea and apricot tart to your mum.
    Send tart or ahm a gonna hav to cum afta ya, heah?
    P.S. I'd die to be anywhere near those photos. They are absolutely gorgeous.

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  5. PLEASE POST TO GERMANY. Can't wait to have my own kitchen back / a kitchen which doesn't pile up with crap and smell of prawns.. When did you turn vegan by the way?!

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  6. Natalie - stay forever! I will feed you gallons of honey as long as you keep saying lovely things. Thank you <3.

    Bex - you had your chance for a bacon cake AND YOU MISSED IT. Ground to stand on? NONE.

    M@risa - thanks so much! Hope to see you again :D.

    laurelvb - Well, now you're just being difficult. Surely you have a croquet set and a cake stand? What kind of uncivilised place are you living in? I'm only going to let you off cause Texas is LITERALLY TWICE THE TEMPERATURE of England right now.

    Boy - you seem to have mistaken me for a mail-order bakery; alas, this is not the case... but give me a few years. I started eating about 90% vegan last summer but still ate whatever socially until later last year; if I'm at someone's house I'll still eat whatever I'm given but generally I'm pretty strict now. I wasn't happy with stuff I learned about the dairy industry, basically; it wasn't something I wanted to support. Good luck with the prawn smell...!

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  7. I love receiving comments too! Beautiful photos, I just hear birds chirping and the wind whistling gently. You're right, Texas is like a million degrees right now, so I'll just keep right on fantasizing about cooler, butterfly-filled gardens of lavender.

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  8. Your post made me laugh and the tart made me hungry - it looks so delicious and summery!

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  9. I´m in agreement with Boy, when did you become Vegan? Please let me know some vegan recipes because the last vegan I met only ever ate tofu with baked beans and that doesn´t sound tasty at all! Could you not even have the rum cake ever again? That is a terrible shame if it is so!

    On a side note, love the blog, spend time reading it in the mornings before I go off to teach. As for the "n", it is not a word and is an abomination, never never again! Hope you´re well.

    Ed.
    Can you possibly realise how jealous I am of you going to Japan, enjoy it for me as well! Have the most fun you can possibly ever have!

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  10. Ed~, hello! No need to worry on the tofu & baked beans front; everything on my recipes page so far is vegan, WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED? http://oh-papillon.blogspot.com/p/by-recipe.html ...although I suspect I would actually really enjoy tofu and baked beans. And I could totally make the rum cake vegan; you underestimate my mad skillz. In fact, now I'm going to do it to prove a point, haha.

    So glad you're reading :D. Even if I am going to use extra "n"s in my writing from now on.

    LOADS OF LOVE <3

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  11. what a wonderful set of pictures. The tart looks so yummy and seems easy to make, thanks for sharing it :) love your blog

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