Monday, December 10, 2012

Tarte à la rhubarbe et aux fraises (Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart)

For the third year, we've got a vegetable garden. And for the first time, it's doing really well! Yesterday my husband excitedly told me that there was plenty of rhubarb and could I make him a rhubarb and strawberry tart. Well of course, as I love cooking, and I love nurturing others, this was an occasion not to be missed!

So I set down to the task, reminiscing about all the rhubarb tarts, rhubarb and strawberry jams, and rhubarb fools my Mum used to make when I was growing up! There's something about smells and food that bring back so many warm and fuzzy memories. I will just say though, that being on a diet (that story will be for another post) does not make my life easy on days like this. The result was a hit, with my darling saying it was the best "tarte" I had ever made. Needless to say that put a big smile on my face!

You will notice that in the recipe, I use glucose powder instead of sugar. In short, I strongly recommend you read What is wrong with sugar, and Glucose as a sugar alternative. I've since started replacing sugar by glucose powder in all my recipes. I made a yummy carrot cake a couple of weeks ago and two lots of ice cream which were a hit!

This recipe is inspired by my cooking "Bible", Croqu' menus, which I received in cooking class when I was 13, as well as my creativity and cooking knowledge.

Preheat oven to 250°C.

For the "Pâte sablée" (pastry):
200g flour
1/2 tsp salt
100g cold butter, cut into small pieces
2-3 tbsp glucose powder
1/2 lemon zest
1 egg, beaten
1-2 tbsp water

Put flour in a bowl or on your work bench. Add salt and mix. Add butter, rub between fingers until you reach a sand-like consistency. Make a fountain in the middle.

Add sugar and lemon zest. Mix beaten egg and water in a small bowl, then pour into fountain. Mix everything together quickly.
My Gran tought me that the secret to perfect home made pastry is cold hands!
Form a ball, wrap in cellophane, and leave in fridge for about 30 minutes.

To assemble the "Tarte":
Wash and cut into quarters roughly one punnet of strawberries. Wash and cut the rhubarb into small cubes. The quantities here may vary according to how many strawberries you want with your rhubarb, or visa versa.

Roll out the pastry, lay out in baking dish, then prick the base with a fork.

Arrange the fruit on the pastry - follow your creativity! Sprinkle with 3-4 tbsp glucose powder.

Put your "tarte" into the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the "liaison":
1-2 dl milk or cream
1 egg
2-3 tbsp glucose powder

Mix all ingredients together.

Take the "tarte" out of the oven, pour the mixture over evenly, and put back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until pastry is nice and golden.

Serve with yoghurt, whipped cream or ice cream.

Et voilà! Bon appétit!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My first rambling!

Welcome to the ramblings of an imperfect Maman!

So, after many years of thinking about it, and thinking about it, and finding lots of excuses not to do it, I'm going to give this blog thing a go.

But really, what do I have to say that's not already out there somewhere? Probably nothing. Hopefully though, some of you will recognise yourselves in these lines and posts, or will find some interesting information. And why start today? I was hanging the cloth diapers outside a few minutes ago, and thought, "I've got to do this now". Who knew that cloth diapers could be so inspiring?

I actually do a lot of thinking when I hang them out. It's that tiny piece of quiet time when both kids are either busy or sleeping, and my mind can peacefully ramble on and on. Today not only was I thinking I should really start this blog, but also "why on earth did I think I was mother material?". Have you ever wondered what on earth possessed you to become a Mum? So many emotions like worry, anxiety and fear that I could do without!

I spent most of last week in the hospital's Children's Ward with my 4 month old. He came down with an eye infection - doesn't sound too scary, right? It's not, really. But it does require several days of IV antibiotics. The nurses were amazing. But let me tell you, spending hour upon hour in that environment of sick children and babies, with never one quiet moment, a baby who won't sleep as usual, and machines beeping constantly, I thought I might need to be hospitalized in a mental institution. How do parents with very sick kids manage it? I admire them hugely! As it was, I spent those 4 days mostly crying or trying not to, and praising God for my dear husband who spent two nights there, and our amazing au pair who spent one night. Mostly sleepless nights!

As I was there, I kept wondering what I could have done differently. Was it my fault? Well, you know the drill if you're a Mum too. Every Mum I talked to had the same questions. And despite the nurses and doctors telling us that it wasn't our fault, we still doubted. And then I thought, hey, I'm doing my best here. So yep, I don't feel strong enough to spend the night here. That's ok. Yep, I'm crying and feeling like a bad Mum. But really, I'm giving my child all I have to give. And what could be better than that? Enough of this motherly self-flogging!

So let's all give ourselves a pat on the back. Well done to all of you Mums out there!