blue cherry meringue tart and thoughts of 35

This week I turned 35 and with it I thought I would write down 35 thoughts that have flitted by.

1/ Spending a weekend with loved family members that you don’t often see is a pretty wonderful way to kick start a birthday.

2/ Never underestimate the soul filling value of spending hours and hours talking to your brother in a busy cafe.

3/Coffee tastes better with great conversation.

4/ Actually, everything tastes better with great conversation.

5/ Nothing wrong what so ever in decorating your own dining area in a celebratory birthday kind of fashion the night before.

6/ Decorating said area, ensures that come birthday morning when there are school lunches to be made, washing to be put out and and nappies to be changed that this will not be just another ordinary day.

7/ Forget that, I don’t think there are any ordinary days…ever.

8/ Bunting really is well worth the effort.

9/ You don’t have to be a kid to get squealy happy, hand clapping on opening a birthday box.

10/ Husbands need big thank you kisses for giving squealy happy hand clapping birthday boxes.

11/ There is a lot of joy in seeing your eldest child finally shake off a hideous virus, just in time to eat a man size slice of blue cherry meringue tart.

12/ In following days, there is also a lot of joy in left over blue cherry meringue tart with a quiet coffee, a great book and a little quiet time.

13/ Said quiet time is brief these days, VERY brief.

14/ Italian meringue I never knew you were so good! I really didn’t. I scoffed at the seemingly kitchen faffing that you needed in order to get done- The faffing is so worth it though, and I will never do meringue the regular way again…promise.

15/ A good book…is truly wonderful.

16/ A good chiropractor is also wonderful.

17/ Jumping into the world of lenses, aperture, ISO, and bokeh are ridiculously exciting.

18/ Waking up and thinking about lenses as your first thought of the day… does that warrant geek status?

19/ …hopefully.

20/ Asparagus season, I do love you.

21/ Cherry season, I think I love you even more.

22/ Getting a book like Mend it Better is not a whim action, it’s an investment. Little Monkey wears out knees like…well, like a lot.

23/ This time of year makes me think of my grandfather a lot.

24/ It looks like I’m starting a meringue tradition for my birthday, Berry Meringue Tart and A Rather Tall Birthday Cake in the last two years before…I can deal with that. Especially as now I know about Italian Meringue.

25/ I really do like grey overcast days.

26/ I also really like the idea of owning an organic olive farm.

27/ I could sit on my verandah watching the sun set over my olive trees. Dusk cockatoos would fly over head, screeching to each other as they went to seek food elsewhere. (My trees would be carefully netted against said cockatoos- who said day dreams couldn’t be detailed.)

28/ I wasn’t sure how 35 would feel.

29/ Turns out it’s fine and feels remarkably like 34.

30/ Eating homemade sourdough for breakfast never gets old.

31/ The breakfast idea that is not the sourdough. Sourdough does get old and stale eventually, then it’s perfect for making bread crumbs. Supermarket bread goes mouldy, home-made bread just gets turned into something else (pangritata being my favourite at the moment.)

32/ Being able to read is truly a joyful experience, escaping into a book. A story that transports you…

33/ Or just reading about lenses…again.

34/ There are so many wonderful things to do in this world. Learn about, read up on, discover and enjoy. Precious moments that will never, ever be repeated again…

35/ In my 35th year, I’m not going waste one little one of them.

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Blueberry Cherry Meringue Tart is adapted from this recipe. All I did was change the fruit around from Rhubarb and Raspberry, and made up the mixture in a pot rather than oven baked. After six months of planning to make it, and two days of putting it together, (instalments was easier) was it worth it?

Oh my sweet goodness, yes! Recipe here.

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Blueberry Frangipane

3am and I’m sitting in an armchair next to Little Monkey’s hospital bed when he broke his leg. The armchair was my bed for the duration, swamped by blankets I’d made a nest for myself so I could keep one eye closed for sleep and one eye watching carefully over the little fella as he slept.

In my hand however was a the most delicious thing I had encountered for quite a while. Not hospital food, but a frangipane fruit tart. Brought in earlier, by my very thoughtful sister from Brasserie Bread.

I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I was eating it at 3am that made it delicious, or it really was the best darn tasting tart I had ever tasted. Either way, it was superb and I couldn’t get enough of it. Fast forward 2 months, and that hopsital stay is happily a distant crappy foggy memory, but that tart….

That tart, was the kind of tart that makes you sit back, and let those taste buds reminisce. I put the tart in my, will have to give that a crack one day… thought pile and then went about my business. Until Amy at Tiny Tea Room posted on a pastry-less almond Pear Tart. Now with Amy’s stunning photography I’m sure she could make a white bread cheese sandwich appealing, but non-the less that sweet almondy goodness was brought back to my mind, front and centre…. and no pastry? Even quicker!

I wanted not crazy sweet, vanilla-y tones, and a gritty type texture….oh and easy. Let’s play…

Blueberry Frangipane

150gms softened butter

1/2 cup raw sugar

2 tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs

150gms almond meal* (1 1/2 cups)

100gms course semolina (1/2 cup)

125gms blueberries

Cream butter and sugar together, Add the vanilla and eggs. Stir through almond meal and semolina. Blueberries on top. Bake in a greased, floured tin (approx 23cm square) at 180C for about 30minutes or until light golden.

* I lightly toasted whole almonds, skin on, and then blitzed them in the blender to make the almond meal.

Verdict? It didn’t quite match that 3am frangipane fruit tart but I was happy with it. Super easy, and really quick. I think this one might become a regular favourite. You can easily up the sugar if you want it sweeter, and swap the blueberries for other seasonal fruit.