One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us
~ Cassandra Clare ~
I have been slowly drowning in memories of study years lately. Not in the nostalgic time gone by kind of way, but recalling times when few hours of rest wouldn’t get in a way of life.
I am only saying this as for my latest venture (a.k.a. cookbook, which you may have seen going live last week) I may have sacrificed perhaps too many hours of precious sleep in recent weeks. Ever since, no matter how much time I spend with eyes closed, I can’t shake off the hanging shroud of lethargy, and even though my faith in coffee has been strengthened, this state of neither awake nor asleep isn’t going away.
Whilst I am useless at doing just about anything these days, it gives a chance to give into thirst for written word, to spend days going through books I’ve been yearning to open while other endeavours kept me occupied. After all, it is true that:
the secret to a well balanced life in a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other.
Or so I would like to believe.
My latest obsession is “S” by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst. Those are not my notes there gracing pages, but the way the whole book is written, with letters, cards, maps hidden within to discover as you read. I won’t give any more details, but it’s one of those books that is an adventure in itself to read.
To acquire a habit of reading is to construct yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life
A good book deserves something sweet on the side. Something to bite in while diving into a new world, like little hand pies with gifts of spring. This early in season, when strawberries are everywhere but haven’t yet reached their full flavor and need a little bit of love to shine, I like tossing them with rhubarb in all sorts of treats.
Within these pies, they are bound by crème de cassis, my favorite berry liquor, fresh vanilla and a touch of rosewater. Marinated till release their juices, then sealed and roasted till syrupy filling begins to burst out of the case.
Needless to say, they are my treats of choice while I journey through this book and perhaps till more summery berries will reach markets nearby, or a new book will ask for a different kind of treat to go along.
Happy week to you all and if you have moments to spare and books are your kind of cup tea, what are you now reading?
- 2 cups/ 250 g all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 orange zest
- pinch of salt
- 8,2 oz/ 235 g butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 medium rhubarb stalks, diced
- 5 oz/150 g strawberries, diced
- 3 tablespoons crème de cassis
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- ½ teaspoon corn-starch
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon mik
- Toss all ingredients for filling together, except for corn starch and let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
- Then drain all the liquid and pour it into a small sauce pan, then cook it till a few tablespoons of syrup remain.
- Stir in the corn-starch and mix again with rhubarb and strawberries.
- To make the crust in the food processor combine flour, orange zest, salt and sugar. Add cubed butter and blend for about 15 seconds till you have breadcrumb like texture. Add the egg and continue to blend till the dough sticks together, for another 15 seconds or so (if it doesn’t add a teaspoon or two of cold water).
- Remove from the food processor, press together, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Pre heat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Beat egg with milk and set aside.
- Roll out the pastry and cut out even circles (or squares) about 2 inches/5 cm wide.
- Place some of the filling in the centre, brush sides with egg wash and place the other circle on top, sealing the side with the tip of a fork.
- Transfer to a baking paper lined tray and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Then prick a few holes with a tooth pick, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake for about 20 minutes till the pastry is golden brown.
- Let it cool on the rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.