I have noticed as the years go by that really good friends don’t always have to be the ones that you see every day, or even all that often. My really good friend Jane came for lunch yesterday. We could be twins; we share our age, the ages of our children, the experience of being brought up by mothers who shared a certain Scots style of parenting that makes us laugh out loud at the ‘austerity’ we have encountered in our youth, and we share an outlook. I haven’t seen her since last spring and we have so much to catch up on that lunch, while not an insignificant part of our meet, must not get in the way of it.
Decided early it would have to be a tart of some sort - almost infinitely variable ingredients, easy to make, does not involve any additional fiddly bits (other than a bit of salad) or too much in the way of serving gear, and we can absent mindedly keep 'cutting and coming again’ without stopping for polite enquiry about another slice or pausing too long from our banter and badinage and blether and belly laughs for which we never have enough time.
Started the morning with the knowledge that I would need to get a pastry shell put together and, while this was chillin’ in the fridge, took a look at my cook books for a little inspiration. My eye was caught, as it often is when I want something a bit special for lunch, by Yotam Ottolenghi and 'Plenty’. Here is not a man who stints on ingredients, so a tart from him should be plenty satisfying, and there it was, 'Very full tart’, for which I had all the basic ingredients barring the veg.
No problem - 'Fruit World’ would supply all in a jiffy with just a quick nip down the road. The 'Fruitaneers’ also had some lovely sweet cherries, from I know not where, I am ashamed to say, winking at me in the doorway and at a very good price - their loss leader was my gain, as there was the perfect little something to go with our coffee later without drawing too much additional breath.
So, to cut a long story a little shorter, job done! You can tell when I began to lose concentration on the task of this blog post - there is a reason that the picture under the title is not a picture of the very full finished tart in its entirety; The tart still in the oven as she arrived, I completely forgot to take the picture of what it looked like after it had come out until after my friend had left!
The tart was full and fantastic as was the day - full of conversation and fantastic company; thank you Jane for both - I am replete today but so looking forward to the next time!
“A fantastic Mediterranean feast, full to the brim with roasted vegetables”: Yotam Ottolenghi