It's the small things that often make me emotional. Like the collective birthday song all 14 of the doctoral students sang for me on Tuesday, or the evening at the movies with Soeren and friends to celebrate my birthday and the choc-banana muffin with a candle in it from my friend B. and of course the huge bouquet of flowers from my other friend D. with a note "Because you love fields of Spring flowers so much!" Not forgetting dear Ivonne's lovely girly cake for me!
Tom and I have faced many challenges in our life together and I think we’ve mastered them all fairly well. Every time life brought us to a new crossroad we always supported each other to make the right choice for us as a family. A little while back we found ourselves at a new crossroad and once we decided which path to take we have been moving along that path at a speed of 200 km/h. Always asking ourselves “Is this the right move?” The past 6 months we’ve been getting ourselves ready step by step for our move to Qatar, tackling each difficulty as it came. But we were certainly not prepared for what happened last week.
Last week Tom started at his new job – 2 weeks Essen to get to know the team here then off to Doha, then in 6 to 8 weeks family will follow. A day after my birthday and shortly after I wrote my previous post, they told Tom that the project has been delayed. Due to the fact that the Client (Emir of Qatar) wanted to have huge changes made to the bridge, they had to submit a new tender. This means that they want Tom to go down till October but first without the family!
What? It was a bit like having the floor collapse under our feet. You see Tom has been in contact with them throughout the several months and has been informing them of our progress. He even asked once “Is everything the way we discussed?” We always got the green light to go ahead. Move on and terminate Soeren’s school, terminate our house, sell our furniture. 6 weeks to go and we were literally sitting on packed moving boxes and then drop this kind of bomb.
So we have spent the weekend trying to get ourselves back on route here. We had to hit the brakes hard and take a sharp U-turn. Soeren is back on the list for the new school year here at his school. The landlord took us back with open arms and my job – well my colleagues and bosses were pretty ecstatic. I was fairly nervous about this one but everyone moved so fast and joined forces to support us. I was left baffled.
“Don’t worry Meeta! We are here – you guys are not going to hit the ground when you have a strong net below you. We’ll catch you when you fall!”
was what my friend D. told me and she brought me to tears. Because she spoke out what everyone was actually doing.
So, I look back at the gift of the muffin, the song and bouquet of Spring flowers with more meaning than ever before. It’s funny – because there has been one tenor right along the board this past week – of happiness. Our friends, my colleagues and Soeren’s school are excited that at least Soeren and I will be here for a little while longer.
Tom and I still are working on our options right now. It’s frustrating because we were not planning on being separated with the start of a new beginning. However, one of the options we have is that Tom really does go down for the next 4 months.
At the moment my mind is somewhere in one of the several moving boxes that are currently awaiting to be unpacked again. I am in the process of digging it out again and a few other kitchen items that had been packed. I needed distraction and comfort and as food always offers me both I preoccupied myself with some experimentation in the kitchen.
The experiment produced these tartlettes. I adore them! They are simple but elegant and so full of flavor. They are small but I know they will really rock everyone's taste buds.
What makes the tartlettes special is the use of wild garlic leaves or ramsons. An incredible and most delicious herb often found in patches in deep woodlands. I would have loved to forage for wild garlic leaves, but I bought mine at my organic store - expensive but really so worth it. The leaves were used to make a wild garlic pesto - lurid green in color with a fresh and pungent garlicky and lemony aroma. But wild garlic is very versatile and the leaves can be used in many ways. Risottos, omelets or soups all benefit immensely with the delicate garlic flavor from the herb. My favorite way is to fry them until crisp, as one does with sage leaves, and then place them on top of quiche or tarts. I could have done that for this tart but I decided against it as I wanted to show off the vivid red of the tomatoes.
So what is wild garlic or ramsons? You'll find them often growing in woodlands near bluebells or by streams under trees. There is no mistaking them - just follow your nose and once you are greeted with an intense garlic aroma you've found them. Wild garlic leaves are long and lush, very similar in appearance to the leaves of Lily of the Valley. Wild garlic grows from late winter right through Spring. At this time of the year they are in full bloom with white flowers.
In the kitchen wild garlic is prized for its leaves rather than the bulb, as is the case for the domestic garlic. While the bulbs of wild garlic (and also the flowers), are edible, they are much smaller in quantity in comparison. With its deep green leaves, wild garlic lends its delicate garlicky flavor to any dish. Slightly sweeter than the domestic garlic, one can eat the leaves raw or cooked. Use wild garlic as you would other herbs, in salads, soups with meat and poultry.
The recipe for the wild garlic pesto is fairly easy and prepared just like any other pesto:
Basic Wild Garlic PestoOnce the pesto is prepared you can use it for several purposes. It tastes great with meat or stuffed into chicken breasts and is totally lovely with pasta or on bread. Then of course is the possibility of using the pesto in these delicious tartlettes.
Large handful of wild garlic, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100ml extra virgin olive oil
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
50g pine nuts
Fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Blend together in a food processor the wild garlic leaves, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts. Stop, pushing down any leaves, then add 50g grated Parmesan, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste plus the lemon juice. Blend and serve or spoon into a clean jar and refrigerate until needed.
Add a little more oil if you prefer it less thick.
Instead of pine nuts you can use walnuts or cashew nuts for a refined taste.
Wild Garlic Pesto & Tomato TartlettesPrintable version of recipe here.
Ingredients3-4 tablespoons wild garlic pesto
5-6 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
50-75g pine nuts
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
100g cherry tomatoes, sliced
200g puff pastry
Butter, melted to brush the forms
Spring onions, thinly sliced (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Brush 4 small tartlette forms with the melted butter.
Line each form with a thin layers of the puff pastry. Set aside
In a mixing bowl whip crème fraîche, pesto, salt and pepper into a smooth paste. Place a few tablespoons of the mixture into each tart form.
Add the tomato slices evenly and sprinkle with the pine nuts. If using also add the sliced spring onions.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Take out and serve immediately with a nice green salad.
Food Guide Tips
Just what we needed to find our bearings. A glass of wine and a few of these flavorful tartlettes and we were thinking clearly again. This week there will be discussions between Essen and Doha. One thing is clear though we are not going to get pushed into doing something we do not want to. And our gut feeling tells us we should not be separated. Let’s see what the week brings.
You might like these tarts and pizzas from WFLH:
|Caramelized Fennel, Radicchio, Pears and Goat Cheese Pizza||Tomato Olive Tart|
Daily Tiffin Reading Tip
The Art of Rock Painting written by Mansi
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