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Berry Picking... Galettes... and 10 Years...

Berry Picking... Galettes... and 10 Years...

It has been a life changing year! And, really looking back at the the last 10 years when I have been blogging, I am at a loss for words to describe the transformation I have been through. That tonguetied-ness has been a reason for my quiet here. But…. I’ll try…! :)

So, as I was reflecting on 10 years of blogging and trying to figure what that milestone head would read, I realized that it was not about blogging but how one small step into this world, changed my entire life. Not entirely on its own, but like a stone gathering momentum, it set things in motion, it tweaked things in me, opened my eyes to certain qualities in myself and others, met so many interesting people, changed careers….. Starting this blog just created a little path in a new forest and that took to a place that I would never have imagined myself to be in 10 years ago - physically, metaphysically, emotionally, psychologically.

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Cherry Marzipan Tart With Cognac Cream

Cherry Marzipan Tart With Cognac Cream

Cherry tart is but a simple one yet an elegant one filled with the nuttiness of both the oat and almond crust as well as the marzipan creamed for the frangipane filling. To top it with fresh cream whipped with a pour of cognac was rather natural. Cherries and cognac have a relationship not exactly incestuous but yet very wicked and very very alluring. Then, I must needs macerate the fruit in cognac, after all. That was the final layer and it was decadent!

I don't think I need to elaborate how amazing this tart was. Light, fruity and indulgent all in a bite. It does happen to be gluten free, but I must insist that as incidental as it is, it is also essential; The crust made with simple ground oats and almonds enhances the flavor. It may not be quite as good if you replaced it with a rice and bean based gluten free blend as it would have no added flavor. You can certainly use a regular wheat crust if you are able to and it will be good. This crust, however, is perfect for this tart...

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And life begins ... again

Lady Apple Frangipane tart
Old things change.... new choices made.... memories retained .... Life anew...

Spring - that time of the year when new decisions are taken, the closets cleaned out, unwanted junk thrown out, life restructured... in short, turn over a new leaf...

I am back and many ways I intend this blog to change a new leaf. Ideas are still shaping up in my head and I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this simple tart with frangipane, lady apples and a chocolate pastry crust.
Lady Apple Frangipane tart1

Yes.. I have been away

Roasted Butternut squash

And, when I came back.. the world had changed...

ok.. not quite ... but almost ;) So, yes, I have been away.. on VACATION!! A blissful 2 weeks in UK and family catch up in India after. When I left NYC in mid-September it was still barmy and Summer-y and I came back a month later to a cold and windy city..

But.... it is FANTASTIC to be back home! :))

Butternut Squash Soup

There will be a vacation post sometime soon but I just want to say that UK is a stunningly beautiful country and we had a blast doing a road trip through all the way North to Inverness and back to London.

For now, it's back home and warm comforting foods like soups and tarts. The winter squashes are out in full force and their bright, warming, Fall colors translate so beautifully on to the plate.. don't you think?! :)

Today I leave you with Butternut Squash Soup and Pear Frangipane Tarts with Saffron Rhubarb Compote.


Lines on the Palm and Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes

I was musing today, as I am prone to when my mind flits idly over various topics, about fear, the Fear of Uncertainty. I don't think we fear life's up and downs; we treat that as inevitable. What we can't come to terms with, and hence worry about, is the uncertainty of events in life.

I am not one who believes in psychics and clairvoyants. My contention being, how can a person who has never set eyes on me, let alone exchanged a few words, be capable of predicting what lay ahead in my life which I really choose to lead?! But, I come from a country that does believe, to the point of entrusting faith and major life decisions, in these "life-readers".

I have wondered on and off about the reasons that drive people to such belief. One theory I came up was to find a scapegoat, a reason outside of self for failure. Calling a misfortune, destiny, feels like applying a balm to a wounded soul. There is a sense of control being elsewhere and hence how is one to blame for his misfortune.

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes 1

Life has cruised reasonably well enough for me to mock such belief as tenuous in the face of rationality. There is no such thing as fate and pre-destined course of life. I still believe that, but, now, I think, I do empathise with those who seek outside help and relief for their "downs" in life. Life doesn't happen in equations. 2 + 2 isn't always 4; you can rant and rave all you want but if it wants to be 5 one day and 0 another, there is, sometimes, simply nothing you can do about it...

But then, I countered, people believe even in good times. So my theory definitely had a flaw. I pondered more and deeper. My bathrooms breaks became longer. Recently, I settled upon another theory, viz. the fear of unertainty; the uncertainty of not knowing how long until dawn breaks and how long the day will last.

In other words, the lack of control on when my suffering ends and how long I will be able to enjoy my good fortune? In a perpetual quest for these answers and a semblence of control, belief in palm-reader, crystal gazers, palmists, numerology "experts", josiers etc. has exponentially increased to the point of these practices being professionally lucrative.

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes served copy

Sometime back, Alessio mentioned reading up about palmistry. Curious, as I ever am, I decided to take the bait and googled up palm reading and the various lines that criss cross a human palm. Navigating through the head, life, heart, career and other lines and the mounds of many significances, I realised, there was little clarity or unanimity on the subject between the various sources and I even got conflicting reads of my hand. One could argue that it was an error of my inexperience but I figure there is something funny if the way your life supposedly turns out is markedly varied in different interpretations.

Anyway, I realised much of what we do and seek is to mitigate that irrational fear of the uncertain. Retirement accounts are much in the same vein but in just a more rational domain. At this point, I can't help but question, how putting one's trust in a fund manager of a large multi-billion dollar mutual fund is considered rational but playing the same gamble with life is considered superstitious and silly...

I don't know, but it offers much food for ponder. If you have thoughts on this, I would love to hear...

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes in plate1

In the meantime, I leave you with a tart there is nothing uncertain about. Rhubarb, cherries, touch of summer savory, almonds and home made crust. Where is the irrationality in that?! :)

For more ideas on cooking fresh, seasonal produce, please click on the "Farm to Table Series" tab above.

Rhubarb and Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes

Fruit mixture:

1 cup of rhubarb, diced to 1/4 inch
1 cup of cherries, pitted and halved
2 T summer savory, minced
1 T Kirsch
2 T sugar

Mix all of them together and refrigerate overnight.

Pate Sucree

1-1/2 cups flour, sifted
1-2 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 T cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 egg yolk
3 - 4 T ice cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the yolk and trickle in the water to make a rough dough. Flatten the dough to a disc and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes.


2 oz almond paste
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
3 T butter
1/2 tsp almond extract

Whip all the ingredients into a paste. Refrigerate for a few minutes.

To assemble, roll out the sugar dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out 4 inch rounds off the dough. Spread a generous teaspoon of frangipane mixture on each round, leaving a 1/2 inch border. In the centre place a tablespoon of the rhubarb cherry mixture.

Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, until the crust is brown and the frangipane puffed. Cool and serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and tea.

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK