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rhubarb

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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Rhubarb me Lovely!

Rhubarb me Lovely!

This post has a collection of wonderful recipes with rhubarb, previously shared and a new recipe for a Rhubarb Compound Butter!

Compound butters are a gastronomic rage. Rooted in French classic cuisine, they are well known for adding a depth of flavor of dishes. Often, when they are referred to, it is in conjunction with meats and seared ones at that. Yet, there is no reason to isolate them to either special meats or even restaurant meals. They are very easy to make and can elevate even a humble toast with a dash of more than plain butter. In return, all it asks for is good butter to begin with.

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Pristine..

Pristine..

Pristine. Nothing is. Yet, why do we try to box life into it? Homes are never spotless if they have been lived in. Yet, we see so many stunning photos of perfectly styled and photographed homes that set our hearts racing. Kitchens, are rarely clean if someone who loves to eat resides there. Yet, most photos that you see, styled rustic or contemporary, are so flawless. I ponder about it and wonder why. Is it a quest for something that is not really achievable in reality that makes us obsessed with it in smaller frames where we have more control? Like through the lens of a camera for a short period of exemplified purity? Like a mummified moment....

I have at times yearned for that carefree impeccability that has taken the styling world by a rage under the name of Scandinavian aesthetic that paints a sunny, pleasing picture of everything. I have tried to get it that look, live that life, be that person.

The truth is my kitchen always looks like a war zone, my fridge always has something that has been there too long, my pantry has jams and preserves that I forgot I had made, or packets of lentils and spices stashed in the recesses and completely forgotten until I go looking for something and find something else. The truth is this is my reality. I am not perfect. I am not pristine.

And, I am happy I am not. Phew!

I suppose this cake is kind of my way of acknowledging that. It is a strawberry cake of sorts with a cake using a borrowed recipe. My rhubarb strawberry compote was a tad overcooked because I left it on the stove and got immersed in a book I was reading. But, it tastes awesome and makes for an lovely sweet-tang note on this frosting. 

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Almond Rhubarb Cake for Two

Almond Rhubarb Cake for Two

Rhubarb and Friday! It has been a long week and going to be not much of a weekend with work that needs to be wrapped up piling up my to-do list. Still, I am going to rejoice in the tying together of loose ends, snatched times to self over the next few days and simply, the checking of items from the list that will thankfully happen. I am going to run back to that list but I had to leave you with this gem of a cake made with the season's blushing favorite, Rhubarb!

Also, if you are interested in improving your phone photography, I wrote a post with tips on composition and processing on the phone.

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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.

Frangipane

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.
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