Friday, 30 August 2013

Pablo Neruda | Lemon Curd Delights

Pablo Neruda wrote 'Ode to a Lemon' at a time when his return to Chile from exile seems to mark a significant shift in his poetry away from the political considerations of earlier periods and towards an examination of ordinary, everyday things - a flower, a bird, a stone, a plant.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Jane Austen | Apricot Frangipane Tart

Although she no longer exerts on me the same fascination as when I was a young English Lit student, I still do find Jane Austen enjoyable and quite often powerful, especially when elements of social critique penetrate the polished veneer of her carefully constructed fictional worlds. In Mansfiled Park, Austen uses the imagery of the apricot tree to discuss themes which are surprisingly relevant to a modern reader, such as rootlessness and transplantation, but also cultivation and deception of appearance. The apricot, whose "natural taste" remains unrecognised, becomes a point of contention not only between the characters in the novel, who continually misappropriate and misinterpret, but also between the novel and the reader, who is challenged to offer a fair appreciation of the text.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Albert Camus | Berry Financiers

In the tragic times leading up to the second world war, Albert Camus defied the misery of his age by turning to the tenacity exemplified by the brazen blossoming of the almond tree on a cold February night - a flamboyant explosion into a sea of white against the tyranny of moral fanaticism.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

W.B. Yeats | Berry Fruit Tart

Yeats once wrote that "the desire that is satisfied is not a great desire". The search for beauty and the desire to reconcile dream and reality has Yeats's mythic persona Aengus, god of love and poetry, wander into the realm of physical experience.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Basic Recipe | Pâte sablée

This is my favourite type of pastry for summer fruit tarts or for frangipane ones. Rich but without being too sweet, it has a delicate yet crisp, crumbly texture that can only be properly appreciated once tasted. Because of its delicate texture, it needs to handled very carefully when baking but the positive aspect is that you don't have to worry about keeping ingredients sufficiently cold, or about shrinkage, or even about undercooking.

D.H. Lawrence | Moonshine Lemon Tart

Lawrence's travel to northern Italy, at a time when the threat of war loomed heavily over Europe, lent itself to a poignant study of the destiny and history of man.