A big tart

July 14, 2010

The other day I got a marriage proposal. Not from the man currently awaiting my arrival in Istanbul. But from the lovely Lene, my friend whose spare room I’m currently occupying.

We’d spent a very profitable but tiring morning selling off my excess baggage at Chiswick car boot sale, then returned home to make tea for our friend Helen and her two kids, Eric and Agnes.

Despite having got up at the ungodly hour of 3.30am, we quickly made cake, scones, sandwiches, salads and dips – and it was our impressive teamwork that led Lene to suggest I should not, in fact, move to Istanbul, but stay in London and marry her instead. I told her that if things didn’t work out with Süleyman, I’d definitely consider the offer!

And I’m certainly loving the way we’ve just clicked living together – easily sharing the cooking and household chores, and having someone to talk to when the practicalities of moving to Istanbul become a little overwhelming. In return, I’ll make sure I’m around to cook for her boys when she wants to go out (and to send Dexter to bed before he falls asleep in front of the television with his Xbox in his hand).

Which is what I did last night. Lene, being a bit of a yoga bunny, headed off for an evening of bending into strange shapes, while I fed Dexter (Wesley still making very rare appearances, thanks to a summer of parties stretching ahead of him).

As I mentioned in a previous post, Dexter is a pretty adventurous eater (especially considering he’s a young vegetarian), and is always willing to try new dishes. But it’s still something of a challenge for me to come up with veggie meals that he and the rest of us will enjoy.

So, a trawl through my trusty folder of cut-out recipes came up with this delicious-looking French tomato tart, which I’d seen on David Lebovitz’s blog. I decided to buy the tomatoes from Lina Stores, the lovely old Italian deli on London’s Brewer Street, and thought, rather than the French goat’s cheese David suggests, I’d stick with the Italian theme and try some of that country’s cheese instead.

A chat with the lady behind the counter resulted in me buying a nice big chunk of flavourful Fontina, which I thought would be the perfect foil to the sharp mustard base of the tart. (Dexter tried a slice of it while I was preparing the tart, and declared it his second favourite cheese, after brie!)

The beautiful, plump plum tomatoes combined with some fresh herbs direct from Lene’s garden gave the tart a truly summery flavour. So, on the side, I kept it seasonal and made a crunchy radish and gherkin coleslaw with mustard mayonnaise, and one of my all-time faves, cauliflower, fennel and celery salad with a lemon dressing, from Claudia Roden’s A New Book Of Middle Eastern Food. We also ate several slices of my latest loaf of sourdough bread, slathered in lots of butter.

This is the kind of food I could just eat mounds of in the summer – and, luckily, Dexter felt the same. Although, we did manage to leave a few morsels for Lene…


7 Responses to “A big tart”

  1. Lene Says:

    Aww shucks. Thanks wifie! x

  2. It’s a pleasure, m’dear. I’m going to miss cooking for you and your boys once I go. I just hope Süleyman is as appreciative! Hehe…

  3. That french tomato tart looks sublime! If things don’t work out with you and Lene, I’ll be waiting hahaha 🙂

  4. Ooh, the proposals are flooding in! It’s great being so in demand!

  5. Choclette Says:

    Glad to hear all still on track- never quite sure when you are meant to be off to Istanbul. I am of course impressed with the veggie cooking and the sourdough. The radish and gherkin salad sounds particularly good.

  6. Hehe, yes, I do feel like I’m dragging the whole process of moving out a bit! But this is my last week at work, then I have a couple of weeks in France and Brighton, and my one-way flight to Istanbul is on August 14th. So, not long now! I just hope the weather picks up over there. While we’ve been having the best summer for years in the UK, Istanbul has been quite literally swamped in downpours of torrential rain. Although it looks like it’s beginning to pick up now. I told Süleyman that if I don’t get a proper Turkish summer, I’m coming straight back to London!

  7. I tried the same tomato tart too, I thought the dijon mustard was great. Fontina instead of the goat cheese sounds very nice, next time I will try that! This was the one I did: http://deaugustibus.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/french-tomato-tart/

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