In the still of this sunfilled early morning, there’s me and legion of small birds who are all making their particular peaceful noises, that I recognise but can’t put a beak to. Bees, so fat that they have no business being aerial athletes, hover delicately before each tiny crevice in the stone wall behind me, looking for suitable summer lodgings for a single bee. I’m not sure if they are impossibly particular or if there is a truculent, apianphobic landlord within, but they never seem to find something suitable. Seeing, hearing and feeling all this peace and warmth means that summer has crept up on me. I’m sitting outside in the early morning and I’m not cold. My ritual of early morning coffee making entails cleaning out the ashes from last night’s fire and resetting the kindling, which provided a Groundhog Day moment as the fire was already set. A eureka moment as I remembered that we had not lit the fire last night for the first time since last September.
Yesterday, I had a pastry epiphany. Chica Andaluza, a wonderful blogger, wrote of an olive oil pastry so simple, that even she could not mess it up: nor could I. This pastry is summer pastry because it is so breathtakingly easy to make and because it was conceived to accompany tomatoes, onions, capers, anchovies, olives, artichokes, and all things Mediterranean that blossom in the company of oil and crisp, thin pastry.
I made this simple tart with the olive oil pastry yesterday. The recipe for the pastry can be found on the link to Chica’s blog, which should be visited any way. The covering of my tart came from what was around in my kitchen. There were some sprouting onions that needed to be used up: they were melted in good olive oil for about 50 minutes, never going dark brown, but becoming meltingly sweet and savoury. A ramekin containing what was left of an intense tomato sauce, some capers and a few anchovies. That was it. Sunshine and wine did the rest.