I had a moment today when someone said next week is September! I knew this, of course, but it triggered a sub-conscience thought I’d buried that September was to be the start of “the busy lead up” to our France trip. Put it this way, on my to-do list this week, is “create a 100 day countdown calendar for kids”. We’ve talked about France for so long that the poor little dears have it constantly in their minds as a “someday” trip but sooner rather than later, they will start to figure out that mummy’s crazy dream is in fact coming true.
The short version update is this: visa application appointment in Sydney is 28 days away; at this stage, we’re getting on that plane not knowing when we will return; I have changed the font three times on the cover of our visa application display folder (which contains 72 pieces of paper and counting) in an attempt to appear serious but enthusiastic; I am negotiating with myself on a daily basis about which pieces of furniture to keep and store, and which to give away or sell. When friends come to visit or stay, they almost always walk out with something we can live without because stuff = space = storage costs.
So a couple of days ago, I welcomed the opportunity to be brought back to “the main thing”. I’ve been dreaming about what it will be like when we actually get there and settle into a slower-paced life, about the rich produce France boasts and the village markets that permeate all your senses. A French friend who was staying with us, and has just left (we miss you Maria!) cooked us a typically French tomato and mustard tart. It is decadent in it’s simplicity: the rich tomatoes and dijon mustard combination packs a punch in flavour. She was (rightly) chuffed with her dish and while she didn’t understand my Aussie wise-crack (think The Castle) “This is going straight to the blog!”, she is happy for me to share her recipe. It’s actually best served at room temperature or even cold. I shamefully admit to inhaling three pieces in a row the next day!
Tarte à la moutarde
Frozen or fresh puff pastry – enough to fit your desired tart tin
(She used a very large dish which required 4 sheets … an average 20-25cm dish would require about 2 sheets. If you like a thick crust, you may wish to double up on the pastry.)
1/2 cup good quality dijon mustard
3-4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
handful of fresh thyme
3/4 cup grated gruyere or cheddar cheese
olive oil to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Grease your tart pan and fit the thawed pastry to the pan, cutting off excess and using to “patch” any holes.
Smear the mustard generously along the bottom of the pastry and up the sides.
Sprinkle the grated cheese along the base.
Layer your tomato slices so that they are slightly overlapping. Start on the outside of the pan and work your way into the middle.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle the fresh thyme and drizzle the olive oil over the top before baking for 35 minutes or until the pastry crust is golden brown.
Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
With grace and gusto,