Monday, March 3, 2014

Lonely Owl, Old Tree, Doll.

I just had to share this with you. I thought it was so cute.
lonely wol

Another picture I came across this week that I wanted to share with you with this one from Charleston, SC.
Processed with VSCOcam with n3 preset
The blurb which came with it was as follows: Charleston County Council recently approved $2.5 million for a campaign to buy 18.7 acres adjacent to the Angel Oak, a massive live oak that may be as old as 1,400 years. If the Lowcountry Open Land Trust is unable to reach their goal of $3.3 million by March 14, a developer will proceed with a plan to build apartments on the land that could threaten the tree’s health. Which is why I wanted you to see it. Such a shame to develop on the land; I do hope they can raise enough money to purchase it and stop the developer.

I Matryoshka Dolldon’t know why, but I have always wanted a Matryoshka doll. I finally got one through my IT guy who is Ukrainian and knew where to get one for me. He brought it the other day, much to Matt’s disgust, “waste of money”. I love it though.
Matryoshka Dolls

I am not a very good photographer as I have mentioned before. Not sure how, but the second one looks as though she is winking. Maybe it's magic. Anyway, you get the idea.. In case you are wondering I took them on my desk.

This recipe has a different flavouring from usual pastries and I thought it sounded rather interesting. Now I just happen to have some Lapsang Souchong.

Pear Tart with Vanilla Cream and Black Tea Crust

Contributed to Food & Wine by Valerie Gordon

Pear Tart
© Line Klein
The smart idea here: adding fragrant, smoky-flavoured Lapsang Souchong tea to the buttery crust, which is filled with a delicate vanilla cream and juicy pears.

Vanilla Cream
  1. 3 large egg yolks
  2. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  3. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  4. 2/3 cup sugar
  5. 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  6. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 tablespoon finely ground Lapsang souchong tea (from 1 tea bag)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  5. 3 tablespoons light brown sugar


  1. 2 Bosc pears (about 1 pound)—halved, peeled, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  2. 1/4 cup light brown or turbinado sugar
  1. MAKE THE VANILLA CREAM In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean paste and whisk until smooth. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer and thickens, about 5 minutes. While whisking constantly, drizzle one-third of the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Slowly drizzle the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter, then strain the custard into a medium heatproof bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the vanilla cream and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
  2. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE CRUST Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the tea and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and beat at medium speed until well combined, 2 minutes. Press the dough into the bottom and halfway up the side of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly.
  4. MAKE THE TOPPING Set the crust on a baking sheet. Scrape the vanilla cream into the crust, spreading it evenly. In a medium bowl, toss the pears with the sugar. Arrange the pear slices in a slightly overlapping circular pattern over the cream. Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, until the pears are softened and golden. Transfer the tart to a rack to cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Make Ahead: The tart can be refrigerated overnight.

Have a great Monday


  1. Hi Jo - that owl has just the most brilliant of faces. Your dolls are lovely .. and so pleased you were able to find some ... I hope your Ukrainian's family are safe .. what's going on over there is just frightening to see how it's going to pan out.

    I certainly hope they can protect that amazing tree and land from the developer ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Made me giggle. Glad you like my dolls. I did ask him about his family, by email, and never got a reply. Must ask again.

      Me too. Lovely tree.

  2. That is one amazing tree. And one scared bird!

    1. You are right on both counts. I don't think the bird is really scared, don't think they would have used that picture if so.

  3. Those nesting dolls are cute. My mom gave me a set of nesting cats. The biggest one is a lion.

    1. I like the sound of those. Pix please.

  4. I could get blissfully lost in a photo - alone - of the Angel Oak. Let's hope they preserve its health and beauty.

    I've never heard of a tea-based crust, Jo. That sounds intriguing and really tasty.

    Be well.


  5. Hello...I just found you on the A to Z list...amazing! I love your stories and especially that you post delicious-sounding recipes like this one as I love to cook ! jetgirlcos visiting via Forty, c'est Fantastique

    1. Thanks so much. Forty, c'etais beaucoup d'années pour mois.