Exciting times for the Pig. Most excitingly, over the weekend I made the most delicious tart I have ever tasted using figs (not in season, I know) and almonds. I will set out the recipe below.
The second most exciting piece of news is that I am not the only one who's been getting a bit of tart lately. My boss Benji indulged in some last Friday. Remember my throwaway line about going into Benji's office, ripping his clothes off and making passionate love to him on his swivel chair? Well, it turned out to be portentous indeed.
If you don't mind, I'm going to draw out the story just a mite...
So, Friday. There I was at my desk, surfing the internet, minding my own business. I was incredibly bored as usual and, as usual, my lower back was aching. I was just thinking about how I'd tragically exchanged my dreams for a boring but secure office job when my bestie, Sophie, called. She's experiencing a few, er, developments in her own life, which I can't blog about yet, but I was thoroughly engrossed by them while we were on the phone.
She asked about Benji, just as Benji was walking past my desk looking at me expectantly. I started laughing, which was unfortunate because he thought I was laughing at him, when I was really only laughing at the situation. He rolled his eyes - not in a tolerant way, mind you - and went back to his office. When I'd finished my conversation with Sophie, I went to Benji's office and asked him whether he wanted anything. That's when it all started.
'Do you remember my notes from the Munich conference?' he asked me in a snippy tone. I thought he was probably smarting from being laughed at.
'Yes,' I replied evenly.
'Did you print them out and distribute them to everyone?'
I had to think for a moment. 'Yup, sure did. I put copies in Patrick's and Petronella's pigeon holes. And yours of course.'
'Piggy,' he said condescendingly, 'Patrick, Petronella and I are not everyone at the School of the Environment and Something-Or-Other, are we now?'
I could not believe the way I was being spoken to. Was this the same man I'd seduced with lemon and raspberry slice? The same man whose face I'd nearly sucked off? It was a total personality change.
'I'm sorry,' I said, 'I misunderstood. I'll go and make some more copies.'
And then, as if he hadn't been rude enough, he went on: 'I've had to postpone a meeting for a week as a result of this mistake, Piggy, No one's had an opportunity to consider the notes.
'I'm sorry,' I said again, wondering how much longer I'd have to suffer such humiliation.
'I'm very fond of you - as you know - but if you can't lift your game - '
'Oh, don't bother,' I spat, lifting my chin defiantly, 'because I'm quitting. Stick it up your bottom, Benji!'
What happened next is something of a shambolic blur. I think I can reliably say that it happened in the following order:
- I burst into tears and headed for the door;
- Benji leaped from his desk and slammed the door shut before I could escape through it;
- I started swiping my clenched fists at Benji's chest;
- Benji grabbed my wrists and pushed me against the bookshelf, French kissing me in a way that made me go weak at the knees; and then
- I ended up ripping off Benji's clothes and making passionate love to him on his swivel chair, as divined in my blog post of the previous day.
Afterwards I was so embarrassed that I left the office. I went to the library to speak to my mother, but according to Sally (Benji's mum), who also works in the library, Shaz had gone home sick as well. Talking to Sally was awkward in the extreme, particularly as she pointed out that I must have buttoned up my cardigan in a rush because the buttons were in the wrong buttonholes.
Anyway, when I got home mum wasn't even there. Dad was, though, and he said, 'you know what I feel like, Piggy? A good tart.' And I thought, 'Dad, you're not the only one.'
So we went shopping and I made the following fig and almond tart.
You will need:
- 8 ripe figs, stemmed and sliced in half
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 200g of biscuit base or crushed biscuits
- 200g of ground almonds
- 200g of castor sugar
- 300g of butter, softened
- 2 eggs, yolks only
And here's what you have to do:
- Preheat oven to 180C/360F. Mix biscuit base and 100g of butter and press into a tart tin. Bake blind for 10 minutes and then leave aside to cool.
- Place halved figs on a baking tray. Mix the honey and 3/4 of the orange juice and drizzle over the figs. Bake for 15 minutes and then set aside. Reduce oven heat to 140C.
- In the meantime mix almonds, sugar, 200g butter, remaining juice and egg yolks. Pour into cooled base.
- Press the roasted figs into the almond mixture and then bake at 140C for about one hour, or until almond mixture is firm to the touch and golden brown.
You can serve it warm with cream or ice-cream and it's just divine, rather like me. It also keeps well, also rather like me.
The third exciting development I want to tell you about is an upcoming interview with the filmmaker Joe Cross, who made Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary that has inspired me go on a 5-day juice fast. That's the fourth development, though it's hardly exciting. If I make it through the 5 days it will be the only diet I have ever successfully completed. Then I can make my own doco called Fat Pig and Nearly Not-Fitting-Into-My-Clothes.
Enjoy the tart, dear readers, and while you eat it think of me drinking celery juice. It is absolutely vile.
More from food