People who aren’t on Twitter often deride it as merely a vehicle for transmitting useless everyday minutiae. I won’t deny that use of Twitter; I myself have been known to snap and tweet ‘interesting’ pictures of ‘novel’ breakfast ideas and of my hens eating pasta (thank you if you have retweeted any of them). But the reason I use Twitter is to connect with like-minded health and food folk, sharing ideas and recipes, links to research papers and yes, images. It is near-miraculous to me that I can have a real time simultaneous conversation with a surgeon in Canada and a chef from South Africa. This has happened, and it blows my mind.
When something really strikes my fancy or eye I will email it to myself for reading properly later. Mr A is frequently chiding me on a messy inbox, full of ‘read this now’ emails from myself that I will neither read nor file. It is shameful how many research links remain unclicked and undigested. But one find I did act on is a tweet from baker, author and Guardian food writer, @dan_lepard. He recently tweeted a picture and link that just had to be tried. It drew me in with its close-up of glistening plums and peeking-through pastry. Trust me to favour an alluringly-photographed recipe over a print-heavy review of US adolescent obesity studies. Oh the irony.
Being a tweaky kind of person I naturally had to fiddle around with the recipe, but not drastically so. My main alteration was to the underlying flavour. Dan calls for cinnamon, but as I associate cinnamon with the colder months I wanted to better reflect the remaining summer days with another spice or herb. A few days after sending this link to myself, and momentarily wondering what I might do to alter the perfectly acceptable as it is recipe, inspiration wafted under my nose. My tabby cat had brushed against the lavender bush I was sitting alongside, releasing the shrub’s sun-warmed perfume – triggering my memory and firing my imagination. I could almost taste this sunny, seasonal tart in my head.
For once I had all ingredients to hand and within 40 minutes or so the whole house was saturated with the heady aroma of melding peaches, honey and lavender. It was truly intoxicating. I have since made it with both peaches and plums for a few nutrition groups that I teach, and the feedback has been very positive. It’s not a sticky, indulgent tart but rather an – dare I say – everyday tart. No airs and graces or pretension to being on a restaurant menu. Just a rough and ready marriage of earthy grain, a bit of butter, seasonal fruit and flower. It may even be good for you. In moderation, of course.
I am letting you off the hook with the nutrition information this week. Sure the spelt flour generally has a better nutrient profile than ordinary wheat flour (more B vits, manganese and copper), and the peaches and plums are great sources of antioxidants like beta-carotene, minerals such as potassium, and fibre of course. But you don’t eat cakes and tarts looking for nutrients, you eat them because they taste good. End of.
Like most of the recipes I write/tweak, this is lower in fat and sugar, and higher in fibre than many baked goods of this ilk. But unless you are on chemo or recovering from treatment, it should really be a treat, not part of your five-a-day.
I’ll save the nutrition chat for the properly healthy and vaguely virtuous. For now just enjoy making a truly lovely tart that tastes of summer and smells of heaven. Unless your idea of heaven is chocolate.
To serve: good quality custard (try this Mary Berry recipe), Greek yogurt with honey, or crème fraiche. I garnished the crème fraiche with lavender buds in my photos, but Mr A said it was pretty but not great to chew.