Fresh Strawberry and Lime Tart

So, confession time: I made this tart over 3 months ago and am only getting around to posting it now. Oops. Luckily I was smart enough to write down the recipe! More or less… It was a bit fragmented, but between that and my memory, I think this recipe was saved.

I love strawberries and I love pastry cream – and so does my mother, so it was great to make this tart for her birthday. To give it that extra little kick of freshness, I added the zest of one lime to the dough of the pastry, which turned out lovely. If I could, I would add lime to just about anything. Perhaps I should start doing that.

Fifteen steps might seem like quite a lot, but this recipe is really not that difficult, as long as you have a bit of patience and enough time. The dough needs to rest for over an hour in total, but in the meantime you can do different things like making the pastry cream or cleaning up your work surface. I’d go for the first one, and avoid the second one as long as possible.

Anyway, enough babbling – onto the recipe!

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing with, will be jeopardized.

As his email correspondence with Blue grows more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out – without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

First published: 2015

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The Book Cake Tag

It’s been ages since I did a book tag, but a while back Morgan from The Bookish Beagle tagged me to do the Book Cake tag. Books, cake… seems like the perfect tag for me, doesn’t it?

So, we’re going to build a book cake! We’ve got a couple of ingredients (flour, butter, eggs, icing, sprinkles and the cherry on top), and they’re all linked to prompts, which will be the basis for my book picks. You know, your basic book tag – it doesn’t really need any explanation.

Let’s get to it!

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Quatre-quarts with Berries and a Lemon Drizzle

What do you do when you have an overload of berries that are threatening to go bad? Right, you bake! Or at least, that’s what I do. I bought blueberries on sale at the supermarket, but they were kind of mushy and disappointing, which made them perfect to put in a cake. Somehow, blueberries completely transform when they bake – both in taste and flavour. I also had a bowl full of fresh red currants from my parents’ garden, so I figured I’d throw some of those in, too.

At first, I didn’t really know what to bake – the first thing that came to mind were muffins, but that seemed kind of boring, since that’s pretty much always my go-to for when I have leftover fruit. Then I remembered this cake I baked years ago – a french cake called a quatre-quarts, only back then I used a whole lot of apples instead of berries. Turns out, a quatre-quarts is pretty much just a pound cake or a sponge. Who’d have thunk!

I also added a lemon drizzle to this cake, because lemon drizzles make everything better. It’s a fact. The cake turned out absolutely scrumptious – definitely a good one to have added to my repertoire! The fresh berries and lemon-y taste make it a perfect summer treat.

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A Harry Potter Appreciation Post – #HarryPotter20

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Disclaimer: this post contains spoilers for the Harry Potter series – although, to be fair, if you haven’t read it yet but are offended by HP spoilers, that’s kind of your own fault, isn’t it?

There’s a hashtag trending on Twitter today – most of you will have probably seen it: #HarryPotter20. In case you missed it: 20 years ago today Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published. Every other post on any of the social media seems to be about how Harry Potter changed someone’s life, or shaped their future – it’s kind of heartwarming. So I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon. Because (surprise, surprise) Harry Potter has been a huge part of my life as well.

This morning, I tried to remember when exactly I was introduced to Harry and J.K. Rowling, but I wasn’t sure. I do remember that I got the book as a present for my birthday one year (so it must have been October), and that that was the first time I’d heard of it. I checked the publishing information for that same copy, and that particular copy was published in 2001 – so let’s go with that! Four years after its original publication, Harry entered my world – in Dutch, mind you; it wasn’t until years later that I got to know “Hogwarts” instead of “Zweinstein” and “Diagon Alley” instead of “Wegisweg”.

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That Time I Binge-Read The Raven Cycle

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I finally did it, guys. I finished reading The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater!

Back in the summer of 2016 I read the first two books of the series, The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, but then my internship happened and graduating happened and I just didn’t get around to reading the rest of the series, even though I really wanted to.

A while back I decided it’d be a good idea to binge read the entire series. I figured it would be a much better experience to read the entire series without long breaks between the books. Plus, when I read The Dream Thieves I’d already started my internship, so I only read a couple of pages or a few short chapters at a time. Not my favourite way to read a book.

When Bout of Books 19 rolled around a few weeks ago I decided this was my chance! I would start my binge read. I read the first two books during that read-a-thon, and finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King when I was on holiday in France two weeks later.

I figured it be best to do one big review for the entire series, since I read them all in such a short period of time. Plus – it’s much easier for me. That does mean that this post features some spoilers, though, but only for the first book!

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Chocolate Brownie and Orange Tart (with hazelnuts)

Back in 2015 I baked an absolutely delicious chocolate brownie and raspberry tart for my birthday. It was a huge success, and not that difficult – despite it having quite a few steps. This tart right here is a variation on that one – I used orange instead of raspberry and added some more hazelnuts to the equation.

It looks a tiny bit less appealing than the raspberry one because the orange coulis almost looks a little green (it isn’t; that’s just the brownie shining through), but it tastes just as delicious – or perhaps even a little better! I adore the combination of orange and chocolate, and the hazelnuts lift it up even more. I roasted these in the oven for a few minutes – that makes them taste even yummier. If you’re not a fan of nuts, however, you can easily leave them out.

I’m still having some trouble getting back into blogging and reading, which bums me out a little. I’m going to keep trying, though! I really love this blog and this community, and I definitely want to keep it all going.

Also, an exciting life update: I found a job! At a book store! It’s only a part time gig as an on call employee person thingy (and not yet enough to live off of) but it’s perfect for me. I had my first couple of days last week and it’s even more fun than I imagined it would be. Perhaps I’ll do a life update post soon to tell you all a bit more about what’s been going on with me post university. But first, let’s get to the recipe!

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Classics: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

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Yep. Up until earlier this year I’d never read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. I’d also never seen any of the film adaptations (still haven’t, actually), so apart from some little nuggets of information and a general idea of “Alice” I didn’t even know what the story was about really. To be honest, I’m still not quite sure, but is anyone?

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Bout of Books 19

When the end of my internship and thus my university career in general was approaching I was really looking forward to all the time I would have for reading (and blogging). That’s a few months ago now, and I have to say – I’ve not read much at all. I’ve only read 7 books so far this year, which is way too few. Lucky for me, I found out this week that my favourite read-a-thon is having its 19th edition next week.

boutofbooks19The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m not really sure how much time I’ll actually be able to spend on reading next week, but I’ll try my best to read as much as I can and have fun while doing so. That’s what Bout of Books is all about after all!

I’ve been thinking about doing a binge read of the Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve already read the first two books, but I read the second one stretched out over a pretty long period of time, so I wasn’t able to really get into it (although I loved it nonetheless). To really get the full experience, I figure a binge of all four books is in order. Perhaps I’ll start on that next week!

I think I’ll add my daily updates to this post, which I’ll then tweet out every day. Perhaps I’ll also participate in some challenges, most likely on Instagram. We’ll see how it goes! In any case, I’m really excited about participating again.

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Bonbons and Meringues

… or “that time when I jumped around the kitchen with glee”. But that’s a bit too long for a title, isn’t it?

Basically, this post is me bragging about making pretty things, because man, did I feel on top of the world when these didn’t fail but were in fact a pretty big success!

I mean, I tempered chocolate for the first time and didn’t screw it up. That’s big, you guys. That’s really something. Which is not to say that the whole process went completely smoothly… My mother can attest to the fact that it was a hectic mess. But it worked! The only thing I’m a little bummed about is that the pictures didn’t turn out great – it was a cloudy day and it was already starting to get a little dark… And I’m not great with the photo-editing. But oh well, you win some, you lose some, eh?

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