A couple of days ago I received a text from my friend Angie that said, “Want to meet up for dinner tomorrow night? Angie and her husband Guy are part of a dinner group we belong to where we who go to each other’s houses and restaurants together about once a month. We eat too much, drink too much and laugh enough to last me until our next get-together. I yelled to John and said, “Want to go to dinner with the crowd on Wednesday evening?”
“Sounds good,” he replied.
I texted back to Angie, “love to.”
The messages went back and forth as to the restaurant, the time, etc., but she didn’t say who was able to come. It didn’t matter to me, I was going OUT! We work entirely too much.
Wednesday morning I was up at the crack of dawn getting ready for a meeting with Annie Infinite, a social media marketing guru on the Sunshine Coast (and the world). We wanted her advice on the launch of the new update to EasyRecipe our WordPress recipe plugin.
We both went back to work and about 3pm I said to John, “What do you feel like having for dinner?”
“Aren’t we going out?
“Ack!! I nearly forgot.”
We were going to Cala Luna in Maroochydore. It’s a popular restaurant you have to hunt for. The sign is really, REALLY small. The food is so good that there’s never a table unless you book in advance. Thankfully Angie had done that.
We arrived at Angie’s fancy high rise apartment and it’s all women! It was a girls night out. Angie didn’t say and I didn’t ask. John thought going to dinner with four women wasn’t a bad idea. The food was terrific and we were so full there wasn’t room for dessert – for anyone other than John. I could tell he was eyeing the cassata and that’s exactly what he ordered. As the owner took the order Angie said “Bring us each a spoon!” in Italian. When the cassata arrived she gave John a big mixing spoon and small spoons for the rest of us. He wasn’t amused. He did get a couple of bites and that was it.
We must go back. My new friend @Pav1lov described a restaurant on his blog as one of those placed where you want to keep going back until you’ve eaten everything on the menu. It was that good. The Sunshine Coast isn’t crawling with great restaurants but there are a few and this one is definitely one of them.
Next time I go back to Cala Luna I’ll bring the camera! argh. useless.
Have you ever gone out and got it wrong? I’m hopeless, obviously. I’ve even forgotten an event altogether. Now THAT doesn’t make you many friends. (Sorry, Iris)
If your day has been really busy and you need a quick and easy dessert, this one works just great. If you’re strapped for time, buy frozen pie crust and blind bake the tart shells it til they’re golden brown. Let them cool and then add some really nice strawberry jam to the bottom and cover it with sliced fresh strawberries and top it with chantilly cream. It looks really good and only takes a few minutes. The crusts can be made a day ahead and the strawberries can be sliced ahead of time too.
This is my idea of a quick dessert. I really like fruit and cream and John likes cream on everything so it was a win for both of us.
- 12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2½ sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pats
- 6 tablespoons cold water
- Pastry for 4 tart shells or commercial frozen pastry
- ½ cup strawberry jam (or lemon curd or butter works well too)
- 2 punnets fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 cup cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (the good stuff)
- 1 tbs caster (superfine) sugar
- Combine ⅔rds of flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse twice to incorporate.
- Spread butter chunks evenly over surface. Pulse until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps, about 25 short pulses.
- Use a rubber spatula to spread the dough evenly around the bowl of the food processor.
- Sprinkle with remaining flour and pulse until dough is just barely broken up, about 5 short pulses.
- Transfer dough to a large bowl.
- Sprinkle with water then using a rubber spatula, fold and press dough until it comes together into a ball. (don't be tempted to add the water in the food processor -- won't be as good)
- Divide the dough ball in half.
- Form each ball into a 4-inch disk and wrap in cling film.
- Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C)
- Roll pastry or thaw frozen commercial pastry and line 4 or 5 tart shells
- Line with baking paper and beans, rice or pie weights
- Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the weights and paper and bake for a further 10-15 minutes at 300F (160C) until golden brown
- Set aside to cool (or store for a later use)
- Slice strawberries and sprinkle sugar and mix to combine. Set aside. (or store for later use)
- Put cream in a chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until soft cream begins to thicken.
- Add sugar and vanilla and beat until soft peaks begin to form. Don't overbeat and make butter.
- Cover and refrigerate until serving.
- Spread strawberry jam over the bottom of the tart crust then fill with sliced strawberries and top with cream