About six years ago, I remember my dad spending hours into the early morning working on design plans, drawing up his ideal version of the house he was renovating.
He’d just bought a new three-story house, but planned to renovate it entirely and create the home he had in mind. I’d watch him working on those floor plans, with a ruler and a pencil in hand, his brows furrowed in deep concentration.
One day, my dad asked me to accompany him to see the actual house he was working on, and being the curious me, I agreed immediately, and one Saturday morning, we got into the car and drove to this mystery house.
It was still in the original condition, just after my dad had bought it from the previous owners, but despite the unkept condition and the weeds growing outside in the garden, it looked promising. As we walked through the building, up the hardwood floor staircase, through the three floors, I remember reaching the top floor, peering into the first room which resembled an attic with the pointed roof. The darkwood roof gave way to a glass window, from which the sun could shine through like a glasshouse. Below the window was a sliding door which led to a small but pretty balcony overlooking the roads.
Just as quickly as I’d seen the room, I’d fallen head over heels in love with it.
It was the sort of realization that made you feel an affinity with something, and in that very instant, I told my dad that it was the room I wanted. Over the next few months, we chose purple tones for the walls and rich brown fabrics for the curtains, and the charm of designing and decorating your own space never left me.
Today, almost six years later, I’m no longer living in Singapore, but in Buenos Aires, and as Juan and I start our search for a place to rent, I feel the exact excitement that I first felt when I visited the house with my dad six years ago.
Between apartments and hopes raised and entering houses which take your breath away, there’s a thrill and adventure in the search that leaves me in anticipation.
There have been apartments that we’ve entered and shake our heads instantly, not even being able to imagine living in them. Then there are some that are just okay, where we could probably stay in, but nothing special about them calls out to us.
And finally, there are those apartments, those special ones that you feel deep within matches your idea of a dream home – a spacious kitchen with long tabletops where I can cook and enjoy cooking in and where guests could sit at the bar as we prepare a mojito or two; a pretty and large balcony that overlooks the main road and where we can enjoy in the warmer months, reading a good book and sipping on some wine on a warm summer’s evening; clean toilets decorated in good taste and warm neutral colors; and a good-sized living room to entertain guests or to simply feel at home.
One of the apartments we saw on Saturday was exactly the sort of apartment that captivates your heart even before you leave, and I’m crossing my fingers that we can stretch our budget just enough to have this house in our lives.
I never realized how emotional house searching could be.
When Shanna talked about her house search with Tim, I’d read about it but from an outsider’s point of view. These days, as I search through house rental websites, trawling for the right apartment, and as we go apartment-visiting, I’m clutched with the hope that we find something we love, something we can look forward at the end of a long work day, somewhere that’s truly ours.
In the meantime, we wait.
We wait with patient anticipation, sometimes even anxiety, but I know something will pop up, and in the waiting, we become.
So between apartment visits and budget-planning, I cook as usual, nothing new. I’ve been cooking so incredibly much these days, I feel like I’m on a roll.
I wanted to tell you about these amazing blueberry and cream tartlettes quite a while back, when my mum and my sister Valerie were still visiting me in Buenos Aires, because I’d made these for them.
I had these tartlettes on my lap all the way to the airport the night they touched down, made just for them so they would have something to snack on those first few days in Argentina.
These blueberry and cream tartelettes are really simple and incredibly easy to make.
You process some digestive biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs, mix them with melted butter and then press the mixture down onto greased tart molds, baking the crust for a few minutes in the oven.
After whipping some cream and sugar together to form to whipped cream filling, which is then chilled until used, you then assemble the tart in quick, fast steps. Spread whipped cream over the baked tart crusts, and then arrange fresh blueberries on top, or really whatever fresh fruit you fancy.
Chill the tart until cold, then serve, in the company of good friends and easy laughter.
BLUEBERRY & CREAM TARTLETTES
(Makes 3 tartlettes)
1) 450g of digestive biscuits (or graham crackers), processed into fine crumbs
2) 300g of butter, melted
3) 500g of whipping cream
4) 5 tablespoons of sugar
4) 400g of fresh blueberries, washed
1) Mix the whipping cream with sugar and whip it well, just until it reached the consistency of whipped cream, then chill it until you use it
2) Pre-heat oven to 180 deg cel
3) Process digestive biscuits (or graham crackers) until it looks like fine crumbs
4) Mix processed biscuit crumbs with melted butter
5) Divide the biscuit crumb mixture evenly into three parts, and pour into greased tartlette molds
6) Using the back of a spoon, press down on the biscuit crumb mixture to cover every bit of the surface
7) Bake the biscuit crumb mixture for about 10 minutes
8) Allow the bicuit crumb crust to cool before removing from mold
9) Divide whipped cream evenly beteween the three crusts
10) Place the fresh bluberries over the whipped cream, and then chill the tartlettes for at least 2 hour before serving
Divide the biscuit crumb mixture evenly into three parts, and pour into greased tartlette molds. Using the back of a spoon, press down on the biscuit crumb mixture to cover every bit of the surface, and bake the biscuit crumb mixture for about 10 minutes: