1st May is a big day.
20 years ago today, Ireland won the Eurovision for the sixth time with the song Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids. For a Eurovision song, it was and still is very listenable.
The same night, Riverdance was unleashed on the world. What a night that was. I was 9 and the whole family was gathered around watching the show. At the interval, Dad went to make tea in the kitchen and we were so gobsmacked by the Riverdance spectacle that we couldn’t even call him to watch it with us. I don’t think he has ever recovered from the disappointment.
10 years ago today, the biggest enlargement in the history of the EU took place. Of course, the significance of the day meant a lot to me as a student of European studies, but at the time, I was preparing myself for my first year exams in UCC. There may even have been an essay question on the significance of enlargement.
And 6 years ago today, I arrived in Brussels. 6 years is long for any relationship, we’ve had our ups and downs, but the love is still there. I can’t find the words to express what this city has given me, so here is the recipe for the first birthday cake I made here, which is very light and summery, unlike the weather outside right now.
Chocolate and Raspberry Tart
175g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
115g butter, chilled
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk
450g fresh raspberries (blueberries or strawberries would also be good)
2 tbsp flower honey
125g white chocolate
250g mascarpone cheese
150ml double cream, whipped
Make the pastry: Sift the flour into a bowl. Grate in the butter, then run in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar, egg yolk and enough cold water to form a soft dough
Roll out on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a 20cm round flan tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line the tart case with baking paper, fill with baking beans and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees, remove the paper and beans and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin and then transfer the tart case to a plate.
Keep back a handful of raspberries. Press the rest through a sieve into a small saucepan. Stir in the honey. Bring to the boil and heat until thick. Then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Leave to cool.
Mix with the mascarpone cheese and cream. Swirl in the raspberry sauce to give a marbled effect and spoon into the tart case.
Decorate with the remaining raspberries and serve.
Now, off to training in the rain!!