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The Reforming Queen of Tarts

By Belinda

I wasn't worried when our friend Jamie missed cell group two weeks ago. Every two weeks he switches to the swing shift at Honda, and I sometimes get mixed up with which shift he's on, so that's where I thought he was.

He was at the book fair last week and when he casually dropped into the conversation the words, "I had a heart attack," I thought he was using a figure of speech. As in--he had a heart attack "about something." But he wasn't. In his own laid back style, he was giving serious information.

He'd been playing hockey on Thursday two weeks ago, when he felt unwell and nauseous. He left the game and drove home, by which time he had a pain in the side of his jaw. He called his kids and his son came and drove him to the hospital where he was quickly admitted and treated for a heart attack. He had a stint put in and was released after the weekend, but can't drive for a month and is off work for at least a month.

Jamie is in his early fifties and fit. He works out and looks to be in good shape, so this was a shock. He is pretty calm about it and taking it all in stride, but I couldn't help wondering if I'd contributed to this. He orders a pie a month.

I'm a big  fan of Anne Lindsay's Lighthearted Cookbooks and love her plum tart recipe, so Jamie said he'll let me try one of her recipes for his next pie.

And as if to drive home the point: Two weeks ago Paul told me his mum was longing for apple pie. She has diabetes, so I made her a sugar free pie. She reported that she was loving it and carefully rationing it out.

Then one day this week she called Paul, not feeling well. He took her to the hospital--her gall bladder,which had given her so much pain when she was in hospital recovering from a stroke in June this year, had flared up again. The doctor gave her strict instructions--no more apple pie--not even sugar free. It's the fat that causes the problem.

Hearing about this at a work today my colleagues made jokes about, "Belinda's killer pies," and the fact that "Belinda's pies are to die for." Well, they may be heavenly, but I don't want to send anyone there before their time!

I'm revamping my cooking habits out of love for my family and friends, and although I'll still be making apple pies, I am focusing effort on more healthier options for all of us.

I've shared this recipe before, from Anne Lindsay's cook book, but for those who missed it the first time, I share it again

Plum Tart
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp white vinegar

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamom
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
5 cups quartered pitted fresh plums (about 2lb)

Pastry: In food processor, combine flour, butter, sugar and vinegar; process with on-off turns until mixture resembles oatmeal. Firmly and evenly pat mixtre into bottom and slightly up sides of a 9-inch flan pan or pie plate.

Filling: In bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon rind. Add lemon juice and plums and toss to mix. Spoon evenly over pastry. Place flan pan on baking sheet; bake in 400 degree oven for 50 t0 60 minutes or until filling is bubbling and plums are fork tender. (If top browns too quickly, cover loosely with foil). Let stand for at least an hour before serving.
Makes six servings

From "Anne Lindsay's Smart Cooking"

(I can report that for a healthy recipe, this was decadent and deliciously buttery and tasty. It shall be a favourite from now on)

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