The Color of Tea
author: Hannah Tunnicliffe
source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 336 pages
"foodie" elements: yes
fun fact: All of the chapters have romantic names. Names of Grace's macarons. Names like... Un Petit Phénix - A Little Phoenix: Cinnamon with Dark Chili Chocolate Ganache. And like... Cirque - Circus: Lime with Chocolate Ganache, Dusted with Blood Orange Sugar. Dreamy.
random excerpt: I feel like I finally understand how family love is. Tangled, wounded, and wonderful. Imperfect. A forever love. I feel strangely light. Like the little macaron shells when they rise in the oven. p.294-5
summary/synopsis (from TLC book tours page): Macau: the bulbous nose of China, a peninsula and two islands strung together like a three-bead necklace. It was time to find a life for myself. To make something out of nothing. The end of hope and the beginning of it too.
After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land–a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets. As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of a family have been shattered. She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea.
Grace opens a cafe, where she serves tea, coffee, and macarons–the delectable, delicate French cookies colored like precious stones–to the women of Macau. There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family. But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface. Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghost to rest and to begin to trust herself. With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaron baked. Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.
A delicious, melt-in-your-mouth novel featuring the sweet pleasures of French pastries and the exotic scents and sights of China, The Color of Tea.
my thoughts/review: I cracked this book on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon. Not long after I began reading, I was already thoroughly satisfied. "I woke to the smell of roasting tomato and goat's cheese bubbling and bursting under the grill." Puff pastry scored and brushed with olive oil. The scent of thyme when it's been pressed between fingers and thumb. The heady and healing properties that garlic adds. Um yeah. I could have put the book down and walked away. I didn't require any more bliss than that.
But I didn't put it down. I kept this book in my hand every free moment for the next 48 hours. I found Tunnicliffe's words soothing and exhilarating all at the same time. They were alive on the page. I felt the pain, the tears, the anger, the joy, the hunger, the longing, the satisfaction, the contentment of every situation. I adored the characters. I coveted the little shop that Grace nurtured to life with the help of those around her. The situations felt real...without sugar-coating.
I highly recommend this book. To ladies everywhere. Especially foodies. And macaron lovers. Not sure if guys would love it or not. But they may. It's delicious in so many ways.
further info: website
recipe inspired by: I decided right then and there on page 20 that I was making a sexy tomato tart. No if's, and's, or but's about it. Here is my tomato tart inspired by the one Grace woke up to when she was six years old. And the one she fell in love over when she was a young woman. And the memories she carries in her heart years later when the look on her husband's face reminds her of the younger version of him. The version she fell in love with. The version with a mouthful of tomato tart.
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer entree vegetarian nut-free tomatoes puff pastry cheese summer
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
- 1 sheet (½ box) puff pastry, thawed
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- 2-4 medium ripe tomatoes
- ~4 oz. goat cheese
- 2 fat cloves garlic, minced
- few fresh sprigs thyme
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Lay sheet of puff pastry out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out ~1" in each direction. Cut in half, lengthwise (so that you have 2 long rectangles of dough).
Lay both onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Score each rectangle with a border that is ~½" all the way around. Dock the dough inside of the border all over with a fork.
Grate some Parmesan all over the docked surface of both rectangles. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Slice the tomato thinly and lay it in one slightly overlapping line (if using 2 tomatoes) or two slightly overlapping lines (if using 4 tomatoes) down the center of each piece of dough, staying inside the border. Divide goat cheese evenly among both pieces of dough, pulling it off and scattering it haphazardly. Strip the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme. Rub between your fingers a bit to release the oils and sprinkle over everything.
Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Grate on a bit more Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Slide into preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and everything else has softened. Enjoy immediately.
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"...then we sat and ate hot tart without knives and forks. She kissed my cheeks and smelled like garlic."
*Update 7/18/12: I numbered the entries in the order they were received (my comments go bottom to top) and found 13 people who said they'd like to win a copy. I then used random dot org to draw a winner. And the winner is... Sheila Lais - Congrats! I've contacted you and waiting to hear back.
*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted byGimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by KitchenAid. Also visitRecipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.