Today is LiveSTRONG Day - a day when a variety of events are taking place around the world to raise awareness about cancer, and to spare a thought and show your support for those who are affected by cancer.
One such event is the LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow Heart Event hosted by Barbara at Winos & Foodies. Barbara is facing her own battle with cancer, but she is a lovely, warm person, with a great sense of humour and a big heart, and throughout 2010 she has been posting a heart each Saturday. I love the courage and openness with which she gives us glimpses of her journey through her blog, without any trace of self-indulgence, and I am humbled by her bravery. Please go and visit her and show your support for her and for all the other people affected by this disease.
I'm dedicating this post to my very dear friends Helen and Norman Smith. Helen has been my friend for over 30 years. We shared a lot when we flatted together in our 20s. Our friendship stayed the distance when she married her "American sailor" and went to live in San Francisco; and when Norman retired from the merchant navy and they returned to New Zealand to live, our friendship just picked up where it left off. I usually get to spend time with them whenever I go to Auckland, and that is always such a wonderful time of reconnecting. Helen has had her own battle with cancer, but has successfully beaten breast cancer - now she is caring for Norman as he battles with lung cancer, not helped by a recent bout of pneumonia.
Helen & Norman - I know this is such a difficult time for you both right now, and you are both now, and always will be, in my heart. If you were here right now, I would give you these gorgeous little heart-shaped lemon, cream cheese and basil sandwiches for afternoon tea. We would, of course, have a glass of champagne on the side, and as always conversation would invariably drift onto reminiscing about the "crazy" days in Endymion flats (you had to be there!). We'll just have to save that for when I see you both at Christmas time.
When you bite into these sandwiches the hit of lemon is somehow so unexpected, that it makes you want to smile, and there is also something about these that makes me feel very hopeful.
For these you will need some "bog-standard" thin white sliced sandwich bread - yes I know I am always telling you that "Tip Top white sliced" will simply not do, but there are some things for which this is just perfect. This is one of those things - asparagus rolls and summer pudding are others. Actually can't think of anything else it's really good for, but if you know of something do let me know.
"Butter" the bread liberally with cream cheese. Mascarpone if you have it would also be a nice alternative.
Wash lemons well, as you will be leaving the skins on. Cut lemons, wafer thin - the slices should be thin enough to read your love letters through them. Then lay the lemon slices on one slice of bread.
Add a few fresh basil leaves.
Cover with the other slice of bread, and cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter.