The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood at Jill’s

May 25th was a cold spring night, and we got cozy in Jill’s living room to watch a 2015 CBC interview with Shad and Margaret Atwood talking about the book. Many lively spin off discussions ensued, both during the interview and throughout the dinner. I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed but I think each successive book is leading us deeper into the rabbit hole of current political, environmental and social issues.

Everyone was there except Karen who was celebrating with Craig his 65th birthday! The menu started with tapenade and bruschetta (recipe below) while watching the interview. The meal was Butter Chicken (in honour of Stan’s job in prison with the chickens. Dessert was Frozen Lemon Mousse (with blueberries) super yummy:-) (recipe below)

Here is the Goodreads synopsis of the book which I will start including so forgetful people like me can get a memory jog when we look back at these posts.

The Heart Goes Last: “Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.”


Jill: “I call it Nicole’s bruschetta as she gave the recipe to me, passed on by her Italian grandmother.”

Preheat oven on broiler mode.

Combine Roma tomatoes, approx 7, chopped.
1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes,
3 cloves of chopped garlic, (or according to size and taste. I usually use a little more garlic)
1/4 cup of olive oil.
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
1/4 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper.
1/4 cup of fresh basil.
Let mixture stand in bowl for at least 10 minutes, can be made ahead and kept in fridge overnight.

Cut Italian loaf into slices and put on baking sheet.
Broil until bread is golden brown ( 1-2 minutes)
Cool, then spread mixture evenly on top of bread slices.
Add shredded mozzarella cheese or thinly cut Brie on top.
Broil until cheese is melted, (4-5 minutes).

(I have used a large slice of Italian loaf, and spread mixture over, with a salad for a lunch dish)


Frozen Lemon Mousse.

2-3 tablespoons of ground almonds.
4 egg yolks.
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.
1/4 cup sugar.
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest.
4 egg whites.
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.
3/4 cup sugar.
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped.
Lightly butter bottom and sides of ramekins or large serving dish, for choice of individual servings or one large dish, as mine was.
Sprinkle with ground almonds and shake to cover bottom and sides.
Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of sugar and lemon zest in large bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 3/4 cup of sugar, beating until the egg whites are glossy and stand in tall peaks.
Gently fold the egg whites and whipped cream into the yolk mixture.
Pour into serving dishes, cover with tin foil and freeze for at least 8 hours. May be made up to two weeks ahead. Keep in freezer until about 20 minutes before serving time and put in fridge.
Decorate with choice of fruit, toasted almonds, lemons etc.

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