Tomato and Thyme Tart and…My Bio-Age

I’m reconsidering my relationship with Tiago.  It’s no longer exclusive because he’s now seeing Drew twice a week, Archie once a week and he even met with Arabella before she crippled herself once more.

Roasted tomato tart

Roasted tomato and thyme tart

The tension between me and Tiago is not only because he’s now so busy it’s difficult for the two of us to have time together, but because he suggested it would be a great idea to work out my bio-age.

And like a fool, I stepped into his trap.

A mixture of heirloom tomatoes

A mixture of heirloom tomatoes

And because I’ve been working up a sweat at our meeting place a couple of times a week as well as pounding my way up and down the black line of the local swimming pool every Tuesday and Thursday, I was sure I was in for an excellent, gloating, showing-off kind of a result.

Tomatoes sprinkled with thyme

Tomatoes sprinkled with thyme

The test took about an hour.  It didn’t get off to a good start with me having to step on the scales and discovering I’ve gained another kilo.  That’s three kilos since I started seeing Tiago.  Isn’t the idea that you spend all this money to go backwards?

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

So after that humiliation he measured me.  The good news is, I’m not shrinking.  And my blood pressure is under control and I passed the step test that showed my pulse rate is good.  And I was given full marks for having never been a smoker and after discussing vegetable and fruit portions and trans-fats, I scored well for nutrition.  And he gave me a 10/10 for drinking three litres of water a day.  I have low vulnerability for stress so that was in my favour but we might just skip over the number of alcohol units per week because that clearly wasn’t.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Then I had to breath into a tube and make a little red dot move along the cylinder.  Bloody thing wouldn’t move.  I was allowed three attempts and like a chronically ill heavy smoker I failed.  A score of 370 is way lower than it should be.  I told my swimming coach and he said I should be up around the 500 level.  There’s clearly a skill for the tube test.

So many tomatoes

So many tomatoes

Next was to see how many push-ups I could do before collapsing onto my nose.  The counting would stop at the very first one I didn’t do properly.  No pressure.  With a lot of grunting I did 40 push-ups which put me in the bio-age of a 16-29 year old.  I was feeling positive.

Sprinkle with extra thyme

Sprinkle with extra thyme

Then there was a core strength test and I had to do a plank.  I lasted four minutes and Tiago said that’s better than his best of 3.5 minutes.  I was thinking I might qualify for a trophy.

A vegetarian lunch

A vegetarian lunch

But then out of the cupboard he brought a broom stick.  I thought he was going to whack me with it.  I had to hold it over my head and do a squat while he stood behind me and looked at my unflattering angle.  This is known as a yardstick test or a president’s challenge and it’s designed to test your flexibility.  Tiago gave me a zero.  Mean!  Thirteen is a bad score.  I’m supposed to have a score of around 20.

Lunch is ready

Lunch is ready

The final indignity was measuring my waist.  Apparently, for my height, it’s massive and is pushing up my bio-age.  I thought I was slim!  I feel like I’m Gweneth Paltrow in the movie, Shallow Hal where I think I’m Gweneth but I’m in denial and I’m the other woman.  If I sit on a chair I’ll break it.

Served with a simple rocket salad

Served with a simple rocket salad

When it was all over I had to go home and sit by the computer and wait for his email to come through.  And last night it arrived.  I was shattered.  For all the bloody effort, my bio-age is just 18-months younger than my actual age.  The report recommended that if I want a better result I need to improve my cardiovascular fitness, take 4cms off my waist and swap wine for green tea.

Who can be bothered.

Bloody stupid test.  Purely designed to make you feel defeated.

I'll just take this straight into Arabella's room

I’ll just take this straight into Arabella’s room

Meanwhile, the cripple, who is unable to do a thing for herself let alone exercise, bleats from her room, ‘What’s for lunch?’  And after I tell her she asks, ‘How much longer?’  And when it’s ready she says, ‘Could you plate it up and bring it to my room…with a glass of water?’  (Tiago isn’t the only one tipping me over the edge).  I made her a tomato and thyme tart for lunch and it met with approval.  Tiago would approve because counting the rocket on the side, it has two servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit – just don’t have it with a glass of wine.

The tart will serve six light eaters

The tart will serve six light eaters

I found the recipe for this tart on the inside of a box of Careme Puff Pastry.  The method used takes forever and with all the effort I’m now having to put in to trimming my waist, I needed a few shortcuts.  And it didn’t seem to affect the tart in the slightest.  Here’s my greatly altered version…

5.0 from 6 reviews
Tomato and Thyme Tart and...My Bio-Age
Recipe type: Tart
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A vegetarian tart that makes a delightful lunch or a light dinner.
  • 375g all butter puff pastry, thawed. (I used Careme)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium brown onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
  • 500gms cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tspn vinocotto
  • 2 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 100g goat's curd
  • 1 tbsp preserved lemon, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 150C (300F).
  2. Roll pastry until it fits into a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush edges of pastry with lightly whisked egg yolk. Place in fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Place 1 tbsp of the olive oil and all the butter into a heavy-based saucepan and melt butter over low heat. Add onions and stir. Put lid on saucepan and cook down the onions without browning for 20 minutes. Add capers and stir. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. Meanwhile, place tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle over vinocotto. Sprinkle with half of the thyme. Place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 220C (430F).
  6. Remove pastry from fridge. Drain liquid from onion mixture and spread over the tart. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200C (400F) and continue to cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and top with tomatoes, goat's curd, preserved lemon and remaining thyme. Return to oven for 5 minutes.
  8. Enjoy with a rocket salad or similar.

Served with a simple rocket salad

Served with a simple rocket salad


  1. Great story, great tart. Now, pass me a wine.

  2. 40 push ups!!!! Charlie, I can do about 2. Perhaps the test is flawed, and like the diet industry, skewed to keep you going back for more personal training. It sounds about as demoralising as the website my husband found recently that has you upload a photo and it tells you how old you look. I thought I looked quite young, but not according to that site!

    When faced with bio age and the like, a tart like this looks entirely necessary. I hope you got some after serving Arabella.

  3. If your waist to too big for your height we might as well all start eating Malteasers for breakfast. That boy obviously doesn’t have a clue about motivating his clients! I hope you’re getting a family discount at the very least.

    PS great tart! x

  4. Oh dear. I think I would be about 300 years old. Good on you for keeping fit. This tart looks lovely. Funny how some recipes make things 10 times harder than they need to be for very little difference in taste. I do the same as you and make things a hell of a lot simpler. This recipe looks so yum.

  5. Arabella says:

    the service at home is AMAZING!!
    what a delicious tart that was.
    keep it up mum! xx

  6. I think I would be relieved if my age was anything younger than me so you are not doing too badly – did he give you any average results to compare yourself to – you seemed to do pretty well to me – I hate puffing into those tubes that measure your lung capacity – I am sure there is a skill to it. Best to focus on your brilliant ability to whip up fantastic tarts for invalid daughters – you should be really proud of that and so should your family

  7. Oh god, I’d be twice my normal age. 40 push-ups?! You’re incredible! I can barely do five real ones with my noodle arms…

  8. Oh my goodness! Charlie, you are beautiful and slim and athletic and stunning, and this test sounds like it would discourage the aforementioned Gwyneth. The tart, on the other hand, sounds amazing and comforting, especially for a bed-bound daughter. 🙂

  9. Yum – this tart looks fabulous. Those bio-age test things are just depressing.

  10. What a disappointment, I would be heartbroken. You look fabulous to me so don’t worry about that stupid bio-age test. The Boy (trainer I had a few years ago) was totally positive with me, always focussed on my achievements; it’s just as well because I wouldn’t have kept on with him otherwise.
    This tart looks wonderful and I agree, having it with a glass of wine would be lovely.

  11. You look fantastic and you’re in far better shape than most women (I would think). I doubt I can do even one push-up, let alone 40. Don’t be discouraged. You should be proud. Cheers.

  12. WHAT?! You are tiny!!! I think that test is just aimed to convince you to pay for more workout time with Tiago. I mean, if you had the bio-age of a 20 year old then why even see him anymore!?

  13. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    I’m with Audrey — 40 push-ups? Amazing. I think coming out 18 months younger is pretty swell. Lovely tart.

  14. 40 pushups???? You’re a goddess!!! Now pour us both a glass of wine so I can toast you!!! xo

  15. Charlie says:

    My thoughts: He is looking to make you into a model with anorexia.

    What is vinocotto.

    I live in Canada and have never heard of it. Is there a substitute?

    Can I use just goat cheese, instead of curds?


    • Hi Charlie, Vinocotto is made from the must of grapes and has a unique sweet/sour flavour. If you can’t find it (normally seen at good quality Italian delis), you could always substitute a sweet balsamic vinegar. And yes, if you can’t find goat’s curds, just use goat’s cheese – it’s a fairly adaptable tart. Best, Charlie

  16. Haha, this is too funny, Charlie. Honestly, it sound like you did great on that Bio-age test. I think scoring your actual age is pretty darn good. Truthfully, I can tell you that from pictures I’ve seen of you in a bathing suit, you look better than most women half your age! I can’t even imagine what I’d get on that stupid test. Also, this tart looks amazing! and easy enough that i think i could have time to make it on a weekday. It’s going on my list!

  17. I think that ‘boy’ should have fudged the results a bit. After all, we all prefer the carrot to the stick strategy in encouraging us to improve. And spreading himself around to other clients, well!! Speaking of ‘tarts’ … unfortunately, I’ll have to give this one a miss due to the featured star, the tomato. Maybe there’s a good substitute.

  18. Er, Charlie…I’d be gloating at 10 pushups! Oh my goodness, is Tiago a trainer for the Olympics? Looks to me from all I’ve seen and read you are the picture of health! (And don’t the experts say that vino leads to longevity?)….Anyway, gorgeous and gourmet tart whether one is counting calories or the number of fruit and veggie servings…I’ll have to look for goat curd next time at the market =)

  19. GAWD! I’m so tired from reading about all this exercise. 🙂 My bio age is about 112 (sad) so I’ll make this tomato and thyme tart and I’ll surely go down to 111 1/2.

    I love this tart. If I have two pieces I suppose that puts my new regime into fail mode.

  20. Dear Charlie, as much as love you, please don’t ever bring Tiago to meet me! : ) xox

  21. OMG Charlie, I would never survive the test to find out my bio-age…as for the tart, yes, it is more what I would love…it looks delicious! Loaded with tomatoes…
    Have a great week 🙂

  22. Yep Charlie that test sounds like a load of rubbish to me. Pour a glass of wine and forget about it. May I please have a slice of this and a glass of water delivered as well?

  23. Charlie the test is clearly flawed, if you can do all of that (which includes planking for four minutes!) and you still “need” to lose another four kilos?…flawed. Greatly it seems.

  24. What wonderful ingredients in this recipe! It sounds delicious! You are in such terrific shape I’m surprised that your numbers didn’t shave off a few years from your actual age, but I’d demand a recount! 🙂

  25. Tiago sounds like a sadist! Okay he might just be looking out for your health but my PT doesn’t do that at all. I would run a mile! And 4 minutes for a plank is amazing!

  26. You’re much braver than me have that Bio-age test … I think I’d be too scared of the result and I’m still not convinced your result is right because I think you look fantastic! Can’t wait to try this tart … it look so delicious!

  27. Charlie, those tests are half rubbish – Pete and I do them once a year too an quite frankly there are ridiculous requirements throughout. How someone as beautifully slim as you is supposed to lose 4cm around your waist is beyond me! You are more active than most so would hate to know how anyone else would score!
    The tart however, fabulous! Think I would scarf down half of it all by myself.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  28. Forget about the bio-age test, I agree with the other commenters you look fabulous. I am told wine is good for you in moderation, I say enjoy the delicious tart with a glass.

  29. Substitute green tea for wine? Not going to happen. Sounds like an interesting test, although I really wonder how scientific it is. But 40 pushups? That’s really good! Loads of men couldn’t do that, I’ll bet, and far fewer women. Good tart — thanks.

  30. Your tart looks fabulous and so do you. Tell Tiago to shove it up his nose! 😉

  31. You are more game than me Charlie – my bio-age wouldn’t even be on the scale! At least, I see ‘the cripple’ appreciates your cooking and care:)

  32. Just to make you feel better, you know that extra kilo is actually just muscle weight you put on with all the exercise you are doing (muscles weigh more than fat)? I think you should celebrate with a nice glass of wine. Virtually joining you!

  33. I suspect now would be a very bad time for you to be swapping green tea for wine.
    What a depressing idea.

  34. I’d be breaking up with Tiago if I was you and drowning my sorrows in wine!!! 😛 Seriously though, I think you are amazing with all you are juggling and fitting in exercise let alone 40 push ups!!!!

  35. I need to make this tart ASAP. It’s definitely calling my name. I just need the weather to warm up. I much prefer tomato dishes in warm weather. Fortunately this weekend should be warm, unfortunately I don’t know when I’ll have a moment to cook. So it might have to wait for our next warm snap. It will be first on the list though – for sure! As for your bio age – 40 push ups and a 4-minute plank! I think you’re doing well-under your age!

  36. Your tart is beautiful and so are you – at any bio-age. I hate to think where I would land right now!!

  37. The tart looks yummy, and technically wine is made from grapes and grapes are a fruit so a glass should be counted as a fruit portion 🙂
    I am feeling your pain with training… so far I am doing really well with loosing centimetres, but in 12 weeks I have only lost 3 kg…. I have 17 to go and I think they are never going to come off! Liz xx

  38. Oh Charlie, you always look great, and you are more fit than most people with your age, and I’m a bit younger than you but I’m not nearly fit as you!!! I’ve been busy with remodel stuff and website and I fell off from my work out since past month. It’s so hard to keep up exercising time in already busy schedule… 🙁 I would make this tart right away when I get my kitchen back. It’s my kind of easy and yummy tart… love it!

  39. If you can do 40 pushups I wouldn’t worry about a score of 390. Even when I was climbing mountains with a 40 pound pack, I wasn’t able to do 20 pushups. Good for you!!! This tart was a great reward for your workout. I love the use of thyme rather than basil. It’s a nice change.

  40. Charlie….. I felt violent aggression towards Tiago whilst reading this post. I’d be ditching that quick smart. You are one of the hottest gals in my foodie blog world, seriously, I aspire to be only a quarter of your awesome. You did make me giggle when you said you felt like Gweneth from Shallow Hal tho. LOL! 🙂

  41. I wouldn’t put myself through that humiliation and consequent depression Charlie 🙁 I’m very impressed with your dedication indeed. Lovely sounding recipe, I’m sure it helped cheer you up – even without wine! Xo


  1. […] gym or the swim centre, I usually call into Scoop to reward myself with a few treats, especially if Tiago has just made me do 76 push-ups.  When I’m there scooping up licorice, chocolate incaberries […]

  2. […] gym or the swim centre, I usually call into Scoop to reward myself with a few treats, especially if Tiago has just made me do 76 push-ups.  When I’m there scooping up licorice, chocolate incaberries […]

  3. […]  I’m thinking a treadmill could be the answer.  I could put her on it then be like my personal trainer who gradually, (thinking I’m unaware), ramps up the […]

Speak Your Mind


Rate this recipe: