Lemon Curd

Do you love your Microwave or is it just used for heating your cup of coffee?

Mine is in use all the time, from defrosting, to reheating , to concocting, and of course to cooking. I more or less cook all of my vegetables in the microwave, especially using the Lékué containers. It cooks faster ( basically steams) and no nutrients are lost in the cooking water, as there is no added water. I think of my mother, boiling cabbage until it was dead and then drying all that vitamin laden water down the drain.

Yesterday, I noticed that there were a few lemons that needed using and so decided to continue on our Preserve theme. Lemon Curd. Home made lemon curd is miles away both in flavour and texture from Shop bought, but the down side is , it doesn’t have much of a shelf life. The plus side , when making it in the microwave, is , it is made so quickly, that it can be made in the morning and spread on your scones at teatime. Other plus points when making in a microwave are, not having to use a double saucepan or stand stirring nonstop.

  • To make 1-1/2 lbs of curd
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 3 large lemons ( pips removed)
  • 4 eggs beaten well
  • 225 grams, 1 Cup, 8oz caster sugar
  • 115 grams, 4 oz unsalted butter cur into chunks
  • Method
  • Put everything into a microwave proof bowl or jug
  • Cook on high for a total of 5-6 minutes stirring at 1 minute intervals, until the the curd is thick and creamy
  • Put the bowl to cool and whisk at intervals. The curd thickens upon cooling.
  • Pour into warm sterilised jars. Cover and label and REFRIGERATE . Refrigeration is important as there aren’t any preservatives in this and has a very poor shelf life. Actually, as I only had one small jar, I put the extra curd into paper cups and popped them in the freezer.

Of course other citrus fruits maybe used, such as clementines, limes and grapefruit. Probably just one grapefruit will suffice.

When I was at college in Manchester, just around the corner from my hall of residence was a Fish and Chip shop, the local CHIPPY, named locally as Sweaty Betty’s. When really poor we would pop in and ask for a bag of bits, namely all the bits of batter that were to be found in the frying oil,( most probably lard, not oil). They gave them to us for free!

Yesterday whilst having a mini shop in Marks and Spencer’s flagship store, I found Their own brand of CHIP SHOP SCRAPS! At £1 for a tiny box, I don’t think I will bother! I wonder how long they will remain as part of their stock ? Good question !

Emptying the refrigerator.

Continuing on my theme of waste not want not, I have been raiding the refrigerator. Himself was a great nursemaid come cook, but the one thing he did not do, nor even think about was, what needed using in the refrigerator. This week, especially as we are escaping for a week, I rummaged further. And what did I find? Firstly some wonderful blue St. Agur cheese, one of my favourites, umm not today thank you, time to BIN it! And as for the ham, it had been opened, not sealed and left! Oops mouldy! Another for the bin! Actually that was all that needed dumping, whereas others were for food recycling, in the form of curries and soups.

Returning to my movie theme, I was thinking about The Adams family ( the original with the wonderful Raul Julia as Gomez, Anjelica Huston as Morticia and Christina Ricci as the lovely Wednesday. At meal times Morticia would constantly tell Wednesday ( her daughter)” Wednesday play with your food!” Whereas, what we have Moms said? Eat your dinner, don’t play with your food! Interesting concept. I thought of that comment, play with your food, and as I looked into my refrigerator, my thought was “ How can I play with what is in my refrigerator “?

Consequently, I thought in the first instance was Soup., But what kind of soup? Not my usual chuck it all in and make Refrigerator Soup, I needed to be more specific.

Hence, Spinach, and pea was formed. Elizabeth David in her groundbreaking book, French Provincial cooking has Pea Soup, using fresh peas. This was one of my Go To soups, Himself indeed was very fond of it, but I never ever made it with fresh peas.( after all, who wants to spend time shelling peas, only to make soup?).

Frozen peas are the best! They are frozen within 2 1/2 hours of picking. In the UK, we are pea self sufficient, producing 160,000 tonnes each year. The average person in the UK eats nearly 9,000 peas every year. Frozen peas were developed in the first instance by Clarence Birdseye, in the 1920’s and haven’t looked back since. Apparently Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother , or so the story goes, never ate peas. Why? Well, either way of eating peas was considered uncouth, shovelling them , using the fork like a spoon, is a strictly No No but then again, jabbing them on the tines of the forks also “ Just not done “ But maybe that is why, when ordering Fish and Chips, they often come with Mushy Peas. Well I went to college in the North of England and mushed frozen peas do not equate to Mushy Peas. Mushy peas are Marrowfat peas, soaked cooked and mushed !

  • To make a lot of soup ( good for freezing)
  • 2 large onions chopped roughly
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 1 kilo fine frozen peas
  • lettuce, one or two baby gem or a sweet romaine chopped
  • 1 litre water
  • 1litre milk
  • 200 grms washed spinach
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A very simple soup, but oh so good.
  • Melt the butter and add the onion and lettuce and let it wilt but do not brown.
  • Add the peas and the water,
  • When the peas are tender, add the spinach and bring to the boil.
  • Add the milk ( can add cream and or plain yoghurt)
  • Re move from heat, and I use a hand blender to give it a quick wiz to make a thick purée/ soup.
  • Taste and add sugar, and yes it does taste better with some sugar, and salt and pepper.
  • It is a little bit chunky and can be strained if you prefer.