About Me

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My name is Lucy and I have never blogged before. Well that's a lie. I have, but it was this one, and I neglected it for a little while... I live in a commuter town outside London having moved here about a year and a half ago after making some pretty big changes in my life. I share a beautiful little cottage on the Grand Union Canal with 1 crazy beautiful little girl and an equally crazy cat called Bandit (appropriately named as he now lives in all the houses on the street and steals...). Lawyer/working mum and it would appear, terminally single (I've reserved my spinster plaque already) I was fortunate to escape the evil commute about a year ago but seem to have less time than ever.... If I entertain you, make you laugh or fume (or make you have an emotion of ANY description) then my job is done. Enjoy x

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

...eating her curds...

Was the wait just too hard to bear?  Did you cope?  I know, I know...not quite a True Blood-holding-your-breath style cliffhanger but you never know.  Maybe a broken tart crust leaves your heart pounding?

So where were we? 

I went to bed that night happy with my 6 pie crusts and awoke thinking that the pie crusts seemed incredibly fragile.  I therefore decided to leave them out to harden up a little (i.e. go a little stale).  It just seemed like the right thing to do. 

As I was getting ready to leave for work I was enjoying listening to the conversation between hubby and Pose.  They were discussing the pie crusts and being very cute.  And then I heard the words that never precede good news..."oops".  I peaked my head around the corner to be greeted with pie crust carnage.  ANOTHER TART WAS BROKEN.  I asked why and was given my husband's cute-I'm-trying-to-get-out-of-jail-free-smile (I got no answer to the "why?" but have assumed he was trying to break a little bit off just to get a taste and well, you know the rest).  I just put my face in my hands and explained that I was already down 2 and this now put me in negative equity.  He offered to make more and I really had no choice so let him get on with it, grudgingly thanking him.

Evidently, he is not a pastry chef (but I love that he offered to try to fix it).

Sunday morning rolled around and I was at my mother's bright and early preparing the Mothering Sunday lunch of Coq au Vin (containing 1 entire bottle of very nice red plonk - my father (who does a great hangover fry-up but isn't exactly renowned for his culinary skills) tried to stop me putting in the 725ml called for by the recipe and claimed my mother only puts about a cup in.  I said the recipe I was using was HER recipe given to me about 9yrs ago.  He said ok, but that a bottle is 750mls so I should just pour the lot, ok dad...).  Once that was all settled into the slow cooker I set my mind to completing the LMP (remember Lemon Meringue Pie*).  So next step, lemon curd (see what I did there?  Little Miss Muffet, sat on her tuffet eating her curds...?  No...?  Killjoy).

The recipe - LMP courtesy of the New York Times Cook Book (1961 edition!)

Part 2, the lemon curd

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour (I used plain)
3 tbsp cornstarch (I used cornflour - I'm not sure if there's a difference?)
2 cups water
3 eggs, separated (save the whites for the meringue topping)
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup lemon juice (this is roughly the juice of 1 lemon)
grated rind of 1 lemon

1. Combine the sugar, salt, flour and cornstarch and gradually stir in the water.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. 

I should point out here that the recipe isn't particularly detailed on how to "cook" so I basically put the ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat and stirred using a whisk.  You need to be patient though, it takes its time thickening.

2. Gradually stir hot mixture into beaten egg yolks, return to low heat and cook, stirring, two minutes.  Stir in butter, lemon juice and rind and cool slightly.  Pour into baked pastry shell and cool.

Again, not much detail.  Personally after step 1 I put the pan to one side to cool (away from the heat) and then set to beating the yolks, zesting and juicing the lemon.  By the time you are finished (unless you are "Supercook" - faster than a speeding Kitchenaid!!) the hot mixture should be about cool enough to mix in the cold mixture.  Just be wary.  I remember an episode of Masterchef The Professionals where they set the "professionals" the task of making lemon curd and the majority of them created lemony scrambled eggs.  I succeeded where they failed - hurrah!!

Once the mixture begins to cool it goes quite gloopy so you will need to give it a quick whisk.  I then spooned the curd into the pie crusts (and some additional crusts I had quickly made with some ready-to-roll pastry my mum had in the fridge) and returned to the Coq au Vin whilst the pie's cooled.

Of course you could stop here and let them set to have lemon tart instead.  My family took some of the pastry off-cuts and dipped it into the remaining lemon curd as a sort of appetiser (I guess?) and seemed very taken with the curd.  It even got my Nan's seal of approval.  Although it didn't help with her regular afternoon bout of heartburn...

You might notice this post's distinctive lack of pictures.  I take all my baking pictures on my iPhone (its just more handy than my good camera to be honest) and it just so happened that this particular Sunday my mother, my brother and I all had dead iPhones.  It being Mother's Day (i) I had to wait for my mother to get up to find the charger, and (ii) ranking in order of seniority (read "age" but shhh don't tell her I said that), I had to wait for my mother to charge her iPhone.  You'll have to wait for the next post to see pictures. be continued**...

* My nurse friend advises me that LMP stands for something entirely different and not dinner-time-talk.  Oops.

** Oooh another cliffhanger!! Well I did say it would be a saga.