Monday, March 26, 2012

Lemons! Lemons!

The bright and cheery spring weather in Amsterdam this week inspired this tasty treat. I love lemons. I love the way it tickles my toungue and makes my mouth water, just at the thought of it.

When I was little, I used to pluck baby lemons off my mom's backyard tree and eat them, skin and all. And when it comes to desserts, anything lemony is always welcome.

This recipe is super simple, quick to do and very rewarding.

What I put in (Enough for 2 x 250g jars):

  • 4 unwaxed organic lemons, zest and juice
  • 200g unrefined caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 free-range eggs, plus 1 free-range egg yolk

How to make it:

This is a slightly alternative method for making the lemon curd but I guarantee that this will result in a silky smooth curd without any bits of curdled egg.

Sterilize your jam jar(s) by boiling them in hot water. You can alternatively just wash them in your dishwasher and use them while they are still hot.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then the lemon juice and zest. The mixture might look a bit lumpy and weird at this point but fear not! Silky smoothness awaits!

Heat the mixture over a bain marie in a heat-proof bowl, making sure that you whisk the mixture as it heats to prevent the egg from curdling. Allow to cook for about 10-13 minutes until the lemon curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Pour the hot curd into the jars and seal whilst hot.

Enjoy this lemony-goodness for 2-3 weeks on cakes, cupcakes, pancakes and all other cakes :).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

CranMerry Christmas

Every year at Christmas I intend to make homemade food gifts for my friends but I end being a bit of a lazy grinch, never following through. This year since I will be celebrating Christmas properly with family I decided to get my act together and make... Chutney! This warming cranberry chutney is a great alternative to regular cranberry sauce to go with Christmas turkey. It's also a yummy addition to a cheese plattter.

What I put in (Enough for 4x250g jars):

  • 1kg cooking apples, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 500g eating apples, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 250g white onions, sliced
  • 250g red onions, sliced
  • 50g fresh root ginger, grated
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • 250ml cider vinegar
  • 500g cranberries
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 large stick of cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

How to make it:

Put all the ingredients except cranberries in a large heavy-based saucepan, then gently heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 50 mins, stirring regularly until the apples and onions are tender, the mixture has thickened and no watery juice remains. Add the cranberries, then cook for a further 10 mins or so until just softened but not burst. Spoon the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal. Tie on a ribbon and a cute label and make a friend happy with a tasty gift!

Store the chutney unopened in a cool, dark place. The chutney keeps for up to 6 months. Chill on opening.

Eat, drink and have a merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's that time of the year..

Fuzzy socks, fire places, homemade hot chocolate.
Bring on the winter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

No time to bake..

But I can fantasize.. and I can draw (calorie-free). :)
This weekend, maybe!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This is all my foodie cat ever thinks about..

I suppose you could say like Master, like cat!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Food Fantasy vs Food Reality

Boo :(

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rolling, rolling, rolling

In my recent escape from Amsterdam's prevailing winter, I travelled to Vietnam and learned how the vietnamese love to roll.

I'm not talking about gangsta style "rollin". I'm referring to how the Vietnamese seem to want to roll anything - fish, meat, noodles, vegetables, herbs, you name it - into a little rice paper wrapper. I savoured and feasted on many a roll, from the traditional Goi Cuon to the more exotic Chao Tom Cuon, shrimp paste barbecued on a sugarcane stick, complete with slices of unripe starfruit and garlic chives, all in a humble little rice paper roll.
Testing my rolling skills with a Chao Tom Cuon

Last night we paid tribute to the wonderful time we spent in Vietnam. ABBA* in the back ground and Goi Cuon in hand, it almost felt like we were back in Saigon, sat by the Lê Lợi watching what seemed like a million motorcycles go by...

Vietnamese summer rolls (Goi Cuon)
What I put in (Enough for 4):

12-16 Rice paper wrappers
1 cucumber, sliced into strips
200g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
Shrimp, cooked and shelled.
12 -16 butter lettuce leaves
Beans sprouts
Bunch of Thai basil, stemmed
Bunch of fresh mint leaves, stemmed
Coriander leaves
Garlic chives (nice if you can get these)

Serve with peanut sauce or nuoc cham, traditional vietnamese dip made of lime juice, brown sugar and vietnamese fish sauce.

How to make it:
Dip the rice paper wrapper into warm water for about 10 seconds or until soft, then place a a lettuce leaf, a slice of cucumber, a couple of bean sprouts and shrimp slices, 2 or 3 basil, mint and coriander leaves carefully in the middle (leave a couple of cm uncovered on each side). Fold in the sides of the wrapper then roll it tightly into a roll. This is generally something that needs a little practice. The greedy will learn quickly that over-stuffing a roll will lead to well.. you'll see. Don't worry, the broken rolls taste pretty much just as good :)

*Peculiarly music seems to be stuck in the 70s in Vietnam. ABBA can be heard in many a restaurant in Saigon today..