Nanna’s Lemon Curd

8 Sep

I’m not really a fan of birds. Or fish. Or anything that can attack your face for that matter. But when my sister and her husband asked me to take care of their chickens while they went on holidays I inexplicably agreed. 

Perhaps it was the promise of free eggs, or perhaps I just went momentarily insane, but whatever it was, when I showed up to feed them on the first day, I didn’t arrive with the trepidation I should have. They lulled me into a false sense of security when I opened the coop, looking all scared and fragile, but when I turned around to get them some water they both flew out of the coop into the garden!

It was at this point I realised that I was totally out of my depth. I had only thrown some clothes on quickly to take Ryan to work and came to feed the chickens on the way home, so I was dressed in pyjama pants and a jumper running around the backyard trying to catch them. The backyard with the freshly painted deck that now has chicken feathers flying all over it. The backyard with the strawberry patch the chickens aren’t supposed to be eating. The backyard with the 6ft fence that (once I’ve scared them enough) the chickens are flying over.

Skip forward an hour and a half. I have now unfurled the chicken wire from the garage and am chasing the chickens with outstretched fence in front of me like some kind of retarded transformer. They seem a little more docile now, not because of anything I’ve done, but just because they’re tired from all of the running. After a while they get a little closer to the coop and I’m able to coerce them back in (read: they’re tired of playing with me and walk in on their own).

So, after one very eventful morning I’m left with two piddly little eggs and an asthma attack. And since every egg white that enters my house is going to be used to make macarons until I get them right, I’ve decided to make a recipe to use up the egg yolks. What I’ve come up with is a lemon curd exactly like my Nanna used to make. Rich, buttery and with a slightly sweet acidity, I’m not sure there’s anything else in the world that comes as close as this to comfort food.

Nanna’s Lemon Curd

Ingredients:
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup caster sugar
80g butter
zest and juice of 1 whole lemon

Method:
whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth. Place over low heat and stir continuously until thickened. Pour into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 1.5 cups.

Slow Chilli Con Carne

7 Sep

People with slow coookers always talk about how they’re so convenient – you just bang them on before work, and when you come home it’s all done. But for me, slow cooking always seems to take the whole day.

I never seem to have the required ingredients on hand, my pantry is always stocked with ridiculous once used items like miso paste and dried chick peas, so the start of a slow cooking day is taken up by going to the store. I’m really bad at shopping and always leave with arms full of green bags. At this point I usually realise that the meat I’m using is still in the freezer and can’t start for another 2 hours.

By the time I can actually start the browning and chopping and adding it’s lunchtime. But I guess if you call it slow cooking you can’t expect it to be quick, and when it’s done well, a slow cooked meal can be excellent.

One of my favourites is a slow cooked Chilli Con Carne passed on from my sister, Claire.

Ingredients:

600 g Chuck Steak

1 Brown Onion, chopped

1 Red Capsicum, chopped

2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes

1 Tsp beef stock (or 1 stock cube) mixed with 1/2 cup water or 1/2 cup beef stock

2 Cinnamon Quills

2 Tsp each Oregano, Chilli Powder, Cumin

1 Tsp each Cloves, Coriander

Method:

 Brown steak in a fry pan 3-4 minutes each side. Remove from pan and trim excess fat before adding to slow cooker. Add onion to pan and cook until softened. Deglaze pan with beef stock and add, along with onions to slow cooker. Add capsicum, tomatoes and spices to slow cooker and cook on high 4 hours (or low 6-8 hours, depending how much of the morning you’ve wasted).

Serve with rice, sour cream, guacamole and fresh oregano.

Best Pumpkin Soup

2 Sep

  

There’s a pumpkin sitting on my bench at the moment that’s been there for about a week, and I’m pretty sure it’s only a few days away from sprouting. I think it’s time to end the stand off with a pumpkin soup (since spring seems to have only lasted a day before plunging us back into winter anyway). 

My Favourite Pumpkin Soup  

 Ingredients: 

1 Whole Butternut Pumpkin 

2 Carrots 

1 Onion 

2 Sticks Celery 

1 Tbsp Olive Oil 

3 Cups Chicken Stock 

1 Tsp each of Paprika, Cumin, Turmeric and Coriander 

1/2 Tsp Nutmeg 

 Method: 

 Preheat oven to 180C. Cut pumpkin in half and place cut sides down on roasting tray along with carrots. Roast for 45 minutes. 

 Chop onion and celery and cook with oil  in a large saucepan until softened, scoop out flesh of roasted pumpkin and add along with carrots to the saucepan. 

 Add chicken stock and spices. Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. 

 Blend soup and serve with crusty bread and sour cream (optional). 

Seriously, try this soup. It’s amazing.

Cake stand love

2 Sep

I absolutely love this cake plate, available from vesselsandwares Etsy shop.  If only. *wistful sigh*

Macarons: why do you hate me?

1 Sep

I had my second go at making macarons on the weekend. You know, those little perfect pillows with the eggshell crust and the cake-like interior. If you’ve had a look around the internet you’ll know that there’s about a million sites giving tips and tricks for the different methods (French or Italian meringue). While the Italian meringue method is apparently easier, I don’t have a candy thermometer and I’m not that excited about dipping my fingers in boiling sugar to test the temperature.

My first recipe called for soft peaks, which I have since found out is not the way to go. When it came to mixing in the almond meal and icing sugar the whole thing collapsed and the macarons ran into each other  when I piped them. They ended up like crunchy little pink pancakes, not remotely like the footed wonders I had envisaged.

The second batch I made this weekend were much better, but  the oven I was using down the coast must have been built in the 1920s because the only thing it knew how to do was grill. Grilled macarons = not good. Not only were they pancakes, but they were burnt on top to boot.

I’ve been looking after my sister’s chickens this week, so I’ve got  some spare eggs to give them another go this weekend. Third time’s the charm, I can feel it.

I’ll keep you posted.

Perfect carrot cake

1 Sep

I’ve been looking for a good carrot cake recipe for a while.  It’s Ryan’s favourite, and everyone likes to be spolied once in a while. Most of the ones I’ve found so far are either really unhealthy, or just don’t taste all that great. I tried these on the weekend, they were probably the closet I’ve been to perfect, but they turned out more like a hummingbird cake with the addition of pineapple.  

I think this looks amazing as well, can’t wait to bust out the ice cream machine again this summer.

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