Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lemony Snicket

It mystifies me as to why all of those make-your-own-gifts guides that propose you give the gift of food to your friends always focus on things like chutney and mincemeat; I mean, how many people do you know who are really going to use this festive fare, and before it goes off, too? I fancied something snappy, with inexpensive ingredients, but festive  - and what could be more festive than the oozy eggy indulgence of lemon curd smeared on toast or brioche or a croissant with a steaming pot of coffee for a lazy holiday breakfast?

I have been squirreling away glass jars for the past year, putting them by with thoughts of Making Things. So I hauled them out from a cupboard that breathed a sigh of relief at the extra room that was created, and did a little audit, checking that they all had lids, figuring out who would get what size jar, and also if there was any additional scrubbing required before sterilising them for the last time and filling them with treaty tastiness.

Starting with some glossy butter, 100g, until it turns into a golden bubbly translucent pool.

Then, get to work on the lemons: four in total, zest and juice - unwaxed, please.

Now I'm quite the composter, but I have been told that putting too many lemons on the compost really irritates the worms, and you don't want to get on the wrong side of the worms cause they are crucial to the aeration of the soil in your garden. Soooo...I may start to just put them in the bin. They'll combat bin-stinkiness.

Next, the eggs - a super addition to the compost heap, I must add, and also if you scatter the shells directly around your plants they keep slugs at bay, as to crawl over the shells would be, to the slimy evil creatures, akin to wading through shards of glass. So, crack out four whole eggs and two egg yolks.

And then it all gets scooped into the pot, along with 220g caster sugar, and you stir and stir, watching the colours and textures slowly come together until they combine and thicken into a gorgeous bright yellow gloop. The idea is that you keep stirring until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, then take it off the heat; the curd will thicken as it cools.

I think that yellow things look particularly beautiful in this bowl, an Anthropologie purchase bought on sale in NY and magically transported home in one piece.

Not a drop left. And it only took about ten minutes in total.

In the meantime, the jars have been in full on bacteria-busting mode.

And the test pot is ready to rock.

The luxuriously thick lemon spread is ripe for giftage...

...except the jar needs de-uglifying. Pimp my lemon pot.

I had the supplies to hand, thankfully: abundant rolls of brown paper bought for 99 cent a roll in Ikea, a selection of ribbon from A Rubanesque, and a book of labels by Lotta Jansdotter. And my lil lemon pots went from mingin to magical in nanoseconds.

Mmmmm, this is my number one contender for Christmas breakfast; to accompany it I think I may have to embark on some brioche-making.

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