In January of this year, I moved from my inner city suburbs apartment, (where the neighbors were NOT dealing well with lockdown - the sole perk of working weird hours was that I rarely had to deal with them) and into the western suburbs, which added to my commute time but reduced the level of noise and late night shouting.
My new place is a single story house with room for a sewing room*, a sunroom/library, a kitchen that fits more than one person (!!!)** and a decent garden with two citrus trees,
one lemon, and one that has turned out to be an orange (it hadn’t fruited when moved in) .
The birds, bats and flying foxes and I have an agreement: they can have any fruit located above the roofline, and they leave the lower ones alone.
* If you’ve ever sewed for theatre or re-enactment or cosplay, you know how significant that is. If you haven’t, go ask someone who has.
** Seriously, I can cook dinner now without asking my partner to get out of the kitchen because I need to open the refrigerator! It's awesome!
Now, before this, it had been 11 years since I’d lived somewhere with a garden. I’d been envisioning the sad little mango tree that my grandparents had, producing a fruit or two once in a literal blue moon.
Nope! Even giving away the fruit to anyone willing to help me unpack boxes, I still had more than I could use. So, I asked a cooking group for ideas, discarded the popular suggestion of limoncello, and settled on lemon and orange curd.
The first attempt went... not great.
The curd refused to thicken, but went very nicely as a citrus syrup over pancakes. To quote my Beloved: "Oh my god, I have no words!"
To quote me: "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
It was a good thing. The syrup tasted not unlike a sweet marmalade, but less bitter and with a nicer texture.
The second attempt went much better, though still a bit runnier than intended.
I blame the oranges. They are huge, and incredibly juicy.
I’m currently doing a food safety management course, a pre-requisite for anyone who wants to sell food in Australia, and when our current lockdown lifts and market stalls are back on, we’ll see how that goes.
I also have an abundance of terracotta dip pots, and ideas for citrus lava cakes, once I work out the ideal cake type to use , and a number of small picnic tables and chairs.
Tonight, I’m trialling some of the curd in lava cakes. Tomorrow, who knows?
2 teaspoons cornflour mixed to a paste with 1 tablespoon cold water
Juice of 2 large lemons
2 to 3 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind, optional
1 cup sugar
125g butter, diced
1) Mix all ingredients together over a low heat, stirring continuously until it thickens
2) Sterilize jars by washing in hot soapy water, then placing in an oven pre-heated to 140 C for 10-15 minutes
3) When the curd has thickened, turn off the heat and allow it to cool
4) Pour or spoon the curd into the sterilized jars, and keep refrigerated up to 3 weeks.
To make this recipe Vegan, substitute Nuttlex, Olive Grove or other non-dairy spread for butter.
This recipe is a basic lemon curd. For citrus curd, substitute one orange for one lemon, or double the recipe and use two lemons and one orange, or one orange and one lime.
Keep in mind the relative size of your fruit, using store-bought lemons as a basic unit of comparison. One average orange equals about one and a half lemons. One large and juicy orange is probably enough for a single batch on it's own.
The recipe as written yields about 500g of curd. I recommend making it in quantities of however much fruit you have.
To make syrup, omit the butter and halve the amount of cornflour+water used.
I find that raw sugar works better than white, texture-wise, but that's likely to be a matter of preference.