Monthly Archives: November 2012

Lemon curd

I have a friend who once decided to make a cake.  This might not sound particularly extraordinary, but let’s just say that baking wasn’t really his thing (although he was always a willing recipient of baked goods).  He convinced himself that the cake was baking too slowly, so decided to turn the temperature right up to make it bake faster.  And to switch the oven to grill mode.  Perhaps it might have worked… if he hadn’t forgotten about it.  As I said, baking wasn’t really his thing.  And yet, despite the cake-grilling incident (I believe he declared that he’d never attempt to bake again), once he tasted my lemon curd, he somewhat sheepishly asked me for my recipe.

I adore lemon curd (indeed I can be a bit snobbish about it), and it’s one of my little life pleasures.  Spread over toast, crumpets or little pancakes I can easily eat half a whole jar in one sitting, particularly when slathered on Digestive biscuits (seriously, try it).  The great thing about lemon curd is that not only is it a great way to use up lemons and egg yolks, it’s incredibly easy.  If you can stir, you can make lemon curd.  It is literally that straightforward.  Granted it is a little time-consuming since you have to stir continuously until the curd is done and thus are rather tied to the hob, but the zingy, not-too-sweet results are completely worth it.  So how did my aforementioned friend get on with the recipe?  Well apparently he “didn’t destroy the kitchen” (his words) which means it was a roaring success.  He even said he’d try it again.  How’s that for a recommendation?

Lemon curd

Makes enough to fill about two 350ml jars
Adapted from Waitrose

You can use curd in loads of different ways: on crumpets, on toast, on Digestive biscuits (my favourite), to make dessert canapés, on sponge cake, in cupcakes, etc.  To sterilise the jars, wash in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry in an oven pre-heated to just about 100°C.  The curd will keep for about a week in the fridge (possibly longer, but I’ve never had a batch remain uneaten for more than a couple of days).


5 unwaxed lemons
4 eggs + 2 egg yolks
110g butter
220g caster sugar


1.  Zest and juice the lemons into a small bowl or measuring jug.  In another small bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks together well.

2.  Melt the cubed butter in a large heat-proof bowl over a simmering pan of water (make sure that the water doesn’t reach the bottom of the bowl).

3.  Add the sugar and the zest and juice from the lemons, followed by the eggs.  Stir the mixture carefully and constantly with a spatula, making sure the mixture doesn’t boil.  Once the mixture coats the back of the spatula (turn the spatula flat and run your finger through the mixture coating it – if you can draw a line through the mixture and it doesn’t re-fill, then it’s done), remove from the heat.

4.  If using the curd straightaway, pour into a bowl, otherwise, pour into a sterilised glass jar.  Allow to cool (it will thicken further) before sealing and storing in the fridge.


PS – Since this recipe is made entirely from scratch, I’m submitting it to this week’s Made with Love Mondays blog event over at Javelin Warrior.

PPS – It feels a little strange not to mention the US elections since the results came through earlier and I’ve followed them for most of the day since unfortunately their outcome rather affects the rest of us, but it’s kind of difficult to tie them into a post about grilling cakes and lemon curd.


Filed under Recipes, Student Life

Sunday Smiles: “We might fail at science, but we’re pretty good at baking”

I feel the news this week has almost entirely been dominated by Hurricane Sandy – I hope that if any of you or your families live in affected areas, you made it through alright.  Then as Sandy blew itself out, there was the news that CCAMLR has failed to come to a consensus about protecting parts of the Ross Sea.  I haven’t read the full details yet, but I doubt they’ll reveal anything particularly positive about the situation.  Not a particularly uplifting week in the news department, really (but then when is it ever?).

Hopefully to cheer us all up, on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:

  • The week started off with a Baking Competition within the School of Biology.  The theme was ‘Health & Safety’ and they managed to ambush us with a H&S lecture after having lured most of the school up to the tea room with the promise of baked goods – I can’t believe that none of us saw that coming.  We had to sit through the lecture to find out who the winners were.  The Marine Lab cleaned up two of the three available prizes: one of the technicians won “Best Looking” for her amazing marine-themed cake and I won “Best Tasting” with my ‘radioactive’ lemon macarons (I’ll post the recipe soon).  If I’m honest, we didn’t have much competition, but still, yay!  The title of this blog post comes courtesy of my fellow Marine Lab winner.

  • I randomly came across the blog Things I Want To Punch In The Face which basically consists of little rants but written amusingly.  It includes an amusing (and very valid) rant about hurricane names – I couldn’t agree more that Rizzo would be a rather more appropriate name for a destructive hurricane.
  • Last week we had a groan-worthy biology joke, this week we have a punny biology meme featuring… heterozygoats.  Geddit?  (Image source)

  • Speaking of goats, our Spanish labmate told this week that the Spanish Special Forces have a goat as a mascot.  No really, I’m not kidding, and it even has a special little coat.  They’re also clearly in a hurry to get places and march funny (the soldiers, not the goat).
  • This week I ate my first strawberries of the season.  I was too busy savouring them to take a photo – I love strawberries and these were full of flavour.  I’m looking forward to eating many, many more over the next couple of months…
  • I came across this time lapse taken over a three-month holiday in Europe.  It’s incredible and rather enthralling to watch, and quite fun to see if you can recognise where the different places are.
  • I mentioned last week that Wellington airport have put up a giant Gollum in preparation for the release of The Hobbit, Part 1 soon.  Well this week, Air New Zealand has released a new Hobbit-themed safety video on their planes.  It’s totally amazing, but equally rather on the cringe-worthy side.  I can’t actually decide whether amazement or embarrassment wins out.
  • There was a Rose Festival in the Parnell Rose Gardens this weekend.  I’ve mentioned my love of roses on this blog several times, so you won’t be too surprised to hear that I’m totally keen on anything that involves looking at lots of pretty roses (unless it rains, obviously), which is precisely what we did.  I loved it, despite the odd shower.

  • And finally, I’ve also previously mentioned my love of watching fireworks, and it turns out that, although I’m not entirely sure why, Guy Fawkes is a huge deal here.  The whole bonfire thing doesn’t seem to happen and it’s all about fireworks.  From what I understand, it’s the only time of the year that fireworks can be legally sold, so this weekend has been a bit of a firework extravaganza.  In fact, as I’m typing this I can see fireworks being set off from the roof of a nearby apartment block.  Yesterday evening we went to a firework display in Papatoetoe, which was good fun to watch, although it got a little cold waiting around for 3h before they started.

What made you smile this week?


Filed under Sunday Smiles