how to make lemon / lime curd + lemon curd pie

22 Aug

lemon curd2

how to make lemon / lime curd + lemon curd pie

I love lemon curd and lime curd.  When they’re done right they balance sweet and tangy in just the right way and I was lucky enough to have a friend of mine (who’s training to be a pastry chef so… legitimate knowledge here) share her own simple but perfect recipe with me.  They’re really very easy to make, a little demanding in the stirring department but otherwise super simple.

The pie I made sort of by accident, with the help of my beautiful and talented mother.  We made the curd and improvised the rest.  The sugar cookie recipe that we used to make together every Christmas and decorate with icing and shiny sprinkles make a beautiful soft crust for the pie.  The whipped cream folded into the curd makes the filling light and fluffy, perfect for a summer evening after a rich meal.  The leftover curd swirled into the pie is there because i wasn’t sure how much filling would fit in our crust.

But it turned out looking pretty and tasting amazing.  So I’m sharing it with you.

I also think that a lime curd pie with blackberries would be really good… so if someone tries making that let me know how it is.

Makes 1/2 litre (2 cups) of lemon / lime curd – enough for 1 pie

lemon curd3

Ingredients

lemon / lime curd

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 c lime or lemon juice (aprox. 8 limes or 4 lemons)
  • 12 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 nub of unsalted butter (aprox. 2 tbsp) at room temperature

lemon curd pie

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp milk or cream
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c whipping cream
  • fresh berries (raspeberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, currants etc.)
  • fresh herbs (basil, mint, lavender etc.)

lemon curd4

Preparation

lemon / lime curd

Combine egg yolks, whole egg, lemon or lime juice, sugar, salt & vanilla in a double boiler or heat proof bowl over simmering water (medium-high heat).  Whisk constantly.  After a while the mixture will form a thick froth, then subside.  Shortly after subsiding it will start to thicken.  Whisk for another 1-2 minutes after the mixture begins to thicken the transfer to another bowl and let cool.

When the curd reaches almost room temperature (but still just a little warm) stir in the butter.  If the butter is added too early the curd will break and get chunky.  Give it some time to calm down.  Maybe about 15 minutes.  Then refrigerate.  Will keep in the fridge for about a week, maybe a bit more.

lemon curd pie

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 9″ tart pan or pie pan.

Mix flour, baking powder & salt.  In a separate bowl, cream butter & sugar until light yellow and fluffy then add eggs, milk & 1/2 tsp vanilla and mix well.  Add dry ingredients in thirds.  Mix until just combined.

Roll out the dough and fit to the pan.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, crust should be cooked through and barely browned.  Set aside for a couple of hours until completely cooled – if the crust is still warm when the filling goes in it will get soggy.

Beat the whipping cream and remaining 1 tsp vanilla until it holds peaks.  Gently fold in all but 1/4 c of the lemon curd until just combined and pour the mixture into the pie shell.  Place dollops of the remaining curd on top of the pie and swirl with a butter knife.

Chill the pie for an hour or so or overnight to let it set.  Serve garnished with fresh herbs and berries.

lemon curd

ginger scallion steamed cod + Thai pesto noodles

3 Apr

steamed fish

For this dish I used Jindao noodles, they’re sort of a thinner version of an Udon noodle and they’re soooo delicious.  You should be able to find them in any Asian market or even some well-stocked grocery stores.  If you can find them, then do use them.  If not, just substitute some other kind of noodle.

Makes 4 servings

steamed fish8

Ingredients

Thai pesto noodles

  • 2 handfuls Jindao noodles
  • 3-4 large handfuls fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • sriracha
  • salt
  • olive oil

ginger scallion steamed cod

  • 1 cod fillet
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • parchment paper
  • kitchen twine

steamed fish7

Preparation

Thai pesto noodles

Bring salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the cilantro, green onion and garlic and put it in a blender or food processor.  Add the zest of two limes and the juice of one lime along with some sriracha, a pinch of salt and a generous amount of olive oil.

Blend everything, adding more olive oil if necessary to get a smooth consistency.  Add more salt and sriracha to taste.

Mix the pesto into the noodles.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

steamed fish5

ginger scallion steamed cod

Cut the fillet in half lengthwise and cut each half into four even pieces.

Rub both sides of each piece of fish with a little bit of olive oil and some salt.  Sandwich a few slices of ginger and some green onions between two pieces of fish and bundle it up in parchment paper.  Tie the bundle together with twine.  Repeat with the remaining fish.

Put the bundles in a steam basket for about 7 minutes or until the cod is opaque all the way through.

Serve with Thai pesto noodles.

steamed fish 2

cumin scented lentil + quinoa patties with cilantro-lime crema

24 Mar

veggie burger1

I was a vegetarian for a few years… technically a pescetarian, but I ate fish very rarely.  It wasn’t an ideological stance that I was taking but rather a decision based on meat being an expense that my poor student self could easily do without.  I learned a lot about being resourceful with my food – especially alternate sources of protein – at that time and to this day most of my meals don’t center around meat.

Here’s the thing.  I like meat, a lot, but I have never had any interest in making things that are not meat taste like they are meat.  In fact, it bothers me.  I hate these “IT TASTES JUST LIKE DELICIOUS CHICKEN / BEEF TERIYAKI / ROAST TURKEY / A HAMBURGER BUT IT’S TOTALLY ACTUALLY TOFUUUU!!!!”

First of all, no.  It doesn’t taste just like a hamburger.

Second of all, you’re a cheating liar.

Third-ly of all the Tofurkey that you’re buying at the grocery store is just as salty and processed and unhealthy as a package of bologna so if you are going to eat it then at the very least make sure you get off your high and mighty vegetarian pony before you do.

I’m sorry.  I have a complex relationship with dietary restrictions.

Let’s back up.

My point is, simply, that there is a lot to love about foods that are not meat.  Just because we’re not eating meat doesn’t mean that we must try to imitate meat because there are many many other delicious things out there.

So this is my “veggie burger”.  It’s shaped in a patty shape, like a hamburger is, but there the similarity ends.  It is filling and nutritious and really really tasty in a way that’s completely different from any kind of meat.

And that is what makes it great.

Makes 6 patties

veggie burger2

cumin scented lentil + quinoa patties with cilantro-lime crema

ingredients

  • 2/3 c dry red lentils
  • 1/3 c quinoa
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 small beet, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 c panko / breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 limes
  • 1 c fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 c plain yoghurt
  • alfalfa sprouts

preparation

In a saucepan, cover lentils and quinoa with a couple of inches of water.  Simmer over medium heat until lentils and quinoa are very tender – about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside in a large bowl to cool.

Return saucepan to medium heat.  Add olive oil and cumin seeds.  Stir until cumin seeds begin to toast and are fragrant.  Add onion, garlic, beet, ground cumin, garam masala and turmeric.  Sautee until onions are translucent and beets are tender.  Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the pan along with a 1/2 c of chopped cilantro.

Add onion mixture to lentil mixture and stir to combine.  Mix in panko / breadcrumbs along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature then mix in the eggs.

Take a handful of the mixture and roll it into a ball in your hand then press it lightly with your palm to make a thick patty.  If the mixture seems too loose to hold together add more panko / breadcrumbs as you see necessary.

TO STORE THE PATTIES

You can keep them separated with parchment paper in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

TO COOK THE PATTIES

Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add patties and cook until golden brown then flip and cook to golden brown on the other side.  Unfortunately they’re too delicate to cook on a grill.  Don’t try it, you’ll only make a mess.

CILANTRO-LIME CREMA

Stir together the yoghurt with the remaining 1/2 c of chopped cilantro and the juice of 2 limes.

Serve the patties drizzled with crema and topped with a generous handful of sprouts.

veggie burger

shaved fennel, white bean + tuna salad

17 Jan

shaved fennel & tuna2

The chef at the restaurant where I work makes this salad sometimes.  It’s filling and delicious and easy to make.

I love it so I’ve done my best to recreate it to share with you fine people.

And eat it.  I also made it so I can eat it.

Makes 6 side servings

shaved fennel & tuna

ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 500 ml can white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 generous handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 c tuna packed in olive oil (2 small cans)*
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

*Because the salad is so simple, the tuna makes a big difference so use the best quality tuna packed in olive oil that you can find.

preparation

Cut the fennel bulb in half and use a mandolin to slice it as thinly as possible.

In a large bowl combine shaved fennel, white beans, parsley, tuna (not drained), white wine vinegar, olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix together with a fork until tuna is broken up into evenly distributed small pieces and everything is coated with vinegar and olive oil.

For best results let the salad sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to let the flavours meld and let the fennel soften slightly.

The salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

shaved fennel & tuna1

lemon + fresh herb pasta

5 Jan

lemon herb pasta4At some point in the morning on New Year’s eve I said ‘Everything’s going to be closed tomorrow, I should buy groceries today’.  At no point on New Years eve did I go buy groceries for New Year’s day.

So I had a day with a very very empty fridge and a very very empty tummy.  Luckily I found a lemon and some fresh herbs left over from something I had been making a few days prior along with just enough pasta for two.

Added a few things I found in the fridge and it turned out to be a delicious meal.  So, this is my stuck-with-no-food-on-New-Year’s-day pasta.

If you want to make the dish vegetarian or if you just hate anchovies, a tablespoon of capers would be a good substitute.

Makes 2 servings

lemon herb pasta2

lemon + fresh herb pasta

ingredients

  • enough pasta for 2 people
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons – zest + juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1/2 c good quality green olives, chopped
  • approx. 1/2 c chopped basil
  • approx. 1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley
  • pepper

lemon herb pasta1

preparation

Cook pasta in boiling salted water and strain.

Return the empty pasta pot to the stove over medium-low heat.  Add oil and butter, heat until butter is melted.  Add garlic, lemon zest and anchovy then lemon juice.

Cook for about 30 seconds or until garlic is soft.  Turn off the heat, add olives and all but about 2 tablespoons of the chopped herbs.  Stir for a few seconds until the herbs are wilted then add the pasta and toss to coat.

Serve immediately, garnish with the remaining herbs.

lemon herb pasta

apple almond crumble

27 Nov

Simple apple crumble.

For Minji.

xo

apple almond crumble

ingredients

crumble

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 2/3 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c demerara sugar (can be replaced with regular brown sugar)
  • 1/2 c sliced almonds, toasted and cooled

apples

  • 5 tart red apples such as empire or macintosh
  • 1/4 c demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut butter into chunks and place it in a medium bowl.  Add flour, oats, salt and sugar and use hands to mix into butter until well combined.  Add almonds and mix for a few seconds more, until evenly distributed through butter mixture.  Set aside in refrigerator.

Peel the apples and slice them.  In a bowl combine cinnamon and sugar.  Add the apple slices and toss until coated.

Place 1/3 of the crumble mixture in a pie pan or small casserole and press it down until the bottom is covered in a thin layer of the mixture.  Pile the apples into the pan and top with small chunks the remaining crumble until most of the apple is covered.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust on top is golden brown.

Note: the crumble mixture will keep just fine covered in the fridge for two or three days, I often make it in advance to save some time.

poached egg croissant sandwich

24 Nov

Coffee, newspaper, egg sandwich.

All it takes to make a perfect Saturday morning.

ingredients

  • 1 croissant, halved and lightly toasted
  • lettuce
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 egg, poached
  • dijon mustard

preparation

Put all that together.  As a sandwich.

malaysian chicken curry

20 Nov

I have eaten one too many curried sweet potato soups in my day and I’m tired of curry powder.  I’m sick of it.  I never want to see it again.  I haven’t used it in years because it’s so… bleh.

Thankfully, my friend introduced me to Malaysian curry powder (thanks Stacey…) and it has renewed my faith in dried curry spice blends.  It’s just better in every way than your average curry powder.

If you’re in Toronto you can buy it at this fantastic store in Kensington.  They have everything you need and more when it comes to spices and exotic sauces plus they’re super friendly and helpful.  If you are unable to find Malaysian curry powder you can just substitute the same amount of turmeric, it’s what the original recipe I used calls for.

You can get the original Gordon Ramsay recipe I used here but I’ve written down the recipe as I ended up making it.  I made a few changes: took the seeds out of most of the chilies (because I’m a pansy), used whole chicken legs (because I’m lazy), used green onion instead of lemongrass in the curry paste (because they didn’t have lemongrass at the store that day), also I added potato (because potato!!).

Maybe I probably changed / forgot other things too.

It’s fine.  Tastes good.

P.S. I used Thai bird chilies for my curry, and I cut them up, and I didn’t wear gloves, and my hands were burning for the next two days.  Wear some rubber gloves or something, ok?  I forget every time.  Learn from my mistakes.

Serves 6 as a main dish with rice.

malaysian chicken curry

from Gordon Ramsay

ingredients

for curry paste

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4-5 red chilies, seeds removed from all but one, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp Malaysian curry powder (or turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil

for curry

  • 4 whole chicken legs, skin removed
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsp Malaysian curry powder (or turmeric)
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 400 ml  coconut milk
  • 1/2 c water or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 large handfuls green beans, tipped and tailed
  • 3 small potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • cilantro

preparation

In a blender or using a mortar and pestle combine garlic, chilies, green onion, ginger, shallots, curry powder and salt.  Blend, adding olive oil until it becomes a smooth paste.

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat.  Add the curry paste along with 2 tsp curry powder for a minute – until fragrant.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes – until soft.  Add chicken legs.  Turn to coat in curry paste.

Add kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, coconut milk, water / stock, soy and fish sauce and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer, add potato and let cook gently for 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove chicken legs and use two forks to pull the meat from the bone.  It should pull away easily into manageable chunks.  Return the meat to the curry along with the green beans and simmer for a few moe minutes – until beans are just tender.

Serve over plain basmati rice, or rice and peas, topped with cilantro leaves.

pork, fennel + white bean hand pies or: how to make it though the rest of the stew

12 Nov

so much stew…

For we noble and intelligent and attractive people trying to live and eat well on a tight budget, cold weather is our friend.  Cold weather means making huge pots of slow cooked meat, soups, stews, fresh bread; leaving the crock pot, oven, stove on all day and ending up with enough food to feed you for a week.

The key, however, is to not want to off yourself by the end of that week because you’ve eaten the same f***ing bowl of f***ing stew every day for a f***ing week.

So here’s an easy, cheap and tasty recipe that works well as a stew (either as is or with a little added broth), as a pasta sauce, and in flaky buttery hand pies.  Turning stew into pie is certainly not an innovation but these hand pies are a lot easier to make than a traditional pot pie and you get a much higher pastry to filling ratio which, for me, is a big big plus.

Makes 4 pies with 4 cups leftover stew

pork, fennel + white bean hand pies

ingredients

crust

  • 1 c unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

stew

  • 1 lb pork (I used tenderloin because I had some in my freezer but almost any cut would work) cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ground pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 generous handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered and finely sliced
  • 1 550ml can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 300ml can diced tomatoes
  • 1 splash white wine vinegar
  • 1 splash balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

from stew to pie

preparation

crust

Get the crust ready first.  Add the cold butter to the flour and salt.  Mix with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles small peas.  Add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together.  There should still be visible pea-sized butter chunks, that’s what will make your crust tender and flaky.  Divide the dough into 4 equal balls and wrap each one tightly in saran wrap, pressing down to make a small flat disc.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

stew

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano and stir until onions are translucent.  Turn the heat to high and add pork.  Stir for a couple of minutes until pork begins to brown then deglaze the pan with white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar.  Add carrots, bell pepper, fennel, white beans, tomatoes and parsley.

Turn heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the stew cool.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Roll out the pastry discs one at a time and place a few tablespoons of stew in the center of each one, leaving a 2 inch border around the filling.  Fold the top half of the pastry over the filling and fold the bottom edges in over the top crust.

Like a pizza pocket.

Brush the lightly beaten egg over the tops of the pies to make them nice and shiny – if you have a pastry brush that would be ideal, if you don’t then just dip your dainty little hands into the slimy egg and smush it all over the top of the pastry.  It works.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust turns light golden brown.

pork, fennel + white bean sauce

You can also turn the stew into a hearty pasta sauce by putting 2 cups of stew, a can of tomatoes, a pinch of salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar in a pot over medium heat while your pasta cooks.

from stew to pasta sauce

Sanagan’s Meat Locker : takeout counter + beautiful people

26 Sep

photo courtesy of postcity.com

When European Quality Meats left my Kensington market neighbourhood in favour of somewhere really far away that I will never go to (Etobicoke? maybe? I could probably look that up but… it’s just far) I felt a little betrayed.  They had been providing me with Meats of European Quality for so long, I didn’t know where to turn.

Sanagan’s moved into the space and they’re great; they offer high quality meats along with friendly and knowledgeable service.  They tend to be a little expensive for my poor ass but overall I’m glad that they’re there.

I’m particularly happy that they’ve carried on their predecessor’s tradition of having a takeout counter.  Instead of the former burgers, sausages and fries, however, theirs features rotisserie chicken, house made soups, sandwiches, salads and fries (still – of course).

sanagansmeatlocker.com

So far I’ve tried the rotisserie chicken – for $13 you get a whole perfectly seasoned chicken with crispy golden skin and tender meat – and the roast beef sandwich which, at $7, comes complete with pickled red onion, arugula, horseradish, and crispy parmigiano frico on a kaiser.

It’s some tasty.

Also of note: everyone on staff at Sanagan’s seems to be unreasonably attractive.  Go for that if nothing else.

Sanagan’S Meat Locker  on Urbanspoon

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