Tag Archives: curd

Thoughts on moving forwards..


I have been neglecting my double saucepan.

It is my favourite, most precious bit of kitchen kit, and I have just not been using it enough…but hopefully that is about to change. When I leave my office today that will be for good and in September I will be back at King’s College London training to teach kids about books that have been made into films they will complain about having to watch, never mind trying to get them to read the longer, wordier hard copies!

In between I’m having a summer holiday, a month off to curd and preserve and potter about in the kitchen and garden to my heart’s content. I also want to take myself to the Guildhall Library to do some research on British preserves, watch this space for some historical food thoughts soon.

So, double saucepan, you had better get ready

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10 yellow jars..

Helen of Food Stories fame held a Big Lunch in Peckham on Sunday. A fab idea, and in aid of Maggie’s, an amazing charity who provide, information, support and lots more to Cancer patients and their families. She had requested through the magic means of the internet donations of food, drink, and everything else one would need to hold an event like this!

She had a huge response, and was given everything from ex-student halls’ cutlery to a KitchenAid, along with loads of booze, food and other bits and pieces.

I thought I would pass a few jars of curd her way and at the same time this gave me the opportunity to take some photos of the process. The labels have not made the final cut, and I will be posting soon with examples of the ones we have decided on!

Zest and juice of loads of lemons

almost done..

treasured double saucepan (more than 75 years old)

hot jars from the oven

labelled

boxed and off to Peckham we go!

(the 2 pink ones are Pink Grapefruit…not P.G. Fruit as J suggested)

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Fruity experiments

I’ve made a lot of Lemon Curd recently, partly for product photos, also for an afternoon tea at The Shed and  I’ll shortly be making some for a Big Lunch in Peckham. It suddenly dawned on me that I haven’t tried any new flavours for quite some time!

So, inspired by a thank-you present of Maldon Smoked Salt several weeks ago that I was yet to open, I set to thinking at work yesterday..

I’ve written before about about my wish to create new, seasonal curds, for the quality of fruit but also because it somehow feels like a more natural way of existing. So, taking advantage of the abundance of stunning summer fruit which is currently available I was led swiftly to summer berries.

Blueberries to be exact.

With smoked salt.

And the other ingredients a person would add to curd (butter, sugar, egg).

It doesn’t sound right, in fact, it sounds really a bit wrong.

However, somehow the sweet, and simultaneously bitter edge of the blueberries when cooked with the salt and pushed through a sieve creates a lip-smacking spread which, though quite American in flavour, is really quite lush.

I think I’ll have a play with some Grapefruit and Pineapple combinations later in the week. I’m also contemplating the addition of some candied lemon flesh to the Blueberry curd to give it a bit more kick.

What is the opinion on these left of centre curds, I know there are creative people like Anarchy in a Jar doing it with jam in Brooklyn, but what happens to our opinions and feeling about these combinations when the flavours are muddled with dairy as well as sugar?

Comments/ideas/requests all very much appreciated…

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Belated, but as promised


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What a revolting colour…

As a middle-aged woman descended the spiral staircase from MsMarmite’s balcony I looked up and smiled…to be greeted with her exclamation at the sight of Violet’s Rhubarb Curd…”What a revolting colour!” Once the shock at her brusque outburst had subsided I realised the hilarity of the whole affair, she had no idea what the curd was and I suspect she originally thought it to be some sort of children’s concoction!

Having rolled around laughing for ten minutes or so with this mortified lady she tried a dollop of said curd on top of one of my mini fruit buns. Suddenly she was not only mortified but determined to buy a jar, despite my protestations that it wasn’t necessary to make up for her earlier comments!

The first UK Underground Farmer & Crafts market was the setting for this sale, held at MsMarmiteLover’s lovely garden flat in Kilburn. This was, in fact, the setting for all of my sales so far, of which there were many on Sunday! Violet’s Fruit Curd seemed to go down really well and I am absolutely delighted.

I sold Lemon, Apricot and the famed Rhubarb, selling out of everything apart from 3 jars of the Lemon and 2 of the Apricot. Other stallholders (of which there were more than 30!) were selling lovely napkins, tasty chutneys, lots of cupcakes, aprons, coffee and so on. Demos were held in the kitchen and many a Shed made gin cocktail was consumed….

J and I took home lots of swapped treats, cupcakes from Crumbelina, chutneys from House of Chutney, amazing tortilla and Empanades from can be bribed with food and it was all so lovely that we sat on the floor and ate it whilst watching Poirot (with David Suchet…yay).

The next day I received the loveliest of emails telling me how gorgeous Violet’s Lemon Curd was…was being the operative word…attached was this delightful picture:

Thank you, the late night tying on of labels and recipes related hair tearing definitely feels well worth it now!

Watch this space for further news on where Violet goes next…and the Underground Farmer and Crafts Market in Minolta+Ilford made pictures.

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Curd girl?

Having spent all of my day so far (that would be 8 hours) binding presentations I have decided now is the time to sneakily skive away to write about the lovely Sunday lunch we had yesterday at The Shed.

Firstly, damn you BBC weather and your inane, misguided meteorological predictions. Poor Nicola and Andrew, hostess and host of this supper club in Newington Green, reliant on the licence payers money to present reliable weather info, moved their tables inside yesterday in order to avoid everybody getting soaking wet.

But it didn’t rain of course.

However, less with the negativity. The Shed also now known as ‘The Lounge’ was just delightful.

We were the first to arrive into Nicola’s lounge and we sat at the far table which was set for seven. My mouth was already salivating at the smell of the Beef, a bonus to being inside rather than the shed! At our heels were Alexis and her partner Yohanna (sp? I’m sorry!), followed by two more Aussies and a Scotsman. Sarah (one of the other Australians) and her boyfriend (the Scotsman) had been to Alexis and Yohanna’s supperclub, LexEat, recently and so they were already familiar. This twist of fate made everyone immediately comfortable, and drew the conversation to the art and caper involved with running a supperclub of one’s own.

Having discussed supper clubs the conversation turned to Curd and my Grandmother’s grumpiness at having her photo taken for publicity material and somewhere inbetween I ended up as Curd Girl. I’m unsure as to how I feel about this…somehow it sounds a little odd, maybe fungal, I don’t know. So grumpy Grandmother or not we are sticking with Violet’s Fruit Curds rather than Curd Girl’s Curds!

At this point I feel I should apologise for my lack of photography. So far on this blog I have added a couple of half-hearted, very crappy, iPhone pics and nothing more. It may come as a surprise that I do have some, not many but some, photography skills and I do use an old-ish Minolta to take Black and White film photos. However I have not yet entered the land of digital photography. I suspect this is where I promise to save up and buy a digital camera in order to enter the technological world everyone else is living in. I would love to, but I also have aspirations of developing my own photos in an at-home darkroom so the two ideas are conflicting in my bank account! I did notice Alexis taking lots of photos of the food so I’m sure if you go to her blog they will surface there soon enough! In the meantime you may have to suffice with my slightly poor prose!

We were swiftly presented with bowls of finely chopped Shallots, Capers, Lemon slices and Creme Fraiche, followed by a plateful of incredibly fresh Smoked Salmon and a bowlful of homemade Blinis. The other starter was a flavoursome Chicken Liver Pate, which I thought was amazing, with Date and Apple Chutney and toast. I think I remember Nicola worrying that it was too strong but I thought it was dead nice – strong pate = good pate in my book.

The main course of Roast Beef did just what it said on the tin and more. The meat was moist and well cooked, the yorkshire puddings traditional and the gravy absolutely divine, we all had seconds which of course is the beauty of a)supperclubs and, I suspect, b)the Shed.

Pudding was Rhubarb and Apple Crumble with perfect custard followed by some yummy Neal’s Yard cheeses. J and I mused over whether the crumble contained digestive biscuits, and if it did that’s definitely an idea I’ll be borrowing!

Despite how shattered we were from a weekend of hire-van driving and ebay cooker acquiring we thoroughly enjoyed the company, the food and the atmosphere at Nicola and Andrew’s flat. I will be returning next weekend for an Italian feast with an out of town mate who is down in London for the weekend.

Lastly, as I left Nicola showed me some of the knitted wares her mum has sent to her for the Underground Farmer’s Market on 28th March, which are just lovely, and so beyond my knitting patience and capability!

Tonight I’m having a go at Apricot Curd, so we will see what drops out – otherwise I’m going back to a Pink Grapefruit…maybe….I should probably stop being so indecisive!

Buy tickets for the Underground Farmer’s Market here!

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A perfect London baking day

Yesterday in London was one of those beautifully sunny days with a crisp bite that makes us all feel like Spring is at least on its way, absolutely perfect for baking with all the windows open and sun streaming in through the glass. It was also pretty helpful for the hangover I had left over from the wedding we attended on the Saturday.

So I forged on with the mini Hot Cross Bun project, to reasonably great success I feel. Having never made Hot Cross Buns at all before I really wasn’t sure of the consistency of the dough. The recipe book I had scanned before beginning and deciding 2 tsp of mixed spice was definitely not enough described it as a ‘moist dough’ but this wasn’t exactly what mine looked like when I had finished with it.

perhaps not quite moist enough..

The second challenge once the buns had risen (sat atop my washer/dryer, completing another classic Sunday activity) was to ‘pipe’ the water and flour paste onto the top in the shape of crosses. This didn’t work. At least not for me. Maybe my paste was the wrong consistency. I found I had to roll the white paste out into little sausage shapes in the palm of my hand and carefully lay them over the top of the buns. Then I panicked because they didn’t stick! But once they were all done and in the oven they looked lovely.

finished product...

They weren’t quite as mini as I had originally intended, and they did need a little more mixed spice and I wonder about a splash of orange juice instead of all milk, they were also lovely, especially with a dollop of Rhubarb curd on top.

So, I now have jars (although mostly no lids, and I definitely need more!), tasting receptacles and one out of a possible three recipes down. I need to get the Rhubarb curd just right and I also need to have a go at a Grapefruit curd…I think, although I do keep changing my mind!

Suggestions welcome!

Buy tickets for the Underground Farmer’s Market here!

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