Tag Archives: Violet’s

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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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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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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Jars and other bits and pieces

I have been collecting jars for my curd experiments, and one endeavour has proved to be a particularly useful way of acquiring jars for free.

Living in a mega block of new build flats I have attempted to utilise the number of jam jars etc which must be either thrown away or into the recycling everyday. I take no issue with the recycling of course, but I decided that a more personal way of packaging being reused might appeal.

So, roughly a week and a half ago I put out a sign and a box , requesting jars from anyone who felt kind enough to donate them.

This has worked really well. The variety in size and shape of jars is lovely and haphazard. I have even found it inspiring, the baby food jars from the lady in number 80 are absolutely perfect for taster jars!

Despite the generosity of the majority of the residents in my building, I have found myself ponticating on the community spirit of several slightly inconsiderate residents who have insisted on using the green box as their personal rubbish bin/junk mail depository. It really isn’t neighbourly!

I have so far found success in my Lemon and Ginger Curd, although it definitely needs more Ginger, however a Rhubarb Curd with a boozy secret ingredient is a clear winner so far.

I have been eating a lot of Hot Cross Buns of late and they appear to be the perfect recepticle for a huge dollop of curd. Just not Nectarine Curd…. that one turned out a bit weird….

I fancy a go at making some mini hot cross buns, so stay tuned for disaster.

Thanks to MsMarmiteLover for my mention on her blog about the upcoming Farmers Market!

Buy tickets for the Underground Farmer’s Market here!

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Violet’s Fruit Curd: The beginning

The Hatcham Supper Club currently exists only in our minds, but we are hoping it will become a reality very soon. Possibly not even in Hatcham to begin with, we will keep you posted!

Lemon Curd reminds me of my Grandmother. It reminds me of charity coffee mornings. The first batch of curd I ever made tasted like Lemsip. All of these things are vaguely sentimental and cliched but it’s irrelevant. I find the process of baking, cooking, jam, curd and marmalade making so incredibly satisfying that I don’t care about being domestic or fluffy.

The supper club is in the pipeline but in the meantime I will be experimenting with Violet’s Fruit Curds. The idea being to take exciting, great ingredients and traditional fruit curd recipes and develop new combinations and concoctions!

I have tenderly taken possession of my Great Grandmother Violet’s double saucepan and intend to document my experiments here. I have kindly been given a spot at the Underground Farmer’s Market in Kilburn, which is hopefully where I will market my first batch of wares!

Shaky iPhone photograph of Lemon and Ginger Curd

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