Sunday, 17 March 2013

Lemon and Tangerine Curd

This recipe is due to a shopping mix up I had too many eggs the other day.  I should explain.  After years of moaning about internet food shopping, I have succumbed.  Although I still say that it's no quicker, at least it's time I'm sat on the lap top ordering food intermittently sorting out a lego emergency with my son rather than time I'm walking round a supermarket with a podcast on trying to ignore the awfulness of it all.  And let's face it, we all hate supermarkets.  Sorry supermarkets, and shooting myself in the foot for any future sponsorship opportunities but yes, it's true.  We hate you.  We hate walking round you, we hate the crowds, we hate the fact you always seem to have run out of something we need, we hate the rising prices but mostly we hate ourselves for not having the time, money nor energy to go and shop from little local stores who lovingly hand craft each loaf of bread with their hands.  Ok, that's not true, I do often buy bread from Hambleton Bakery because it's excellent and when I get the chance I buy sausages from Grasmere Farm.

It annoys me though the pictures of TV chefs complete with basket walking into their local butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, embracing the proprietors with open arms like long lost friends.  Balls.  Who has the time?  I very much think we need to support local producers who produce good food but for one, not all high street food shops are all that good (a particular failing of fishmongers in my opinion) but if the opening hours coincide with my working hours, sorry, it's not an option.

So, I have embraced the devil supermarkets out of necessity like 90% of the population and, even more so now, I've embraced internet supermarket shopping.  Why?  Well I work four days a week.  I currently commute 400-450 miles a week.  I blog, I try to exercise 3-4 times a week and in all this I also try and spend time with my son and occasionally open a book.  It's tough and something has to give.

So my latest internet shop arrived with eggs which were two days after their display until date.  So I needed a recipe to use eggs.  I still had some lemons in the fridge from when I'd been really ill a few weeks before (emergency honey and lemon) and some tangerines in the fruit bowl.  A fruit curd seemed like the obvious choice.  Not sugar free, not healthy but very tasty.

Quick tips, use a bowl which fits into your pan a bit.  You need a good contact with the steam and the bowl.  I didn't to start with and it took quite a long time to thicken.




Lemon and Tangerine Curd - made just over 1 jar

Ingredients

2 lemons (zest and juice)
3 tangerines (zest and juice)
(overall you need 200ml of juice)
200g, 7oz Sugar
100g, 7oz Butter
4 medium eggs
1 egg yolk

Method

Use unwaxed fruit if you can or give them a good wash and scrub first.  Zest the fruit using a fine grater being careful not to include the white pith.

Juice the fruit until you have 200ml.  Add the sugar and butter and put in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (the bowl should have good contact with the steam but not be touching the water).  Heat until the butter melts.  Add the eggs.  Stir occasionally for 10-25 mins.  It can take longer depending on the type of bowl.  What you're looking for is it to thicken and coat the back of a spoon.  Pour into a sterilised jar and cool.

Sterilise jars by washing in warm soapy water (or even better in a dishwasher) then warm in the oven at about 150oC until dry and hot.  For most jams I would then fill the jars hot but for lemon curd, especially as you will eat it very quickly and I don't want the eggs to have too much of a shock I just fill them warm.



Once cooled, keep in the fridge and eat within 2 weeks.  If it gets close to the end of it's life, it's great in jam tarts.

*Update*

After a valid challenge from a commenter, here is the official Food Standards Agency advice on best before dates on eggs.  Personally as I work in food safety I don't like to push things more than a day or two but you can tell whether an egg is not gone off by doing this test.

http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook/eggs/how-to-tell-how-old-an-egg-is.html

The reason I still don't push it more than a couple of days past the best before date though is all the above test tells you is how old the egg is because there is an air sack which increases inside the egg shell as the egg ages.  That doesn't tell you whether the egg is contaminated with Salmonella or Campylobacter and if it is it tells you nothing about whether the bacteria have reached dangerous levels because that is also a function of how they've been stored.

So I agree, it is worth pushing the boundaries a little on best before dates but it's still worth being a bit careful.  Any eggs eaten after the best before dates should be fully cooked and with people who don't necessarily have strong immune systems or where the consequences of getting ill are pretty bad (i.e. the elderly, pregnant, infants and immunocompromised) it's probably not worth the risk.

9 comments:

  1. Absolutely agree with your supermarket comments, precisely why we do online shopping with them. Then go to a farm shop/butchers to buy meat and nice treats

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    Replies
    1. Totally. I think that's the pragmatic approach. The fact is we don't all have time to do something different but where we can, it's great to support local businesses. I'm lucky that I do have an embarrassment of riches being in farming country as I am but even here some can be hit and miss. I also don't know anyone who has the time to shop exclusively locally who also has the money to do so.

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  2. Hi,

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks I'll have a think about it.

      Delete
  3. Not really sure why you had to use up the eggs so quickly - they last for at least three weeks past their best before date, if not longer (just see if they stand, sink or float in a bowl of cold water). Put it this way, I only buy two boxes of eggs per 12 week university term, one at the beginning, one halfway through, and they're fine towards the end of the six weeks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 3 weeks is pushing it. A few days and I would agree. I work in food safety and I prefer to err on the side of caution but you're right to challenge the BBD.

      Delete
  4. Fantastic combo - lemons and tangerines! Thanks for getting the collection off to such a good start. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds wonderful! Stopping by to tell you that I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. For more info go to: http://www.turnips2tangerines.com/2013/05/liebster-award.html

    ReplyDelete

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