During this quarantine, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Before you ask, no, I suck as a cook. Still, surprisingly, I have found in cooking a soothing hobby. By choosing easy recipes with everyday pantry items, I try to experience a little bit of an achievement feeling when the food turns out yummy, and, additionally, to find a bit of comfort through these weird times. Recently, I also realized that besides being an excellent distraction, my new best friend, the kitchen, can also take me to places that, currently, planes unfortunately cannot.
Yesterday, being hit by the common anxiety that frequent travelers know well when the next trip is too far ahead (or, in my case, nonexistent), I decided to turn to my bestie. I opened my kitchen cabinet and smiled when I saw I had everything I needed to take me back to New Zealand: lemons, sugar and butter. It was going to be a good day after all!
Lemon curd is not a New Zealand original recipe, but it´s where I tried it the first time. This fruit “jam” actually comes from England, dating back from the beginning of the 19th century, but it´s nowadays common in many English speaking countries. Coming from Brazil, when I saw it on the breakfast table of a lovely Bed & Breakfast we booked in Whangarei (northern island of New Zealand), I spreaded it on my toast thinking it was homemade butter. Oh my! The disappointment came on the first bite when I felt a bitter taste…but it soon dissolved into a pleasant mix of sweet-sour creamy flavor. I got so hooked on it that Jennie, the house owner, printed the recipe and gave it to me before we left. God bless that woman.
So, today, I´m going to share with you this recipe that can, maybe, bring you some comfort too. Even better: hopefully, it can take you back with me to a day of fall in the backyard of that beautiful Victorian B&B house in New Zealand, where sitting at a table in the morning sun, looking at lemon trees, I tried lemon curd for the first time.
Chelsea House Lemon Curd Recipe
. 3-4 Tbsp lemon zest (rind)
. 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 large lemons) – I usually use 2!
. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar – I use around 200 to 250g, because I prefer it less sweet and more bitter: In the end, you have to adjust it to your taste.
. 6 Tbsp salted butter, cut into pieces
. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
Remove the zest from the lemons using a zester or peeler (avoiding the white skin). Squeeze the lemon juice. Place the juice, the zest and the sugar in a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium-high heat stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until it has melted. Remove from the heat and reserve to cool to room temperature.
Once the mix has cooled off, beat the eggs into it until well blended. Return the mix to heat and cook over medium-low, stirring nonstop for about 15 minutes, or until it thickens to the point of coating the spoon. Do not let the mixture boil.
Remove from heat. After letting it cool for about 10 minutes, put it on a jam glas and let it continue to cool (the lemon curd will thicken as it cools). Once it has completely cooled off, place it in the fridge…and enjoy!
If you want to know more about my experience of staying at B&Bs in New Zealand´s northern island, click here. If you want to check out Jennie and Tony´s amazing B&B, where we were introduced to this amazing recipe, click here.
How about you? Is there any recipe you cook at home that brings you back to a place you loved to travel to?