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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Severe cooking

On the first really Summery day we have had this season, when a Total Fire Ban had been declared, with the fire danger rating set at 'severe' and with the temperature hitting 40 degrees celcius the cook, in her wisdom, decided to cook jam.  

I don't believe that it is simply coincidence that the colour of her preserves matched the fire danger indicator outside the fire station.  It got pretty hot and severe in the kitchen at times too.

However, the results of her madness are magnificent as the samples below show.  
From left to right: Lemon curd, marmalade, raspberry jam and blackberry jam.

I must be honest, the marmalade was made a few weeks ago...but it looks so pretty with the other jars.

The purpose of this post is not to just poke fun at the cook. (Although that is always entertaining.)  It is to share the secret to making the smoothest lemon curd without the need to strain it.  The lumps you sometimes get in curd are little bits of egg white that cook before the curd thickens.

2 cups of sugar
125 grams butter
4 eggs
grated rind and juice of 4 lemons

The secret is the method.

The difference between the basic recipe, 
which has you adding all of the above to a saucepan or double boiler and stirring till it thickens, 
and this batch is this:

The cook's mother passed down her disused mixer.  Like the cook, it is a wonderful vintage model in good working order.

And the trick is to cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time, beating in well between eggs as if you were making a cake. Then add the lemon juice and rind. 
 This mixture was cooked in the mix master bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and stirred constantly.  

When I was little, it was my job to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as the mixer mixed.  I have always
loved those delicious patterns the beaters elegant promise of tasty things to come. 

The mixture made three 200 ml jars.  One is almost gone, one went home with my daughter and the grandsons today and I have hidden the last one.  


  1. How delicious! But I do think you are a bit crazy to be slaving over a hot stove on a 40c day!!!

  2. Truly? I have never done it this way before but I will be sure to try it. Thanks Hazel.

  3. Happy New Year, looking foward to following your blog in 2011. Best wishes, Kelli.

  4. Great looking jars of jam mum used to always cook a roast on a boiling hot day, we used to wonder why????
    But we ate it anyway!!!

  5. oooh - lemon curd!
    Bugga! - only 1 lemon left on the tree :(

  6. I have exactly the same mixer, given to me by my older sister when she updated. I love it. Unfortunately mine doesn't have the original bowls.

    I made lemon curd for a cheesecake topping the other day - never made it before. I'll have to try your recipe because I had to strain the eggs in mine.

    Cheers, Judith

  7. Those jams are nothing short of magnificent Hazel. The cook is one talented and motivated lass indeed, my shed stay is truly going to be the gastronomic experience of a lifetime.

  8. Oh yum!!!! You know A Mixmaster has a certain smell, know what I mean? Love it!

  9. Hazel did you wait until I didn't have any lemons left before you posted the wonderful Lemon Curd method? I have lots of limes so I might try Lime Curd!
    I love your post today Hazel, the photos of the preserves, the narrative and the danger comparison.

  10. Hi Hazel; You certainly made some dramatic changes to the look of your blog! Re the thumbnail picture of yourself: presumbably the cuppa is characteristic; but why no corks around the rim of your hat? I thought they were mandatory in Oz...
    The preserves look smashing. I'm just going to make myself some toast for breakfast, so I shall imagine I'm eating it with your lemon curd.

  11. Love the new look on your blog and the collies in your jams are beautiful. I've never tried lemon curd before but think I'll give it a go. Thanks.


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