If life gives you lemons, make lemon curd with berries

A couple weekends ago my lovely friend Emily came to visit. She endured a long and arduous bus ride and yet still arrived bearing key ingredients for a delicious summer dessert.

–x–

Armed with

+ 6 eggs, separated (this recipe calls for 6 yolks and 2 egg whites; we saved the remaining whites in a little container for future low-cholesterol baking endeavours, or Sunday morning pancakes)

+ 3 lemons (zested and squeezed for ½ cup of juice)

+ ¾ cup sugar

+ ½ cup butter

+ A few cups of mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)

+ Something on which to pour the curd and berries (tarts, pieces of sweet bread, or scones, or croissants. Emily had brought yummy homemade raisin scones, which worked wonderfully.)

and Emily’s mum’s lemon curd recipe, we made one of the best Saturday evening meals in recent memory.

Yes, we made lemon curd and berries for dinner. We were going to have healthy dinner food, too, but when it came down to it we realised we weren’t that hungry, and as we say in my family: life is short, eat desert first.

This is what we did:

Melt the butter in a pot on low-to-medium heat. Whisk in the egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the lemony pulp lemon-juicing by-product. Whisk and whisk and whisk on medium heat for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool. Place tart/scone/dessert foundation of choice in a bowl and ladle on curd and berries. Eat!

our thickened lemon curd

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This was quite simple to make, and a good team-effort sort of recipe what with the repetitive actions of zesting and squeezing lemons (for which I was thrilled to be able to use the 25-year-old juicer gifted to me by my parents), and whisking.

A super delicious, lemony, summer dessert!

hand-me-down retro hand-juicer

dinner

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Vegan-easy

A lot of people might think that being a vegan, or cooking vegan meals, or baking vegan treats could be really intimidating. Like it might possibly involve a lot of strange and exotic ingredients, and kitchen acrobatics.

What is a vegan? What is a vegan meal?

A vegan is a human who chooses not to consume any animal products or by-products such as meat, cheese, eggs, dairy, butter, gelatin (sometimes in yogurt, licorise allsorts), fast food french fries (can be deep fried in animal fats), honey (made by bees), &c. It might also involve wearing clothes and shoes made only from plant-derived or synthetic materials (no leather or wool). Folks do this for political, ethical, dietary, religious, and/or health reasons. (This list, I recognise, fails to do justice to the myriad reasons which inspire and motivate people to become vegans, but which must suffice for the sake of brevity. If you know things about being a vegan/eating vegan, please share your thoughts! Teach me things!)

There are varying degrees of veganism. For example, some vegans may go so far as to avoid refined sugar, because sometimes animal charcoal is used in the refining process. A cool lady I knew, Steph, was a vegan for dietary and health reasons (for her, the ethical implications were an awesome bonus), and she owned and wore a kickass pair of leather boots. To each her own.

In short, vegan meals are meals that do not include any meat or animal byproducts. Making a vegan meal might sound challenging. ‘But what would you even put in a vegan meal?!’ one might ask.

the answer

The Vegan Stoner is here to prove that you can make delicious, nutritious, über-cheap, easy-peasy vegan meals with 6 readily-available ingredients in 6 steps! It is even illustrated!! Look:

I’m a big fan of these recipes because they are so basic, they don’t require that you have expensive kitchen tools or know fancy cooking techniques, and while some recipes call for an obscure vegan substitute, they are not all heavily soy dependent. (Soapbox aside: I tend to think an over-dependence on soy products is not terribly good for your body, or the earth. Maybe I’ll write about this another day.)

Since I am not vegan myself, I am ok with substituting cow’s milk yogurt for soy yogurt, and I am ok with using honey instead of agave syrup. (Though if you are looking for something a bit easier to come by than agave syrup, which is a cactus-plant-derived sweetener, you can opt for maple syrup, a tree-sap-derived sweetener.)

Have a go! I think you’ll like it: The Vegan Stoner.