Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Credit Crunch Gifts

Christmas and New Year are finally over. All the frantic buying and wrapping has come to an expected end and normally I look forward to a bit of normality after the festive season but I was not looking forward to 2012. As thousand of pounds of fireworks graced the skies across Europe, we also heard the messages that continuously aired on the news regarding a recession looming upon us.

And if you are like me that has friends and families whose birthdays are in January (how inconsiderate!!), some creativity is needed when buying them gifts while being on a tight budget. Even though times are hard, a present however small is always appreciated. I thought long and hard about what present to get them which represents the appreciation I have for them and at the same time budget conscious. I tried looking at the shops and it is then I decided to make my own. I do what I do best. I'll make something delicious. I decided on Homemade Lemon Curd. I went out and bought 2 350 ml glass jars for 59p each (you can buy smaller jars and it stretch further), 4 lemons at 30p each, 4 eggs at 20p each. I have sugar, cornflour and butter in the larder. Everything costs under £5.00. You can argue that you can buy from the shops for less but nothing compares to a little thought and effort.

This is a recipe which I have tried and tested from Delia's Complete Illustrated Cookery Course and it is delicious. I use it on toast and also on tartlets to make individual meringue pies.

Makes 2 350 ml jar + little extra

 grated zest and juice 4 large juicy lemons
 4 large eggs
 12 oz (350 g) golden caster sugar
 8 oz (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small lumps
 1 level dessertspoon cornflour
You will also need two 1 lb (350 ml capacity) jars, sterilised


Begin by lightly whisking the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients and place the saucepan over a medium heat. Now whisk continuously using a balloon whisk until the mixture thickens – about 7-8 minutes. Next, lower the heat to its minimum setting and let the curd gently simmer for a further minute, continuing to whisk. After that, remove it from the heat. Now pour the lemon curd into the hot, sterilised jars, filling them as full as possible, cover straightaway with waxed discs, seal while it is still hot and label when it is cold. It will keep for several weeks, but it must be stored in a cool place.

More on credit crunch gifts next time...Happy Cooking

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