Traditionally, it’s a little early to be celebrating the start of Spring. I don’t quite remember the last time I was able to sit outside in mid-February, write a blog post and share a recipe over a cup of coffee while enjoying the sunshine on my terrace with a seemingly unseasonable 17 degrees Celsius.
I also don’t remember the last time we were able to “celebrate” Sunday brunch. It’s been years since we last enjoyed this tradition.
IF I could, I would celebrate every Sunday. Some people go to church on Sunday’s and others spend time with their families. My idea of a perfect Sunday is to celebrate Brunch.
For me, there is so much pleasure and satisfaction in making everything for the table from scratch. I mean, everything. From the butter and jam that goes onto the home-baked croissants and bread to the fruit for the table, which would ideally come from the garden (we do grow hazelnuts, strawberries and apples!).
When you grow and prepare your own ingredients, you gain a whole new respect for the food you are eating.
We invited friends over to join us – the only friends we have on this ENTIRE continent who respect food and cooking as much we do! They have even written cook books and what I really respect about them is their curiosity to explore the world, one plate at a time.
My other half made croissants from scratch. He says “it’s easy” but the truth is that I don’t quite have the patience for the precise dough folding required. Plus, Murphy’s Law has an uncanny way of ensuring that I nick the dough by accident, in some way, shape or form, and anyone that has ever battled with croissant dough will know that even the smallest of nicks means the dough is as good as ruined (because the butter will run out).
Among other things, I whipped up my favorite sponge cake.
There is nothing quite like a fresh sponge cake, with berries, whipped cream and lemon curd.
Lemon curd is to Spring as ice cream is to summer. It is essentially a basic requirement.
And here, my recipe. An adaptation from Yotam Ottolenghi. Of all the recipes I have tried and tested, I like this one the best.
Enjoy it. Savor it. Put it on everything.
You will need:
100 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 2 organic lemons (unwaxed and unsprayed)
100 g sugar
2 organic eggs
2 organic egg yolks
90 g high quality butter cut into cubes
Begin by weighing out 90 g of butter and cutting it into cubes. Set aside half of the butter to add in at the very end.
Zest the organic lemons before cutting them in half and juicing them.
Prepare a bain-marie over medium heat and mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, egg yolks and half of the butter.
Whisk over medium heat in the bain-marie constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken and produce small bubbles. This will take a while, so be patient. Take care not to apply too much heat, or else the eggs will scramble.
(Keep in mind, that if you are using a high quality butter, you may see some white pieces when the curd starts to cook. This comes from the fat in the butter and they will dissolve rather quickly. If you see larger chunks of white pieces, this may very well be the egg cooking, in which case, there was too much heat applied, and I would start over again)
You will notice that the mix will start to thicken after a little while.
If you apply a small dab of the curd on the side of the bowl while it is cooking, you will be able to test if it is done or not. It is done, once it is no longer runny, and the small dab drips only slowly down the side of the bowl.
When you reach this consistency, take the bain-marie off the heat – add in the rest of the cubed butter – and whisk well for a couple more minutes.
Cover. Let cool. Refrigerate for up to three days (but I can assure you, you will finish the bowl before then!)