Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd is Christmas in a jar.  It's pure yum.  It's the absolute perfection of sweet and sour.  I love lemon curd so much that I would marry it if I could.

Actually, that might mean I would get sick of it and then that would suck.  You know how it is right?  You meet this person - or maybe you've known this person for a long time - and suddenly you want to be around them like all the time.  You wish that you could talk and hang and eat and get high and sleep and work with this person right there with you all the time.  You can't help yourself from getting off the subway one or two stops early just to see if they're home so that you can knock on their door and come up with some lame excuse about being nearby and needing a walk home.  You find out what time they're getting out of class or leaving work and conveniently find yourself walking by there and... OMG, what are you doing here... I had no idea... well... wanna go grab a drink or a movie or have a sleep-over for a few years or something.  You're not stalking at all because a few weeks, too many late phone calls, a couple too many drinks and some 'I'm-just-a-little-too-tipsy-to-be-coherent' emails later you're pretty much done.  You just over-dosed on that beautiful beautiful person that you couldn't get enough of and it will take another 16 years to decide that you were probably a jerk.  You'll see your mistake and have serious regret.  You'll try to find them on FB or something cause you'd really like to apologize for being such a dweeb.  You google them and come up short.  You start asking around to see if any old friends have info about the person.  You even write some letters to explain but you never send them.  You finally realize that the past is done and you have to truly own the fact that your obsessiveness and crazy expectations destroyed something that you really loved...

Yeah... I don't want that to happen with Lemon curd because it's pretty much the awesomest thing going right now.  At this moment, I'm eating a little bit out of the jar because it's so awesome.

I made 7 jars and I guess that I'd better give away most of them because otherwise we all know what road I'm going down.
This recipe is mad easy and if you want to make it then just make sure you have some really awesome friends to share it with.  Don't let the above story happen with you and lemon curd.  Tragic.

Lemon Curd adapted from GoodFood Magazine
makes about 7 250 ml jars

8 oz unsalted butter
zest and juice from 8 lemons
12 oz sugar
12 eggs, well beaten
2 - 3 tbsp corn starch

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan melt the butter over medium/low heat.
Add in the zest and juice from the lemons.  Heat to warm.
Add in the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add a couple of ladles full of the warm lemon mixture into the beaten eggs, stirring constantly.
Gradually add the egg mixture back into the lemon/sugar mixture, whisking constantly.  Stir together for about 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
Add in the corn starch and mix well.
Pour the mixture into small jars to cool.
Place the lids on the jars and cool completely.
Refrigerate until using or giving away.
Will last for about 3 weeks in the fridge.

Oatmeal Bran Bread

Nothing says Christmas like Bran.

Haha - had you on that one.  Yeah, I know.  I've never heard anyone say that before.  Trust me though after baking all afternoon yesterday and suffering through that stupid linzer cookie recipe that you're going to be seeing very soon, I'm totally 'sweeted' out.  Damn - too much.
On Sunday I took all these pictures of this bread.  I didn't know when my internet connection would be back up and running but the thought of being able to post bread instead of some stupid sweet cookie right now really appealed.  There is something calming to both the mind and the soul when you have bread happening in your house.
I found this cook book hiding in the back of my shelf.  I bought it in Montreal.  The cookbook was written by the Mom of a girl in my friends choir  - that sounds way more complicated than it really was.  I thought the cookbook was pretty cool and used it a lot back in university.  I haven't pulled it out in recent years - hence it being in the back of the bookshelf - and seeing it again kinda woke something up.  I'm always on the hunt for interesting bread.  I'm always looking for another excuse to get to know yeast - it's a quest for me that yeast and I become friends.  Not being one to repeat recipes very often (which makes me the consummate food blogger I guess but really bad when it comes to repeating peoples favourite recipes) I need to find new ones to fuel my mission.   This little recipe book has bread recipes in it.  This one caught my eye.  It looked easy and contained both oatmeal and bran - great!

When I got into it and started to knead this bread I was convinced that I had done something wrong.  This dough was stiff.  I added another half cup of water.  It was still really stiff.  I was working hard to get this stuff to the smooth and silky stage - I'll be honest with you, after about 8 minutes or so of hard-slog-kneading I just gave up.  I buttered a bowl and plopped the dough in and thought that if it actually rose I would pour myself a drink and buy a lottery ticket.  If it didn't rise then I would make the Challah that was on the other page.  No loss.

Low and behold, after an hour the dough ball had doubled but it didn't like to be reshaped.  It told me flat out that if I tried to shape it into a loaf pan that it would revolt and turn into a hockey puck.  I obliged and Put the bread dome onto a buttered cookie sheet (pizza pan to be exact) and crossed my fingers.
Well, look at this - I have an artisan looking dome of bread.  It's a pretty damn dense loaf and I don't want to see what it will be like after a few days but it worked and it doesn't look like some kind of weird, goopy monster that so many of my other loaves have looked like.

I didn't listen to Christmas Music while the bread was baking.
I didn't even think about Christmas.  I listened to Mozart's Requiem and the washing machine.  It was magical.

Oat, Whole Wheat and Bran Bread adapted from 'Almonds and Raisins' by Evelyne Pytka
makes 1 large, dense round loaf

3 cups warm water
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp (2 pkg) yeast
1 cup oats
6 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bran
2 cups all purpose flour

Combine the warm water, salt, sugar, yeast and oats.  Stir and let it stand for ten minutes to let the yeast bloom.
In another  bowl combine the whole wheat flour, break dn 1 cup of all purpose flour.
Add the flour to the water/yeast mixture and mix well.
Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead in the other cup of all purpose flour.  Knead for about 10 minutes or until silky and smooth (ish).
Place in a large greased bowl and cover with a clean cloth.  Let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled (about 1 hr).
Place the dome onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Slice the top of the dome 3 times (or so - it's just to look pretty I think).  Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Boil some water and place boiling water into an oven proof bowl.  Place the boiling water in the COLD oven.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Bake the bread for about 40 minutes or until brown on the top and it sounds hollow when you knock on it.

The Waiting.

It seems that advent has decided to make itself more poignant for me this year.
Advent is not something I was terribly aware of previous to working in a Catholic school and Cathedral.  I don't know if I could have told you all about the 'waiting' period before the arrival of the Messiah... the one waited for.  Well, these few years later I know all about those weeks before Christmas and the significance of waiting.  And waiting is exactly what the last while has been like for me.
Allow me to illustrate:
I'm waiting to finish working... which will be the 23rd of this month and in the meantime I'm hanging on to sanity and calm with the most tenuous of strings.

I have this pile of food sitting in bags waiting to turn into something munchy and yummy.  I'm waiting to have time to hover over the oven for the couple of hours that making chex mex demands.

This beautiful turnip is sitting on the counter.  It's waiting so patiently.  It looks at me so innocently and meekly.  It's not screaming for my attention but it desperately wants to be turned into something beautiful and braised with cabbage... my turnip is part of my advent celebration.

These ribbons are strewn around waiting to grace the tops of jars of gifts and tied around bags of nuts and munchies to give away.

These cookies managed to get baked because I was desperate and these are my favourite christmas tradition bar none... now these cookies are waiting to be eaten.

This star represents my hope that the internet connection which died on me last week and somehow magically restored itself this a.m. will remain connected.  I don't like waiting.  Now that the internet gods have decided that I've paid for my internet sins sufficiently I will be posting the 20 or so posts that have been brewing since last week... I guess that you could say that by waiting for my new posts I have been helping you better celebrate the season of advent too.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
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  • More-with-Less Cookbook
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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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