Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

A lemon slice

My last post, featuring my now-departed in-laws’ lemon tree (and therefore its now departed lemons from my life), elicited some requests for a recipe from a lemon slice I make. There are lots of recipes online for lemon tarts, slices, and – in the US/Canada I think – lemon bars. What I make is a version that we first became familiar with at our neighbourhood restaurant, that I invited you all to here. We most often go for brunch, though last week we took visitors there for dinner. Instead of having a big dessert, we share two tiny triangles of this lemon slice (or as they say on the menu, sweet treats) with coffee. They are sweet, and gooey. Delicious!

I tried to find similar recipes. They were close but not close enough. One of the owners, who makes the slice for the restaurant (though he is not the chef), took pity on me, and scribbled the recipe on a card for me one day. I’ve grappled with it, as he didn’t give much information, but finding the right size slice tin was key to finally getting it right! Here it is. Thankfully, google will help with temperature/measure conversions and any terminology differences.

Taste’s Lemon Triangles

1 cup flour (150g)
1/2 cup icing sugar (75g)
125 g butter

Mix in a food processor until it forms a ball.
Remove and press into a slice tin (approx 23 x 32 cms),
and bake for 12-15 mins at 180oC.

2 cups castor sugar
1 TBSP self-raising flour
4 eggs
2-3 lemons, zest and juice (approx 1/2 cup)

Mix all ingredients together.
Carefully pour over the warm pastry base, and
bake a further 20-25 mins at 180oC.

Cut into squares, rectangles, or triangles when cold, and if desired, sprinkle with icing sugar.

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  1. My new iPad. My old one was about nine years old, and although it still works okay as an e-reader and occasional browser, Apple stopped updating its operating system ages ago, and so some sites just won’t work on it. Even our digital newspaper app doesn’t work properly on it. In particular, I couldn’t stream anything on it, and that’s one of the things I want to use it for. Its memory is so small (only 16 GB, which drops to about 12 or 13 usable, which barely holds anything) that I had all non-essential apps deleted, no photos kept on it, wasn’t even able to use my email app, etc. So it was time to get a new one. After months I finally found the one I wanted – low spec (eg wifi only) but with 128 GB memory. I refused to pay the high-spec prices – they just seem outrageous to me. Oh, what joy it was to be able to download whichever apps I wanted, and to be able to stream programmes or videos when I’m still in bed on a Saturday morning, or eating lunch at the dining table when the Husband is at golf. I can read the newspaper (we have a digital subscription) on it in the mornings, do my Worldle/Wordle puzzles on it, etc etc. My old one still works. If I’m desperate and my battery runs out on the other one I can use it for e-reading, but that’s about all.
  2. Of course, with a new iPad meant a new iPad cover, because of course they’re not the same shape anymore! I refuse to pay the exorbitant Apple prices for their covers when it is their fault I need a new one, so I found a fun one on TradeMe (NZ’s site comparable to Ebay/Amazon) with a Van Gogh painting design, and within a couple of days it had arrived. I love it! Don’t you?
  3. With the country opening up, our first visitors from overseas are arriving today . My BIL and SIL are visiting, just for a week. It will be the first time any of DH’s brothers have been here since their father died in September 2020. It will both be wonderful to see them, and wonderful too to be able to send all their things (both things stored in FIL’s house, and inherited items for them and their kids) off and be able to see the floor of my office again!
  4. Winter is arriving as I type this. Yes, it is a little gloomy, and yes, I don’t like being cold, but I’m ready for it now! I’m ready for the winter comfort food, and for snuggling in bed, and for the sound of the rain on the roof (can you hear it?), and for not having to have manicured toes, and for letting my (now longer) hair down around my ears to keep me warm.
  5. Reading. I’ve been reading up a storm the last few months, and I’ve been really enjoying it. I am deliberately choosing books with great reputations that I think I will enjoy, some serious reading and some not so serious (in other words, I’ve discovered the Bridgerton books).
  6. The aforementioned new iPad gave me three months free of Apple+TV, and I’ve loved The Morning Show (I know I’m late to this, but it was worth the wait), Slow Horses, and Severance, and Foundation was okay, and we’ve tried Ted Lasso but I suspect you might need to be American to truly love it (we’ve watched about six episodes). The three months trial must be ending soon, and I’ll have to decide whether to stay with them (along with the other streaming services we pay for). But I’ve loved the bonus viewing has been great.
  7. The bread recipe I talked about here. It is so easy, and the bread is so so good, and it has been shared to so many people, that I felt I should share the recipe here so you can make it too. You can vary the bread flour amounts, and the seeds and nuts. It is dense and reasonably heavy and makes great sandwiches and magnificent toast! I’d love to hear that someone else has tried it.

    3 ½ cups of bread flour (I use 2 cups of strong white bread flour, and 1 ½ of wholemeal, but will experiment with others, including rye and spelt)
    1 dessertspoon of instant /fast acting yeast
    1 dessertspoon of salt
    2 ½ cups of tepid water
    Assorted nuts and seeds (I add about ¾-1 cup, which was purely a guess, and use sunflower, pumpkin, ground flaxseed/linseed, and some chopped walnuts, but you could try anything)

    Mix them all together, pour into a lined loaf tin, and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 250C for one hour (straight from the fridge). (You may need to experiment – it is too high for my oven, so I use 235C fanbake) Cover after 25-30 minutes to avoid burning the crust.

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I read that those who like spicy food are more likely to take risks, which makes sense I guess. I love curries and hot food, though not too hot. So when I order spicy food in Thailand, I am distinctly risk-averse, and ask for only one “met” of chilli in my somdum (green papaya salad). I guess it’s par for the course – I will take some risks, but not go crazy!

I had a few more mistakes in the kitchen a while back. I was trying a new bread recipe that didn’t specify which yeast to use, so I used my regular yeast, not fast-acting “instant” yeast. I was wrong. It did not rise, and it did not rise, so I decided just to give it time – all day and all night. Then baked it the next morning. Turned out not too bad! And in fact, the flavour was so much more developed than when I made the same recipe (correctly) a week or so later. Here’s the evidence of the “mistake”:

But my second failure was trying hot cross buns. The recipe helpfully said to leave the buns proving in the fridge overnight. That did not work at all! The buns were not a success. It was a good thing my husband did his regular Good Friday run over to our favourite bakery with the best HC buns in the city and bought some delicious buns to enjoy over the long weekend. I didn’t need to buy Easter eggs though – I made these delicious marshmallow (NZ’s favourites) chocolate eggs.

I tried another new recipe, recommended by a friend, who got it from her brother, whose friends are all making it and who got it from his friend – in other words, it seems to be popular! And it worked great. It was a mix of bread flour and wholemeal flour, with seeds and nuts in it. Very yummy for a sandwich, and made great toast. It was another recipe that just requires all ingredients thrown together and mixed overnight, and then kept in the fridge to rise, before baking it in the morning. I’m going to try it again, with different seeds and nuts, and a variation on the flour. Looks good, don’t you think?

It was ANZAC Day here yesterday. For several years, I had baked the traditional ANZAC biscuits and shared them with my father-in-law, who liked them. But he’s no longer with us, and my husband isn’t a big fan, and there just didn’t seem to be a point. Sigh. I’ll have to find an excuse to make them for someone else. They’re a Kiwi/Aussie (the ANZ part of the ANZAC biscuit) favourite, I grew up with them on a regular basis, and I haven’t had any for two years now. I need to make some!

I enjoy the baking, despite the occasional failures, but when it comes to dinner time, I’ve really lost my mojo recently. I’m in a rut, cooking the same Thai curries and stir-fries (which I love), plus a few other basics, over and over again. Does anyone else get the what’s-for-dinner blues?

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