For various reasons including a vomiting child and a cancelled party (both the child and the party being my responsibility), I found myself at a loose end and with excessive amounts of oranges to hand earlier today.
What to do?
My eyes strayed to the eggs, and I started to think curd. Specifically, orange curd, having a number of oranges available that were intended for the vast vat of mulled wine I had planned for aforementioned party...
Then I began to wonder if you could lace in that quintessential aroma of Christmas - cloves - into the curd. Such is the way my mind works.
I was making bread sauce in advance of Christmas Day last week, and that smell of clove-y, milk-y, onion-y bread is inextricably linked to this time of year for me, Combine clove with orange and it reminds me of my Granny, who always had a pomander knocking around, Christmas or not, and it reminds me of mulled wine. I mean really. What's not to like?
Since we've moved, one of the things I have definitely missed is the chickens. Our old ladies were unlikely to have made the journey down the M4 and beyond, so we re-homed them, and I have been buying eggs ever since. I was aware that the current stash of eggs were getting on, but marked with the British Lion Egg* logo and a date, I was confident that they would be OK - a change from the hastily scrawled dates I used to add to the eggs of our own chooks as I collected them.
Curd is one of the great things you can make with eggs, although if you're not confident that you have mastered how to boil an egg, you might want to do that first, but then curd has to be one of the things you must make with eggs. You just have to remember that it will take a long time. And during that long time you have to be prepared to stand, stirring, ever-vigilant to avoid turning your fragrant pan-full into lemon (or lime, or orange, or whatever flavoured)scrambled eggs, rather than a deliciously rich and smooth custard. And it simply isn't worth turning the heat up either, for the same reason.
If you're used to sharp lemon or lime curds, this is quite a different animal. Sweet, but not overly so and with a hint of those delicious seasonal flavours, it's almost almondy. In fact it would be delicious with a frangipan topping in a tart (thinking out loud, note to self etc etc)
Makes one delicious jarful
50g caster sugar
125 ml sweet, freshly squeezed orange juice
3 large eggs
a couple of pinches of ground cloves and of ground cinammon
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over a gentle heat, then turn the heat down as low as you can and add in the rest of the ingredients.
Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until a smooth custard forms which will coat the back of a spoon and allow you to draw a line through it with your finger.
Allow to cool slightly then decant into a 350ml sterilised jam jar.
Hide at the back of the fridge and don't tell anyone else you made it.
*This post is sponsored by British Lion Eggs