So I’m following The Artist’s Way: a 12-week course to discover and free your creativity. Obviously, that sounds like a right load of New Age tosh but it’s an interesting read and has lots of exercises to get you started on writing, painting or whatever floats your creative boat. But last week’s task was almost impossible: to not read anything for a week. A WHOLE WEEK. As someone who is never more than two feet away from a book, the task was always going to be tricky. And The Artist’s Way was written in 1993, long before we all became used to reading for most of our waking hours – receiving emails and texts on our phones, checking Facebook hourly and looking information up on Google so we don’t have to bother remembering anything.
The rationale behind the task is that we spend so much time and energy reading the words of others that we don’t have any time left over to create our own. I can see that. But it still didn’t help me get through the week.
In the end, I made a compromise where I didn’t read any books (successful!) and attempted to minimise Facebook, email and Internet time to 30 minutes a day (ok, not totally successful!) I had hoped that the task would force me to open up the document entitled ‘Novel’ and actually add some word count to it…but sadly that didn’t happen.
Instead I used some of the free time to make Limoncello Lemon Curd, which fits in nicely with my mission to fuse English and Italian cooking. In my opinion any recipe can be improved with the addition of alcohol and this is no exception. I’m a big lemon curd fan, especially when made with lemons picked from our own little tree, and I can honestly say that this is the best lemon curd in the world ever!!
Limoncello Lemon Curd
Ingredients – fills 2 small jam jars:
2 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
25 ml limoncello liqueur
The juice of 3 lemons (approx. 100 ml lemon juice)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
85 g diced butter
Sterilise the jam jars – wash the jars in soapy water and rinse in clean warm water. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Dry the jars, upside down, on a rack for 30 minutes. Leave to cool down a bit before removing them from the oven!
Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl. Stir in the sugar, limoncello, lemon zest and juice. Add the butter and set the bowl over a saucepan of very gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes until the butter melts, then use a whisk to continuously stir the ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. The lemon curd should have the consistency of custard. The curd will thicken as it cools.
Pour the hot lemon curd into the sterilised jars and leave to cool. When completely cool, cover the curd with a disc of baking paper and seal with a lid. Keep in the fridge and use within two weeks. But believe me, it won’t last that long!