Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dinner Party Fare

I am going to a dinner party tomorrow night and seeing as I have Deadmau5 and Skrillex tonight I thought I'd crack onto the baking today because I won't wake up before 4pm tomorrow. Accordingly, I've started off a lemon (and lime) meringue pie, base is baked and lemon curd is in!

Lemon curd is so delicious and ridiculously simple. You can make it yourself at home and it is more delicious than even the Barker's stuff, and probably a lot cheaper, depending on whether you have your own lemon tree or not.

1/4c cornflour
1c sugar
1/2c lemon juice
2T lemon rind
3/4c water
Put these ingredients in a pan and heat gently, stirring constantly with a whisk. Eventually, when you have lost all hope and are about to tip the mix down the drain, it will start to thicken! Magic. When It is completely thick and lemon curd-y consistency, add three egg YOLKS and a tablespoon of butter. Mix it in and voila! Lemon curd. Delicious on toast, in tea cakes, between two melting moments, in the middle of a muffin...

Obviously this lemon meringue pie still needs meringue-ing (which I will do tomorrow night). I whipped up some chocolate chip easter cookies for the dinner party too. To be honest, I had this ball of raw cookie dough in my freezer because when I make the recipe I leave it unflavoured and freeze half. It will last you for a while in the freezer, then when you need to whip something up unexpectedly you can chuck in a few extra ingredients (ie lemon zest, cranberries, dried apricots, almonds, pistachios, chocolate chips etc), roll it out, cut out shapes and bake them for around ten minutes for a quick and easy cookie solution!

For this batch I finely chopped up some Whittaker's 50% Dark Ghana chocolate (any kind of chocolate found in the cooking/baking aisle of the supermarket is not worth even looking at) and threw it in the mix, then baked them at 180 degrees for around ten minutes, cooled them and dipped them in the remaining dark chocolate with about a tablespoon of butter. The butter ensures that the chocolate doesn't crack and go everywhere when your guests bite into them. Ingenious huh?

BASIC COOKIE DOUGH (so easy you'll remember it by heart)
250g soft butter
3/4c caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/4c flour
1t vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, mix in egg yolk and vanilla. When all this is thoroughly mixed, add flour (and any additional flavourings/ingredients) and mix till a soft dough is formed. Refrigerate for around half an hour, or till firm, then turn out on a floured board and roll and cut your cookie shapes. Bake at 180 degrees for ten minutes or till browned.


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