Lusciously lemony

IMG_6631Call me old-fashioned, if I buy something I expect it to work – to be fit for purpose.

So what is the deal with plastic bags these days? I don’t bemoan paying for them and I’ve been recycling/reusing for years. What I don’t understand is why they have suddenly become so thin – there’s no hope in using them more than once. They’re usually not even adequate to carry the initial purchase. I hadn’t made it to the car with my two bottles of milk before the handles of this week’s bag broke and a hole developed in the bottom.

My question is, are we really using less plastic bags? I have to buy bags to line my rubbish bin – the supermarket/store ones are not fit to reuse. I take my trusty IKEA bags grocery shopping but you always need a bag for meat etc. More often than not, those one-off wine purchases need to be double bagged for fear of falling through the bottom (even I can’t manage drink a bottle between the check-out and supermarket door). I’ll pay 20c a bag if they are double the strength. This is hardly Fair Go stuff, but worth comment. I, for one, think I’m using more plastic bags than ever before.

Something I’m not going to grizzle about, and something way more reliable than plastic bags of the 2000’s are recipes by Alison Holst. Sure, Dame Alison is not as in omnipresent as today’s celeb chefs (I say yay to that), but her recipes have stood the test of time. And they keep coming – with over 100 books published.

IMG_6646If you know me, you know I adore citrus. It didn’t take me much convincing to give one of Alison’s recipes a go after trying a tasty lemon shortcake while out last week. This is a winner, served for morning tea or warmed for dessert. I’ve slightly modified the recipe and used about half the amount of sugar as the original.

You’ll need (for base and topping):

310g flour

2tsp baking powder

120g caster sugar

100g cold butter

1 egg, lightly beaten  (I use size 7)

2 Tbsp milk (approx.)

You’ll need (for curd filling):

100g butter

2 lemons (about 50ml of juice) and grated rind

120g caster sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Get cooking:

Heat oven to 180C. Line a 17.5×27 cm rectangular slice tin with baking paper.

IMG_6628For the base: sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and mix in the sugar (or put it into a food processor). Grate in the cold butter, then rub it in until it looks like oats  (or chop the butter into even sized cubes and process).

Make a well in the centre and add the lightly beaten egg. Add just enough milk so the mixture will stick together when pressed, making a dough. I do this whole process in the food processor.

IMG_6634Press half of the dough over bottom of pan, keeping the rest to crumble on top.

IMG_6638For the curd: melt the butter in a saucepan. Take off the heat and beat in the grated lemon rind and juice, sugar and eggs. Heat again, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Take off the heat as soon as bubbles form.

Pour the curd over the uncooked base and crumble the remaining dough mixture on top.

Bake for 25-30minutes in the pre-heated oven, until the top changes colour and the centre is almost as firm as the edges.

IMG_6644Cool in the pan, then cut to your desired serving size.

IMG_6653Serve dusted with icing sugar. For dessert, serve warm with ice-cream. Delicious either way.

Unlike the plastic bags, Alison and her son Simon’s recipes are fit for purpose and audience friendly. You won’t find recipes for frozen basil jelly cubes or three times cooked chips. What you will find are practical recipes that suit your lifestyle. Muffins to meat, slow cooker to treats, there’s a title for everyone. Long may they keep coming.

And if anyone has spare lemons, send them my way (again!).

3 thoughts on “Lusciously lemony

  1. Yes… it would go down really well at the shop…. I think I might ‘borrow’ some of Michelle’s limes and try a lime curd shortcake… if its good Ana I’ll make you a batch!


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