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.
If 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):
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):
2 lemons (about 50ml of juice) and grated rind
120g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 180C. Line a 17.5×27 cm rectangular slice tin with baking paper.
For 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.
For 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.
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!).