Lemon Curd Parfaits
I have recently re-discovered one of my cookbooks. It’s one of the pleasures having (probably) too many cookbooks, that you come upon a book that you haven’t looked at for a few months - or longer – then you wonder why it ever made it back to the shelf. My discovery this time is Claire MacDonald’s Simply Seasonal Delicious Recipes for Year-round Informal Entertaining. This book was published in 2001, and it has some lovely seasonal recipes, the book is divided into the four seasons (!) and has suggested menus at the back, again for the respective seasons. I’ve never used any of the menu plans, but I like to read them, and imagine being on the Isle of Skye. I’ve been a good few times, although never to Kinloch, the hotel owned and run by the Macdonald family – one day we are going though.
Anyhow I’ve digressed a little. I sometimes look at this book and want to cook something from a different season, but this time both the Spring and Summer dishes I have bookmarked to try are calling to me. Although it’s Summer it’s really miserable with rain and even quite cold just now, so I thought it’d be ok to dip into the Spring chapter for a main course and the Summer one for pudding.
The recipes I chose are pork fillets marinated in kecap manis, then flash fried and finished off with tomatoes and cream. It is easily the best pork fillet I’ve ever cooked, so tender and a fabulously savoury sauce with the sweet soy sauce. Dessert was raspberries topped with a lemon curd mousse – if you have home-made lemon curd (and it’s really not the same with bought) it’s a breeze to put together.
The recipes are simple and seasonal. I have seen Lady Claire (as she was at the time) make the pudding at a charity demonstration three or four years ago, and while making it she spoke about a time when she had been at some event with a high profile male chef. I think I remember who the man was, but just in case I’ve got the name wrong I won’t name names! She made something with lemon curd, and the other chef had tasted the curd and said something like ‘Wow! Where did you buy this? I’ll have to get some’ to which Claire had replied ‘It’s mine’, to which he said ‘What do you mean?’ and she said ‘It’s mine - I made it!’ the chef was taken aback that it had not just been bought in. Home-made lemon curd is a world apart from even the best bought lemon curd, and it’s something I enjoy making, it is after all just a bit of light stirring and a watch full eye. You can make it in the microwave, and I have done this, but I prefer the hands on aspect of stirring.
Lemon Curd Parfaits
From Claire Macdonald’s Simply Seasonal
1 lb raspberries
For the Lemon Curd
4oz butter, diced
2 large egg yolks and 1 large egg, beaten together
4 oz caster or granulated sugar
zest of 3 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
For the Parfaits
½ pint double (heavy ) cream, whipped to soft peaks
2 large egg whites
2 oz icing (confectioners) sugar, sieved
a few drops vanilla extract
Put all the lemon curd ingredients into a pyrex bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts, then continue to stir until it is very thick. Leave to get cold (will keep 4 -5 days in the fridge).
To make the parfaits, whisk the egg whites, and when they are stiff, gradually whisk in the sugar until you have a stiff meringue. Divide the berries between 6 serving glasses. Fold the meringue into the whipped cream with the vanilla, then fold in all the cold lemon curd – leaving it streaky. Divide between the glasses. Serve with biscuits if you like. NOTE: Contains raw egg whites.
Pork Fillet with Tomatoes, Cream and Dijon Mustard
From Claire Macdonald’s Seasonal Cooking. I have divided the recipe by three, to serve two, but the books recipe is for 6 and it is easily multiplied up again if you’d like. Claire also just says soy sauce in the recipe, but mentions kecap manis in the introduction.
1 x ½ lb pork fillet
2 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
100ml Double (heavy) cream
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 vine tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
Slice each pork fillet lengthways and then bash between 2 pieces of cling film until the meat is well flattened. I sliced them into bite size pieces. Put them in a dish and spoon over the kecap manis. Leave in the fridge covered, to marinate overnight.
Heat the oil and brown the pork well, which should also cook it through. Remove the pork to a plate and add the cream, mustard and pepper to the saute pan. Stir to scrape up any brown bits (I added in the remains of the marinating kecap manis as well). Add the pork pieces back in and the diced tomatoes as well, heat for a minute or two until the pork is heated through.