STRAWBERRY & CARDAMOM CURD

Ok confession time: I have a big fat crush on Heidi Swanson. I feel safe saying that because, chances are, you probably do too. Her photos are enchanting and she makes healthy food sexy. That's right, sexy. Not just delicious (healthy food often is), but when reading her recipes you catch yourself making eyes with stuffed shells or declaring things like "my god if I don't have brown sugar walnuts I might combust."


This crush was amplified when I tried Heidi's Ginger Grapefruit Curd recipe.

Ok, confession time #2: I'd never tried curd before, let-a-lone made it, but I was smitten from that first creamy, zesty spoonful.


Fast forward to now and I'm a curd-convert with a mountain of cheap, fresh strawberries. Obviously the only sane thing to do was make strawberry curd. A hint of cardamom adds an aromatic yet savoury touch, and a splash of balsamic rounds out tartness.

It tastes like lemon strawberry cheesecake. Put it on toast, mix it in with yoghurt, spread it onto biscuits, heck devour it with a spoon. Just eat it.


Ps. Sorry for the lack of sewing. The bombshell is time-consuming, but no more so than my study. T minus 4 weeks people!!!

Strawberry & Cardamom Curd
It doesn't feel right to reproduce a recipe already in the blogosphere, but I made a few alterations from the original. Please see Heidi's version here which I encourage you to try! 

Ingredients
1 cup strawberry juice (I needed 16 strawberries, or 345grams)
2 green cardamom pods, with the inner seeds crushed.
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp / soft
60 ml honey (if you want to use sugar, see original recipe for amounts)
2 large egg yolks at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/8 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained


How to
Put strawberries (with removed stems) into a food processor until they become liquid (you could do this without a processor, but be prepared for mess!). Using a sieve, strain the juice.  Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice and the crushed cardamom seeds. If your juice is under 1 cup, you can top it up with lemon juice.

Simmer the grapefruit juice in a small saucepan until it reduces by half (1/2 cup). Leave to cool for a bit.

Cream the butter in a medium stainless steel or glass bowl (note: you'll use this bowl as a makeshift double-boiler later) and beat in honey. Add the yolks, and then the eggs one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each addition. Stir in the salt, strawberry juice, and remaining 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

Rinse out the small saucepan you used earlier, and fill 1/3 of the way full with water. Bring to a simmer, and place your stainless steel bowl of curd on top of it. Stir constantly, and slowly heat the curd (this step usually takes me about ten minutes). Pull the curd from the heat when it is just thick enough to coat your spoon and mix in the balsamic vinegar. Your curd will thick substantially as it cools.

Makes about 2 cups. Eat warm or cold. It keeps refrigerated for a week, or up to a month in the freezer.

TARO CHIPS

This isn't a recipe, more of a "guys have you been making Taro chips?!?"


I hadn't. Until now. But now I'll be making them all the time!

The Taro plant (Colocasia esculenta) grows underground, like a potato or sweet potato, with large leaves that can be steamed like spinach. The tuber of the plant (which I've used to make chips) has a tough brown skin which cocoons the starchy inside. 


The insides make this a particularly special vegetable; let us take a moment to admire its deliciously freckled flesh: 


It has a nutty flavour and when baked as a chip it almost has the texture of... wait for it... lavosh bread.

I'm in love.


Taro must be cooked to dissolve the oxalic acid (which can, apparently, provide serious discomfort). For more ideas on cooking with Taro, including flavour partners, check out Harvest to Table. For mouthwatering salted chips, see below. 

Taro Chips
Don't get too bent over different thicknesses of your chips if you don't have a mandolin. I find the varied textures (resulting from varied thicknesses) really enjoyable!

Ingredients
1 peeled Taro tuber, cut into slices approx 10-20mm (1/16-1/8") wide
Oil (grapeseed or sunflower)
Salt & Pepper (pepper optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390 F) and place a tray in the top third of the oven. 

Line a tray with baking paper brushed with a little oil. Place the Taro slices on the baking paper. It's Ok if they're touching, but make sure they don't overlap. Brush with a little more oil (you don't need much) and then generously salt. I also added a little pepper. 

Bake for 10-20 minutes, turning the tray around half way if your oven is a little biased to one side (as mine is!). 

Let cool & eat.