So do you have a citrus problem? Find them coming at you from everywhere? That happened to us last year. We threw our first party in over two years. Both L and I both bought lemons and limes by the ton, and probably used but two on the day. Nothing worse than watching them shrinking to wizened versions of their former proud selves.
But enough about the two of us. A top tip I picked up recently is if you don't think you're going to be using lemons soon, store them in a bowl of water in the fridge. The fact that even older ones resuscitated when it looks as though they were past saving suggests to me that they must be absorbing water, so I don't think I would recommend it long term. Comments, please from any botanists out there.
In that particular instance we made lime and lemon marmalade. Very lovely, but it doesn't half take ages. From time to time L makes lemon curd, but that too takes a long time, a positive down side for a lady who's into instant gratification. Until now that is.
Liz T is a good friend and cook extraordinaire (though she cheats, having been formally trained). She came up with this very speedy recipe. How is it so fast? Because, believe it or not, it's done in the microwave. (Another top tip - we're full of them this year already - to get the maximum amount of juice out of a lemon or lime. Forget rolling them hard on a kitchen surface. Put in the microwave at full power for 35 seconds.) L has followed this recipe to very good effect. Because of the amount of butter, the curd will set as it cools. Just don't be tempted to overdo the zapping in the micro as you run the risk of curdling the mixture.
Liz Turnbull's Quick Lemon Curd
Juice and grated zest of 4 lemons; 450g caster sugar; 4 eggs, beaten; 100g butter.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and pop into your microwave. Liz recommends a microwave with a turntable. It really doesn't matter provided you stir well between zaps. L used a balloon whisk.
Cook on full power for 1 minute, then stir. Repeat till the mixture is starting to thicken. Thereafter give it 30 second bursts, stirring at each interval. The curd is ready when it can coat the back of a spoon. It will be quite liquid, but will set as it cools in the jars because of the butter content. The mixture will curdle if you overdo it. (Yes, I know I said that before, but half of you lot don't even read the recipe, never mind the preamble. There's a new year resolution for you.)
Decant into sterilised jars with a wee circle of waxed paper on top - but you knew that. How long does it keep? Not a clue, because it never lasts very long in our house. Bear in mind that it's cooked eggs and butter. Not a preserve such as jam or marmalade. Store in the fridge and scoff quite soon.
Aside from spreading on your toast, I think there are a fair few other things which you can do with lemon curd. I'll open the floor to you bakers out there. Come the summer time, try mixing some with plain yoghurt as a topping for ripe strawberries. Heaven.