• Simple tips for smart food… by Anna Montali

    How to make quick lemon curd
    The trick is to make sure the egg doesn’t curdle by careful heating and constant stirring. In a large mixing bowl place 100g butter, 200g (1 cup) sugar and 3 large eggs. Using a hand-held blender, mix until well combined. Add the juice and zest of 4 large lemons and continue to mix. At this stage the mixture will look as though it has curdled, but don’t worry. Spoon it all into a pot and slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat and keep stirring until the mixture has thickened. Pour into a sterilised jar and leave to cool before refrigerating. Lemon curd can be frozen or stored in the fridge for up to a week. Adjust the sugar according  to your taste. Delicious on toast.

    How to preserve oranges in brandy
    Wash enough small oranges to fill a 1-litre sterilised jar. Place 500g sugar and 500ml (2 cups) water in a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Prick the oranges with a cocktail stick and place in the pot with cinnamon sticks and star anise. Simmer until the oranges are soft, about 1 hour. Transfer the oranges to the prepared jar. Continue to simmer the syrup until thick. Mix in 250ml (1 cup) brandy and leave to cool completely before pouring over the oranges and sealing the jar. Leave to soak for about a week. Serve with ice cream or custard.

    How to use gelatine
    As a general rule, 15ml (1 tbsp) of gelatine granules or 6 gelatine leaves will set 500ml of liquid.

    • For leaf gelatine, soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water until soft, about 1 minute. Squeeze out any excess water, add the squeezed sheets to the hot liquid and stir to dissolve.
    • For gelatine granules, place 45ml (3 tbsp) water in a glass mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the surface. Leave to swell for about 5 minutes, then pour into the hot liquid and stir to dissolve.  

    How to boil mielies
    There are many ways to cook mielies (if you boil them on the stove, don’t add salt to the cooking water as it stops them from becoming tender) but I find this microwave method the easiest, quickest and tastiest. Place cleaned mielies in a microwave-safe dish and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the mielies with salt to your taste and top with cubes of butter. Cover with plastic wrap and make a few holes with a knife. Microwave on high until just cooked.