I am a chronic renter and probably will be for many more moons to come. It suits me. The ability to pick up and leave when the time feels right. I love moving homes. Each place has had its own energy. Its own space you have to hollow out and make your own. There is something to be celebrated in imprinting part of your history onto a place. On my more melancholy days I might say you leave part of yourself behind in each place. The act of collecting moments for your timeline. Each place with its quirks, it shows you there is art in imperfection.
I hold something fond of all my homes.There was the dark little house in North East Valley where we grew rhubarb and had a ducky called Allan. There was my warm tiny home in Dunedin with yellow walls, roast every sunday, polaroids on the wall, vinyl on the record player and was inhabited by the best people you will ever meet. There was the skinny house in Darlinghurst, with a glass ceiling bedroom so you could fall asleep looking at the moon, the oven large enough to roast a suckling pig in and the broken spa pool in the kitchen (that we turned into a ball pit). My current home is all creaky floorboards and ancient cats.
Then there are the drawbacks. Currently there is a loose floorboard in my bedroom you have to remember to weave around so you don't fall in and break your ankle, there are exposed wires over the shower that mean every time you wish to be clean you dance with the possibility of electrocution and the plug in the bathtub is rusted shut so the notion of relaxing bubblebaths ha! don't even waste your time. And then there is the oven. ohhh the oven. That white trashy piece of garbage oven. Its a useless hunk of junk hell bent on sending me batshit crazy every time I attempt to cook anything in it. Cakes will burn around the edges and stay raw in the middle. Meringues blacken unappealingly on the lowest setting. Its simultaneously too hot and not hot enough. It wont melt cheese. It wont roast a chicken. It may cook biscuits so long as you rotate the trays every five minutes. And yet somehow I manage from time to time to produce some semi decent (and importantly halfway edible) creations.
The following recipe is one such failed creation where everything failed because of the shitty oven but last minute we were able to put something together that was not too terrible. As I was bent over the ruined crumbly mess that was my shattered pie shell whispering creation destruction as some sort of demented mantra I thought of Massimo. The chef whose soul is the crispy edges of lasagne. He has a dish called oops! I dropped the lemon tart. And it is a thing of beauty. An artwork which is "imperfect in a perfect way". Mine is not. But it is edible. And something a little different or deconstructed if thats your jam.
Lemon Curd Crumble with Brown Sugar Meringue
FOR THE LEMON CURD;
- 2/3 Cups - fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
- 2 Tablespoons (packed) fresh lemon zest
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 6 eggs
- 50 Grams butter, cubed
FOR THE CRUMBLE (AKA JACKED UP PIE CRUST);
- 125 grams unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) icing sugar
- 1 large egg (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 Cups Gluten Free Plain Flour
- 1/2 Cup Almond Meal
- 1/2 tsp Salt
1. For the Curd; Zest lemons and set aside. Halve lemons and juice. Whisk together juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently with the whisk. Slowly add bits of cubed, chilled butter, continuing to whisk frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of your whisk and the first bubbles appear on the surface (about 5-6 minutes).
2. Press curd through fine sieve into a container and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for hours and hours or until ready to use.
3. Preheat oven to 320°f/160°C and line baking tray with baking paper.
4. In a large food processor blitz together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, almond meal and salt) until well combines. Add butter and vanilla and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs.
5. Add in the egg and process until it just comes together but not too much so it resembles a ball. Crumble mixture onto the tray and bake until golden and crumbly.
6. To Assemble; Create a base of crumble, use an ice cream scoop to scoop out some lemon curd and sprinkle crushed brown sugar meringue (recipe below) over the top.
Brown Sugar Meringue
- 80g light brown sugar
- 4 eggwhites (120ml)
- 100g castor sugar
1. Preheat oven to 120C. Line baking sheet with baking paper.
2. Sift the brown sugar into a bowl and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggwhites until soft peaks form. Add the castor sugar in 3 lots, beating until the whites are glossy and thick. With motor still running, steadily sprinkle in the brown sugar.
4. Spoon tablespoon blobs of meringue onto the trays, leaving space between.
5. Bake for about 50 minutes until firm. Turn oven off and prop door open with a wooden spoon or similar and leave until meringues are quite cold. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe Adapted from Good Food