When I was growing up in my Parents’ home, helping my Mom prepare the evening meals in the kitchen, one of her favourite sayings was, ” waste not want not”, which I believe she learned from her own mother. My Grandmother’s generation grew up in the time of the depression, when luxuries were rare and people made use of what they had to the maximum of it’s abilities. Clothes were handed down from brother to sister to cousin to neighbour until they finally became the rags used to wash the floor or clean the windows. Broken appliances or shoes were mended not replaced, and women had to be inventive with the small amount of food the money could buy. The skimping and stretching habits of two generations back have slowly disappeared in our society with a more buoyant economy but I still battle to ignore my Mother’s voice in my head when I’m in the kitchen. A recipe calls for 3 egg yolks and I’m often left with little jars of egg Whites sitting in my fridge until they have to be removed with tongs and a gas mask. I battle throwing food away until the very last minute, when it’s more likely to walk out of my fridge than be removed by myself. Last night’s stew is great on a baguette for lunch, and I hardly ever pre-dress a salad so that it stays crisp in the cold until the following day. I scrape the last bit of sauce from a bottle with a spatula until the glass is nearly clean and left over bits of pastry from a pie are kept in the fridge for making singe serving tarts for my lunch.
So what do you do when you’ve made a delicious chocolate mousse and have three egg yolks in the fridge in a cup? You make custard. Now, I know that these days, most people couldn’t be bothered making fresh custard. It’s just so easy to pop across to the corner store to pick up a carton of ready made, or make it from a powdered version, but let me tell you, neither of those options comes even close to the real thing. And what I find strange is that it’s not in the least difficult to make. It requires no special skills or specialised ingredients, just some basic things and about 15 minutes of your time. And you know that the ingredients are pure and fresh and 100% natural.
For a special treat, try using a real vanilla pod instead of vanilla extract, but for this recipe I didn’t happen to have any fresh pods in the pantry.
Fresh Vanilla Custard
1 cup cream
3 egg yolks
½ a vanilla bean (or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
40 ml castor sugar
– Beat the yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy. If using extract, add to the egg and mix well.
-Heat cream with vanilla (if using a bean) until it almost boils. Remove from heat.
– Add 2 Tbsp of the cream to the egg and mix.
– Gradually add the rest and stir to combine.
– Return mixture to pot, heat over gentle heat, stirring continuously until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
– strain, remove vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds into the custard.