S1, Ep 8: Post-hoc women, an ode to condensed milk and the tale of a Swedish wedding cake

 
 Winter on the pecan farm

Winter on the pecan farm

 
 
 Frosty mornings

Frosty mornings

 Bush lemons

Bush lemons

 

While Gillian is out of the country and can do nothing to stop me, I am including three condensed milk recipes which I unashamedly love. The sight of the used tins of condensed milk in the bin is an apt culinary representation of the more general 'good-enough' parenting vibe I am emitting at home while I finish the book. And thanks to Ryan for your cameo and lemon pie recipe, included below.

Annabelle xx

 

 
 I received some lovely mail this week. Here is a letter from Cathy - on instagram as  @cathyhamilton_bongalong  - an artist who does exquisite animal portraits, which you can buy in gift card form as pictured here.

I received some lovely mail this week. Here is a letter from Cathy - on instagram as @cathyhamilton_bongalong - an artist who does exquisite animal portraits, which you can buy in gift card form as pictured here.

 Ryan's condensed milk lemon pie

Ryan's condensed milk lemon pie

 
 
 And more beautiful mail this week - a letter from Naomi Bulger, who, as you can see, makes the most beautiful envelopes. Find more of her work on instagram  @naomibulger  or  here . And on the right are little cards embedded with seeds made by Cathy (of the animal gift cards above). So you can write a message, send it to a friend and then, after reading it, your friend can plant the card. I think it is the most wonderful idea.

And more beautiful mail this week - a letter from Naomi Bulger, who, as you can see, makes the most beautiful envelopes. Find more of her work on instagram @naomibulger or here. And on the right are little cards embedded with seeds made by Cathy (of the animal gift cards above). So you can write a message, send it to a friend and then, after reading it, your friend can plant the card. I think it is the most wonderful idea.

 
 
 Cold mornings, breakfast by the fire

Cold mornings, breakfast by the fire

 The sight of children baking. Sometimes it warms my heart, but mostly it fills me with terror.

The sight of children baking. Sometimes it warms my heart, but mostly it fills me with terror.

 

 

Ryan's Lemon Pie

 
 Ryan's lemon pie.

Ryan's lemon pie.

 

On Sunday, four families came over for an impromptu early dinner. The pantry was pretty bare. But I did have all the ingredients needed to make Ryan's lemon pie, and enough to double the pie filling to feed the masses. It was a cinch to make and quite lovely thank you Ryan. 

For the crust:
1 packet of Nice biscuits (or whatever is left of the packet after your children have found them. I added some almond meal to do a fishes-and-loaves on the biscuits that were left)
125g melted butter

For pie filling:
3/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 average sized lemons at room temp)
4 egg yolks
1 x 395g/14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk

Grease a 23cm (or near enough) tart tin

Preheat oven to 180C

Blitz or crush the biscuits, depending on your kitchen apparatus. I crushed mine in a baking tray with the base of a wine bottle. Pour over melted butter and use your fingers to press down into the tray. Bake for about 8 minutes until slightly brown. When you have taken the base out of the oven turn down to 160C.

Let the base cool while you whisk together the eggs yolks, lemon juice and condensed milk for a couple of minutes. Pour over the base and bake until set, about 25 mins. Chill in fridge, serve cold. And don't try to lift it out of the tart tin until it has firmed up in the fridge.

And with all the leftover squeezed lemon halves, why don't you do as Gillian does, and make up a batch of her natural cleaner: Fill a large jar with equal parts vinegar (cheap stuff) and water. Add in the used lemon halves and some sprigs of rosemary, et voila. You can decant some of the mix into a spray bottle and use as you would a regular cleaning spray.

 
 Gillian's natural cleaner

Gillian's natural cleaner

 

 

A Slice for Spying

Mum would make this slice almost every week and it was held in high regard by both my sister and I, and also the rest of the neighbourhood kids who would gather after school in mum's kitchen to eat it. Now that I'm a mother myself, I see that if you want to be able to keep an eye on your children and know what is going on with their friends, all you need to do is make this slice. Like bees to a honeypot, they will come in swarms. And they should too, it is so sweet!

 
 A slice for spying

A slice for spying

 The slice, ready to go, for afternoon tea in the park

The slice, ready to go, for afternoon tea in the park

 

1 1/2 cups of crushed biscuits, a half-half mix of milk arrowroots and gingernuts is my favourite

125g butter

300g choc chips

1 cup of chopped nuts (pecans of course)

100g sweetened desiccated coconut

1 x 395g tin condensed milk (this is overkill, you probably only need half or 3/4 of the tin, but what are you going to do with a quarter of a tin of condensed milk?)

Line a 23 x 33cm cake tin, or thereabouts

Preheat oven to 180C

Pour in melted butter and sprinkle in crushed biscuits and press down with your fingers. Sprinkle over a layer of choc chips, a layer of coconut and a layer of nuts and lightly press down again. Pour condensed milk over the top and bake until light brown, about 25 minutes. Best served cold.

Nigella's no-churn coffee ice cream

Here is the recipe. The words "you don't make a custard and you don't need an ice-cream maker" are positively uplifting.

Links

One of Ryan's favourite letters: Hunter S. Thompson writes about finding your purpose and living a meaningful life.


Gillian's postcard from Sweden

In this podcast episode, Gillian recounts the making of a wedding cake for a young couple in Sweden, under very trying circumstances. You must listen to her dispatch. I was on the edge of my seat, frantically cheering her on. Bravo Gee Bee!

 
 Lupins in the garden. Arild, Sweden.

Lupins in the garden. Arild, Sweden.

 The garden is alive with flowers, birds and insects. Arild, Sweden.

The garden is alive with flowers, birds and insects. Arild, Sweden.

 I can see the sea from the kitchen, across the garden and fell meadows. Arild, Sweden.

I can see the sea from the kitchen, across the garden and fell meadows. Arild, Sweden.

 Daily walks down to the sea. Arild, Sweden.

Daily walks down to the sea. Arild, Sweden.

 Early morning at the beach. Arild, Sweden.

Early morning at the beach. Arild, Sweden.

 The kitchen where I made the wedding cake. 

The kitchen where I made the wedding cake. 

 Elderflower syrup that I made from flowers in the garden. I strained the flowers off before using it.

Elderflower syrup that I made from flowers in the garden. I strained the flowers off before using it.

 Locally-grown strawberries which are in abundance at this time of year.

Locally-grown strawberries which are in abundance at this time of year.

 Looking down on top of the cake. I used philadelphus, clematis and aquilegia from the garden to decorate.

Looking down on top of the cake. I used philadelphus, clematis and aquilegia from the garden to decorate.

 The cake, champagne and pretty frocks.

The cake, champagne and pretty frocks.

 They're married!

They're married!

 The beautiful Mimmi on her wedding day.

The beautiful Mimmi on her wedding day.

Gillian's tips from Sweden

I stayed in a house I found on airbnb, in the village of Arild, which is in the Skåne region of Denmark. The link will provide more information about this area.

As summer approaches in Sweden, so does Sweden's strawberry (jordgubbar) season, which lasts beyond midsummer. Stop at any of the numerous farm stands everywhere in southern Sweden and conduct your own strawberry tasting.

If you are visiting this area and interested in good produce, here are some links:

  • Kullasparris - Ecological asparagus
  • Höganäs Saluhall - Find small, local producers in this the market hall in Höganäs
  • Odlat och utvalt  - Carefully chosen produce, farmed at their location
  • Flickorna Lundgren - famous bakery in the White Guide. Use of local produce only. A lovely place to visit as well.
  • Engelbrekts - Focuses on apples but also possible to buy a bit of everything at their farm shop.
  • Larsviken - family owned business with shop filled with local delights. 
  • Kulla Gårdsbutik - sells flowers, veggies etc that are locally harvested