Tag Archives: cream

It’s all turned to custard

It rained on my mother’s birthday (15 June), it rained yesterday, and it rains still…and HOW! 110 ml in the past 36 hours.  Rivers and drains and ditches are overflowing and some of the city streets are flooded. When the weather deteriorates like this, or when anything worsens, New Zealanders often say ‘It’s all turned to custard.”

I don’t know the origin of this expression. When I left New Zealand in 1977, custard was confined to the family dinner table. When I returned to New Zealand in 1999, I was astonished to learn that a great many things, including our attempt to win the Rugby World Cup, had “all turned to custard”.  Why custard? Why was poor, innocent, humble custard chosen to represent the unbright side of life. Had New Zealand become a nation of custard haters in my absence?

I love my custard. So I am deeply affronted by the sullying of custard’s good name. 😉CustardI make all kinds of custard but,  for my favourite quick custard, I use Edmonds Custard Powder. Edmonds used to be a genuine New Zealand brand but it has been sold out to a bigger overseas concern . So does that mean even our national custard industry has turned to custard?

So, those are photos of  the beautiful custard which nourished my body and soul yesterday.  Here is how it was made: Three tablespoons of custard powder, mixed with one tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of cold, full cream milk.  Mix into a smooth paste.  Add 1/4 cup cream, mixed with a lightly beaten egg to the mixture.  Heat 1 and 3/4 cups of full cream milk and add this heated milk to the cold mixture.  Put the combined mixture in to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently, with frequent stirring, until the custard thickens. Add a few drops of vanilla or almond essence and serve hot or cold. This recipe makes a very thick custard. ( I like thick custard with a thick skin on top! ) To make a thinner custard use 2 tablespoons of custard powder.

That’s the custard. Now look at the photos of the weather that has ‘all turned to custard.’ Can you see a connection to custard? I can’t.

Footnote: I have taken a light-hearted approach to custard, and the weather, but the weather and flooding are extreme in some parts of the country. There will be extensive damage  to land and property as a result.

© silkannthreades

Glum crepusculum and other twilight zones

Twilight, or the crepuscular hours, can be beautiful.  The twilight of a warm summer’s evening,  the twilight of a desert dawn, or the brief twilight following a tropical sunset, are especial favourites with me.  But twilight that starts around eight in the morning, before a sunrise that barely happens, and  then  seems to go on for the entire day, as it did today, is altogether a case of glum crepusculum.  Today was the fourth day of winter; assuming that winter’s official start was 1st June. It was wet, dreary, cold, grey and sunless.  I am already over winter.  And it’s only just begun.

What to do?  Glumness is too dull to bear. Well,  I made a hearty, spicy lentil soup!  That was a bit cheering. But not quite cheering enough. So I made a golden, creamy custard which we ate for afternoon tea with homemade apple sauce and whipped cream.  Not my usual ‘cuppa’ for  afternoon sustenance but I figured that, if I was living in a twilight zone, a dessert, in place of tea, was neither here nor there. And it was delicious. One helping wasn’t enough. We had seconds.

Then what? Having fed my body, I decided to feed my mind, which is when I googled  ‘twilight’. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crepuscular  and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight).  And I discovered that cats  exhibit crepuscular behaviour which explains that cat you always see sitting at the gate, watching the world go by, shortly after sunset. That crepuscular activity is vespertine  which I think is a lovely, languid, slinky word that perfectly describes  that cat that sits and waits as the evening draws in.

Back in the realm of the ‘twilight zone’, I was amused to learn that another meaning for twilight zone is an “area of a city or town, usually surrounding the central business district, where houses have become dilapidated’.  That meaning  aptly describes  the state of the centre of our city,  post earthquakes.

But glum and gloomy as the day was, I have to admit the obvious, which is  that twilight is never completely dark; it cannot be, because in every twilight there are always degrees of light. That is the essence of twilight. So to lighten the mood, and feed the soul, here are some photos.

The first series features my beloved Tibetan carpets. They are a riot of colour and joy and light up my life every time my eyes alight on them. And strange to think that such vibrancy came from the hands and hearts of Tibetan refugees, who had moved from one twilight zone to live in another in their temporary home in Nepal.

The big picture:In full lightThese second photos were taken last week  to celebrate the birthday and enlightenment of The Buddha.

Now, as I end this post,  the true dark of night is here, and we again await the next twilight hour.  It  will be a matutinal twilight and, perhaps, will hold the  promise  of sunlight.Brilliance© silkannthreades