Summertime is here; the fish are jumpin’ and the junks arc sailin’. So what could possibly be better than spending a lazy afternoon with friends and family exploring Hong Kong’s 300-plus islands on a boat? Yes, we agree: nothing. The only thing that can make this experience any more perfect is a delicious spread and an exquisitely nautical table setting.
Use pretty white, blue and red crockery with simple stripes; for a subtle look, combine these with soft greys. Get creative and use Inside’s waffle towels as table linen — you can use them to dry off after that essential post-lunch dip, too.
1 Remember to book your boat far in advance, especially in summer months
2 The south side of the island is great if you want gorgeous beaches that aren’t too far from the city; otherwise set sail for Sai Kung
3 Dehydration is a key factor in seasickness, so make sure you don’t drink too much alcohol before your junk trip, and keep hydrated throughout the day
4 If you take anti-seasickness tablets, make sure you take them one hour before departure for the best results. Once aboard, sip on some ginger tea.
Bursting with freshness and a bright, sunny fragrance, lemons are one of nature’s most exquisite gifts to cooks. From its peel to its zest and its juice, the lemon can be used in myriad ways: in hot cooking, patisserie, confectionery, drinks, ice creams and sorbets. Here, we share four lemon-inspired recipes by Chef Robin IIo, group executive chef of The Marmalade Pantry, Toast and Pierside Restaurant and Bar.
The lemon brulee tart is perfect served cold for a weekend brunch with jugs of lemonade, while the lemon meringue chiffon cake will wow your guests. If you’re expecting a large party, the candied lemon filled with lemon and gin sorbet is a delicious alcoholic version of an old-time favourite, and the lemon pot au creme is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The petite pots of rich custard are a breeze to make, and Chef Robin shares some handy preparation advice: “To quickly remove excess visible bubbles from the hot lemon cream, simply torch the surface of the liquid before baking it in the oven.” If you feel like you’re going a bit overboard with the lemons, this flexible recipe works on other citrus juices for some flavour variation.
Lastly, should you find yourself with more lemons than you can finish, cook the juice with eggs and sugar, and you’ll get rich and tangy lemon curd to slather over toasted crumpets or plain crackers. Delicious!
GROUP EXECUTIVE CHEF THE MARMALADE PANTRY
Robin has come a long way from his first culinary job at a family-owned prawn noodle stall. The chef has since worked in Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide, and the culinary master says he believes in cooking with intuition. «Cooking is a beautiful art,» he says. «Creativity in the kitchen should be limitless.»
• 1 lemon = 2-3 tbsp juice and 2-3 tsp zest
• A good lemon should be heavy and fragrant, with a close-grained peel
• If choosing one for juice, choose thin, smooth-skinned lemons to yield the most juice
• If choosing one for zest, pick lemons with thick, bumpy peel for the maximum amount of zest
• Even if you don’t need the zest of an entire lemon, grate the entire peel anyway, then freeze the leftover zest in an airtight container and use when needed.
375 mL heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
140g honey (or caster sugar)
2 to 3 lemons (for the zest/juice)
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 160°C and position a rack in the centre. Place ramekins or small oven-proof jars in a heavy deep pan and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Turn the heat off but keep the cream warm. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and honey together for 2 mins. Add lemon juice and salt, whisk until smooth. Slowly pour heavy cream over egg yolk mixture, whisk well. Let stand for 2 mins to let any foam rise to the top. Skim it off and divide the mixture among the ramekins or jars. Pour hot water inside the pan, making sure the water comes at least halfway up the sides of the container. Bake for 20-30 mins.
CANDIED LEMON 10 lemons 3L water Simple syrup
500g lemon juice 500g eggs 300g sugar
500g butter, cut Intel-cm cubes Lemon peel
For candied lemons, cut a small hole at the bottom of lemon with apple corer. Remove pulp and clean pith. Submerge lemon in water, simmer for 6 hrs. Remove lemon, cool at room temperature. Remove remaining pith, place into simple syrup, simmer for 6 hrs. Remove and cool at room temperature. For lemon coulis, puree 6 peeled and seeded lemon, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp xanthan gum in blender until smooth, then strain over a bowl and chill to thicken slightly. For curd, bring lemon juice to a boil. Mix eggs and sugar and temper mixture with half quantity of hot juice. Add remaining juice and sieve. Cool at room temperature. Blend with butter and zest. For lemon gin sorbet, mix, churn and freeze 500g lemon juice, 100mL gin and 500g simple syrup in an ice cream machine.
Scoop sorbet into hollowed lemons, top with lemon curd. Before serving, drizzle with lemon coulis and balsamic vinegar, garnish v/ith candied walnuts, crushed pistachios and candied kumquat.
7 eggs, 1 of which separated 250g caster sugar
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 large lemons 142mL double cream
175g plain flour (set aside extra for dusting) 50g icing sugar (set aside 3 tbsp extra)
Pinch of salt
100g lightly salted butter (chilled, cubed, plus extra for greasing)
For the pastry, sift flour, icing sugar and salt into food processor. Add butter and process briefly until crumb-like. Mix separated yolk with 2 tsp of cold water, add to mixture and pulse until mixture comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Roll out pastry to a large, thin circle and line a lightly greased (25cm x 4cm deep) loose-bottomed flan tin. Prick base, put on a baking sheet and chill for 20 mins. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line pastry with baking paper and baking beans, bake for 15 mins or until lightly coloured. Remove paper and beans, bake for 3-4 mins. Brush base with remaining egg white and cook for 2-3 mins. Remove from oven and lower temperature to 120°C.
For pudding, break eggs into mixing bowl, add sugar and whisk lightly with fork. Stir in fruit juice mixture and cream. Pour through sieve into a measuring jug, stir in lemon zest. Pour into pastry case, bake for 45-50 mins, until filling is just set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Set aside to cool. Just before serving, remove tart from the tin, dust with extra icing sugar. Caramelise with blowtorch. Cool and serve.