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Celebrating with custard

February 3, 2014

Somehow I’ve been scribbling down my thoughts about food, my family life in here in Dubai and away, plus visits to UK for four whole years. Weirdly, I now can’t image life without blogging – something that my non-blogger readers might find equally weird.  The wonderful richness plus a touch of the rollercoaster it has brought to so many aspects of my life is something I wouldn’t swap for anything. No not even a custard tart.  From developing a writing style, learning how to use a proper camera (plus all the editing software) and online tools, meeting an incredible bunch of people both on and offline, it’s now part of who I am. I’m proud to wear the title food blogger, foodie or whatever other term encapsulates loving the topic of food so much you feel compelled to take pictures of it…on any occasion. With time ticking at an alarming rate until the teens fly the nest, the slightly surreal world of food blogging gives me a purpose and a network outside work for when it’ll be just KP and me. Ah, where did it all go? So true that the days are long, but the years are short. I’ve seen other friends struggle with the void that departing children leave and I hope I’ll be kept too busy for the pain of separation to bite too hard. Anyway… before we all get too maudlin’ … how to celebrate this anniversary? There’s really only one way. With custard.

Despite the title, a search for custard on this blog will be a bit spartan and something I’m determined to rectify. My love of custard continues unabated and one of my favourites is made by my Mother-in-law. Luckily it’s the easiest too. Thanks to all of you who’ve visited, read, commented and shared over these 1460 days, 48 months and 238 blog posts. You’ve been an indispensable part of the journey. And thanks to Anita for feeding me so much lovely custard and this recipe:

Microwave custard

  • Servings: 4
  • Print


  • 300 ml double cream (or single cream or full-cream milk)
  • 3 egg yolks, free range
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • Vanilla extract (not flavouring)*


  1. Measure the cream (or milk) into a microwave-safe jug. Heat the cream on high and bring to the boil. Keep checking as it will only take about 2 minutes (depending on the power of your microwave).
  2. Meanwhile place the egg yolks into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 heaped tablespoon of caster sugar plus 1 rounded teaspoon of cornflour to the egg yolks. Whisk together lightly with 2 drops of vanilla extract. (*I ran out of extract so boiled the milk with a vanilla pod and kept it in the custard until the end for a lovely vanilla seed flecked appearance).
  3. Pour in the boiling cream (or milk), stirring all the time and give it a really good whisk. Wipe the sides of the bowl with kitchen towel.
  4. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat at 80% power (or medium-high) for 20 seconds. Remove and give it a good whisk. Repeat for another 10 seconds at a time until thick and creamy. This can take anything from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Do not overheat (but if you do and it starts to look less than smooth, remove from heat and whisk briskly).
  5. Pour into a jug and serve. If not eating immediately place a piece of cling film on the surface to stop a skin forming (unless, like me, you like the skin of the custard).

A note on ingredients in Dubai: I used four egg yolks as the ones from the Farmers’ Market are a little bit small, plus the UHT whipping cream from a carton. Tavola sells real natural vanilla without alcohol.

Serve with apple pie, apple crumble, steamed pudding, Bakewell tart, treacle tart, Christmas pudding, stewed fruit, baked apples or cold in trifle. Custard’s list of friends is endless. And what of blogging? Will I still be doing this in four years time? I hope so. Adam Roberts aka Amateur Gourmet sums it up in the last two paragraphs of (an epic) post about his 10th blogging anniversary here.  It’s “the desire to connect with a bunch of strangers over a shared enthusiasm for food and cooking” that keeps you going. You are most welcome to dine at my virtual kitchen table any time.

  1. February 3, 2014 7:08 am

    lovely blog Sally!

  2. February 3, 2014 8:19 am

    Congratulations Sally, had it really been four years? I love your writing style and your recipes. I’ll definitely be giving this custard a go soon.

    • February 3, 2014 8:37 am

      Thanks Suzanne – always remember that first Bakefest at Wild Peeta which was a big milestone on my journey of blogging. Your delicious toffee has been a constant.

  3. February 3, 2014 9:04 am

    Ahhhh… something that scares me from now. Anyway, Happy Blogging Anniversary – and so true, how will our non blogging friends ever understand our alter egos? A post on Custard from the Custard lady is the least we can expect for the feast – a microwavable one? That’s something new to me. I have tried it before and have managed to make a runny and overflowing mess instead!

    Can I have that spoon, ofcourse unwashed?

    • February 3, 2014 9:12 am

      Sorry, typo – I meant this is not new to me, but have always been terribly unsuccessful!

    • February 3, 2014 9:19 am

      Try this – I have a fear of custard splitting, going lumpy etc. As long as you follow the step by step and whisk well, perfect custard will be there in minutes (and you can lick you own spoon 🙂 )

      • February 3, 2014 9:41 am

        ahh so that rules out licking your spoon!

      • February 3, 2014 9:50 am

        Every drop (including spoon) already eaten single handedly by me. I really do love custard.

  4. Claire permalink
    February 3, 2014 9:09 am

    You know Clara’s nickname is Custard? It’s what Ella called her until we’d thought of her name….she is known by Godparents etc as Clara Daisy Custard all the time. Every Birthday breakfast Clara has custard with chocolate buttons in…..I’m buying extra large buttons as it’s her 18th this month! Well done on 4 years! x

    • February 3, 2014 9:20 am

      Fantastic nickname – must make some for her birthday.

  5. February 3, 2014 10:27 am

    Fantastic post Sally! Happy Blog Anniversary 🙂

  6. February 3, 2014 11:07 am

    Congratulations dearest Sally! Love you and what you do here. I am utterly thankful to this crazy thing called blogging as this is what brought us together. Looking forward to another 4 years on this space. All the best!

    • February 3, 2014 11:24 am

      Thank you my dear – and yes, our friendship is one of the blessings of the last four years. 🙂

  7. Anita Menon permalink
    February 3, 2014 11:27 am

    Congrats on your anniversary Sally. Blogging is definitely something that changed my life for good and it keeps getting better. So I endorse every word you write here. There is plenty of time before my fledgling becomes a bird and takes off but its never to early to start, eh?
    The custard seems so simple and I am always up for a good microwave recipe.
    Incidently, my blog anniversary is around the corner and I would be completing 4 years of blogging too! 🙂
    I love your writing style and there is a lot I learn whenever I spend time on your blog

    • February 3, 2014 11:44 am

      Those fledglings fly the nest very quickly! Great to have ‘met’ you online Anita and look forward to celebrating your 4th year landmark too.

  8. February 3, 2014 11:48 am

    Congratulations Sally! Four years wow!! I certainly love the network we have as bloggers, especially the people I’ve known since my first days as a blogger, like yourself. I wish you many more fantastic blogposts and lots of fun!

    • February 3, 2014 12:04 pm

      It’s been a fantastic journey hasn’t it. Regula you have always been an inspiration and one of the people that has pushed me (by example) to stretch myself and strive for more. Here’s to more fun and laughter.

  9. February 3, 2014 12:09 pm

    Congratulations on your 4 year anniversary, Sally! Great blog which I always enjoy reading. I started my blog after everyone had flown the nest and it was just me left! Because I love cooking for others – and always cook ‘properly’ even just for myself – it’s been great to share my cooking experiences with others. The blog also encourages me to do some research, try new restaurants etc and that’s fun. And I’ve made so many lovely friends too. Some of my non-blogging friends don’t understand it – but clearly you and other bloggers do!!!

    • February 3, 2014 12:14 pm

      Oh I totally agree about cooking for yourself. I cook because I’m a keen eater. So glad to connect 🙂

  10. February 3, 2014 12:12 pm

    Congratulations. Happy anniversary and to many more! Blogging is such an enrichening activity.

    I love custard! This one looks mighty luscious…



    • February 3, 2014 12:14 pm

      Enriching – that’s the exact word for it. Great to have met you along the way Rosa.

  11. February 3, 2014 12:28 pm

    Happy blog birthday! I’ve been going nearly 3 years, can’t believe how the time flies by. Here’s to many more posts and lots more lovely custard 🙂

    • February 3, 2014 12:47 pm

      Doesn’t it just … looking forward to many more lovely baking posts from you.

  12. February 3, 2014 12:32 pm

    Congratulations Sally, and what a great way to celebrate: with custard. You are the loveliest and most supportive of bloggers and long may you continue.

    I have never made custard in the microwave before so I might give this a try with tonight’s rhubarb crumble x

    • February 3, 2014 12:48 pm

      I’m blushing now. Save me a spoonful of that crumble – rhubarb is one of the things that is very hard to get here (and of course perfect with custard).

  13. February 3, 2014 1:26 pm

    Happy Birthday, Sally!

  14. February 3, 2014 2:10 pm

    Lovely pictures…..lovely post:)

    • February 5, 2014 4:50 pm

      I always feel like I’ve won a medal when you give praise for my humble image offerings Roger.

  15. February 3, 2014 2:30 pm

    Happy Blogiversary, I always enjoy your photos, nicely said about being foodblogger, althought ever so often I hear in some foodie happenings from people who do not know me question if I am in media industry or just a blogger. I am very happy being just a blogger it fills my days with my passion and give energy to do my other duties and cope with empty nest syndrome. Wishing you very good and fruitful blogging foodie year ahead Sally.

    • February 5, 2014 4:49 pm

      Thank you dear Minna – so glad you are posting again btw….loving your latest pics.

  16. February 3, 2014 2:38 pm

    A most fantastic post summing up the joy of blogging. Congratulations on your four-year milestone. Long may your blogging journey continue. There’s always so much to look forward to reading and so many posts to look back on and enjoy. As for custard: “Serve with apple pie, apple crumble, steamed pudding, Bakewell tart, treacle tart, Christmas pudding, stewed fruit, baked apples or cold in trifle.” All of that for me! I’m so proud to know you, Sally and to have met you through this slightly crazy, shared passion for food and taking photos!

    • February 5, 2014 4:48 pm

      Proud to know you too Ren – you always inspire by your energy, vision and creativity.

  17. February 3, 2014 2:44 pm

    Congrats on four years Sally – it’s hard to believe you have only been blogging for such a short amount of time – you are so very accomplished! Here’s to many more!

    • February 5, 2014 4:47 pm

      Huge praise from such an accomplished blogger – thanks Mardi. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you on and (briefly) offline.

  18. February 3, 2014 2:47 pm

    Congratulations on four years of blogging Sally! And here’s to many, many more.

    • February 5, 2014 4:46 pm

      Thanks Kathryn – your baking always tempts me.

  19. February 3, 2014 3:33 pm

    Congratulations Sally! Looking forward to many more of your beautiful posts!

  20. February 3, 2014 3:40 pm

    I second everything you say about writing a blog. We are comparatively new to the world of blogging and find it more & more satisfying.
    Love your work & your custard recipe, the world needs more custard.

    • February 5, 2014 4:46 pm

      I can only second that last statement. Hear, hear.

  21. February 3, 2014 3:43 pm

    Happy 4th blog birthday!

    • February 5, 2014 4:45 pm

      Thanks Jules – your blog is one of the first I followed (via Fresh from the oven) and always inspiring.

  22. andreamynard permalink
    February 3, 2014 4:38 pm

    Very glad that your enthusiasm for blogging is undiminished Sally, I love joining your virtual kitchen table. And how perfect a post about custard is to start February – surely the month when comfort food (including all the lovely pies & puds you mention) is definitely in order.

  23. February 3, 2014 4:40 pm

    Congratulations on four years – an impressive anniversary! I’ve arrived late in your blogging journey, but love your writing and the style of your blog… here’s to the next four years!

    • February 5, 2014 4:45 pm

      Thank you – loving your space on the web too.

  24. therealgeordiearmani permalink
    February 3, 2014 5:12 pm

    Will be having custard to celebrate! it’s some achievement 🙂

  25. February 3, 2014 5:48 pm

    Congratulations on your four years – you’re a inspiration to a new ‘slow food’ blogger like myself! Absolutely LOVE this mini-custard jugs… they are adorable!

  26. February 3, 2014 6:38 pm

    Congratulations Sally, I wish you many more success blog anniversaries to come in the following years.

  27. February 3, 2014 9:07 pm

    Congratulations on your blogaversary! Here’s to many more years of posting your lovely recipes. Nicola x

  28. February 3, 2014 10:28 pm

    Congratulations on your fourth anniversary! Your work is very well done and serves as an inspiration to many – including myself:)

  29. February 3, 2014 10:40 pm

    I recently visited The Ivy at Emirates Towers and ordered the ginger creme brulee based on a recommendation you had made in an earlier post – you proclaimed that you knew your custards (or something to that effect). It did not disappoint. It was easily one of the best (and simplest) items on their dessert menu (which I ordered in its entirety being my usual reckless and greedy self). It might also possibly be one of the best I have had in Dubai (though don’t hold me to that because I can be terribly fickle). Something about the way in which yolks and dairy combine to create something rich and velvety, I find intriguing – who would have thought??? And quality vanilla bean pastes and extracts are now easy to find in Dubai so making this at home can be such a pleasure.

    • February 5, 2014 4:41 pm

      Oh yes – creme brulee definitely counts as custard. It’s that rich, velvety texture and vanilla dreaminess that makes every spoonful slip down a treat. Admitting now that I ate all the custard in the above pic single handed.

  30. February 4, 2014 6:07 am

    Many happy returns!

  31. February 4, 2014 7:01 am

    Congratulations Sally, happy blogaversary! You are the most supportive and genuine food blogger I have come to know since I personally started blogging. The beauty of it is that even though your skill and popularity has grown exponentially, yoú’re still the same humble and kindhearted lady I respect and adore so much. May this blog help you fill that void, realize your writing aspirations, and entertain and educate readers for many years to come. Custardy hugs.
    [PS. You’ll be proud of me…I’ve made so much ice cream at home in the past year that I can finally make a decent custard!!]

    • February 5, 2014 4:39 pm

      Pretty choked after reading this – custardy hugs and muchos admiration returned x 10. I applaud your custard making skills – it ain’t easy….but fun to try.

  32. February 4, 2014 10:54 am

    Congrats on 4 years! What a gratifying milestone it must be! That custard looks divine and your pouring vessels are gorgeous!

    • February 5, 2014 4:38 pm

      Thanks Noreen – I have to confess to a mild jug obsession. Hmmmm maybe I should write about it….

  33. February 4, 2014 2:43 pm

    Lovely post, congratulations once again. With work, teens and everything in between it’s fabulous that you make time for something you enjoy and are clearly so good at. Xx

    • February 5, 2014 4:37 pm

      It’s hard to explain to people who don’t blog what little havens our own personal space for expression is Deena. Thanks for such a kind comment.

  34. February 4, 2014 11:41 pm

    Huge congrats on your four year anniversary of inspiring, informing, virtually feeding and supporting good food. I am so, so happy to have not only discovered your fantastic (an over used word but applicable to you and your work) blog but had the pleasure of meeting you and finding you as warm in person as in writing. I look forward to your posts now and in the future. Weirdly my 3rd anniversary is next week. Oh, and love the custard. Not something I have made more than a couple of times, but might just have a go soon. My family will give me (and you!) so many brownie points! Now, what to have with it…

    • February 5, 2014 4:36 pm

      Meeting you and getting to know your healthy, vibrant, colourful blog is another highlight on the blogging journey Kellie.

  35. February 5, 2014 10:09 am

    A huge congratulations – and what better way to celeberate than with something so simple! I can only dream that my blog grow and develop into something even half as fantastic as yours – I look forward to another 4 years of delicious posts!

    • February 5, 2014 4:35 pm

      What a lovely thing to say Harry. Huge fan of Hashtagcake 🙂

  36. February 6, 2014 9:25 am

    Congrats, Sally! A fourth year anniversary in the blogosphere is definitely a big thing! To many more years of elegant food blogging! 🙂

  37. February 6, 2014 11:21 pm

    Well done on the 4 years! Inspiring!…The custard looks lovely by the way. I detect a certain thickness which I much prefer to the watery French version

  38. glamorous glutton permalink
    February 7, 2014 2:04 pm

    Four years, WOW! I’m grateful too for how my blog has shaped me the past few years. The Glam Teens are all flown or at uni and writing and learning is a great way to fill that void. Here’s to much more custard! GG

  39. February 8, 2014 11:03 pm

    Congratulations on reaching another blogging milestone. I love reading your posts and look forward to many more to come. Having supported my friend through the empty nest stage I know how painful it can be for some people and the importance of having something of your “own” to focus on.

  40. February 15, 2014 2:25 pm

    Wow, four years is awesome! And so is custard!

  41. February 18, 2014 9:29 pm

    Just tried this… yummy! Thanks!

  42. February 19, 2014 11:04 am

    Congratulations on your blogoversary! your photographs are beautiful!

  43. February 20, 2014 2:26 am

    Hi Sally, I feel exactly the same way about food blogging…. A whole new, exciting world has opened up and each day is a new adventure. It’s also very liberating talking about food and travel with others who get the same enjoyment. Congratulations on your 4 year anniversary. I am nearing my third in May. Time flies. best Torie x

    • February 20, 2014 9:07 am

      It’s great to meet likeminded people from all over the world isn’t it. Thanks Torie

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