by Rosie and Susu
Young Soontir Fel was not looking forward to the summer, when the city kids would flood the agro-combine. He had to help supervise them, teaching them how to pick the crops and to wash the produce and prepare them for the kitchens. They city kids tended to be weak and scrawny and they complained a lot. But in exchange for room, board and training, they had to work, even if they had to be forced.
Imagine Soontir's surprise to see a young girl who, for her "kitchen midden" appearance was actually remarkably beautiful. He was carrying a large peck of citrus destined for making custards and curds to the kitchens, and there she was, angrily churning a hot vat of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, covered in sweat and grime.
He had never seen anyone so appealing, so strong and passionate. She was obviously one of the despised city kids, but he couldn't help but stare. He continued to look at her, even after she noticed him and turned to ignore him. Soontir stood and stared like an idiot till he was called away by his father.
He looked for her after his work was done, but he never saw the skinny blonde again ... until she rescued him from a pair of boring gentlemen on the eve he was decorated for bravery and victory in battle, many years later. While courting holovideo star Wynnsa Starflare, he never could get himself to tell her he remembered her fondly as a skinny girl covered in steam, her hair petulantly unruly and her arms and apron covered in red stains from jam making!
Instead, when he proposed to her, he presented her with a ring ... and a jar each of strawberry rhubarb jam, lemon curd and lime curd. He saw then that she remembered him, too, and he finally admitted how he recalled her, and how she had haunted him all those years. So despite her misgivings about being the sister of the Alliance's "ace," she had no choice but to accept his marriage proposal! (I mean, really, what woman could resist??)
Stir in rind, butter, and sugar. Microwave uncovered on High (100%) for 1 1/2 to 1 minutes or until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot.
Beat eggs in a bowl. Gradually add hot lemon mixture to eggs, stirring constantly. Return mixture to the microwavable container and microwave, uncovered, on Medium (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes or just until thickened, stirring every 30 seconds. Don't let it boil. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Let it cool.
Pour the curd into a tightly sealed container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use it to fill tiny pastry tart shells and top with fresh berries.
You can substitute limes, tangerines or oranges for the lemons.
Makes 1 2/3 cups.
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