lilikoi curd

Passion Fruit Curd

Passion Fruit Curd Recipe

I have a love hate relationship with our lilikoi (passion fruit) vines. They’re lovely and have the most amazing flowers, followed by fat fruits full of sweet, tart, delicious goodness. They provide shade for part of the backyard, perfect for visiting with chickens. What’s not to love?

lilikoi flower

The lilikoi vine has pretty much taken over my clothes lines. We’re poor and don’t have a dryer, which means that I have no choice but to hang my clothes out to dry. Don’t try to tell me how romantic it is. Only people with dryers think that. It’s bad enough having to stand out in the hot sun (when it’s not trying to rain on my laundry) to hang up clothes. The last thing I want to do is battle with an ever encroaching vine winding it’s way around the clothes line and growing into my clothes pins. Enough already.

lilikoi vine

The vine growing through the clotheslines has also formed a mini-canopy in our backyard, forcing the other plants to grow freakishly tall to find the sunlight. I might have the world’s tallest pink hibiscus. Nothing happens for the first five feet, and then there are three blossoms peeking out above the vines. It’s like my own private jungle in the middle of the city.


But then when I really start to hate that stupid vine, it allows me to make something delicious, like this passion fruit curd. I used it in my Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge Cake, and it was tasty. I think passion fruit pulp looks a bit like frog spawn with the seeds in, but it tastes so tart and lovely that I’ll forgive it.

lilikoi pulp and eggs

You could use this passion fruit curd as much more than a cake filling. I think it would be a lovely topping for pavlova or pound cake, or even frozen yogurt. I haven’t tried it, but it might also be awesome stirred into some oatmeal in the morning. It takes a bit of time to accomplish, but stirring is a good time to meditate on life and how, in the end, nature is way better than laundry.

  lilikoi curd

Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Curd
Yields 12
Sweet and tart tropical topping
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 1 cup lilikoi (passion fruit) pulp and seeds, 8-10 lilikoi
  2. 2 whole eggs
  3. 3 egg yolks
  4. 150 grams (2/3 cup) sugar
  5. 100 grams (1/2 cup) butter, cubed
  1. Cut open your lilikoi and scoop out the guts with a spoon until you get a cup worth.
  2. Add pulp, eggs, egg yolks, and sugar to a large, heat-proof mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the butter and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. You only need about an inch of water. Don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Stir continuously as the butter melts. It will look odd for a while, but eventually it will smooth out and thicken up. It took about 20 minutes on my stove.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean jar for storage. It will keep for at least two weeks, giving you plenty of time to experiment.
Adapted from Simply Delicius
Adapted from Simply Delicius
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Chocolate Cake

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

I am, quite possibly, the world’s worst daughter. See, it’s my dad’s birthday on Saturday, and I said I’d make him a chocolate cake with caramel frosting like his mom used to make. Well, I got sick yesterday, and I’m still feeling rather awful. And to make matters worse, I don’t actually have that caramel frosting recipe. My dad and all his brothers received a homemade recipe book from my grandmother one year for Christmas. It’s full of typed up family recipes. Sadly, I don’t have one. I wish I did. I’d make everything in it. I think this might be a tragedy.

So, I didn’t make a chocolate cake with caramel frosting, but I do have something just as good to share with you that actually reminds me a lot of the kind of cake my dad would make. It’s super simple, ridiculously chocolaty, and blow your mind delicious. My dad would have a big slice of it with some melting vanilla ice cream and call it breakfast.

In addition to all the other awesome stuff my dad taught me, I also learned to appreciate good, simple, down home food. I remember my dad coming home from work and sitting on the couch with a block of Tillamook cheddar and a paring knife. He’d pass ’round slices of cheese to everybody for half an hour. That was how we snacked in my house.

Chocolate cake2

There are actually two secret ingredients in this chocolate cake which starts with a box mix, but you don’t have to tell anybody about that either. The first is mayonnaise. Mayo is basically eggs and oil anyway, so it’s not that big of a stretch. It doesn’t make your cake taste like a ham sandwich. On the contrary, it makes it incredibly moist.

The second secret ingredient is a bit of cinnamon. I love the warmth it adds to the chocolate. I’m not sure I’d be able to identify it as cinnamon if I didn’t know it was there. It just makes everything richer and more interesting. 

And obviously you have to cover the whole thing in chocolate frosting. This one reminds me of the chocolate frosting my dad used to make using Nestle’s Quik. It was awesome! Who cares? I’ve been doing this no money thing my whole life. 

Chocolate cake3

Happy birthday, dad! I owe you a cake.

Photos by Monica Szczupider

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake
Serves 10
A moist chocolate cake with a hint of cinnamon, covered in chocolate frosting to make it extra awesome
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the cake
  1. 1 box chocolate cake mix
  2. 1 cup mayonnaise
  3. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 cup water
For the frosting
  1. 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  3. 2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together all the cake ingredients until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Evenly pour batter into your two pans and bake according to time on the box. If you hoard the cake batter left behind in the bowl, I won't judge you.
  4. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about five minutes, then turn out to cool on a wire rack. Allow the layers to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it's smooth and creamy.
  2. Sift in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar and beat on medium speed.
  3. Slowly add the milk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add more milk if needed to reach a spreadable consistency.
  4. Place your first cake layer on it's final destination and spread about a third of the frosting on top.
  5. Carefully place the second layer on top. Frost the side and top of the cake. You can swirl it, stripe it, spike it. Whatever you like. Just don't skimp.
  6. Don't wait for someone's birthday to put this in your face.
  1. This can also be made in a 13x9 inch pan, which is what my dad would do.
Adapted from 1001 Fast Easy Recipes
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lilikoi curd

Fitness Should Be Free

urban hiking uk style

Last week, I shared one of our favorite ways to save money and get some exercise. Urban hiking may be a great mode of transportation, but it’s pretty one dimensional in terms of a workout. I guess one would occasionally need to add a bit of variety to one’s exercise regime. I mean, if you have to. What you definitely shouldn’t do is spend money to work out.

I don’t get gyms. Unless you want to lift heavy weights, I can’t think of any other reason to set foot in one. It’s definitely not worth the money, as far as I’m concerned. Pretty much any kind of workout I would want to do can be done in my living room or at the park for free.

Jillian Michaels Yoga

YouTube is your new best friend when it comes to working out for free. They’ve recently started allowing much longer videos on their site so you can get tons of 30-minute workout videos without leaving your house. I use the YouTube app on our PS3 to play yoga, pilates, and Zumba videos on my TV while my husband laughs at what a total loser I am. Or you can piece together shorter clips to break the monotony.

Harry Potter Workout

Pinterest also has a health and fitness category with tons of links to workouts you can do at home. They can get pretty ridiculous, but there are also fun surprises like this Harry Potter workout. How awesome is that? 


If you want to add a little resistance to your life, I recommend thera-bands. They’re basically long strips of stretchy latex. They’re great because they can be lengthened or shortened to vary the resistance, they can be tied or looped around just about anything to get the right angle, and they fold up nice and small and take up practically no space in your already tiny and crowded home. I grew up using these as a dancer, and I promise they’re so much better than those silly tubes or bulky weights.


I know I need to get in better shape, but I’d much rather spend my money on cheese and chocolate. I am not a health expert, and you should definitely not quote me as an authority on anything. Except I do have that dance degree in an envelope somewhere, so I guess I do know a couple of things about how the body works. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body and know the difference between good pain and bad pain. Bad pain isn’t worth it.


Working out is not the awesomest, but if you have to do it, have as much fun as possible. Laugh at yourself as much as you can. Then go have a cookie.

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