Sunday, 2 July 2017

Lemons are like Sunshine

It's the depths of winter here which means rain, wind and, if we're lucky, a few days of sunshine.  The past week ran true to form, several days sunny with a wet and miserable weekend.  Inside weather indeed but a great opportunity to make the preserves I had planned.

Little orbs of sunshine
I love lemons and anything flavoured with lemon. I also take delight in my lemon tree, its bright golden orbs of fruit bringing a bit of sunshine into my garden on a dull or rainy day. This year my  tree has gifted me a beautiful crop of fat juicy lemons so a rainy weekend was the perfect time to get in the kitchen, pump up the music and set to work.  


Out came the Edmond's Cookbook for a recipe for Lemon Honey.  For New Zealanders the Edmond's Cookbook is like a bible. First produced in 1908 as a marketing tool for Edmond's Baking Powder it is still the most popular cook book in the country. The recipes are simple, wholesome, and good for families. To date it has sold 3 million copies and I doubt there would be many households that don't have a copy stashed in amongst their fancy, expensive recipe books. I have had my copy since I was first married and it is dirty, tattered, splashed and worn but I still love it.  I have bought later editions but they have left out key recipes so I always head back to this one.   I hasten to add I can't claim all responsibility for its condition,  my three sons all used it to whip up breakfast, snacks and biscuits.  Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it!


First off, Lemon Honey and this is the recipe from the Edmonds Cookbook.  Tried and true, reliable and yummy.



LEMON HONEY 
500 grams sugar
125 grams butter
4 eggs
Rind and juice of 4 lemons

Grate only the yellow parts of the lemons, the white part of the rind is bitter.
Strain the lemon juice to remove pips
Beat the eggs a little
Put all ingredients into the top part of a double boiler or in a basin over simmering water. 
 Cook slowly until thick and smooth
Put into hot sterilised jars and cover when cold.

NB: you can sterlise jars by heating in an oven at 120 degrees for half an hour.  I put the jars in the oven at the same time as I start heating it.  Lids can be sterilised in boiling water.

Lemon honey can be used in tarts, on toast or scones, drizzled over ice cream, in an Eton Mess, on crumpets, or as a filling for meringues.  It is so good.

PRESERVED LEMONS

I love these.  They are an essential ingredient in Moroccan cooking and when mixed in with any cooked vegetable or salad make something mundane really sing.  Most people eat only the skin, not the flesh.

Clean scrubbed lemons
Coarse Salt
Any spices you would like to add.  I usually add a cinnamon stick some pepper corns and a bay leaf.
A sterilised jar with a good seal.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt in the bottom of the jar.
Cut the lemons lengthwise into quarters being careful not to cut right to the bottom so that the lemon is still held together
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt into the centre of each lemon
Squeeze and squash each lemon into the jar
Top the jar with lemon juice to ensure the lemons are completely covered by juice
Sprinkle 2 more tablespoons of salt over the top
Seal the jar.

Leave in a cool place for a few days, tipping it upside down and shaking a little each day.  Then store in the fridge but remember to give it a shake every few days.  They should be ready to use in 3 weeks and will last up to 10 months.

It was a satisfying afternoon in the kitchen