Monday, June 13, 2011

When You Have Lemons...

It has gotten chilly and soon will be the shortest day of the year here.  It has begun to feel like winter.  So to throw off the chill and think of cheerful thoughts, some friends Jac and Theo came over for us to all make batches of preserved lemons and pickled spiced oranges.

The colours of the fruit were fabulous.  Some of it from garden trees and the rest from the Barossa Valley Farmers market, where I got a lovely a bag of a dozen farm fresh lemons for $2.  First we did the lemons, which are preserved in salt, with spices.  Cloves, cinnamon, and fresh bay leaves from Theo's garden.  The smell of 40- 50 cut lemons and all the spices was brilliantly divine !  The lemons get the salt massaged into them, then they get shoved into a big jar.  Filling it with as many lemons as can be done.

Here is my jar of lemons, making like life imitating art.  Painting is by Jac (see to see more of her fabulous work) and graced our dining room before.  Here it adds bright cheer in the kitchen.

The lemons will be ready to use in 4 weeks.

The oranges were next.  These are pickled and spiced.  Jac brought lots of oranges from a garden tree outside her gallery.  We started cutting them and then poached the slices in water.  At the same time making a syrup of white wine vinegar and sugar, plus cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and the fresh bay leaves. By this time the kitchen smelled fabulous !

Theo and Jac, preserving lemons
The orange slices got transferred out of poaching liquid and into the syrup, to simmer.  Now the pots of this mix sit overnight and we each simmer it again tomorrow and then pack the slices into jars, topping off with syrup.  The oranges have to wait 6 weeks, before eating.  I plan to get blood oranges when they become available and in season and do a batch of them.

Meantime, I made a new recipe up last night, to have a lovely cake for tea.  Capuccino Caramel Cake.  It got excellent reviews, everyone liked it.  Another successful magazine clipping recipe moves over into my cookbook binder.

This house seems to want me in the kitchen.  I have been enjoying the fantastic space to cook up lots.  Having the island really helps make the space work well.  This weekend we have enjoyed chili con carne with cornbread.  And a stunning cauliflower soup.  A pear upside down cake.  And the gorgeous capuccino caramel cake shown above.  Previous weekends have had us making beef pies, chicken and sour cream enchiladas, braised chicken with pears in white wine sauce, and homemade bread.  Now the preserved lemons and tomorrow the spiced oranges in their jars will get put away for aging, we will try them when ready in several weeks time.

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