sunshine in a bottle

Don’t you just love the beautiful color of a lemon?  The yellow reminds me so much of a new day filled with sunshine.  It also takes me back to my childhood, remembering the lemon trees we all had in our backyards.

When the lemons were in season, we did not waste any time to start picking lemons, off course, guarded with a pot of salt!  We peeled the lemons, added the salt, and ate it pulling funny faces because of the tartness of the lemon.  We would have such a good laugh!

Well, now I have learned how to preserve this beautiful fruit which adds a variety of flavors to a dish – deep citrus, kind floral notes – to just mention a couple.  It just piques your curiosity when you taste your dish with the added preserved lemon.

 

 

These salt-cured lemons have made a long journey north and west, joining the world of cuisine over the past thousand years. They add a fermented quality to dishes, that a fresh lemon just cannot do.

Now for the recipe…

  • Cut the lemons from the stem end into quarters up to the base. Don’t cut right through.  Open them up and fill the lemons with sea salt.
  • Stack the lemons one by one in a jar. Add more salt as you go along.
  • Roast coriander seeds on the side and add this to the jar. (¼ cup of coriander seeds to a 500ml jar.)
  • Add 1 tsp of chopped thyme
  • When the lemons are squeezed into the jar, fill the jar to the brim, with the lemon, salt, thyme and coriander seeds.
  • Squeeze some lemons and fill the jar with fresh lemon juice.
  • Seal and store your preserved lemons in a dark cold place for at least 4 weeks.
  • Shake the jar once daily for the first week; this will clear the liquid in the jars.

How to use it:

  • Thinly sliced into a salad of baby beetroots, roasted red capsicum, red onion, fresh coriander
  • Try it with baby tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, crushed garlic, ground cumin and sweet paprika
  • Chopped in Couscous with chickpeas, thinly sliced scallions, chopped flat leave parsley and seeded green olives
  • With chicken and black pepper for a beautiful lemon and pepper chicken
  • With a rack of lamb add coriander, salt pepper and thinly slice preserved lemon slices. Roast in the oven
  • Lemon salsa: chopped lemon rind, chopped red chili, chopped garlic, Extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, chopped coriander, chopped tomatoes, chopped black olives.  Eat this with grilled sardines

 

Sometimes 4 weeks could be a bit long when you really need to use it in one of your favourite dishes, so here’s a ‘cheat’ recipe that will give you the same flavours in a very short time:

Slice  3 lemons in thin slices

Sprinkle a pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp roasted coriander seeds and 3 tsps salt over the lemon slices.

Then squeeze out all the juice from the lemon slices, by hand, and put the lemon rinds and squeezed juice in a pickling jar.  Keep for two to three hours before using it.

 

There is so much more you can do with these lovely lemons.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

Red onions – a colour and crunch combination with a mighty punch

 

Red onions have this lovely   red to purple paper skin on the outside. Inside, their sweet, crisp white flesh is edged with a red to purple color.

I use this versatile vegetable in a variety of dishes and would love to share some ideas with you.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Red Onion in a Red Grape Vinegar

1 onion

½ tsp pink Himalaya salt

Enough red grape vinegar to cover the onion

10 Curry leaves (optional)

1 tsp pink peppercorns

Slice the onion, sprinkle salt on it, add curry leaves and peppercorns. Cover with Red Grape Vinegar.

Leave it for ten minutes.

The onions will become a lovely pink color.

Kept in a sealed container these onions will last for a week refrigerated


Serving suggestion

Serve it on oven roasted vegetables, to give the dish just that extra bit of texture and taste.  It also works well with meat and gives a plain sandwich a crunchy bite.

 

   

Red Onion Pickles in Vinegar and Sugar

A recipe inspired by one of my favourite culinary inspirations, Nina Timm, who developed the basic recipe, I just added a little bit of this and that to give it a different touch.

½ cup of Vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

½ tsp of fennel Seeds

1 thumb ginger

½ tsp green peppercorns

Salt to taste

1 large red onion

1 clove garlic (optional)

1 green chilli (optional)

Slice the onion and ginger into thin slices or thin half slices.

Prepare a pickling jar, add the raw onions and ginger into the jar up to the brim.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, fennel seeds, ginger, peppercorns and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.

Once the sugar melted and the syrup is infused with all the spices, pour it onto the raw onions and ginger in the pickling jar.

Seal the jar and leave for a few hours to pickle.

Keep refrigerated.  Will last up to a month.

Serving  suggestion

The fennel seeds give the onions a hint of liquorice taste, which combines well with the sweet and sour taste of the onions and ginger.  This is the perfect addidtion to a salad, or roasted vegetables, as well as meat dishes, and off course our staple, sandwiches and on smorgasbords with cheeses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deep fried red onion recipe  

2 Red onions

¼ tsp turmeric powder

Vegetable oil enough to deep fry

Smoked coarse salt (you can use plain coarse salt)

In a medium size pot heat the vegetable oil and add the turmeric.  Cut the onions into paper thin slices while the oil is heating.

Fry the onions in the turmeric oil until golden brown.  Remove from oil, put onions in a colander and drain most of the oil. The onions will be soft when you remove them from the oil but will become crispy when starting to cool down.  Add the smokey salt to the onions.

Useful tip

You can keep these onions up to two days in an airtight container and it will stay crispy.

Serving suggestions

Add onto salads, crunchy with couscous, tasty treat with meat and great on mash potatoes to name a few.

Salmon, Fennel & Green Apple – a winning combination

Childhood memories came flooding back, as I nibbled on a piece of fennel.  I love the taste of liquorice now, just as much as I did then, when I could not wait to get my hands on a piece of the twisted, black candy. Little did I know then, that I would one day combine this childhood favourite with green apples.  I vividly remember how we use to sneak a little salt out of the kitchen to add to our sour, green apples, to turn it into a sweet delight.

‘With the lingering taste of yesterday, I started creating a recipe which combines the flavours of yesterday with a crisp new touch which I hope you would love just as much as I do’

Salmon on a Fennel and Green Apple Salad
Prep time:  15 min      Cooking time:  15 min     Total time:  30 min     Serves:  3

Ingredients:

  • 1 Fennel bulb
  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fennel leaves
  • 150 gr full cream Greek yogurt
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Cut the Fennel bulb and Green apple into thin slices, combine with the chopped fennel leaves and yogurt.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now for the Salmon:

  • 3 x 150 gram pieces of Salmon
  • 1 tbs brown butter
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

Method:

  • Roast the fennel seeds and then grind it a little bit with a mortar and pestle.
  • Brown the butter and add the grinded fennel seeds to the butter. The butter will be infused with the fennel taste.
  • Place the Salmon pieces, skin side at the bottom, in the butter. Fry until the skin is crispy, this will only take a few minutes.
  • Put your pan with the salmon into a 180 degree oven and grill for a further 6 minutes. Do not overcook your Salmon.
  • Plate your salad and add your salmon on top, crispy skin side up.
  • Garnish with micro chives.

Bon appétit!