It's been a gorgeous, sunny weekend, it went so fast though. From where I'm sitting at my computer, I can see into my pantry, up on a high shelf where I keep jams, chutneys and the like, there is a jar of sunshine! Well, ok, it's not actually a jar of sunshine but that's what it looks like from here, it's a jar of preserved lemons that I'm waiting impatiently to mature and be ready to use.
Preserved lemons are so easy to make and add such an amazing, unique taste to Moroccan dishes, the only hard part about the whole process is waiting for them to be ready to use!
Cut 6 to eight lemons into quarters, put about 4 quarters cut side down into a largish sterilised jar, sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt onto them and continue to put lemons and salt into the jar, pushing them in hard so that the juice is squeezed out filling the spaces between the lemon quarters, when you reach the top of the jar fill any remaining space with extra juice. Place the lid on tightly and leave for one month to mature.
The lemons are usually used by scraping away the flesh and discarding it , the rind is then chopped finely and added to tagines and other moroccan style stews, I can't wait!
My dream is to grow all the fruit and vegies we need in our own garden, I believe I can do it but at the moment it's really not practical, it's good to have this dream though, something to work towards and something that spurs me on when I get a bit lazy about the garden!
My current short-term goal is to have something from the garden in every meal we eat, even if it's just a bit of parsley.
Last night's dinner was a quick chicken and rice dish, thrown together (lovingly of course!) when I got home from work, the handfuls of fresh-from-the-garden parsley that I tossed into the rice and sprinkled on top gave it a wonderfully fresh flavour and made me feel just one step closer to my dream!
It's another glorious day, far too nice to be inside making the kitchen sticky really, however, if I don't start using some of the beautiful citrus fruit that I've been given, it will take over and I won't have room to cook anything!
If I need to be inside making preserves when I'd rather be playing in the garden, this marmalade is a good choice, it's quick, easy and pretty much foolproof. Start by roughly chopping up 3-4 pieces of fruit, I used 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 grapefruit and 1 lime, toss these into a food processor and process until mushy.
Put the mushy fruit into a large pot with 3 cups of water and 1.25kg sugar. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved then increase heat and bring to a full boil. Boil hard for about half an hour or until it jells when tested on a cold saucer.
Pour the marmalade into sterilised jars, put the lids on tightly and get back outside ito the sunshine!
It doesn't happen often at this time of year but today was Saturday, I had no specific plans for the day and the weather was incredibly beautiful! A perfect day to potter, pick and plan, Spring is definitely on it's way at long last, the garden has survived the worst of Winter with very little attention and is surprisingly productive, almost thriving on neglect. I let the chickens have the run of the back yard and they seemed to be enjoying the sunshine almost as much as I was. After being very frugal with eggs for weeks, all of a sudden we have an abundance, celebrated today by a quick lunch of creamy scrambled eggs in between weeding and planting. There's lots of lush green leafy vegies and herbs, the silverbeet seems to grow as fast as we use it and it's a luxury to be able to throw hanfuls of herbs into everything I cook.