if life gives you a lemon…

If life gives you a lemon ask life for some salt and tequila too… And maybe a couple of hot Canadian backpackers to share it with. And while you’re at it tell life that it should probably be concentrating more on helping out bloody buggery bollocksy boring a-holes (that’s asshole for those amongst us who are a little dull) and a little less on handing out free fruit.

Someone once said you could also make lemonade.

But I suggest that if life didn’t give you the tequila and backpackers etc. to go with your lemon, try preserving it for later use. If life did give you the extras, don’t forget to thank it…

Preserved lemons are great for any kind of North African sort of cooking and can also be used to add extra depth (I know, what a wanker) to any dish you use lemon in, or just replace it totally for a different kind of lemony goodness that will have your friends wondering… and not just about your mental well-being for a change.

For example
• Fish and chips with tartare. Incorporate finely diced* preserved lemon into a mayonnaise or tartare sauce. Mmmmm.
• Any kind of tagine
• Stir through yoghurt and serve with fishcakes or croquettes, or a curried lentil soup
• Try preserved lemon in a bloody mary, or in a bloody mary dressing for oysters
• Preserved lemon and tequila chicken
• In a salad with parsley, croutons and bone marrow to go with a steak

Preserving lemons is this easy
1. For every lemon you need a handful of coarse salt, ½ a cinnamon stick (I didn’t have one lurking on my spice shelf so I used cassia bark** instead) and 1 small bay leaf
2. Quarter your lemons into a large bowl and rub them with the salt, making sure to squeeze and thoroughly rub each piece
3. Pack into a sterilized jar with a piece of cinnamon and bay, and some of the salty lemon juice in between each layer
4. If there’s any salty juice left pour it over the top
5. Store in a cool dark place next to the thought you had about going to see the new batman movie, and forget about it for at least a month. Except in the case of the new batman movie which you should forget about forever.
6. After one month you may use with total disregard for any rules and regulations
7. Remember to thank life for the lemon

*most recipes using preserved lemon call for the flesh and pith to be removed and discarded, and the peel finely chopped.
**cassia bark. Closely related to cinnamon but not as subtle in flavour, and the older bark is much rougher in texture.

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