Saturday, November 12, 2011

Preserved lemons and homemade vanilla extract

Happy lazy Sunday to all!  I can't be lazy today, as due to the bump and grind of corporate life, I have not had a chance to get my part of a tender submission for a tender due this week done in the normal working day, so I am sentenced to spending part of the day doing it.  The fact that I am sitting here blogging demonstrates that I am not in that headspace yet :) 

I thought that for today, I'd give you two easy projects that are useful for home cooks. 

The first project is preserved lemons - great for Moroccan tagines, stir fries etc, and awfully expensive to buy for some inexplicable reason.  There are a number of slightly different ways to preserve lemons, but I used a recipe from p17 of Fresh Moroccan.  It is easy peasy - you need:

8 unwaxed lemons
5 teaspoons seasalt
juice of 1 large lemon

Scrub your lemons under running water, then soak in cold water for an hour.  Rinse and dry the lemons with paper towel.

Cut the lemons into quarters lengthways from the top to 3/4 of the way down, elaving them joined together at the biottom.  Place half a teaspoon of salt into each lemon, then pinch the sides together to close up the gap.  Placve the lemons upright into a large preserving or other glass jar that has been sterilised, pour in the remaining salt and lemon juice, and cover the lemons with warm water. 

Seal the jar and leave in a dry dark place for 4 weeks.  Now your preserved lemons are ready to use!

The homemade vanilla is also easy - split open a vanilla pod, and place it into a small glass jar.  Fill up the jar with vodka, and leave it in a cool dark place for 8 weeks.  And presto - you have homemade vanilla!  (I have vodka at home that I don't drink, so this was a great use for my vodka.)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.