Friday, 12 October 2012

squeeze them till the pips squeak

I noticed recently that Carluccio's were heavily promoting their own brand lemon oil (made by crushing whole lemons with the oil) and it reminded me that I hadn't made any lemon and rosemary flavoured oil for a while.  The version I make comes from a Good Housekeeping recipe from a few years back and is very simply made.

On Wednesday I assembled the ingredients: 2 litres of extra virgin olive oil, four sturdy sprigs of rosemary from the garden, the finely peeled outer skin of two lemons and a few juniper berries. (Plus a few sterilised bottles). Ideally the lemon peel should be a single long curl that can be wrapped spirally around the sprig of rosemary and inserted into the bottle, but this is easier said than done; the lemon peel sometimes breaks off before you want it to and even when you do get a long strip and wrap it carefully inserting it into the bottle then causes a collapse!  I have, in the past, achieved a couple of specimens with the perfect appearance, but not on this occasion.  They still look pretty though and after a week or two for the flavours to develop this oil will be delicious for dipping and drizzling (at a fraction of the cost of commercially prepared flavoured oil).

Having bottled up my oil I was left with two juicy lemons in the fridge shivering in their underwear.  I know, from sad experience, that they won't last very long in that condition; mould will soon attack.  So yesterday, inspired by my friend G, I decided that lemon curd had to be made.  The recipe I found on the BBC website specified four lemons (juice and zest).  I decided that three and a half lemons, two of which had already been plundered for their zest, would have to do. 
I hadn't made lemon curd for years and it really is remarkably easy.  The whole process probably only took just over half an hour.  Unless you are making it as gifts this really isn't worth making in huge batches as the presence of eggs and butter mean that it won't keep for more than a month or two.

Not content with two uses for my lemons, I bagged up the squeezed shells and popped them in the freezer.  I will thaw out a few next time I'm roasting a chicken.  They still retain enough juiciness to anoint the chicken flesh and I tuck one into the body cavity and leave another to roast in the tin, giving a delicious lemony tang to the finished chicken. (Or maybe try Sara's lovely idea for Gin and Tonic Marmalade.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I am impressed with your comprehensive use of those lemons.