Results tagged “lemons”

Lemon panna cotta

italy
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Panna cotta is really easy - you just need to remember to make it in advance so it has time to set in the fridge.  You could use any combination of milk and cream, even crème fraîche or yoghurt. Panna cotta is lovely served with fresh, poached or candied fruits and something crunchy like a small, crisp cookie.

smlemonpannacotta0001_1.jpg

Herb jam

morocco
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This is a Moroccan recipe, which I first learnt while working as an intern at Alice Waters’ restaurant, Chez Panisse, in California.  ‘Herb jam’ is Paula Wolfert’s name for this delicious, savoury salad-cum-relish.  The recipe here is based on one of hers.
 
smherbjammaking0003.JPGThe key to success is patience.  You must wash vast quantities of greens and herbs, steam the greens, pound together the herbs and garlic, fry the olives and spices and then cook everything down together slowly in a wide pan until it resembles jam.  It’s a bit of a hassle, so I advise making a double batch (buy way more greens than you think it’s possible to cook) and freezing some.

smherbjammaking0004.JPG But when you taste it, perhaps on crostini or with warm Moroccan bread, you’ll realise why this is such a special recipe.  If you love greens, olives and lemony flavours, you’ll adore this. Everyone I have cooked it for has found it a revelation.

smherbjammaking0009.JPGFor the greens, use a mix of whatever you can find - spinach, chard, rocket, kale, sorrel, watercress, mustard greens, celery leaves, purslane…

Lemon curd tart

california, france
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While living in San Francisco, training as a chef at Tante Marie's Cooking School, I went through a phase of making lemon tarts. At home we ate them day after day after day, as I had to practise making the perfect sweet ‘shortcrust’ tart dough and the perfect lemon curd.  Matt didn’t seem to mind.

smlemontart0028.JPGBoth crust and curd are harder than you might think.  The tart shell must be perfectly even and crisp; the curd must have a perfect balance of sweet and sour, and be luxuriously rich and smooth.  And then there is the challenge of slowly baking the assembled tart such that the curd sets up beautifully and does not curdle, blister or crack.
 
smlemontartrhubarb0002.jpgIn San Francisco I used Meyer lemons - a particularly sweet and fragrant variety - but now back in London they are nowhere to be found.  I recently dug out my notes (including tips I gleaned from two fantastic pastry chefs, Jennifer Altman and Jim Dodge) to make lemon tarts for one of my Secret Kitchen dinners.  I served it with poached forced Yorkshire rhubarb flavoured with a little orange zest, and thick double cream. 

Note that the dough’s sugar:butter:flour ratio is 1:2:3 - easy to remember.  For a wonderfully golden curd, use free range organic eggs.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy

france
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Smbarnabycitronpresse10001.jpgToday Barnaby spent the morning browsing the market in Samoëns.  The fruit and vegetables were lovely, as was the enormous array of cured sausages, but he spent most of his time admiring the cheese: Beaufort, Abondance, Tomme, and in particular the Reblochon which reminded him of the wonderful time he had all those months ago in Munster.

Anyway, all that cheese can give a bear a thirst, so he stopped for a refreshing drink.  Trying to look like a local, he casually asked for a citron pressé - he'd never tried one before but has picked up enough French to know this means "lemon in a hurry" - or something like that.

Smbarnabycitronpresse20001.jpgImagine his dismay when they brought him a glass of pure, sour lemon juice.  Yuk!

But once we'd explained that you're supposed to add your own sugar and water, he gave it a try - and its zingy fresh taste cheered him up immediately.

Until he asked for the bill and they charged him €3.60, that is.  Cheeky.

Lemons

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lemons.JPGThe lemon seems to be such a common, and essential, fruit, that you'd imagine it had been around since the beginning of time.  Not so.  The original three citrus plants, from which all others have been bred, are the citron, the mandarin and the pummelo.  The lemon is probably a multi-step hybrid, involving the citron, the lime and the pummelo.  Lemons arrived in Europe 1500-2000 years ago, having originated in what is now Pakistan and India, and coming via the Middle East.

Preserved lemons

morocco
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To make up for the absence of recipes this last month, here is a citrussy pair suited to the season, complete with nerdy citrussy facts.  I think preserving oranges and lemons is fun.  You might not, of course.  (The lemons are for Anthea, who assures me she's interested.)

preserved lemons.JPG

It's really easy to preserve your own lemons, and once you have a jar of them you'll find yourself adding them to tagines (eg chicken with lemon and olives), salsas (with shallots and fresh herbs, to go on grilled fish or meat), salads and couscous dishes...

Christmas special part 1 - Carlo's candied citrus peel

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Well, a lot has happened in 3 weeks.  We enjoyed a traditional American Thanksgiving chez Alex and Nicole, which, despite Alex nearly knocking Nicole out with a plate of oysters, the dog yaffling a whole triple-creme cheese off the board during the commotion, and later getting to the turkey before we did, was a most enjoyable feast.  I finished my internship at Chez Panisse, which was a little traumatic - involving much sobbing followed by several medicinal Manhattans.  I learnt so much there, loved cooking in a professional kitchen every day, met some wonderful people and properly fell in love with the place. And, somewhere in between these incidents, I candied a new batch of citrus peels, sourced some suet and had several restaurant mates around for a mammoth Christmas cake and pudding making session, at which a round of eggnog was the only American concession.

candied peel.JPGI realise Stir-up Sunday has passed, but it's not too late to make Christmas cake and pudding (should you be so inclined, and probably British).  Although, I recommend keeping the pudding til Xmas '08, as the one-year-old pud we ate at the pudding party was even more delicious than its sibling which we ate in April.

So, here is your first Christmassy recipe - candied citrus peel.  The cake, pudding and eggnog will follow shortly.
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