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luscious lemons

It is strange that some of the most common ingredients are the most popular. Take the lemon for instance. An ancient culinary hero, easily grown in temperate to sub tropical climates, they dazzle an oyster, transform grilled fish, match a salad dressing to wine and make the best puddings. Who can go past real lemon curd tart, either toffee crusted or lemon meringue? Make crepes in quantity and you quickly become the most popular person in the kitchen as lemons, sugar and butter appear at your elbow and your stack of crepes never gets higher. Working eight crepe pans doesn’t leave much time for deterring thieving kitchen staff and crispy edged crepes straight from the pan with lemon, sugar and butter are irresistible.
The medicinal properties of the lemon have been known for centuries. The lemon travelled from Kashmir to China around 1900BC and even then they were considered the traveller’s friend known to keep at bay many diseases. Oddly it took the western world far longer to understand the lemon, but by the 1600’s nearly all sailors sought, citrus, in particular lemons as part of their ships supplies. For the dreaded lurgy we recommend two teaspoons of honey, bought to the boil and the juice of a lemon added, at least three times a day. The lemon juice must not be boiled with the honey as high heat will destroy most of its magical properties. This little remedy will not only soothe your raw throat, but, at the same time give you a jolting boost of vitamin C and ascorbic acid.
Apart from these useful properties, they are the culinary hero, easily grown in temperate to sub tropical climate, they dazzle an oyster, bring out the flavour of a simple grilled fish, a veal schnitzel, a salad dressing. They make the best puds, and who can go past real lemon curd tart, either toffee crusted or in the form of a lemon meringue pie. Make crepes in quantity in a commercial kitchen and you’re quickly the most popular person there, the lemons, sugar and melted unsalted butter appearing mysteriously next to your pile of crepes. Working five or six pans at once doesn’t leave much time for deterring greedy kitchen staff in search of a favourite feed. Who can blame them anyway, fresh crispy edged crepes, straight from the pan with lemon, sugar and butter may not be haute cuisine but surpass most other desserts.
Waxing citrus is nothing new, its been done for centuries, animal fat, bees wax, vaseline, but it must be said that perhaps this year commercial growers have gone overboard waxing their fruit in an effort to prolong its life. Some brands have been so sticky they stay magically attached to the warmth of ones fingers. If you want to grate the skin you almost need to stick them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and certainly julienned rind needs to be blanched and refreshed a couple of times before using it. As for those little stickers, well they might now have a little lift up tab making it slightly easier to remove, but what was wrong with the little stamp we used to have. It washed of with blanching and wasn’t a proper pain like those infernal stickers. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a dinner plate returning to the kitchen with half a sticker stuck to its edge, missed when cutting that last minute garnish. Have mercy on us poor cooks and get rid of them, and that single mouldy piece of fruit always found half way through every box. A good palate trained in the ways of wine will easily pick that faint mouldy taste that ruins at least half of the fruit. If you buy fruit by the box, washing those around the mouldy fruit is usually insufficient and you should take care to taste them before using them.

just remember anything you can do with a lemon you can do with a lime with one difference. Limejuice oxidises in a matter of minutes so not dilly dallying when working with limes!

return to the recipe index for more lemon and lime recipes.

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.