Thursday, September 25, 2014

September - nearly gone already!

and again I've been extremely slack in blogging what with one thing and another.! I'm just recovering from a cold and am feeling a bit run down right now.

It has been a very wet and windy start to Spring here. This week things are starting to (at last) dry out a bit and we can start to get on with the many jobs that need attention like mowing and weeding. Also a last minute rush on to get things planted/moved. I still have all the seed potatoes sitting round waiting to go into the ground, was hoping to have got this done by now. Oh well, everything is going to be a bit late this year but never mind, such is life and we are governed to such a large extent by the weather when it comes to gardening.

Indoors I have been a bit busier. Since being gifted another big box of lemons I made up some more lemon honey. I also tried making a batch of sugar-free lemon honey. In place of sugar I used 'Natvia' which is a stevia powder. Initially I thought it had turned out OK - tasted fine. But subsequently on cooling the texture went all wrong - the stevia powder crystallised so it had a definite crunch - not very nice! I tried heating some up and it seemed to get rid of the crunch, but it also made the lemon honey very runny. Not quite sure what to do with the remaining 2 jars I have. Loathed to just biff them out (pig food) seems a waste, maybe I can use as a (warm runny) topping on yoghurt or something similar. Any ideas?

I also bottled up several lemons in salt to preserve them. Really nice to have on hand for Moroccan flavoured dishes or in salads. Very easy to do, just wash and chop the lemons into quarters or sixths then pack into clean jars (I used Agee preserving jars) with a good handful of rock salt. On this occasion I also added some spices - star anise, mixed peppercorns and some cinnamon sticks. Keep packing in the lemon segments with more salt until you reach the top of the jar. Top off with some extra lemon juice then put the lid on. Give the jars a bit of a shake now and then. Keep at room temperature for about 3 weeks then store in the fridge. To use, scrape the flesh out and rinse off the salt before chopping up the (softened and preserved) lemon rinds. Yum!

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