Preserving Lemons

I found some lemons on the marked-down shelf in the supermarket and am busy preserving them. It's a two-stage process - they are now stuffed with flaked sea salt, and stuffed inside a sealed Kilner jar. Next week I move on to stage two, which is adding lemon juice, herbs and chilli to the jar. The recipe is different from most that I have come across, which simply add lemon juice. I'm impatient to try this version in a salad, or with some fish or chicken.


I've also roasted some bell peppers that have been lurking in the fridge for a few days. When they are cool enough to handle I will peel and marinate them (this is a messy job - you might want to wear kitchen gloves if you plan to attempt the task). Once marinated they will keep in the fridge for another week. I plan to use them on toasted bruschetta or a croute (see below) for a light lunch at the weekend.

Roasted bell peppers

I bought some clotted cream at the weekend and it will need to be used soon, so when I've made the marinated peppers I'm going to quickly whip up some Devonshire scones for the boys (boys - the eldest is forty!) to enjoy with strawberry jam and cream. I will add the egg and milk to half of the dry mixture and keep the other half in the fridge for a few days (scones are best eaten on the day that they are baked).

It was cold enough yesterday to revert to comforting winter food, so I cooked up a hearty beef stew. Half of it is leftover for this evening (don't you find that stew is always more tasty the next day?) so I don't have to think about cooking this evening, leaving time to settle down with a good book/my favourite tv soap.

Tip: When you have turned off the oven, cube some bread that is starting to go stale, pop it in a dish, drizzle with olive oil (a spray is best for this purpose if you have one), slide the dish into the cooling oven and let the bread bake as the oven cools. You might want to add garlic or a sprinkling of herbs but it's not essential.  Half an hour or so later - Voila! Croutons. No waste. No cost.

Store croutons in an airtight tin and use for sprinkling on soups and salads. The crunchier the croutons the longer they will keep but they are so yummy that I tend to snack on them and so they quickly disappear. Kids love them too - and they are healthier than unhealthy packets of expensive, shop-bought, snacks and sweets.

Homemade croutons

P.S. For those not familiar with French culinary terms - a crouton is a small croute - if you bake a whole slice of bread it becomes a croute and can later be used as the base for an open sandwich - or something even more substantial. I recall having a memorable after-theatre meal at a restaurant in Stratford -upon-Avon many years ago - a croute spread with pate, topped with fillet steak and a tarrogan flavoured sauce. Happy Days.

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