Back to preserving

Well it’s been a while – mainly due to work circumstances, but I am now a bit more on an even keel and back to some writing.

I’ve changed jobs, and although I’m now back in a school teaching Year 5, it has taken me a while to find the right balance of work and fun…but I’ve managed it!

Today has been a great day – snow outside, a walk with the dog, and then back to the kitchen to prepare the lemons that I enthusiastically bought with the idea that I would try some lemon preserving.

A new cookery book for Christmas, and I thought I should try it out – I’d tried preserved limes before, but this time I’d seen a recipe that uses lemon slices.

Not being one to follow recipes slavishly, I decided to do one jar of preserved whole lemons, using my recipe from before, and then a jar of slices.  The mandolin that has been sat in my cupboard not doing a great deal was brilliant for slicing the lemons thinly, and I used practically the same recipes for both the whole and the slices – bit of smoked paprika, sea salt, and thyme.  Oh and time too – took about 30 minutes for the slices to sit there and look pretty.

I’d got a few limes still left over from the last batch – they have been in the fridge for a good 6 months now, and still look fine – I’ll do my usual trick and let Telsa try them first – so I thought I’d put them in a lamb tagine.  I got the tagine pot from Marrakesh a few years ago, and think that it just adds a bit of je ne sais quoi to the dish when you put it on the table.

So – spherical shallots (peeled but left whole), a bit of garlic sweated in a pan, lamb browned, potatoes browned, then the lot put in the tagine.  a teaspoon of smoked paprika, a teaspoon of ras-el-hanout and a teaspoon of za’atar.  Then I de-glazed the pan with a bit of water and poured this over all the spices in the pan until the water came up to the rim… a bit of a suck-it-and-see sort of tea, but I am sure it will be great.

I had obviously been missing the cooking, because I then got out the smoker and decided to smoke three crowns of garlic – never done this  before, so I will let you know how it goes, but how difficult can it be?!

I was at my nan’s house yesterday, and we went to her favourite farm shop.  The produce looked so inviting, and I have missed the chance to engage with ingredients now that I am working much longer hours.  However, the smoked garlic was £1:75 a crown, as apposed to pennies for the regular garlic, so I thought I’d have a go.

The house smells lovely at the moment – I have experimented with hickory chips.  It has another 25 minutes to go, and I am so looking forward to using it – I am only a bit gutted that I didn’t do the garlic first so that I could have put it in the tagine!

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