Hommage to Keith Floyd

Over  four days of hard labour from morning to late evening (10pm in most cases) the only way I could contribute to the hard landscaping being put in place for my envisaged urban oasis was by making a hearty meal on my day off  for the grafters.  I picked up my trusty old “Floyd on Africa” book and sourced the ingredients listed therein to make a lamb and green pea breedie (remember this one Rosco) with a green apple sambal – it certainly went down a treat after a hard days work.  This has been an old favourite of mine and Frex’s  for over ten years since we first discovered it and has proved a strong favourite with friends we’ve cooked it for and the people who’ve borrowed the recipe to cook  for themselves.  Whilst browsing through the amazing colourful photography from Africa that is in the book I happened upon a recipe for “preserved lemons” ah ha another great use for the abundance of lemons yielded from the little lemon tree and how fabulous would these taste in with a middle eastern style chicken roast!    It was a great loss to the world when Keith Floyd died in 2009 but his legacy lives on – he was one of the greats who truly understood taste and food combinations.  If you are lucky enough to get hold of a copy of this book (it is worth it for the photography alone – never mind the endless tasty, easy to cook recipes inside) hold on to it, if you’re not here are details of how to cook lamb and green pea breedie and how the make lemon preserve from your home grown tree (there also a chance to use some of those herbs as well!).  Try them – it will be time well spent! Bottoms Up!

Preserved lemons

The many uses of lemons

Layer the thinly sliced lemons with olives and thyme in a jar with a seal, fill with groundnut or olive oil  and leave in the fridge for at least one month to the flavour to develop

cut lemons into quarters and layer with rock salt and thyme in a steralized jar.  Heat some lemon juice in a pan and pour over (enough to cover the lemons) seal the jar and leave for a month for the full flavour to develop

Lamb and green pea bredie

To the original masterchef Floyd

method: heat oil and brown off lamb, add onions and cook for a few minutes, add star anise, red masala, chilli, garlic and thyme. Pour on stock, cover and cook for 20 minutes, add potatoes cook for 20 mins, add peas and cook for 10 mins, season to taste and serve with rice and green apple sambal (juice 2 lemons, 4 hard green apples peeled, 2 garlic cloves crushed, half to one chilli finely chopped, grate apple into lemon juice, toss from time to time add rest ingredients and mix well – it compliments the dish so well – don’t  be tempted to leave it out!)1kg lamb shank, 3 onions finely chopped, 1 tsp star anise, 1 tspn red masala curry paste, 2 green chillies (the recipe says 5 but I find that too hot!), 5 garlic cloves, some sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 litre lamb stock, 1lb new pots or large ones diced, 1lb peas, salt and pepper to taste

A Heaven Scent

With a little thought about what you plant  in your outside space it will not only look beautiful but will yield some very useful and inspirational things prompting the unleashing of  the creative you.  Lemon trees  look great and you can grow them in a pot on your balcony or terrace (they will flourish in a sheltered area or you can take them inside  if the winter is very harsh).  The tree will give fruit all year round.  When the blooms appear before the fruit the air is scented like a heaven send – it doesn’t get much better than this.  Lemons get used lots in summer to help olive oil dress your salads or squeeze into a summer cocktail or fruit add to a fruit punch. In winter try making your own lemoncillo the perfect winter schnaps or a lemon loaf to help keep your cockles warm, entertain guests and make your kitchen smell like a kath kidson advert!  The perfect pretty plant, with many uses,  to grow in a big pot on your balcony or terrace.  Keep your lemon tree well watered and in a sunny spot  to produce big bouncy lemons!

Luverley Lemons for all year round inspiration
Did my lemon tree really produce these? Lemon and lime soaps from bronnley make a delicious, zesty gift.
It’s Lime before it’s a lemon

How to make lemoncello 

You will need

5 unwaxed lemons, 750g caster sugar, 700ml boiling water, 1 litre bottle of vodka

What to do

Zest your lemons (making sure you do not to include any of the white pith) Pour vokda over zest, put in an airtight jar for at least a week, shake daily,  pour boiling water over sugar and disolve, then add the vodka and zest mixture that has been resting for a week and leave in the airtight jar again for a further week, shake daily, strain into bottles and add some lemon zest strands to each bottle

Some inspirational uses

Refreshing and light the perfect palate cleanser and digestive, have with tonic water as a sweet tasty refreshing drink, add to champagne, mix with a fruit juice for a delightful cocktail, drizzle on ice cream, fruit salad or fresh strawberries.

Lemoncello the perfect home made gift (or just enjoy it all to yourself!)