Lemon honey in the city

Living in a big city naturally means you do not have an acre of land. We are lucky in that we have a courtyard, and it gets sun in the summer. You have heard me wax lyrical about basil pesto before. Well now it is the turn of some humble lemons. One of our first purchases was a lemon and lime tree – a graft obviously, though we only seem to get lemons. I had visions of limes for gin and tonic in the summer when we bought the tree! The last batch of lemons ended up as frozen lemon juice thanks to the mother-out-of-law. For some unknown reason I have always wanted to have a go at making Lemon Honey (which is known as lemon butter in the Australian vernacular as I found out) and for some random reason this late batch of lemons (code for I thought I had better take them off the tree as spring was here!) inspired me. While I was tempted to give them the same fate as their predecessors I went to every kiwi’s cooking bible (the Edmonds Cook Book) and the making of lemon honey appeared reasonably straightforward. What was quirky was a couple of day’s later I picked up the October Child magazine (a great freebie) and in there was an article on their tried and true cookbooks and there first was the good old Edmonds cook book. I could not have agreed more that day, fresh from my successful foray. And it made me smile, especially when we think of modern cook books full of fabulous colour photos – this cook book is the original real deal, the entire recipe for the the lemon honey stretches to about two centimetres, and there are four other recipes sharing the page. You know what though – the lemon honey turned out just so. I am even giving the small jar to a friend, not that she knows it yet, but she thought my first jam attempt was more than ok, so I am willing to risk her opinion again! If you have some lemons going spare, can I suggest a batch of lemon honey…

So what does freedom taste like?

Sweet! And pun intended I am afraid!  I have indulged in culinary pleasures with my new found taste of freedom. Perhaps like many of you, I have a list of things I would like to try but have either not had or made the time. Well that has changed, and I have knocked two things of my list – jam and ice cream – and I have even managed to combine the two.

I remember my Mum making jam, there was always loads of plum jam which was never my favourite, clearly we had plum trees. When we lived in the UK Dad and I would go blackberry picking – I have fond memories of Dad and I scrambling in and around bushes. More importantly blackberry jam was my absolute favourite.

When I was at the Queen Victoria Markets I noticed that I could buy three punnets of strawberries for just $4.50, and that triggered my thoughts and started me looking at recipes. I am now very proud to say that I have made strawberry jam; and it was not as complicated nor as time consuming as I imagined it might be, and it set (with some help from Jamsetta).

I have now also made ice cream for the first time in my life, and even the “hard to get a compliment out of other half” thinks it tastes like the real deal. I made strawberry ripple ice cream by hand, using my jam. Again not that complicated, I would make both jam and ice cream again. Making them myself has also reminded me that jam and ice cream are not health foods! I also made a strawberry cloud cake, definitely not a dieter’s special! My thanks to Annabel Langbein, it was her ice cream base recipe and strawberry cloud cake recipe that I used.

I also wanted to give a shout out to Bee Sustainable on Lygon St, I went there to purchase some Kleerview covers before making my jam, and at the time they did not have any in stock, but very kindly directed me to Fowlers Vacola– back in North Melbourne (asking if I was familiar with North Melbourne – just a little!) and in doing so giving up a sale. And thanks to Fowlers for suggesting the Jamsetta when I said I was making jam for the first time.

So what does freedom taste like? For me rather a sweet start! When you made a change, how was it for you?