Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Merryn's Menu: Preserved Lemons - so simple to make at home.

Merryn's Menu: Preserved Lemons - so simple to make at home.: I have a few cookbooks, many on different cuisines as you take a gastronomic trip around the world. Going through different cooking phases,...

Preserved Lemons - so simple to make at home.

I have a few cookbooks, many on different cuisines as you take a gastronomic trip around the world.
Going through different cooking phases, Preserved Lemons crop up in many Middle Eastern recipes.

How pretty is this on your pantry shelf!

The first time I was given a jar of preserved lemons, no one told me to discard the flesh.
They were really bitter.

These are funny looking specimens.

However, the preserved lemon rind is delicious.

Finely chopped and added to a mozzarella, tomato and olive salad with a lemony dressing,
or slow cooked in a delicious sauce with roasted lamb.

Preserved Lemons

Ideally use organic, unwaxed lemons.

8 lemons, washed and dried
1 1/2 cup fine sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
3 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon black pepper corns
1 extra lemon, juiced
2 cups boiling water, approximately.

Large glass jar with a tight fitting lid, sterilised.

Cut lemons vertically into quarters but not the whole way through, just so that they open outwards.
Pack the lemons with salt and place into the bottom of the jar, pushing them together so they fit snugly and with no gaps.   Pour some salt on top of the bottom layer, add half of the spices, then lay the remaining lemons on top.  Cover with salt, add the remaining spices and cinnamon stick. 
Squeeze over the juice of one lemon and cover the lot with boiling water.  You do not want the lemon protruding above the liquid.
Seal, label, then place into a dark corner of the pantry for one month.

When using, remove the lemon, taking out how much you require and rinse in fresh water.
Discard the flesh and any pith then finely chop the rind to use in many recipes.

Bon appetito, enjoy Merryn

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sourdough Loaf cooked in the Breadmaker - my unique creation.

Bring our your bread maker, dust it off and cook a perfect sour dough loaf in it, overnight.

The benefits of sourdough bread are myriad but essentially -

Sourdough bread is more digestible than normal white bread and more nutritious as well.
Lactic acids in the sourdough bread ensure the vitamins and minerals in the flour are
more available to your body by helping to neutralise the phytates in flour
that would inhibit their absorption.
 The sour dough bread is more digestible and less likely to cause food intolerance issues.
The acids also slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood stream
which lowers the bread's GI (glycaemic index).

There was not a recipe for sour dough loaf in any recipe book I have, 
so it seemed sensible to prepare it as normal, let it rise overnight in the tin, 
so the wild yeast could further ferment.
Then I baked as per any bread loaf after eight hours.

Sour Dough Breadmaker Loaf

Place 200g sourdough starter in a bowl
Add 300ml cold filtered water
400g plain flour (I use bakers flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar

Mix all together lightly in a bowl until just combined.
Place into the bread maker tin provided that is inserted in your bread maker.
Put into bread maker, click into place, choose setting (crusty)
and set timer so it is baked and finished for your 7am breakfast.

* Makes 750g loaf

This dough needs to rest for at least 8 hours before baking (up to 12 hours is okay).
Next time I will use the bread maker unit to initially mix the dough, then have a delayed start so it will still bake eight hours later.

The resulting loaf is light but with the unique sour dough texture you expect from sour dough.
We ate it fresh for two days and toasted on the third day.

Bon appetito, Enjoy Merryn