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The Lemon Tree

The Lemon Tree

Today I found our first fallen lemon, and it looked just like a bought one (organic of course).  It's taken a few years to finally have a real lemon crop, so this is very exciting!

This started me thinking about lemon recipes I love to bake, and I was compelled to whip up this delicious wheat free Lemon and Orange Polenta Loaf from my ‘Ripe recipes, a fresh batch’ recipe book.  

  • This is a delicious loaf and very easy to make.  Even easier to eat. 
  • The recipe suggests these loaves will last for up to a week in an airtight container.  I can’t actually confirm that because ours were gone in two days!
  • I made a few tweaks to the original recipe because I didn’t have the exact ingredients called for.  I used two lemons and one orange rather two oranges and one lemon, left out the Chia Seeds, and used brown sugar instead of white.  The result was still delicious.
  • The recipe made more lemon drizzle than I used (I can’t remember why), but I would definitely use it all next time.  I used dried black limes for garnish which look awesome.  We didn’t eat them though, they are probably better suited for their original use as a cocktail garnish!

It was a toss-up between making the Lemon and Orange Polenta Loaf or one of these other delicious lemon treats.

Lemon meringue pie – a childhood favourite.  Mum always made this for special family occasions using the good ‘ole Edmonds Cookbook recipe.  Shortcrust pastry, lemon curd with a good sour bite, topped with silky, sweet meringue  #kiwiclassic

Lemon dumplings – Another family favourite, especially in winter. Soft, pillowy dumplings cooked in a citrus syrup until it was almost all absorbed into the dumplings, leaving a sticky, caramel, lemon nectar.  Growing up on a dairy farm, the only way these could truly be enjoyed were with lashing of fresh cream.

   Lemon peel twist for the G&T
    - click on the lemon twist for a quick lesson

 
Preserved lemons – OMG, preserved lemons were a culinary game changer for me when I first discovered them.  Little flavour bombs that add a burst of lemony goodness to everything from Tangines to salads. 

Lemon curd – There’s always a stock of luscious lemon curd in the Home Baked kitchen.  We use it in cakes, folded through cream, sandwiched between macarons, in mini lemon meringue tarts, and many more delicious ways for the catering and cafe branches of our business. Dusted & Delicious Catering & HOME cafe in Wellington.

             

And, of course you will find lemons in our Home Baked products, one of the most popular cakes is the Lemon Yoghurt Cake, or perhaps our Kawakawa Gin and Lemon Cake is more to your taste?  This year the utterly delicious Citrus Spiced Biscuit has returned to our Christmas selection, a flavour bomb.

Hot Tips 

Here's a couple of hot tips from a lemon aficionado:

  1. Whenever you're in the kitchen, and you feel like your dish is missing that je ne sais quoi, add a squeeze of lemon! Trust me, it works like magic.
  2. Next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to stall for time before responding to someone, give them the ‘suck on a lemon’ response (ie pucker your lips and make a quick sucking noise as if you have just sucked on a real lemon), and suggest you will need to think about your answer and get back to them.

Now, let's peel away the citrusy paradise for a moment and dive into the depths of citrus remorse.  The time I committed a lemon tree crime against my parents.  Warning lemon pun overload follows.

Confessions of a lemon tree killer

Dear parents,

 

I have a confession to make.  There's something I've kept to myself for far too long, and it's time to squeeze it out.

 

Do you remember that time I stripped your well established, fully laden lemon tree of lemons to take back to work?  Free lemons, yay!!

 

I hauled two heavy cartons of lemons from Christchurch to Wellington, enduring the embarrassment of having the boxes tied together with binder twine,* as per dads specialty wrapping service (oh the fiendish joy he got embarrassing me as he wrapped and knotted lengths of bright orange rope around the countless boxes of produce, plants and other absolute necessities transported from Christchurch to Wellington over the years).

 

But I digress,

 

It took a few days before I hauled the cartons into the kitchen (I hope this doesn't sour the story)  meantime they were getting a bit warm in the boxes and starting to soften a little faster than expected.  But for the most part, they were still in good zest.

 

Our head chef at the time wasn't as excited as I thought he should be with this gift of FREE lemons, and I learnt sometime later they were all tossed in the bin.  Leaving me feeling, well a little sour (pun intended) and frustrated at my well intentioned, but fruitless endeavour.

 

It's a lemon of a situation, really.  I'm so sorry for not making better use of your beloved lemon tree's fruit. 

 

Please forgive my zesty mistake.

Yours in lemon zest and regret.

Your loving daughter.

*Binder twine – A farming essential.  Invented to keep bales of hay together so they could be stacked and stored to feed out to farm animals in the winter.  The ultimate in recycling.  Used binder twine is an absolute necessity on the farm, being used for such things as, tying up the dog, hitching up your pants, tying gates shut, as a clothesline, for runner beans to grow up, for tying stuff down and 1001 other uses.  A bundle of binder twine is always kept in the boot of the car for emergencies.

 

Recipe for Orange & Polenta Loaves with Chia Seeds.
Copied from Ripe Recipes, A Fresh Batch

Ingredients

2 Oranges, scrubbed clean with skin on, topped and tailed (Main)
1 Lemon, scrubbed clean with skin on, topped and tailed
1 ¼ cups Polenta, fine ground
¼ cup Cornflour
1 cup Ground almonds
2 tsp Baking powder
3 Tbsp Chia seeds
1 pinch Salt
250 g Unsalted butter, softened
2 cups Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla essence/extract
6 Eggs


Lemon Glaze

1 cup Icing sugar
2 Lemons, juice of 1, zest of 2 (Main)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 160C.
  • Grease and line two loaf tins, or a 23cm cake tin.
  • In a small saucepan place the oranges and lemon, fill with sufficient water to cover two-thirds of the way up the side of the fruit. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes turning the fruit after 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well. Set the fruit aside to cool a little.
  • Roughly chop the fruit, removing any visible pips. Place the fruit into a food processor bowl. Blend until it is well pureed. Transfer the pulp into a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the polenta, cornflour, ground almonds, baking powder, chia seeds and salt.
  • In a cake mixer bowl, place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the inside of the bowl after each addition.
  • Add a cup of the polenta mix with a couple of tablespoons of the fruit pulp to the cake mixture, beating until well combined. Continue alternately adding the polenta and fruit pulp until it is all incorporated into the cake mix.
  • Divide the cake mix evenly between the two loaf tins. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Note: If using a cake tin, just increase the baking time to approximately 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and leave in the tins to cool a little before turning them out on to a wire rack.
  • To prepare the glaze: In a small bowl mix the icing sugar, lemon juice and half the zest with a fork. When the loaves have cooled, drizzle over the glaze and sprinkle over the remaining lemon zest. Serve with unsweetened natural yoghurt. These loaves make lovely gifts and keep well in an airtight container for up to a week.

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