Uforic Food Cafe Torquay

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Day 19: Christmas from the heart – homemade gifts

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Many people traipse through shopping centres for hours on end, trying to find that perfect gift for the people we care about to show our affection at Christmas.

But have you ever thought that a nice way to give is to actually make something yourself?

I think it says more about you – that you have taken the time to really think about it and actually put your heart into making something special. No only that, but homemade gifts – in this case a nice jar of preserved lemons – is also very practical. For one, you can eat them by putting them in deserts and casseroles (stay tuned for my Morrocan chicken tagine recipe – sooo good!)- but the bright yellow lemons look so lovely in the jar, that they make a terrific ornament too!

An added bonus us you get to mill around in the comfort of your kitchen to whip up these gifts, rather than spend ages finding a park at the shopping centre and walking a mile fighting crowds. Well, I know where I’d rather be!.

The great thing is that preserved lemons really aren’t at their best until they have been jarred for longer than a month – so you can make them in advance and when you come to give them for Christmas, they can be used straight away. Before the end of the month I will be posting the most wonderful Morrocan dish, for which these are the star ingredient – so you could even include the recipe as part of the dish, to give the recipient a bit of an idea on how to cook with them.

Preserved lemons

  • 8 lemons
  • Cold water
  • Rock sea salt
  • Large glass screw-top jar
  • 6 cardomom pods
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 birdseye chillies
  • Boiling water

Method:

Break the pores of the lemon by scraping gently against the medium setting of grater.

Place in large bowl and cover completely with cold water, then store them overnight in a cool place.

The next day, pour the water off the lemons and cover again with fresh water. The reason for doing this is it removed any bitterness in the lemon.

On the third day, pour off the water. Using a sharp knife and chopping board, make 4 deep slits in each lemon (they should go about halfway to the centre). Pack each incision with a good heaped teaspoon of rock salt.

Place stuffed lemons in a glass jar, add cardamom pods, bay leaves and chillies.

Pour boiling water over contents and screw on lid while the water is still hot. Leave for 40 days in a cool dark place to ensure they are properly preserved.

Other than the fact the process takes a couple of days – it’s actually a really easy thing to do. And, as I said, stay tuned for the best Morrocan chicken recipe. Preserved lemons are the key ingredient!

What other foods have you made and given as Christmas gifts? Hope you share your ideas in the comments section below.

Be Inspired~

Lisa

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