It’s spring here, so I’ve been enjoying my life here in Sydney by refinishing furniture (as pictured here),
replanting seeds, and getting up to my usual shenanigans in the kitchen. This curried salad is from one of my CSA box experiments, and uses up some of the first signs of summer’s impending heat in the form of a roasted red pepper and some beautiful curly kale. I can’t wait until I have enough of my own produce to try a version of this from our balcony garden.
Curried raw kale, roasted red pepper, and spelt salad
Filed under almonds, experiments, local, main, quick meals, raisins, salad, seasonal, side, spelt, vegan, vegetarian
The wildflowers are out in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and our dwarf Meyer lemon tree looks like it is about to bloom. Springtime here doesn’t come with quite the feeling of euphoric relief I used to get at a long, snowy winter’s end, but it’s pleasant all the same. I think I’m finally learning to enjoy Australia’s more subtle approach to the changing of seasons.
One of our first purchases for our new home in Sydney was a dwarf Meyer lemon tree. $50 and several months later, we picked our first three fragrant fruit. Not bad for a partially sunny balcony in Sydney’s Inner West, don’t you think?
Meyer lemons, a cross between lemons and mandarins, have a bewitching floral scent and a sweet, tart, juicy interior, so they make especially good additions to baked goods. With this in mind, I decided to use the juice from two lemons to make a tart and the zest to make a Meyer lemon vodka. The tart lasts several days in the fridge, and the Meyer lemon vodka lends the fragrance of these beauties to everything from cocktails to cookies for months after the citrus season has come to an end.
With the last lemon, we made homemade Meyer lemon-lime bitters—a fitting way to celebrate our first citrus harvest.
Meyer lemon vodka – a recipe in pictures
1. Gather ingredients. Excellent vodka isn’t essential for this; Smirnoff or something similar will do.
2. Peel off the zest of the Meyer lemons, carefully avoiding the pith.
3. Drop the Meyer lemon zest into the vodka, and let the flavor of the zest infuse in the vodka for a few weeks. When the vodka is fragrant, it’s finished.
This vodka is delicious in any fruity mixed drink, and also works well in baked goods calling for orange liqueur.
Meyer lemon tart with cardamom and orange zest
Mashed potatoes + cabbage sautéed in butter = GENIUS.
Ok. Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself. But it’s creamy and a bit crunchy and savory and … have you smelled cabbage when it’s cooked in a bit of butter, and mixed with a bit of salt and pepper? After the first minute or two (when cabbage-haters will ask whether you really plan on feeding them that stink), it transcends its humble reputation and smells warm and golden, somehow. Pure heaven, I say. But maybe it’s just the red hair talking.
The dish I’m talking about is called colcannon. It’s a traditional Irish dish, which can really be made with kale or cabbage, and is filling enough to serve as dinner if you have a bit of bread and cheese on the side. I’ve strayed a bit from the traditional recipe here, with some sautéed onions, garlic, and paprika, and some leftover whey to cook the potatoes in (thanks for the tip, Dad). Either way, it’s worth a try.