Home' Waiheke Weekender : 23 August 2012 Contents 23 August 2012
6 Waiheke Weekender
Lemons have made their way into the cuisine of so many of the
world’s cultures – as a flavouring for rice and couscous, in dress-
ings, desserts, as preserves, curds and marmalades and, of course,
many of the world’s best cocktails.
Some of the favourite memories of Karl Wright, head chef for
the Waiheke Group, are around the Mediterranean where he thrived
on the local colour and freshness of available produce. In Italy it
was the sun-ripened tomatoes, in Greece he recalls the intensity of
the basil, and here on Waiheke it’s all about our juicy lemons.
Karl loves fresh and local produce, which means when there is
a seasonal abundance of either fruit or vegetables, he finds a way
to preserve the excess for use at a later date.
add a boost of flavour
to all kinds of dishes
they’re often used
in Moroccan and
other North African
cultures have a tradi-
tion of preserving
lemons to obtain
a citrus tang even
when the fruit is out
of season. Limes and
grapefruit can also
be preserved with
And with almost every island garden boasting
laden citrus trees and plenty of rainy afternoons spent
indoors, what better time to preserve some for the
summer months ahead.
Scrub lemons thoroughly, then cut a deep cross into
each, nearly to the base where the lemon is attached
to the stalk. Sprinkle the inside of the cut lemons
with rock salt. Allow a generous tablespoon for each
lemon and don’t use iodised or table salt as it will
make the lemons bitter.
Add a large handful of rock salt to the bottom of a
sterilised jar then start packing in the lemons as
tightly as you can, along with a couple of bay leaves.
You can use other aromatics such as cinnamon sticks,
coriander seeds or chillies if you like.
Top up the jar with freshly squeezed lemon juice then
add a little olive oil so the lemons are covered. Make sure you
have no air bubbles then screw on the lid.
Leave in a cool dark place for at least a month before using. It
pays to occasionally turn the jar upside down. Once opened, store
in the fridge. To use, remove the flesh and white pith and just use
the lemon skins.
Karl Wright isn’t scared of trying the weird
and wonderful. During his travels around the
world he has tasted mountain oysters (lamb’s
testicles), snails and his share of offal but
admits to a true dislike of tripe, whether it’s
trendy or not.
Valuable vitamin C, just when
you need it most
Chef Karl Wright hates to see fresh produce going to
waste. He shares his recipe for preserving the golden
fruit from the island’s heavily-laiden lemon trees.
In small quantities, preserved lemons add a little zing to
tapenades as well as a refreshing flavour to couscous, lentil
or quinoa salads. The liquid from the jar can also be used in
Preserved lemons transform yoghurt or mayonnaise to
be used as a dressing and, finely chopped, add flavour to a
tomato and coriander salsa to accompany fish.
Add a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and finely
chopped preserved lemon peel to cooked, warmed lentils or
beans along with plenty of watercress or rocket. Serve with
crumbled feta or as an accompaniment for grilled lamb leg
Make a flavoured butter by adding finely chopped
preserved lemon, garlic and chives to softened butter. Spread
under a chicken skin before roasting or serve atop a piece of
Finish a seafood risotto with finely chopped preserved
lemon or add to a gremolata, along with finely chopped pars-
ley and garlic, to finish a braise of beef or lamb.
Add slivers of preserved lemons to vegetables before
roasting or blanch and saute silverbeet, broccoli or cauliflow-
er with garlic in olive oil and then add slivers of preserved
lemon and some pitted olives.
Make a tagine of lamb or chicken by browning the meat,
then adding chopped onions, garlic, slivers of preserved
lemons, cumin seeds, a few chopped tomatoes, fresh corian-
der and a little stock or water.
Preserved lemons will also liven up winter casseroles.
Putting your preserved lemons to use
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new builds and renovations
There is a hand-painted sugar bowl that sits on the kitchen table
of a dear friend, it symbolises an indulgence of whims and
has a particular significance to us. We walked miles along the
Amalfi Coast and back again for her to find the perfect design.
The one solace on this excursion was being able to sup on a
chilled limoncello when the will was waning.
We had nearly returned to the converted tile warehouse
where we were staying when my darling friend decided she
had purchased the wrong bowl. So return we did, traipsing
back along the coast to Amalfi to rectify this aberration. The
limoncello shops couldn’t help but beckon us again with their
displays of huge demi-johns gorged with lemon rinds steeping
in alcohol, and the giant copper stills at the back, gleaming in
readiness, like an apothecary’s lair magically converting some-
thing sour into a luscious syrup.
Lucky for us we don’t have to leave our island to find some
of this wonderful tipple. Peacock Sky’s limoncello is batch
produced by co-owner Connie Festa and because of her Italian
heritage and artistry in the kitchen, you can be assured of its
authenticity. It has flavours that sing of lemon curd and hints
of marmalade, a bit like lemon meringue pie in a glass. It is a
wonderful tickler to the start of a meal or even poured over ice
cream at the end. It is also a fond companion to a handful of
It is available exclusively at the cellar door in Trig Hill
which is open Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm. Connie and
Rob Meredith are currently in the process of expanding their
indoor seated area to provide more space for their ever increas-
ing customer numbers.
Oh, did I mention that we returned to the ceramic shop again
the following day to swap the sugar bowl, (yes, the one we
had already swapped) for the one originally purchased. Raise a
glass to friendship.
Indulging life’s fancies
Wine columnist Linda Jones waxes lyrical
on the wonders of limoncello
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