12 April

Long life lemons

Preserved lemons are handy for hampers but perhaps you should include a recipe that uses them so that they don’t end up at the back of the pantry along with the Cumberland sauce and the pimentos.

Preserved Lemons 12 apr 2016.jpg

MAKES : 4 jars
START : 1 month before
PREPARATION TIME : 30 minutes

250g salt                                  1 stick cinnamon                      4 cloves

1 bay leaf                                 10 lemons

Sprinkle some salt at the bottom of each jar. Crumble the bay leaf and the cinnamon.

Scrub the lemons, quarter them and mix with the remaining salt. Push the lemon quarters into the jars, adding spice pieces as you go. Scoop out any salt that remains in the bowl and pack it into the top of the jars. Leave them in a cool spot for 1 month.

I saw a film with Matthew last night[1] and we had our usual post-movie strüdel in our favourite café and he spoke of Debbie, his first serious girlfriend. He gets particularly sad on the anniversary of her death (from a heroin overdose about a year after he told her to choose between him and drugs) and Wendy is sick of it.

“She was a train wreck, Matthew,” she said to him a while back. “She was hell-bent on destroying herself and you couldn’t have saved her: she would have just taken you down with her.”

So Matthew doesn’t talk about her much anymore but he clearly still thinks about her sometimes. And I pondered the situation on the way home and I believe Debbie really is the reason Matthew hasn’t married: his next girlfriend was the dreadfully dull Donna, who was clearly a rebound choice after the delightfully dangerous Debbie and he was with Donna until he was nearly thirty, locking him out from other options in his most marriageable years. So I guess you could say that Debbie had an effect on him long after her death… and maybe I should believe in ghosts after all.

[1] Matthew used to help me wrangle my two kids and Wendy’s three in school holiday matinees. This generally involved animated magical creatures when they were little and they graduated to equally unrealistic action movies when they were teenagers and now the kids are all adults and organise their own cinema-going but Matthew and I still take in a film together whenever there’s one that interests us. (And we haven’t seen a talking dog or a flying super hero for a long time: we’ve had our quota of those.)

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