Monday, January 15, 2007

Lemons and Lavender

I like the smell of lemons and lavender. I know, it's very grannyish you'd say, but they do remind me of all things nice and luxurious. Or maybe I'm kinda old-fashioned ;-)

Of course, I don't mean to say I like to mix up the scent of both. How gross!

I prefer them at different times, depending on what kind of mood I'd like to be in. Lemons evoke bright & breezy days, of lemon pies, cheesecakes and iced lemon tea. Of the innocence of childhood, of laughter, happy surprises and contentment. Of holidays and celebrations, and all things nice and cheerful in my life.

Which brings to my mind this huge lemon tree laden with ripe fruits, some of them lying fresh, unpicked on the grass and the most delicious homemade lemon butter I ever tasted in an Australian farmhouse not too very long ago.

It's always childishly exciting for me to see trees laden with ripe fruits like apples, oranges, persimmons, lemons and grapes on the vine whenever the season is right while travelling abroad. Back home, I love it during the rambutan season and cruising along the road to Jelebu or Kuala Pilah, the journey invariably weaves through kampungs where it's an eye feast to see the trees bursting in red and green bunches of the fruit. But I digress.

Coming back to the zesty lemon butter, it was the first time I came across such a lovely concoction, slow-cooked by the lady of the house from the lemons fruiting abundantly in front of her humble abode. Spread across thick cuts of crusty warm country bread, the burst of tangy flavours got me hooked instantly! It was the best bread spread I've ever tasted.

When I shopped at Woolsworth before I headed for home, the one thing I made sure I bought was jars of Masterfood's Lemon Butter. And back home, when my supplies ran out quicker than I had anticipated, I was more than a little bit frustrated that I could not find any in our local supermarkets. What a shame! Malaysians have yet to discover the delights of lemon butter spread on their roti!

Okay - no problem, I'll just make my own. From the recipe I found on the Internet, it seems pretty easy.

All I need is 4 large eggs, 125gm butter, 110gm sugar, juice of 1 large lemon and grated peel of 1 lemon.

Beat the eggs lightly in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in all the rest of the ingredients and heat over very low fire.

Stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Continue stirring until you get the consistency you desire. (Remember, it will thicken further and set once the mixture is cooled, so don't cook it until it becomes too gooey.)

The first time I tried making it, I doubled the recipe and added in an extra lemon for more "oomph". I figured I stirred the mixture for more than 20 minutes, but do be careful not to let it boil. And do not stop stirring the mixture while it's cooking or else it might burn or turn clumpy.

When the mixture has thicken to the right consistency, pour them into clean/dry glass jars. My recipe yielded 4 jam jars as you can see. Leave to cool completely in the jars undisturbed, cap it and store them in the refrigerator.

Notwithstanding that it was my first attempt, it turned out amazingly well to rave reviews from my kids and their cousins. And last Christmas, I found the perfect homemade gift for them.

Ah -- what about the lavender, you might ask?

I'll tell you about them next time, okay?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

wa 'ho sek'...send me some ;P
or send some to detonate and perish? hahhahahah

16/1/07 04:16  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Haha freelunch! You know, you can e-mail me your address & I just might surprise you - not with da bomb, of course ;-)

16/1/07 11:53  
Blogger Kenny Ng said...

I like lavender's smell, i got a air purifier machine and i mix with lavender smell into the water. It's very relaxing.

16/1/07 12:15  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Hello Kenny! I hope you use pure Lavender essential oils with your purifier, not the commercial artificial fragrance type. It makes a huge difference for health reasons. Cheers! :-)

16/1/07 13:12  

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