Too many lemons adorn the fruit bowl and a serious attack of laziness prevents me from doing a lemon marmalade, so I resort to a simple solution: pure lemon jelly.
The other reason for not doing a lemon marmalade resides in the fact that these lemons are not the Sicilian or Corsican organic lemons I favour for marmalade.
This jelly is a pure delight in colour and in sharpness. If you have sensitive teeth it may set them on edge, so beware.
Otherwise, spread this jelly on your breakfast toasts or use as an accompaniment to foie gras or any cold meat.
Makes 2 jars, 1 Bonne Maman size and 1 smaller:
300ml lemon juice
400g preserving/jam sugar
1. Put all the ingredients in a jam-making pan and bring to the boil.
2. After 7 minutes of a vigorous boil, check that it is set and turn off the heat. To check setting, place a drop of the jelly on a saucer, put it in the fridge for 5 minutes. After that time, if it wrinkles when you put your finger on it, it is set.
3. Let the jelly rest for a few minutes and bottle. Place the lids on and turn the jars upside down. It will create a vacuum which will prevent any mould from forming.
This jelly will keep for a year in a cool, dark place but it may be too tempting to leave it in a cupboard!
A pleasant alternative is a lime jelly. Same method, same quantities.
Preserving tomatoes for cold Winter days is the next task. This time it is not to make the green tomato jam of my childhood but a classic chutney.
1 kg ripe tomatoes, rinsed, peeled and diced
300g shallots, peeled and sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
50g crystallised ginger in small dice
300g demerara sugar
100ml red wine vinegar with shallots
50ml balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1. Peel the tomatoes by dipping them quickly in a large bowl containing very hot water.
2. Place all the ingredients but only half the wine vinegar in a large cooking pot, preferably stainless steel as there is a lot of acidity in this mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the jars by sterilising them in the oven at 100C for 10 minutes, placing them upside down on a rack, without the lids. Check that the glass is strong enough to withstand the heat.
4. When the fruit mixture looks soft, add the rest of the wine vinegar, bring to a rapid boil and check that it is setting.
5. Pour into the prepared jars, cover with wax paper to prevent the lids from corroding and turn upside down to create a vacuum.
6. Let the jars cool, label and store away from heat and direct sunlight, preferably in a cool place.
This should keep for up to a year, if you can resist eating it! Once opened, keep it in the fridge.
It is delicious served with cold meats, strong cheeses and charcuterie.