A touch of the Levant in E9 (well sort of…there was a lot of hummus)

20191120_201713.jpgThere was a distinctly Levantine / Mediterranean / Middle Eastern flavour to our preserving activities last Wednesday with Katherine teaching us how to make her Cypriot mother-in-law’s preserved lemons and Sophie instructing Lebanese pink pickled turnip making. Between that and the copious amounts of hummus, pitta and olives consumed we could well have been in Beirut (aside from the freezing temperatures outside!)

20191120_193729.jpgKatherine came prepared with copious preserving facts – both the recipes we learnt were brine based but as we know from sauerkraut making (March 2018, for the blog fans) there are lots of different styles of pickling and preserving – all over the world. The Koreans have their kimchee, the Germans their sauerkraut and crucially for our purposes the arabic speaking world has torshi and the Cypriots their preserved lemons.

We had all (that’s a lie, quite a lot hadn’t but that’s fine!) brought our sterilised jars, 20191120_194745.jpgchopping boards and knives. So we got to work slicing our lemons and packing jars with layers of lemon and salt. Some decorative coriander seeds, chillies and cinnamon sticks were added to a few of our jars – which looked really pretty. Katherine’s MiL’s sample lemons were tasted and judged delicious. Let’s hope after three months of hanging out in a dark cupboard ours will reach those citrus heights.

20191120_200128.jpgAfter a quick wipe down of the chopping boards we were onto turnip peeling. Yep, turnip peeling – we really pulled out the stops with this evening’s event. These odd little veggies were chopped into chunks and popped in jars with bay leaves and one chunk of beetroot before being covered in a simple vinegar, water and salt solution. From there they hang out making friends with the pretty pinkess of the beetroot and in about a week the whole turnips are luminous pink. Making a rather decorative element to a falafel wrap etc etc etc.

It was also, rather excitingly, HWW’s sixth birthday in November which we celebrated with a rather large chocolate cake. Pickles, pitta and birthday cake – do Wednesday evenings get better?!20191120_201947.jpg

If you fancy trying your hand at making some pickles and preserves yourself you can find the recipes here:

David Lebovitz – Pickled Turnips

BBC Good Food – Preserved Lemons