Category Archives: Lemon

My own Salted Lemon Couscous

A good few months ago I did up two big jars of Moroccan Salted Lemons as a bit of an experiment and finally they are ready! Imagine the scene when Doctor Frankenstein wakes his monster for the first time. It was nothing like that.
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The first thing that I noticed when I opened the jar was the smell. It smelled not like any lemon I had ever experienced before. It was more like stewed fruit. Sweet and fragrant but with a warm spicy twang. The cinnamon and bay had clearly done their work.
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Taking them out they had turned dark, and almost rusty in colour. The preserving liquid was now thick. Clearly the sugar and juice from the lemons has been brought out to create a silky syrup. I have always thought that there was something familiar about preserved lemons. Like something that I used to have a child. My sister thought the same but we still couldn’t figure it out. If you ever figure it out, do let me know.
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I aim to do a fair few recipes with these bay boys over the next few weeks so keep an eye out. Firstly though, a basic grilled vegetable and preserved Lemon couscous.

300g Couscous
1 Courgette
Half a Red Pepper
1 Red Chilli
Small handful of sultanas
A Quarter of a Preserved Lemon
2 Spring Onions
Small bunch of Coriander
2 Radishes

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-Get a griddle pan onto a high heat and boil the kettle.
-First slice your courgette into 1cm slices. I do them diagonally so they look a bit more interesting.
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-Place the slices of courgette onto the griddle pan and grill off for about two minutes on each side.
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-While they are cooking, place the couscous into a large bowl.
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-Cover over by 1cm with boiling water.
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-Flip the courgettes over. They should be starting to colour nicely.
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-Chop up the radishes, spring onions, sultanas and preserved lemons. Add these all into the bowl with the couscous.
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-Take off the courgettes.
-Half and deseed the red chilli and the pepper.
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-Place the halved chilli and the red pepper onto the griddle pan.
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-Again about two minutes per side is perfect for these.
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-Finely slice coriander leaves.
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-When the chilli and pepper are cooked, remove them a chopping board and then chop them up a bit.
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-Add the courgettes, the chilli, the pepper and the coriander leaves into the large bowl.
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-Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and mix everything together. Taste it and see if it needs more seasoning or lemon. Maybe a little extra chilli if you are feeling adventurous and you are good to go.

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Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons

When I tried these at first I wasn’t sure but after the initial test I couldn’t get enough of them. They are a Moroccan staple and can be found on every street corner. I use them in so many different things now. Zesting up couscous or folding through salads, they also work incredibly well in Tagines, finely diced and added a the end to give the whole dish a kick.
It is hard to give exact measurements for a recipe like this. It depends entirely on how many of these you want to make. How big your jars are. How big the lemons are. I will say that I made two, two litre jars, each jar housed about 6/7 small lemons. Also to save a little time and cash I cheated and used pre-juiced lemon juice but you can squeeze your own if you are so inclined.

10/15 lemons
2 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Bay Leaves
Sea Salt
Lemon Juice

-First sterilize your jars but placing them in a 100° oven for 20 minutes without their seals. Place the seals in some boiling water for ten minutes. When handling don’t touch anywhere near the rim of the jar with your hands, use tongs or a clean dish cloth.
-Cut a cross in the top of each lemon, cutting almost down to the base but leave a little bit attached.
-Using your hands (you can wear gloves if you like) force large bunches of salt down into the cuts and into contact with the flesh. You want at least a tablespoon of salt in each lemon.
-Force the salted lemons into the jar as tightly as they will go. The tighter the better. Don’t fill the jars more than 1cm below the rim.
-Once your jar is full add in one cinnamon stick broken in half and two bay leaves.

Preserved Lemons
-Next fill the jar with the lemon juice to 1cm below the rim.
-Seal the jar tightly and store in a cool, dry place. Your lemons should be ready to go after about four to five weeks.