Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Butt naked with hose in hand doing tree maintenance                                              Mans (poor dude)

I have got this amazing lemon tree, in my garden, which is a source of edibles, shade, fragrance, firewood, hanging points, but mostly it’s a source of jolly good vibes. I love my house hugely, but I’m not sure if I would have bought it, were it not for the lemon tree. Soon after I moved in, I had a combined house warming and friends birthday, we hosted a ‘beeeg’ party, where 60 of Cape Towns’ finest and a few Cape Towns’ not so finest, came to enjoy the celebrations. The festivities went on until the wee hours of the mornings. At some point I vaguely remember a small unruly mob picking the lemons off the ground and lobbing them onto the roofs of my non-drinking Muslim neighbours.

The finest spot at my spot            Mans
The first year I lived at ‘91 Upper’, I took bags of lemons to those neighbours, who graciously accepted and never mentioned the ‘uncouth volley of lemons’ that inconsiderately woke them up at an unmentionable hour, only a few weeks before. Wotz more, I received jars of yummy lemon atchar and lemonade. It was then, that I realised that, I had moved into the right hood.
I’m embarrassed to say, that was the last time that I took lemons to my tolerant neighbours. You see, the next year the tree developed some nasty little disease, that coated the young leaves with ’a white fuzzy sticky stuff’, which I’ve been led to believe is ‘Australian White Fly’ (“those bloody Ozzies!”). Anyhow I didn’t want to spray it with poison, so I used non-toxic Oleum. This caused petal drop and not one lemon came from the tree that year. Still not wanting to use toxins, I discovered that if I regularly sprayed the tree with a high-pressure garden hose, I could manage the disease quite well. So I have a little weekly routine, where head off into the garden butt naked, with my hose in hand (No! it’s not what you’re thinking) to deal with the ‘White Fly’.

Ever since I started writing my cookbook ‘The Urban Hunter Gatherer’ I have selfishly consumed or processed every lemon that this wonderful tree has had to offer, all in the name of education and experimentation. It’s been quite a learning curve. I’ve made heaps of dishes that include lemons, like lemonade, lemon syrup, lemon marmalade, lemon ice-cream, lemon sorbet, lemon dressings, candied lemon, limoncello, lemon tarts, lemon surprise pudding (a Nigel Slater Classic), lemon curd and a whole lot of other stuff, that I have not mentioned, although I’m yet to make a lemon meringue pie. My only regret I have about my lemon education, is that my kindly neighbours are losing out. In fact I think I’ll spread the love right now and give out all the jars of lemon curd that I have lurking in the fridge. I kid you not, when I press the full stop to end this blog, thatz wot’ll do…

Lemons, lemons, lemons...                                                                    Mans


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