Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Getting good limeage

When we lived in New Zealand, we bought a kaffir lime bush to provide us with those wonderful, aromatic leaves so essential to Thai cooking. They aren't so easy to come by in the UK, but after our trip to Thailand earlier in the year, and the very pleasant hours we spent at a cookery school learning how to do everything from scratch, we felt the need to get one. So we did. I found a place online that would sell them and ship them to you, and in due course, the plant turned up.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to get my hands on fresh kaffir limes. They're essential to making the pastes which form the basis of Thai curries. We spent quite a long time sweating over a pestle and mortar bashing bits of rind from one of those babies down into its constituent atoms. However, having scoured the Asian food shops with a fine-toothed comb (which I had sterilised first, because I was using it on foodstuffs), I came up empty-handed. I have heard you can buy bits of rind fresh-frozen, but I didn't find any.

We've had the new kaffir lime bush for a while now, and I've plucked a few leaves for immediate use, and harvested a load to go in the freezer (they freeze very well). To my surprise and delight, a couple of weeks ago, the plant started flowering. That hadn't happened to the one in New Zealand, which we'd had for much longer. The flower opened, and it became obvious that it was going to fruit and produce a little kaffir lime. Yay! Then a couple more flowers appeared, one of which is now also turning into fruit. And suddenly, the whole thing is bursting into flower all over. Between last night and this morning, another dozen or so buds had appeared, along with dozens of new leaves. It looks like we're going to have a bumper crop - so far I've counted about forty buds. I'm so happy! And I'm sure the curries will be wonderful.

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