We bought a lemon tree in a pot, I think because a neighbour said that not only were they very productive but that the fragrant flowers attracted bees and bumblebees.
Our tree, which I transported back from the garden centre on a bus (attracting comment and some awe), bore one large, fully formed lemon at the end of a branch.
Alone, this fruit, in its bright lemon livery, looked rather out of place in our garden. But we were proud of it. After all, lemon trees are hardly native to England.
The lemon had to be dealt with in some way in case it rotted and fell to the ground. And it had to be given the very best of usage – in a sort of celebration if you will.
I had just sharpened all the scissors in the house, so the kitchen pair, being the nearest to the lemon tree would seem to be the ideal harvesting tool. But the lemon was so well attached to its branch that the scissors were of scant use. Bending and cutting worked in the end. I now had this lovely fruit in my hand to use as best I could.
I knew that there were some uncooked, greeny-grey prawns ready for use in the freezer. They were unfrozen.
I grated our lemon’s peel into a frying pan, adding two pressed garlic cloves, some salt, and a good lump of butter. The prawns went on top.
Ready to eat them, the pan was heated gently. The butter melted. The prawns were then stirred, to coat them with the garlic/lemon peel mix.
The tails were the first bits to become pink. Then the prawns themselves followed suit. They were turned over for a few seconds. Then we ate them, with our very own lemon peel enhancing the flavour of the dish to its huge benefit.
Now I had to deal with the bald lemon – zestless - devoid of its outer skin.
We like to drink whisky sours. I believed that the juice from our large lemon would do for two glasses of it.
So the lemon was cut. There were no pips in it and it was bursting with juice.
This juice was divided between two large wineglasses. Some dissolved sugar was added, then Bourbon whiskey, and finally, lots of ice.
We ate handsomely, and drank a whisky sour toast to our lemon tree and its first and very enjoyable lemon.