Sunday, 14 June 2015

Leaf the Best for Last!

Foglie di Limone Croccante & Deliziosi con Ciliegie Fresche
Crunchy & Delicious Lemon Leaves with Fresh Cherries


Here's an idea for you, all the way from the sunny island of Sicily, via my brain, to your computer screens... Isn't that just fine and dandy?

I tried something similar to this on my last visit to Sicily, you may have seen that post if you follow me on Facebook... But today, with these lovely fresh cherries and a little inspiration, I created my own... And dare I say, in all modesty... much superior version!


You may be familiar with the wonderful flavor and fragrance of lemon leaves if you are a lover of Thai cuisine, where kafir lemon leaves are often used to perfume and flavor many Thai curries and soups... But natural, organic lemon leaves are also delicious to eat if they are baked in this way here, until they become as crispy as potato chips with that deep, fresh, tangy, fruity flavor... Once you have tried them for the first time, you will be hooked!


This was an experiment and I was only tempted to try it when I saw how many leaves were in the box or organic lemons, so I took what they had! It is not always that they arrive with the leaves attached, so you need to seize the moment!

To prepare my 8 leaves, I needed 2 tables peach of coarse oatmeal, slivered almonds, chopped pistachios and flaked coconut. You can improvise your crunchy ingredients and add other nuts, or cornflakes into the mix. I also needed a good tablespoon of a nice honey- this was a citrus- blossom honey from Sicily... Hmmm! But okay, realistically speaking, any honey will do! And I also had a couple of handfuls of fresh cherries.

Don't hate me for not giving you weights and measures and quantities that are more strict... But this is simply another case of... How large are the leaves? how plump are the cherries? It's all in the method and the pictures and comments will be plenty to help you get things done right... Don't you worry your pretty little heads!


Just take a look at all that goodness on there... And you just KNOW how delicious it is going to taste... Right?


The only thing that resembles work" that you need to do here, is to remove the stones and chop up the cherries into a relatively fine dice.

Turn on your oven to 180 C and then pop the other ingredients into a small saucepan. Turn on the heat gently until the honey melts and stir everything well together.


Now, turn off the heat, add the cherries and stir into the mix. As soon as everything is lightly coated with honey you are good to go. If you feel the desire to add more honey, that's fine too... Less is always more for me!


Make sure to have the heat turned off so that the oatmeal and nuts do not start to brown before you spoon them onto the lemon leaves, so that they do not burn during baking in the oven.


Top the leaves generously , spread out onto a baking sheet and pop into the oven, at 170-180 C for between 10-12 minutes, until the topping is lightly golden brown and the leaves are crisped up, dried out and delicious!


Keep your eyes on them as they don't take long... Basically just the time for the leaves to dehydrate, the honey to melt again and bind everything together and the outer layer of nuts and oatmeal to brown... You can't get any easier than that!


Beautiful, colorful, sweet, exotic and delicious... That is Sicily... And all of that is right here, wrapped in these leaves of lemon... Heavenly!

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