Saturday, 26 June 2010

Lemon Tree

Just saw an interesting film about Israel/Palestine.

The Isaeli Defence Minister moves in next door to a Palestinian Widow, his security want to cut down her Lemon Trees. Those trees are all she has, her family have flown the nest, she and her late father before her have been caring for them for 50 years. She goes to the courts to try and prevent the destruction, but the dice are loaded. I don't want to say to much more in case it spoils the film.

I think this neighbour dispute is a metaphor for the larger I/P conflict. If they can't live next to each other in peace, then can the country have peace?

But I thought of a solution for them. The Israeli minister could rent the lemon grove from the widow while they live there, she won't have acess but will have an income. They get a safety barrier and some nice lemons. In the long term she will get her grove back when they leave. They would have to look after the trees though.

Unfortunately I don't think this solution will sort out all of Israels problems though.

The film was nicely done, showed both sides as human. Many of the characters were all too human, including a misogynist Palestianian politician.

The wall that has grabbed land and cut off the West Bank is shown as a solution that is almost as bad as the problem. It separates the people, but the cost is huge, people divided.

Eran Riklis is becoming quite a feminist! It must be because his writing partner is a Palestinian woma

Suha Arraf (writer) Suha Arraf – writer. Born in 1969 in the village of Mi'ilya to a Palestinian family. Got her BA degree in Philosophy and Literature at Haifa university

The Israeli director Eran Riklis is also cowriter with the Palestinian Suha Arraf.

Eran is interviewed here

The film starts with the widow preparing the Lemons with Chilies and Salt. I found some recipies on the internet.

Pickled Lemons are found all around the Mediterranean and each family has its own traditional recipe. Here are a few:

Preserved Lemons
Ingredients - to make one jar of lemons
* 5-6 Lemons - to fit a large clear jar
* ½ kg salt
* 1 Cinnamon stick
* 6 whole Cloves
* 3 Chillis, thinly sliced
* ¼ cup olive oil
* Spring water - to fill the jar

1. Wash the lemons and slice them up to within 2cm of each pointed end.
2. Put 1 tablespoon salt into the large sterilized clear jar.
3. Put in the lemons and press them down. Fill the jar up with spring water, leaving enough space for the olive oil.
4. Add salt, cinnamon, cloves and chillies.
5. Cover the top with oil and seal the jar. The oil is to seal and protect the lemons from contact with the air.
6. Leave the lemons in a cool dry and dark place for 4-6 weeks before using.

They can now be used whole or chopped, using both the pulp and the now softened rind. At times you may see a white cloudiness on the lemons, this is harmless and will be washed off with the salt before use. The lemons don’t need to be refrigerated after opening, but it’s a good idea to put another thin layer of oil on the top to keep the air out. Preserved lemons can be kept for up to a year, they’re a great way to keep lemons and add a delicious piquancy flavour to any dish.

Pickled Lemon Slices
Some lemons are pickled sweet-and-sour, with sugar, vinegar, salt, and cinnamon. Others are sweet, not suitable for cooking with meat but meant to be eaten like candy. The following recipe is an adaptation of a recipe that appears in a book written at the end of the 12th century C.E. by Saladin's personal physician. Choose juicy, glossy, unblemished lemons.

1 cup coarse (kosher) salt
8 lemons, scrubbed very clean
2 small chillis
2 bay leaves
10 allspice berries
10 coriander seeds

1. Sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of salt into each canning jar.
2. Slice 5 of the lemons and all the chillis.
3. Pack the lemon slices into the jars. Add a few bay leaves and sliced chillis as you go.
4. Squeeze the remaining lemons and strain the juice. Pour juice into the jar, finishing with spring/mineral water to completely cover the lemons.
5. Add the allspice berries and coriander seeds.
6. Cover the top with a little olive oil.
7. Seal the jars. Turn jars upside down briefly once a day if possible to distribute the contents evenly. After 2 weeks, store lemons in a cool, dry place; they will keep for up to a year unopened. They can be used after two weeks, if desired. Once opened, they must be refrigerated.

Pickled Lemons
makes about 2 1/2 cups
It is best made a couple of weeks ahead.

1 pound thinly sliced lemons
2 small chillis, cut into paper-thin rings
2 tablespoons pickling spices (see Note 1 at end)
1 cup cider vinegar (see Note 2)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (see Note 2)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (see Note 3)

1. Cover the sliced lemons with boiling water. Let steep for 2 minutes, stirring to separate the slices. Drain and immediately plunge into icy water to stop the cooking; drain well. Put the lemons into the pickling jar and add the chillis and pickling spices.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-aluminium pot and bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.

3. Once the mixture boils. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, uncovered.

4. Store in the refrigerator, in a clean container, sealed airtight. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Note 1: : pickling spices are a mixture of: cinnamon, mustard seed, bay leaves, allspice, dill seed, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, coriander, juniper berries, mace, and cardamom. For a hotter mix, add some crushed hot peppers. Each family has their own combination of these, not necessarily using every single spice.

Note 2: there are big flavor differences among brands of vinegars. Heinz vinegars, both white and apple cider, always come out ahead in our taste tests.

Note 3: only kosher salt has the necessary light/clean/mild flavor for successful pickling. Ordinary table salt tastes acrid and sea salt is too salty. (in the UK Malvern table salt is a good replacement for kosher salt)

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