how to not buy a lemon

Even though one of Buena Vista Farm's biscuits is a lemon and orange shortbread, and I've made hundreds of them in the past month, I'm yet to buy a lemon. 

Thanks to this tree.


Unfortunately it's not actually my tree. 

Which means this involves quite a bit of thievery. 

LOTS of lemons, see?



The tree is actually on Buena Vista Farm (Mum and Dad's place) while we are on an acre out the other side of town. So this citrus kinda belongs in the bikkies, right? And it's OK to sneak the odd sack outta there, you reckon? 

What, Dad? Oh THIS laundry basket full of lemons? I have no idea how that got into the back of my car. It's truly amazing. 

When we moved onto our place, I was thrilled to find two gnarly old lemon trees down the back in what I now call Fox Hollow (where the foxes first slink out of). 



The trees aren't laden like the Buena Vista tree though, and as this property was virtually uninhabited for about twenty years, most of the fruit is now on branches about 15 feet off the ground. 

Eek. There's a Leghorn in Fox Hollow. AWAY, chookie! Back up the hill!



I love lemon trees. I have an old and very dear friend who once bought a little house with a lemon tree and I think the tree was the highlight of the sale. We talked a lot about that tree and very little about the house. 

I grow one at every house I live in. Our last house, rented, I lobbied to keep our lemon tree in a pot so I wouldn't leave it behind like so many other trees, but Adam insisted it would grow better in the ground. As always, he was dead right. It was blooming as we left it. 

Other than Lemon Sago Pudding, one of my favourite desserts is Lemon Pie. 

We had visitors on Saturday night. The perfect excuse. 




The filling is Stephanie Alexander's recipe from The Cook's Companion.

For the pastry I use Nigella's theory of half the volume of fat to flour. (Although I use butter, not lard.) Bind with egg yolks and cold water. 



For the pastry:

300g all purpose flour

150g cold butter

2 egg yolks

cold water


Whizz the flour and butter in a food processor until it's crumbs. Add the yolks and whizz. Very gradually add the cold water until it binds together. Roll out and blind bake for approx 20 mins at 200°C, the last 5 mins without the baking beads/rice/beans (whatever you use.)


For the middle: (This is Stephanie Alexander's recipe)

3 large lemons

6 eggs

250g castor sugar

200ml cream

icing sugar to dust


Reset oven to 160°C. Zest and juice lemons. Combine eggs and sugar until well amalgamated then add zest and juice and stir well. Add cream and mix using a balloon whisk. Pour into pastry case and bake to 35-40 mins until just set. Cool in tin for at least 30 mins before serving. Serve dusted with icing sugar (and a new homemade vanilla icecream, recipe later this week.)





25 Comments on “how to not buy a lemon

Christie-Childhood 101
September 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I too love lemons (and any form of citrus in cake!) When we lost our baby boy last year we bought a dwarf lemon tree and put it in a huge pot so that we can take it with us when we move house. It is beautiful right now, flowering for the first time 🙂

September 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Mmm, That looks truly delicious! We have a gazillion lemons on our lemon tree right now, and actually for most of the year. I need to start cooking more lemon recipes…

lily boot
September 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm

ooooh lovely – it’s just the time of year for lemon pie. I’m with you on the butter not lard. I adore Nigella but one day made her fabulous scones with lard as she suggested – ugh! – all I could taste with my golden syrup and cream was pork. Never again. Your bikkie adventure is so marvellous! So glad to see it is going well – I’d love to try your lemon shortbreads – yum!

Daddy Eco
September 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Mmmmm pie, now you are making me hungry. That looks great. Will have to add this to my recipe stash and try to make it one day when i’m feeling inspired – i’m not much of a cook i’m afraid but this looks great.

September 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Gee I now know what I am going to make with my left over lemons. That tart looks delicious, thank you for sharing the recipe…I am going to make lemon cordial as well 🙂

I am loving reading through your blog…

September 12, 2011 at 11:54 pm

the lemon tart looks delicious!!!!!!!
thanks for the recipe!!
have a nice week,

green ink
September 13, 2011 at 1:11 am

I love lemons too. I have one in a pot that I have refused to plant in the ground as we’re about to move and I may plant it out there 🙂 London doesn’t seem to produce thriving lemon trees as a rule though, I’ve discovered.

That very lemon tart recipe is the one I always associate with my favourite Tasmanian writer, Heather Rose. About 11 years ago now, just after her first book came out, I was housesitting for some mutual friends, and their Edenic garden had the most splendid lemon tree I’ve ever seen. She came around to pick some lemons because she was making lemon tart. I remember standing there, quite dumbfounded, talking to her about lemon tart, too scared to tell her how much I loved her book! I could have kicked myself 🙂

September 13, 2011 at 5:34 am

This sounds like a wonderful recipe.
My parents have a prolific lemon tree that bears so much fruit that qu ite often guests are not allowed to leave unless they take a a bag of lemons.
Home grown lemons always take so much better. I love being able to pick one and squeeze it straight away.

September 13, 2011 at 6:41 am

I love love love lemon tart so thanks as this recipe looks Devine – will be making tonight for sure!

September 13, 2011 at 8:01 am

Your shortbread sounds divine Fi, I must try orange and lemon myself, shortbread being a good one for my allergic big girl. I’m with you on growing a lemon tree at each house you live in, but alas mine are never great (not enough TLC I suspect 😉 unlike the beautiful Buena Vista specimen! And I keep meaning to say your bikkies are looking great – well done.

Darren (Green Change)
September 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

I firmly believe that every Aussie home should have a lemon tree! And the best place to plant it is on a fenceline, so you can share the bounty with your neighbour.

Our poor old lemon tree is groaning under the weight of a bumper crop, so let us know if you need more lemons! Although by the look of your Dad’s tree, there’ll be a lot of bikkies under the bridge before then.

September 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

That’s beautiful, Christie xx

September 13, 2011 at 9:24 am

Did you buy the lard at the supermarket? or the butcher? Note to self: look up how lard is rendered…. maybe we need to figure out how to make it ourselves… (nuts? YES!)

September 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

and to think, Ms Finished Novel, one day someone’s going to tell stories like that about you xx

September 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

Thanks, babe. Love to your lot xx

September 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

The fenceline, that’s a perfect and neighbourly idea, I love it. ‘Cept this fenceline is shared only with cows, not so into lemons. Hey we’ve ordered the piglets from Jane, due to pick up this Friday, thanks so much for that contact. Also, meaning to ask if you’ve read ‘The Dirty Life’? AMAZING. Don’t buy it, Adam’s just reading it now, borrow it, you’re going to love it. xx

September 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

I our cold climate it is like the holy grail to successfully grow a lemon tree. Mine died in a sever frost in November followed by a thirty degree day. I was not happy! Looks so green and beautiful where you are! My in laws live in Kiama.

September 13, 2011 at 11:38 am

Your lemon tart looks delicious! I am going to use this recipe this week.
Our lemon tree is only a few years old but it does produce quite a lot, and the lemons are really juicy, so much better than bought ones.

September 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I have just found your blog via Down to Earth and I have enjoyed reading your previous post!The tart looks amazing, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a lemon tart, can’t wait to make this. Thanks!

web design bangalore
September 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

It is beautiful right now, flowering for the first time…I was not happy! Looks so green and beautiful where you are!..thanks for the good information..thanks for the attractive information..

September 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

Have you ever tried bush lemons? they are THE BOMB. lovely with a bit of salt sprinkled on them. When I was a littlie the oldies had a bush lemon tree down the back creek and they were … amazing. I used to enter them in the local show and win ribbons with them. Now I have a tree in my own backyard that’s fruiting for the first time. Lemon sago pudding sounds a bit like lemon delicious pudding, which also is divine!

lily boot
September 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I bought it at the supermarket – truly gross. We definitely need to render it ourselves – I think Amanda Soule did with her last pair of pigs – I remember seeing jars of lard. But my only pigs for experimentation are the guinea variety 🙂 Oh but of course – the butcher. I’ve been drooling over the Wangara Game’s products list – they have a free range pork supplier – maybe they’d supply us with the fat to render?

September 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Hi Fi. Lemon trees are pretty special. My dad plants fruit trees everywhere he lives. And London Plane trees, but I’m sure that’s bloody-mindedness- gorgeous but stupidly big.

My wonderful new house has a funny little apple tree down the back, hasn’t been cared for in years, with a little crop of delicious eaters. Not sure we’ll get enough this year for me to need to figure out how to store them, which might be just as well. Pretty well unpacked, though, and we have a garage and a loft! Oh, the luxury!

Funny thing, after averaging about 5, 39 people looked at my little blog on Monday! Hello, fellow-Inner Pickle-lovers!

Catch you soon, love to all.

September 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Made this lemon tart today…mmmm it is so good! Thank you again for sharing the recipe 🙂

Rent to own homes
June 2, 2012 at 5:08 am

Wow! my heart and mind really wants to try that lemon sago pudding! It really made me craving to eat that one! Man, I have to give this ingredients to my Mother and try this out!. Huh! It made me hungry at this time. 🙁 .. Better to buy now something to eat. Thanks for this ingredients and tips. 🙂


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