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Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Elusive Lemon Myrtle

There is a plant I desire to distraction - the lemon myrtle or the backhousia citriodora. My mind's nose can smell the citrus tang clinging to the crust of a beef roast. The flavours rise in wispy tendrils of soft steam waltzing into my face, from the dripped juices pooled at the bottom of the roasting pan . I have never smelt the leaves of this plant, but my imagination tells me that it is the flavour that will change my cooking from banal to divine. With this plant, I shall be able to create heaven in your mouth.

But this plant eludes me. The internet flings at me recipes for stews, soups, cakes, custards, pies and salads that are all livened up with lemon myrtle leaves. It has a "refreshing spicy lemon taste" they say. It's "flavourful possibilities are endless" they say. It is one of the most versatile flavours they say. There is a recipe for Tasmanian Salmon with Lemon Myrtle Rub. There's another recipe for Lemon Myrtle Crocodile. There's even a Lemon Myrtle laksa recipe! Besides, "Katie's Kitchen" ONLY cooks lemon myrtle dishes. But me, I have not a single leaf to cook with and I am miserably frustrated.

The plant is native to Australia. Bushmen who moved from sea to land to gather in winter; and land to sea to fish in summer, used it to flavour their meals. Australians grow it for its beautiful flowers. How can such a wonderful plant be found only on one continent in a day and age where globalisation is passé, and transworld exploration is the new tomorrow? I am certain it'll grow in Singapore - positive! But no one seems to have it here. If you have it, let me know. All I ask is a little tip of a stem that I can put in soil, make it root and tend it till it grows strong and sturdy. Anybody?

2 comments:

thePHYSICSpeople said...

Watch rainbows and roses,
And little pink noses;
Smell flowers, blow bubbles
And jump in mud puddles!

Ivana said...

If you're nice I'll ask my parents to bring it for me in January.... How nice will you be?