More excess this time with our native finger limes. The small tree, planted in a pot, has finally come into its own with around 40 fruit. That's a lot for finger limes. They are rare and expensive so we feel very lucky. They are becoming easier to find at the market, often in stalls selling native ingredients and meat. Like oranges and lemons, they keep well so if you see some, grab a couple.
They are good on oysters or grilled fish, they give a surprise pop to a creamy aïoli sauce, they lift any composed salad (e.g Vietnamese-style chicken, mint and green mango). Endless possibilities.
Left - The fruit (approximately 12cm long) hangs finger-like from spiky branches. This small Australian rainforest tree can adapt to most gardens where the wider citrus family grows.
Right - Inside the segments are filled with juice "vesicles", think lemon caviar or lime crystals. Cut in half, the crystals can be squeezed out, the final ones helped with a small knife. They crunch in the mouth releasing their tart and aromatic juice. Here, they wait to be squeezed onto a herring, apple, pickled beetroot and sour cream salad. (Sorry about the colour.) There were triangles of buttered rye toast, all on a 1910 Wedgwood plate.
Centre - Freshly shucked oysters waiting to be topped with finger lime. Oyster plates (1950s - Villeroy & Boch) show a daring modernity. It took eight years of regular searching on line to gather, one by one, a set of 12. (Indispensable!) Just behind can be seen the twisted stem of an Aquavit glass, to appeal to my inner Scandinavian, the Aquavit syrupy, icy cold served from the freezer.
Plant a tree and if you find yourself with an excess, you can give your guests one each, rather than a half!