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We all know the saying, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, but how often do you get to put in into action? Well, here in the EFS kitchen we take our optimistic aphorisms extremely literally! Mitigating food waste is one of the things we are most passionate about in our day-to-day operations, so we we work closely with FareShare to find delicious uses for good food that would otherwise be heading to landfill. A few weeks back, we received a glut of lemons that we were determined to save from becoming waste. We love a challenge and the EFS chefs found some inventive ways to make figurative lemonade… here’s a few of our favourites.

Lemon and Ricotta Cake

“If sunshine was ever captured in cake form, it would be this gloriously sunny and beautifully tart Lemon Ricotta Cake!”. We can wholeheartedly endorse this description for this recipe from Cook Republic. We tested this cake on a very grey and rainy march day, and it almost made us feel like we’d been whisked away on an summer holiday to Italy. You can either dust the baked cake with icing sugar, or make a simple lemon syrup by boiling lemon juice with granulated sugar and simmering until thickened (about 10 mins).


  • 150ml oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 250 g ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk of choice, optional*



  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C
  2. Grease and line a 7-inch round and deep cake pan with baking paper.
  3. Add oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs and caster sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 3-4 minutes until pale, creamy and voluminous.
  4. Add flour and ricotta cheese. Mix very gently with a wooden spoon until the batter is just combined, ensuring there are small lumps of ricotta intact in the batter. At this point if you feel the batter is too stiff (it should be the consistency of a thick paste but not soft and runny), you made add 2-3 tablespoons milk of choice to loosen it up.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes until golden and cracked on top.

Green Olive and Lemon Tapenade

Lemons are so incredibly versatile and can be used in all sorts of sweet and savoury dishes. This tapenade is delicious as a spread in sandwiches, stirred through a pasta sauce, or as a garnish to give a bowl of soup a fresh, tangy kick.


  • 300g pitted green olives
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • small bunch basil
  • small bunch parsley
  • 50ml oil
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • lemon zest, to taste


  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor or mortar and pestle, and pulse until you have a coarse texture.
  2. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest to taste.

Preserved Lemons

Although preserved lemons might not look as exciting as some other recipes, their intense flavour is second to none. They are a firm favourite for adding bright umami to curries and salads. Some of the EFS staff have even been known to drink the preserving liquid after finishing the lemons!


  • 10 unwaxed lemons
  • 250g salt
  • 10 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp coriander seed


  1. Juice 6 of the lemons then cut the remaining 4 into quarters.
  2. Pack in layers with salt, star anise, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds, into a sterilised jar.
  3. Pour in lemon juice and top with water to just cover lemons.
  4. Seal and store in a dark, cool place for at least a month before using. Scoop out the pulp and rinse before use. These will keep for about six months.