Very busy since I got back home … … and it’s refreshing to take a few mins off now and again!
I love almost anything lemony, so I was delighted to discover that the Amalfi coast is famous for its lemons, which it’s been growing for centuries and has got down to a fine art. There are several different varieties – some of them are HUGE, big as melons! They are grown on the terraces in ‘pergolas’ or wooden trellises. In the old days they used to be roofed with straw to shelter them from the
elements during the winters, but now they use black netting – so that’s what it’s for!
It’s rolled off the lemon trees about this time of year, for them to finish ripening.
Of course citrus trees bloom and fruit at the same time, clever things, and the air was full of the scent of citrus blossom. If it wasn’t lemon flowers, then it was wild thyme … imagine that. Bliss.
The Italians make all sorts of luscious things with their lemons. The village where we stayed has a monastery (which is in the process of being converted to a super-luxury hotel) and the nuns there invented the ‘sfogliatella’ pudding – thin layers of pastry in the shape of a wimple, with a lemon filling… I also had chicken with a lemon sauce, a to-die-for pudding with a melt in the mouth lemony middle, and fresh lemon juice squeezed then and there for me in cafes and bars. Most famous is the limoncello liqueur, which is made all along the coast – there was even a distillery in our small village. Gorgeous.
There is a little lemon grove in the garden of our villa, and every so often I picked some lemons to make fresh squash.
I did it the way I used to in Nigeria: wash the fruit, put it in a pan and cover it with boiling water, leave it for a few hours which increases the amount of juice, then squeeze the fruit. Add sugar and boil it all up together until it reaches the consistency you want, then strain and put in the fridge. Nectar.