Monday, 14 April 2014
While I was browsing the fruit section of the supermarket the other day, I spotted these yellow beauties. It wasn't just the size of the lemons which drew my attention but the small label showing that they were from Sorrento. I was immediately transported back to May 2003 and the Bay of Naples...
These were pre-blogging and pre-digital camera days so this photo of a photo isn't great but you get the idea. It's one of the best holidays we've ever had - a perfect mixture of sun, sea, scenery, stunning architecture and rich, amazing history. I was in heaven exploring the streets of Sorrento, Pompeii and Herculaneum, and almost literally in heaven at the top of Mt Vesuvius. There are very few places I'd go back to - too many places, too little time - but this is definitely one of them.
The locals are very proud of their lemons and you find them decorating all kinds of souvenirs - I came back with a tile and fridge magnet. We also saw them decorating these children during a school parade.
The lemons are much larger and juicier than standard lemons. Just look at the width of the pith on this one!
Apparently 60% of the harvest is reserved to make limoncello, for which Sorrento is also famous. Mine was made using Sophie Grigson's recipe from Sunshine Foods: lemon peel, vodka, sugar and water.
Of course, I couldn't let those gorgeous lemons go to waste so I made a cake. It's based on the Orange & white chocolate cake by Lynn Hill in the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook*. You can find the recipe here and where it says use orange juice/zest, substitute lemon. And, instead of Cointreau, I used my homemade limoncello.
Lemon is probably my all-time favourite flavour and the smell as I juiced and grated was just amazing. Summer and sunshine. The cake tasted pretty good too!
All those holiday memories and more still to make. When I arrived home with my Italian lemons, our tickets for Verona had arrived! Fluttery tummies all round. Only 21 sleeps to go. Me, excited? Whatever gave you that impression :)
*If you haven't got this cookbook, I highly recommend it. There are so many interesting sounding recipes, I want to make practically all of them!