The seasons are changing quickly. The temperature is dropping and the poplar trees are turning golden. We had some welcome rain this week – not as much as forecast, but at least it was something to replenish the soil. The air was fresh and distinctly autumnal on my drive into town this morning. A sure sign of Easter is the splash of colourful cosmos alongside the road. I’ve been getting the house ready for our visitors this weekend. We are going to have a very grown-up Easter with no kids in the house. Somehow Easter doesn’t feel the same without a Sunday morning egg hunt, but I’m sure we will be very happy reading, cooking, walking, chatting and just relaxing. If it’s chilly we might even light a fire and the lamb shanks are all ready for Sunday lunch. I am not making my own hot cross buns. Fully aware of my baking limitations I have decided not to subject my guests to the inevitable flop! Instead my mother has been sent a long shopping list of goodies to bring with for the weekend, including store-bought hot cross buns!
I have stocked the fridge with some fresh lemon syrup for the weekend. Our garden has the most amazing lemon tree, which was probably planted by Quentin’s mother. Thankfully it produces abundantly throughout the year as I use lemons all the time in cooking and in drinks. I planted a lime tree last year, but it hasn’t produced any fruit yet. At least it survived last winter so hopefully it is here to stay. Lemon syrup is a very summery drink, served with ice, water and some fresh mint. I am sharing the recipe with you now as a tribute to the wonderful summer just past.
Lemon Cordial (makes about 2 liters)
1-1.5 liters of water
1-1.5 kg sugar (adjust to taste)
About 500ml of fresh lemon juice (about 6-10 lemons depending on size)
2 tablespoons of lemon rind
2 tablespoons citric acid (enhances the lemon flavour)
2 tablespoons tartric acid (helps to preserve)
2 x 1 liter glass bottles (the Consol shop has a fantastic collection of glass jars and bottles)
Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Add citric and tartric acid and dissolve completely (these are not essential ingredients). Turn off the heat and allow syrup to cool. Sterilise glass bottles in the oven at 100 degrees Celsius. Add the lemon juice and rind to the syrup and stir. Pour into glass bottles and store in the fridge. Dilute with still or sparking water for a refreshing drink. Add mint and ice for an extra summery touch!
Wishing you all a very happy and blessed Easter!