Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When life hands you lemons...

... jump up and down and clap your hands! At least if your lemons look anything like these organically produced babies that I picked up at a steal of €0,40 a piece.

When I found these lemons at Feinkost Spina, a large and slightly wholesale-ish Italian food shop in the area, I immediately bought five, and then one day later bought another three similar ones at the Viktualienmarkt. Of course, I didn't have a clue as to what to do with them, all I knew was that these lemons made me smile, and I wanted to bring them home. Luckily, just a week or so before, I'd found the lovely food blog Orangette, and browsed through all the summer recipes. One of these was a lemonade that looked very interesting, so I set to work making the syrup. I changed the recipe slightly, using green mint instead of basil, partly because I had just bought a bunch of green mint, and partly because, well... citrus and mint, need I say more? Since I didn't really modify it much, I'm not going to post the recipe, it's available at Orangette's above.

I've tried the syrup mixed with cold water and the juice of a lemon, and while it is delicious, my preferred way of consuming it is the way me and Angelica drank it on a warm afternoon: syrup, a dash of water, loads of lemon, and a good shot of Cachaça. This should really be served on ice, of course, but when you live in a student dorm, you just have to do without.

What could be a better accompaniment to a lovely drink such as this than Jamie Oliver's limoni di amalfi cotti al forno (baked lemons)? After having tried it, I can assure you that there is nothing better. These baked lemons are filled with buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, anchovies and basil, and seasoned with just a little bit of dried chili, salt and pepper. Once baked in the oven to a lovely bubbly brown, simply place the cheese filling on a piece of crostini or bruschetta, and enjoy, but don't eat the skins, they're just there for flavour (and to look great, of course). The warm and smooth mozzarella, infused with all those lovely flavours, is so dead simple, yet so damn delicious. I am salivating just thinking of them; this recipe is definitely a keeper, it is so simple to make, tastes great, and is absolutely beautiful. One of those recipes that make you look like a great cook with no effort at all.

But the best thing about this recipe is that it only calls for the lemon skins, meaning that you're left with the flesh and juice for other purposes, such as a lemon sorbet, or a sallad dressing, or some drinks... perfect!

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