Just look at the bounty from our garden.
Our wanderings to and thro from Italy, inevitably involve foodstuffs from the garden, who's weight in a sore arm and hand luggage sometimes outdoes that of their taste, especially if they are slightly out of season. But we just can't leave them behind to rot in the soil.
While we are in Positano in autumn, resounding thumps in the garden announce the demise of yet other melon-sized grapefruits, that have lost their precarious hold on the tree and have fallen dizzying heights from one terraced garden to another, landing on the lawn the equivalent of four storeys below.
Out comes the juicer, struggling with the segments containing four to six pips apiece and requiring the courage of a hardened gladiator to drink. I watch my fifteen year old son and his father try the juice, placing them together in front of me so I can see their reactions. My son downs it in one gulp before his taste buds try to send a 'no go' sign to his instincts. Two seconds pass before a involuntary grimace masks his features and his eyes redden. My other half is a veteran at bitter-grapefruit-juice-sipping, boasting that he had one everyday he was in Positano. But still his eyes stream and his face contorts. These grapefruit are bitter to end all bitter, guaranteeing to suck your cheeks in and grow hairs on your chest.
The mandarines, on the other hand, are to die for. Such is their perfume on breaking open the skin, that I can't waste it and make delicious marmalade to spread on my croissants in the morning. The oranges, still slightly under ripe, get a similar treatment and the tangy perfume of cooking jams fills the house that day. I cover the top of the jam with half a spoon of Grand Marnier before sealing the lid on the jars and will wait a few weeks for the taste to infuse the jam before consuming it.
A Grape Harvest Cake makes the most of the last bunch of home grown table grapes, using the untreated lemon and orange peel from the garden, and even the flowers stalks from the basil are put to use in sauces and soups because of their strong flavour.
Come to think of it, the sore arm was probably worth it's weight in gold...
Did you spot the punk orange?