Smells are so evocative. Oregano reminds me of my grand-mother. Herbal shampoo takes me back to our beach house in Australia. But basil and lemons are the smell of Positano.
The Amalfi Coast is Lemons.
One is inextricably linked to the other.They do so well in the climate, that often there is a surplus notwithstanding the numerous creative uses that the locals have invented.
Granita (lemon ice) spikes iced teas on the beach, homemade (or not) volatile Limoncello is offered gratuitously at restaurants as a digestive after the meals, and rice, fish, pasta and desserts al limone abound.
Delizia al Limone is a typical dessert on the Coast of a sponge cake soaked in the liqueur then covered in a lemon cream.
Their images decorate plates, ceramics and house numbers; they share their names with hotels and houses in the area.
They are sold to tourists as an over sized novelty on road side stands and are recently even made into natural soaps by Saponissimo.
In our gardens, the lemon trees are trimmed and tied pergola style.
This way, the roots are shaded by the foliage, the lemons are within arms reach and they can be covered in winter by a strong net which protects them against the fierce Tramontana wind which can strip their leaves in a matter of hours.
The icy wind coming down the mountain, swirls along the walls and tunnels in stair wells creating havoc in our gardens which are particularly exposed to the elements but strangely enough, sparing those alongside the house or below us.
We planted a tree of a different variety for each of our children when they were born, and when they were young they delighted in picking the lemons off their tree and showing me proudly.
'Make Lemon Delicious Mum' would soon follow, if they didn't eat the lemon there and then !
Lemon Delicious is an old fashioned light self-saucing dessert pudding which I often make, but use untreated lemons if you don't have them in your garden.
grated rind of 1 lemon
60g softened butter
3/4 cups of Castor sugar
3 eggs separated
3 tablespoons of sifted flour
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of milk
icing sugar for dusting
Cream butter sugar and lemon rind. Add egg yolks one at a time. Mix well. Add flour and mix in. Mix liquids together then stir in . Beat egg whites till stiff then fold into mixture.
Put into a shallow 4 cup oven dish. Set dish in a pan of boiling water (to come up halfway up the dish). Bake for 45minutes in a slow oven (170. F) or until the top is firm.
Dust with icing sugar then serve hot.
Serves 4 -6.