How to add sunshine to your cooking with some luscious lemons

In an age of increased technology there’s still nothing like a good old fashioned notebook.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 1:01 pm

Over the years I’ve accumulated many, often branded ones as part of a goodie bag or promotion.

I use them for recording interviews, scribbling thoughts and jotting down recipes.

I rediscovered one recently that a friend had brought from a trip to New York

It’s leather bound with a multitude of coloured stripes.

I must have been keeping it for something really worthwhile because it’s empty apart from one recipe.

My granny’s sister Gerty moved to Australia with her husband and six children in the 1950’s to start a new life outside the city of Melbourne.

Over the years the family have come back home regularly and they’re always keen to share recipes from their adopted homeland.

The recipe in my fancy notebook came from a cousin and it’s for Lemon Delicious pudding.

It’s one of those classic desserts that self sauces and is most likely an Oz version of the similar Sussex Pond Pudding.

The ingredients separate during cooking leaving you with a rich spongy top that belies a creamy lemon custard.

You could have it as it is, warm from the oven or serve with a wee toot of cream for extra deliciousness.

Serendipitously the Mediterranean citrus season is in full swing.

My local farm shop is well stocked with Spanish oranges and Italian lemons.

The lemons are misshapen and as big as your fist - the way nature intended.

Often there’ll be green leaves attached that always make me imagine ruddy faced Italians picking them from trees in the sparkling Sicilian winter sun.

They’re heavily scented unlike the uniformly sized ones that drew the short straw and ended up in the supermarkets.

These lush fruits might cost a bit more but are worth it for their juiciness and intensely flavoured zest.

The recipe for Lemon Delicious, like many recipes, uses the zest of only one lemon and juice of three.

These fruits have a limited season so it’s important to make the most of every part of them.

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur and now is the time to make your own version to use up any excess zest.

Lemon peel is soaked for a week in vodka, combined with a sugar syrup and then strained.

It’s lovely chilled on its own, a splash added to sparkling wine, in a trifle or as an addition to sabayon.

Whisk four egg yolks with 75g of castor sugar, the zest and juice of one lemon and 3 tablespoons of limoncello in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until thick.

Spoon over berries and serve.

You also get the satisfaction of making something that can be kept or given as a gift. If you can keep it, it will be lovely drizzled onto fresh summer berries.

Another way of preserving lemon peel is to candy it.

The pared peel is cut into strips, cooked in a sugar syrup and then rolled in sugar.

It will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container and is a great garnish for desserts, to serve with berries, or just for something sweet to eat.

Lemons are such a versatile fruit in savoury and sweet dishes.

A squirt of lemon juice will elevate a simple piece of fish or roast chicken to something sublime.

Always have one in your fridge to add sunshine to your cooking.

* Check out more of Paula’s fantastic recipes in next week’s Farming Life.