I love to have a few types of liquors for cocktails and cooking but I don’t like the price tag, so whenever I see a way to make my own liquor, I go for it. This Italian lemon liquor is absolutely delicious. You can use Limoncello to flavour any lemon desserts: pana cotta, lemon tiramisu, ice cream, cakes… And also savoury dishes: in risottos, in sauces to serve with chicken, fish or seafood.
This is super easy to do but you need to think ahead because this takes 3 weeks to macerate and a few more weeks to reach optimum maturity. It could also be a great Christmas present!
Source: Les délices de Mimm
6 organic unwaxed lemons (you’ll only be using the zest)
1 l. Vodka (or 1/2 l. 90° alcohol and 1/2l. water)
- Wash and dry the lemons. Carefully peel the zest to only get the yellow part (we don’t want the white bitter part).
- Place the alcohol in a jar with a lid (if using 90° alcohol, only use this, don’t add the water).
- Add the lemon zests into the alcohol and close the jar. Place in a dark cool place and leave for 3 weeks, shaking every so often.
- After 3 weeks, pour through a sieve to collect the alcohol (which will have turned yellow). Discard the zests.
- If using the Vodka, just add sugar to it and stir well until dissolved. If using the part 90° alcohol/part water: make a syrup with the water and sugar. Leave to cool and add to the alcohol.
- Pour into a bottle and tightly close the lid. Place in a cool dark place for at least 1 month to develop the flavours.
- Use in a recipe or drink (moderately!) with some ice cubes.
My friend SorbetCitron recently posted a very tempting recipe for strawberry syrup. Weeks later, I visited my aunt (this is totally unrelated) and she had some homemade strawberry syrup. Coincidence? I think not. These were clues that I should be making strawberry syrup, so strawberry syrup I made. Here is the recipe for this ridiculously easy and fabulously tasty syrup, guaranteed without artificial colouring and preservatives (I knew this old bottle of strawberry liquor would come in handy one day!).
Source: Nuage de farine
Makes about 750ml
360g sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
2 tbsp lemon juice
- Wash and hull the strawberries and place them with the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan.
- Slowly bring to the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Take out from the heat and pass the strawberry syrup through a sieve.
- Leave the strawberries to drain on top of the syrup so that all the juice come out, then set the strawberries aside. Leave the syrup to cool completely.
- Boil the syrup again, removing the scum on the surface using a spoon, filter through a muslin cloth and transfer to a sterilised bottle (sterilise by filling with boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain).
- Keep in the fridge.
- You can blitz the cooked strawberries to make a delicious fruit purée.
Lavender is in full bloom at the moment, helped by an exceptional summer here in Ireland (a once in 15 years occurrence apparently)! Using floral flavours has always intrigued me in cooking and unfortunately, the syrups/aromas I have found in the shops have been quite disappointing (either way too strong or too weak to get just the right amount of flavour going through without being overpowering). So, I searched the web for some way to use my own lavender in my kitchen. I came across this syrup and flavoured sugar recipes, which are very easy to do and will give you a beautiful yet subtle lavender aroma in your baking.
Source: TitAnick of the blog Papilles estomaquées for the syrup and Papilles et pupilles for the sugar
For the syrup:
20 stems of lavender (freshly picked for me)
Muslin cloth and a sieve for filtering
For the lavender sugar:
200g golden caster/granulated sugar (or white sugar)
3 or 4 stems of lavender
- Lavender syrup: cut the stems so the whole flower fits into your saucepan. Give them a wash under the tap to get rid of the nasty crawlies!
- Place water, sugar and lavender in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil some water and pour into the bottle/container for your lavender syrup. Leave to stand for 10 minutes to sterilise, then empty.
- Line a sieve with muslin cloth and filter out the lavender.
- Using a funnel, pour the syrup into the sterilised container. Will keep for weeks in the fridge.
- Lavender sugar: tie the lavender stems together with a twine and suspend, flowers upside-down in a dry room for 24 hours to dry.
- Place a little sugar in a container, then some of the dried lavender, then another layer of sugar and so on.
- Leave for 2 weeks, then filter out the lavender (otherwise, it will be too strong). You can use this sugar in many cakes/biscuits/frosting preparations.