Tuesday, July 8

Limoncello


i woke up ready to go today. Not too sure that i got all that much done but i havent stopped. First off was the pea and ham soup. Now, personally, I hate the stuff but i have had a ham bone in the freezer since the caterers left it behind last year ( in that incarnation it was the leftover from a whole shoulder of ham) and i didnt want to waste it knowing there are people out there who love the stuff. So, last week i mentioned said ham bone to a friend who sounded interested in relieving me of it. when i reflected further, the though of just handing over a frozen bone sounded a bit weird, so i decided to value-add before i passed it on. We had dried peas in the pantry so why not make the soup? and i really wanted some more freezer space (for the limoncello of course). One Google search later i had my recipe, veges chopped, stock out of the freezer and bones defrosting. Too easy. Blend, add, cook...VIOLA! pea and ham soup. The house really stinks.
When the boy bean woke up, i bundled him into his hat, jacket and trolley and we sprinted up to the local grog shop to buy some Vodka for the Limoncello, just missing the next downpour. With the help of the lads behind the bar, i managed to come home with some grape vodka which is a bit more like the Grappa that the Italians use to traditionally make their Limoncello, so, Hoorah! and its made locally here in Adelaide. Bought 3 bottles, only needed 2. Spare one for the freezer! Boy bean went back to bed, washing was removed from machine then i ventured out into the downpour to pick lemons, trying hard not to pull too hard to avoid that great extra sprinkle of water. Next up, babybean woke and was duly placed into chair-contraption thing on kitchen bench to watch me peel a mountain of 30 lemons, trying hard not to get too much pith on the shaved skins. My pumpkin peeler worked a treat for this, resulting in nice thin zest. i tossed the skins into a large jar, added the 2 bottles of vodka and stuck it in the cellar to sit and stew for about a month or two. Stage 1 limoncello complete. Peeled lemons dont keep long so i think i'd better do something with those 30 peeled lemons but i feel like collapsing on the couch with a glass of wine when the boy goes to bed not juicing lemons and making cordial.., maybe if i have a glass of wine when juicing the lemons ...
Tomorrow the potatoes really need planting as they have sprouted!

Limoncello:
15-30 lemons - clean/washed with good scent
2 (750-ml) bottles 80-proof vodka/grappa
4-6 cups water
2-4 cups sugar (more if you want it thicker or sweeter)

Stage 1: Peel/zest lemons making sure minimal or no pith is left on the zest/peel
Put peel/zest into big clean jar and add vodka/grappa and leave to steep in cool dark place for 2 weeks to 3 months (your choice)

Stage 2:Put the water and sugar in a saucepan, stir and slowly boil until it turns clear. Let the syrup cool. Put the cooled syrup in the jar with the lemon peel/zest (you might have to divide the batch into two jars at this point, depending on the size of your jar). Put the jars back in the closet for at least two weeks. Peel will be white and should 'snap' when bent and no longer be flexible.

Step 3:Strain out the lemon peel/zest through a coffee filter/muslin/cheesecloth.
Put the liqueur into clean bottles, seal tightly and leave the finished bottles for at least 1 week before using. Store in freezer until ready to drink. It shouldn't freeze because of how much alcohol is in it and it's meant to be drunk ice cold.

* read Limoncello Stage 2 here

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