Last year my regular fruit and veg merchant down the road from me in Rome closed down, leaving me a little bit at a loss: the local market being just that bit too far to go regularly on foot and boring by car, and the much hated Carrefour supermarket being quite out of the question. Two weeks ago a collection of very Roman individuals purporting to be the nipoti (which means nephew or grandchild but meaning also family friend, friend of relative, neighbor, aquaintance) of the now closed Bottegone opened a shop just past the children’s school. Marco and his partners seem to be doing a good trade, which involves a lot of haggling and negotiating with the older female clientele. Great citrus fruits are still tumbling off the stalls around Rome, sunset pink and deep red oranges, big thick rinded navels for eating not juicing, and lots of wonderful lemons.
The best lemons in Italy are from around the Amalfi coast, generous rinded rough beauties sold with their leaves on and untreated, so good for recipes that call for lemon rind or even a whole cooked lemon, like maybe an almond and lemon cake. Last week at Marco’s we found boxes of Sicilian lemons at a very in season price and were seized with the idea of making home made lemonde or limonata. Enthused by the quite spring like weather we set to squeezing the lemons and then mixing the juice with raw sugar and then lightly fizzy water.
These were the quantities for a 1 litre jug of LIMONATA
SQUEEZE 4 large lemons and pour into jug
ADD 4 or 5 heaped tablespoons of raw sugar
ADD 100 ml boiling water, mixing well to dissolve sugar
Fill with lightly gassed water and CHILL