A couple of years back I was fortunate enough to work briefly in Israel. I met some great people, both from within the international team I was a part of and also from the local working teams. I also visited some amazing places too. I could fill several pages on the wonderful places, but if I were to pick one it would have to be Jerusalem. What an amazing blend of races and cultures so steeped in history, truly amazing. Just wandering through the open markets with all the smells and colours of the myriad of different products, it was a culinary Aladdin’s cave. It really is a great shame that there is so much conflict currently in the Middle East and that many wonders of the ancient world are now all but inaccessible.
What is truly disheartening is the wholesale destruction of many ancient sites, no truce or removal of warring factions can ever remove the stain of destruction and pillaging that is currently rife. I also worry about recent actions here in Europe under the banner of historical cleansing. Many countries are removing references, statues, place names, street names etc, to people we now consider to have had a negative influence on our past.
If there is any way forward for us we need to learn from our past and from our mistakes. Perhaps these references to darker moments in our past should not be removed, but rather used as a reminder to inspire us do better going forwards? The past can’t be rewritten, it might be wiser to use it to avoid making the same mistakes in the future!
Anyway, back to safer ground, back to the culinary arts and away from politics………
As I have said, I had a great time in Israel, enjoying both the company of the team I went with and the company of the locals. It really is a great shame that peace currently seems so far away as the country has so much to offer. Many people may be surprised to learn that Israel is full of people that were born in other countries and that have migrated to Israel. This has led to a vary varied culture and cuisine. This week’s recipe is proof of that, with an explanation of how to make one of the most typical Italian spirits.
One of the team I went with, Gerardo, was Italian. One evening he suggested going to an Italian restaurant in Tel Aviv. We had a great meal and a great time. The restaurant owners treated him as a long lost friend and, when the meal was over, they produced various bottles of their local hooch, Limoncello. We consumed quite a bit as we wiled away the evening in friendly conversation. Gerardo told me that Limoncello was often made in his village, so of course I asked him for the recipe.
So thanks to Gerardo here is the typical Italian Limoncello recipe:
Ingredients for approximately 2 Litres:
1L Spirit Alcohol (around 96%)
Put the lemon peel to soak for a week in 1/3 of the alcohol making sure that the peel is completely covered.
After the week is up, put the rest of the alcohol in with the lemon peel and leave for a further day.
Heat the sugar in the water until dissolved. Cool.
Mix the sugar syrup with the strained alcohol. Bottle and chill well.
The resultant drink is around 45% alcohol by volume. This drink is best served cold, and with such a high sugar and alcohol content it can be kept in the freezer.
The alcohol I use is one that is approved for consumption. Do NOT use any other type of alcohol. “Drinking” alcohol is normally not that cheap as it is taxed just like any other alcoholic beverage. Don’t buy the cheap stuff, it is not normally apt for drinking!
I always follow the recipe exactly as stated. Why top up the alcohol and leave for a further day? I have no idea, but I am an engineer and there is a saying in engineering that I like very much, “If it works, don’t touch it!”
It is easy to buy pure drinking alcohol here in Spain. One has to pay taxes so it is not cheap, but it is guaranteed as safe for consumption. This may not be the case in other countries. If you can get it then give it a try. I always do make it in Winter when the lemons here are at their best. The main ingredient here is the lemons, get the best you can.
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge