Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy, um, not Monday?

The reason why I need to get to the farmers markets!
Source: Single Minded Women
Hi hi! Sorry my Monday slice of love and gratitude is very late. I had every good intention of writing this post when I got home from uni and a staff meeting Monday, then got ridiculously sidetracked by my first piece of loving this week…

FoodBuzz has just started the most amazing contest. 2000 bloggers (well 1,889), whittled away over 10 rounds until finally there is one winner. Loving to read other people's adventures with food, I started browsing through the contestants, and 4 hours later it was 1am, I was loath to stop reading, and my 'followed' blog list had at least tripled in size!, It has seriously reinforced my love of blogs by young, active guys, a rarity in this area of interest, and I've found some amazing new reading material, Here are some of my favourite finds:

  • Food Makes Fun Fuel & The Kitchen of a Runner – Both of these guys have reinforced my love of young guys blogging! This is a seriously female dominated area, and it is great to read the kitchen exploits of two active, health conscious young men with awesome appetites. Not to mention they've given me some great ideas for taming the hungry animals over at Safari.
  • The Flexitarian Foodie – I had no idea what a flexitarian was until having a read of this blog. Must say, she's going to become one of my regular reads, as I love her writing style, and some of the yummy looking posts.
  • Gluten Free Betsy – Everything I saw on her blog looks seriously yummy! Mumma Dryad is gluten intolerant. Well, that, or allergic to wheat, we're not really 100% sure. Either way, we've been doing a LOT of gluten-free discovery since she figured this out. I'm going home next week, so we may have to give a few recipes a whirl, and see how we go!
  • Poor Girl Eats Well – Awesome advice for uni students, or anyone else on a seriously tight budget. This woman is amazing, and makes living off a small amount of money look very appetising!
I'm loving the way Geelong is currently gearing up for the UCI Cycling Championships, starting this next week. Lacking the "Cats in the Grand Final" buildup of the last few years, it's nice to still finish off September with a bang. The town has got a general tidyup, people have been painting the power boxes, and this time next week, the place will be crowded with 200,000 sporty/athletic types and their entourages. I'm not going to be here for the first half, which disappoints me greatly, but hopefully I should still get to see plenty of action, since my house is literally 25m from the main straight of the course. I have heard some people being quite negative about the whole thing, but having witnessed the annual tourist influx in Alice Springs, and the life it brings to the town, I'm seriously looking forward to the event!

Warning, shameless work plug! Mr Hyde is starting breakfast! I'm actually seriously excited about this, because even before I started working at Hyde, I loved the food. Seriously, pancakes topped with gooey berry goodness, and a heavenly cark hot chocolate to start the morning? Yes please! In case you didn't know, we also do $3 coffees for students all day, every day. That's cheaper than uni caf, not to mention better quality, direct-trade coffee. So who's coming with me to the breakfast launch on Saturday morning?

My favourite thing about this time of year is the insane amount of fresh produce starting to pop up all over town, and cheap. Seriously, last week I spent $13 in Fruit Shack on enough veges to last me 2 weeks! Course, they're not organic, and not all local, but it WAS all Australian produce, and with my return to studenthood, I'm trying to save money, so I'm not complaining too much.

This has been a rather food orientated Happy Monday, but then it's been a very food orientated week for me! What's getting you fired up this week?

Love, Neysa xo

Friday, September 17, 2010

Foodie Friday – Yummy Sprouts

This week, I did a massive fresh veg shop, and came across super cheap fresh brussel sprouts. I don't know about anyone else, but when I was a kid, I used to hate the things. We used to get them at Grandma's, and they came out of the freezer, went in to salted water, and were boiled until they were grey and kind of slimy. Probably zero nutritional value by the time they reached your plate. It's a shame, because brussel sprouts are high in many of our essential vitamins and minerals. Figuring that sprouts are pretty much just tiny cabbages, I decided to have a crack at cooking them the way my mum cooked cabbage for us as kids. Thankfully, huge success, and a hit at our family dinner last night! Unfortunately, in between all the talking, eating and laughing, I forgot to take photos, but I have some sprouts still in the fridge, so there will be one coming!

Tossed with penne makes a delicious dinner
Wok-tossed Brussel Sprouts

Serves 3 as a side dish

The Line Up

12 fresh brussel sprouts
2 rashers middle bacon, roughly chopped with rinds removed
1 onion, diced finely (I used 1 half Spanish, 1 half brown for some colour)
1 clove minced garlic
The Game Plan

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a wok or frying pan, then add the garlic, stir for 10-15 seconds, then add the diced onion. Stir fry until the onion just starts to turn glassey, then add the bacon. Continue to stir regularly until cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the tough bottoms off of the sprouts, and remove the out layer of leaves. Depending on the size of your sprouts half or quarter them, and then add them to the wok with your onion and bacon. Stir the greens through, and continue to toss until they become just tender. Don't worry if they break up a little bit, adds to the asthetic! When they are ready, the sprouts should still be a bright green colour, but slightly tender.
  3. Serve immediately, alongside just about anything!
The Interchange

  • I haven't really experimented with this one yet, and am interested to see how it goes without the bacon, though I feel it would need something in addition to the onion & garlic to have the same impact.
  • Sprouts are ridiculously good for you, even containing anti-cancer properties*. This is especially true when raw, stir-fried or lightly steamed. I've used them in place of baby spinach on toasted sandwiches, as an addition to my easy chicken stirfry, or even raw with some sort of dippy type thing (Cream cheese with sweet chilli sauce? Yummo!). Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend,

Love, Neysa xo

*maybe, a little bit... look, I lost the reference and can't find it, mmmk?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Student’s Guide to Medical Support

Source: doodle and hoob

Almost everyone I know at the moment has a case of the sniffles or a sore throat, myself included. Aside from the usual maladies that arise with the change of season, it's getting to that point of the academic year where students are simply burning out. Long nights studying, several months on a poor diet consisting largely of Mi Goreng noodles, and more slabs of alcohol than you would willingly admit to having consumed, it all starts to add up, and your immune system gets hit hard. Sometimes, the cure is to curl up on the couch in your trackies and a blanket, chow down on some comfort food, drink hot chocolate and devour a book or some movies. But when your body crashes out on you, it's important to know how to get in contact with the right people…

Your Uni Health Service
Most universities have a student health service, usually consisting of a couple of full-time nurses, and a visiting doctor. These services are great, as you can duck in between lectures, and the staff tend to be very conscious of the problems facing uni students, not to mention university procedures if you require time off to recover. Remember to take your Medicare card, as they will usually bulk bill your visit, but be aware that you may face out of pocket expenses for things like inoculations, blood tests and procedures. The one main problem with on campus doctors is that the appointments can fill up weeks in advance, but if this is the case, you should be able to ask them if they can recommend another nearby doctor.

Bulk Billing Clinics
Outside of on-campus services, bulk billing clinics are the next best things for the sick student. They usually have a number of doctors on duty at any one time, meaning they can move through more patients in a shorter space of time than smaller private practices, and the best bit is it's free if you have your Medicare card! You don't normally have to have an appointment, but from experience, it can be a good idea to make one, in case you suddenly find yourself on the end of a 2 hour wait. Clinics are your best bet if you need to get prescriptions renewed, doctors certificates issued, or have issues you don't really want to discuss with your usual doctor. Just be aware that you may not always get the same doctor, meaning you'll have to be prepared to give someone new the low-down on your history every visit, because whilst files are usually shared at these clinics, the doc doesn't know you, and will ask questions accordingly. These places can also be quite drug happy, i.e. will prescribe something just to shut you up. If you're not sure why they're giving you something, or if it is the right treatment for you, don't be afraid to speak up and voice your concerns. Get them to explain exactly what it is, and why they're providing you with the script. If you're still not comfortable, seek a second opinion.

Your trip to the doctor won't always end with a pharmacological solution, but if it does, you'll need to get your script filled, preferably sooner rather than later. It pays to have a look around at different pharmacies, as the one next door to the doctor can also be the most expensive! If you have a Health Care Card or concession, you can get some medicines at a reduced price, which is always appreciated by the bank account. If your prescription allows for you to get a generic brand, seriously consider doing so. Generics are exactly the same drug, in the same delivery format, but sold at a lower price. Same is true for over the counter drugs, such as paracetamol or antihistamine. A company has a monopoly over the production of a drug for the life of its patent, at which time it can be picked up by other companies, increasing competition for market share, and driving prices down, meaning win for the consumer! Here endeth the economics lesson.

Ambulance Cover
Nobody thinks they're going to have an accident, but if you do, the last thing you want to be worrying about is a $2000 bill from the Ambulance service for the ride they gave you to hospital. In my first week at university, everyone in our course was advised to get ambulance cover 'just in case'. Considering the dangers involved with science, with all its chemicals, glassware, fire and explosive hazards, etc, it's probably not surprising that I took that advice on board, and I'm very glad I did. My situation wasn't an accident in the lab, a broken leg at football, or getting into a fight while in town one night (all of which I have witnessed). I had an asthma attack at 2 o'clock in the morning, in the middle of uni break while no one was around, and had no way to get to hospital. If I hadn't had Ambulance membership, that ride could have cost me a huge amount of money, and not having the ride could have cost me my life. In my opinion, $75 a year is a small price to pay for knowing if I have an accident, my family isn't going to get hit with a huge bill while I'm still recovering. Some private health care funds have ambulance cover built in to them, and some states have a free public service, so check your situation before signing up!

Don't leave it too late
If you've been off colour for a few days, consider going to the doctor. Sometimes they can give you a certificate for a few days to rest and recover, or even make sure it's not something more than it looks. Always think in advance, especially if you're fluey and have assignments coming up. If you ever have persistent pain, numbness or tingling in your limbs, develop problems with your speech or sight, have recurring headaches or experience chest pains, ALWAYS see a doctor as soon as possible. Pay attention to your body, rest, and keep up your fluids and vitamins, because prevention and early intervention are always better than living through a full-blown illness.

Finally, the disclaimerNEVER use this post against or in lieu of professional medical advice. Always use your common sense, and only follow advice you feel comfortable with. If you're not comfortable with the advice, seek a second opinion, or a third. If the problem isn't going away, persist until you get answers!

Love, Neysa xo

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Tea Chest – Golden Monkey

Yes, this is how I work!
During last summer, I drank I ridiculous amount of tea. I find this slightly amusing, as I drank more hot tea during out hottest months in Lorne than I have all winter at home since. In no small part, this was due to the Erskine River Tea House, which I visited almost every day as a way to escape from the monotony of working and living in the same building. I'd sit there for a few hours, reading a book, or working on my writing, and go through at least one pot of tea, trying a new one each time. Towards the end of summer, I started taking notes about the various teas that I was drinking, with a view to sharing them on my blog. A bit late now, considering we are now approaching summer once more, but as the old clique goes, better late than never!

The first tea I took notes on was called 'Golden Monkey'. It's a black tea from the Fujian province of China. The full leaf tip is curled tightly when dry, and resembles the hands of a monkey, which is where this particular variety gets its name. When brewed, these unfurl into beautiful, long, unbroken leaves, which themselves remind me of fingers. The tea brews to a golden honey colour, with a sweet aroma, itself reminiscent of honey and light stone fruit, maybe peach or nectarine. It's quite robust, with a slightly woody or earthy quality, is naturally a bit sweet, and pleasantly lacks astringency or bitterness. Well, usually lacks bitterness, I once let it overstep while distracted, and the result was almost unpalatable, so I recommend not going over 5 minutes. It's milder than your typical English-style black teas, very smooth to drink, and well-rounded on the palate. I've read some people's opinions on Golden Monkey teas, and didn't detect the chocolate tones that are often described, but that may be either my underdeveloped palate, or a variation between batches.

On the whole, a lovely tea that I highly recommend. Erskine River Tea House were selling it at AUD $12 for 100g way back in February.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Deep and Meaningful Thoughts

It's not easy being green, but it is beautiful.
Dryad by Timothy Lantz

I've been doing a lot of deep and meaningful thinking during the last week. I know that this is slightly shocking, given my at times apparently frivolous nature, but I thought I'd share some thoughts with you all.

How green am I really? I like to think that I do my bit for the environment. I walk most places, or catch the bus, I take my own bags to do the shopping, I try to reduce the packaging I buy, and usually packets are recyclable, which makes my weekly garbage fairly small. I reuse jars and containers and turn my scrap paper into refills for my Filofax. I only do the laundry if I have enough for a full load using a biodegradable laundry liquid, and then let everything air dry. Same goes for the washing up, and most of the grey water goes to the plants afterwards. My power and gas are on a 'green plan' through my utilities company, lights go off if I'm not in the room, the heater only goes on if I'm reaching for a 3rd pair of socks and my jacket, and I don't have a cooling system for summer. Usually I try to only have one electrical item on at the one time, i.e. either the computer or the stereo or the TV, not all of them. Where possible I buy organic foods, or at least from local producers, and I usually try to avoid supermarkets as much as possible. Still I'm left thinking 'is it enough?'

Very little of my waste comes from food scraps, but most of that is vege peelings, egg shells and the like. I grew up with a big garden, and a compost heap that took care of all those things. I'd love to start a garden where I am, which I think would help me be more green, eat more vegetables, and reduce my food bill (even if only by a little bit), but I don't really have anywhere to put it. I can't really afford the outlay at the moment for pots, or the soil to start. I've been mulling over this a bit, and hopefully will come up with a solution soon. For now, the compostables will just have to go in the green-waste bin!

In the past, I also haven't been terribly mindful of where my stuff is coming from in the social justice sense. I've always tried to buy Australian made and/or owned, because I feel it is important to support the local economy in that way. I feel like a hypocrite saying this, but I also try to avoid buying cosmetics or personal products that have been tested on animals. Until recently though, I didn't really think about the conditions things from overseas were produced under. The FairTrade movement has begun to open the eyes of people such as myself with relation to the conditions of workers, and sustainability in general when it comes to where our products are coming from. However, after reading some varied literature, I'm not 100% convinced that FairTrade itself is the answer. Like every system, it has its flaws, but only time will tell if it is really going to work. On the other hand, a lot of it is about getting the message to the people, and in that regard, I think it has already been hugely successful. I've started making a conscious effort to consider the social ethics at play when making purchases of things produced in less fortunate areas than our own, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

The final bit of deep thought is related to food. We were always raised to be very mindful of what we put in our mouths, one of the many great things about Mumma Dryad having been a chef. I know what course food *should* take during its production and its course my stomach, and the fact that it often deviates so much worries me. This is one of the key reasons I try to avoid supermarkets. I like to know that my vegetables are fresh, and haven't been artificially ripened, or sprayed with who knows what. I like my bread to be preservative and fungicide free (one of the perks of The Muso working for an amazing boutique bakery!). I like knowing exactly what is in my pasta sauce or curry. These things are all solved by buying from local green grocer, markets and wholefood stores. Of course, some things are going to have to come from the super, but then I can buy organic, unbleached flour, or raw sugar rather than a highly refined white sugar. The real thing that has me thinking this week is meat. While growing up, we lived near dairy farms, and sheep farms. When we moved to the NT, we lived on a cattle station. I am no stranger to our animal-sourced food production. I strongly disagree with battery farming, so will only buy free-range eggs. I don't buy meat from the supermarket because I don't agree with the amount of waste that their large-scale operations encourage, which in turn encourages wasteful slaughter. I do, however, support small scale, sustainable, local production through buying meat at my local butcher. However, in light of the global food crisis, is eating meat really ethical? The amount resources it takes to raise and feed one steer is phenomenal. Grain, water, land, not to mention the environmental concerns that go with stock production, such as overgrazing and pollution. Consider the amount of crops that could be produced with those same resources. Consider if the grain used to feed stock was available for human consumption.

I say consider, because there should be balance to every argument. Not all areas where meat animals are grazed are appropriate for production of plant foods for human consumption. Not all crops are appropriate for human consumption either. Kilo-for-kilo, nutrient value of meat vs. crops is not the same, and therefore should not be used for direct comparison of efficiency of the production of each. Many of the arguments I have seen across the internet have been just that, arguments. People that are angry, passionate, writing content that is perhaps not particularly well thought out. The academic in me cringes when reading some of the online debate surrounding meat production and consumption, in particular a lot of the 'evidence'. The list of articles I want to write is growing every time I log onto the internet recently, and an in-depth look into the facts and figures in this area is one of them! I strongly support people's right to choose, and then live by that choice, but I also believe that there should be some form of unbiased, unskewed literature out there to aide that decision, and if it's there, I have yet to find it.


Sorry about how long this was today, here's a few things to help pass some time and bring some joy to your Monday.

  • Loving Bonzai Aphrodite at the moment, Sayward is of the reasons I've been thinking so much about all of the above. Really grounded, family orientated, and thought provoking.
  • Not great for my 'no shopping 'til Midsummer' vow, but I'm madly in love with almost everything on Tragic Beautiful at the moment. I've owned a pair of their fluffies for years now, and they are awesome.
  • Good news for coffee drinkers – Coffee may protect against DNA damage! If you want to know more (and you have access to online journals through your university/institution), read the original article here. Then, use this website to figure out how many of those protective coffees you could have before the caffeine killed you. "This is supposed to be Happy Monday!" I hear you say. The 'happy' comes when you realise you couldn't physically consume that much coffee anyway!
What do you think of the new blog layout? I did some tweaking late last week, just trying to find something more me. Also, the ginger biscuits and simple asian chicken posts now have photos!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Foodie Friday – Lemon Cupcakes

After sharing my homemade limoncello recipe last week, I thought I'd share its most common use in my house, other than the drinking of course. Recently I've been baking one batch of cupcakes a week, and these have proven to be quite popular. Cupcakes are making a huge comeback, with many dedicated bakeries turning up in practically place I've been in the last 2 years. However, the humble cupcake has come a long way from the crazy kiddy creations seen at many a childhood party, finding themselves thrust into the spotlight as alternatives to a traditional wedding cake, or as a delicious accompaniment to your morning tea break in between city errands. My cupcake batter is always quite thick, rather than the runny stuff we used to make with mum as kids, but they still turn out to be moist, slightly fluffy, but very dense in flavour. The limoncello gives these a great boost, with the end result being a fresh, zingy, sweet treat.

Lemon Cupcakes

Number depends on your tray size, I usually get 12 large.

The Line Up

1 ½ cups plain flour
¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter (softened)
2 eggs (separated)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsps baking powder
Pinch salt
½ cup lemon juice
Lemon rind, grated
For Icing
¾ cup Icing sugar
½ cup Butter
½ cup Cream cheese
Lemon rind, grated
Dash of Limoncello


The Game Plan
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC/350oF. Line a cupcake tray with paper liners.
  2. Place butter, egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl, and mix well until creamy. Add vanilla essence and combine well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, then add baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture, adding a little lemon juice each time until all ingredients are combined. Add a goog glug of limoncello with the last of the flour.
  4. Beat the egg whites and fold into the mixture, then spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. When ready, they should still be soft on top, but spring back after being touched. Remove from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. While the cupcakes are baking and filling your kitchen with that heavenly lemony scent, place all the icing ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined and lump free. It should stiffen slightly while you're waiting for the cupcakes to cool, but if it is too runny, add some more sugar. If it's too stiff, add a little limoncello or lemon juice. Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, transfer your icing to a piping bag, and make fancy swirly mountains of lemon cream cheese icing goodness atop your delicate morsels.
The Interchange
  • I usually don't add more decoration (I have enough trouble saving them from being devoured before the icing goes on!), but try topping with some extra grated rind, or strips of candied lemon peel. I stumbled across Brown Eyed Baker's insanely beautiful limoncello cupcake creation, where not only were they beautifully presented with a slice of lemon and a raspberry, but they had lemon curd filling! Can see some experimentation coming on!
  • Try adding some poppy seeds to the batter before adding the egg white for some visual interest.
  • The alcohol in the batter will cook off during baking, but consider omitting the limoncello from the icing if cooking with munchkins in mind.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Monday – 6/09/10

Never has a week so desperately required one of my Happy Monday reflections! In the last week I've received bad news, broken some of my favourite items (twice things falling off benches while I'm on the opposite side of the room!), dropped a friend's external hard drive, broke a Boston glass at work, had my phone go missing, and was yelled at by a bus driver for helping a guy with change for his fare. After a week like that, I really had to embrace the good things, to remind myself that I'm still incredibly lucky.

Image from

I discovered 3things Australia this week through @kateausburn, who is a regular contributor and editor. It's a great initiative, with articles covering a huge array of subjects but always relating back to the same thing – social justice. The pieces are short, but thought provoking, and I've found that I'll keep thinking about the topic long after I've gone back to studying. My three picks? Teabags that can filter water (!), Freetrade Tea, and 'iPhone not in green zone?'

The University Blog has an interesting post this week, What's so potty about a Harry Potter Course, which asks the question why people, in particular the media, go up in arms when new modules/units/subjects at universities are released that deal with contemporary or popular culture. Personally, I think it's great that a university is looking at the impact on education that such an influential series of books has had.

Traci Harding – I've enjoyed Traci's writing since reading the Gene of Isis several years ago. This week I finally finished reading The Ancient Future Trilogy. Loved every moment of it. Even got a little bit teary in sections. Her writing seems a little odd as far as Fantasy novels go, in that it starts very based in mythic/medieval fantasy, and then progresses very much into the Sci-Fi world, but I enjoy her writing immensely. Epic struggles for power, time travel, martial arts, discussions on the impact of manifestations of positive or negative intent. Food for thought, with interesting characters to guide you on your way.

Planning Travel – Okay, so it's not quite Brazil, but The Muso, Matho, Mentor, Lady Young and I are off to Tasmania over the new year for Falls Festival! I've never been to a music festival before, so I'm incredibly excited already, even more so considering that we're turning it into an almost 2-week road-trip. My new Filofax is proving itself to be hugely helpful in the planning of what promises to be a gargantuan trip, as has Microsoft OneNote 2010 (More on this winning combo another time). I must have been a Virgo in another life, because whilst the laid back, artsy mood of the festival appeals hugely to the Pisces in me, I am already organising transport, making lists, plotting adventures... Now I just have to save like crazy to afford the trip! Add to this the fact I'm going home to see the family later this month, I've been bitten by the travel bug!

I'm actually really excited for a few other people at the moment too. Mumma Dryad has been putting a lot of effort lately into finding herself, and things seem to be coming up rosy. Really looking forward to travelling home to see her in a few weeks to share in her continuing journey. My grandparents are also out and about in the world, having jumped ship for some remarkably warm and sunny weather over in the UK, bit exciting for them I must say, and enjoying the postcards. One of the lovely girls in my lab just got engaged too, which has become essentially the sole topic on conversation at uni for the last week.

I realised today that I've gone about 3 weeks without getting so much as tipsy. That's not to say I haven't been drinking, I've had a drink or two after most of my shifts, but I'm not drinking nearly as much as I have in the past, either days per week or drinks per session. Ladies Night @ Crown a few weeks back would have been the closest I've been, but I actually drank a lot less than what I would have on a normal night out at a club. The body is loving it, the wallet is definitely appreciating the effort, and I feel pretty damned good about it! I also keep having the urge to go running, which is weird, cause I actually really dislike running, but given the decline in drinking, I may give it a shot and see if this is my body's way of telling me to shape up. Mind you, if it starts telling me to diet, it can go jump.

Monday Lovin' heading your way,

Neysa xo

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foodie Friday - Limoncello

Ok, it's not quite food, but limoncello has been featuring heavily in some of my recent culinary experiments, so I thought I'd post it here
Several months ago, I had the overwhelming desire to drink limoncello. This was largely assisted by Paul @ Opium Cocktail Bar, with his cocktail of the month at the time, a yummy, lemony concoction whose name escapes me at present. At the time, I was also readying a book about various types of liqueurs, and thought I'd try my hand at this deliciously refreshing drink. It's really quite a versatile ingredient. This recipe is a little thicker than the stuff you would buy, but I find it is perfect for using in cooking, such as the lemon cupcake recipe I'll put up next week, or to pour over some creamy vanilla ice cream, or to have on the rocks while lounging around on the floor playing with your new Filofax. Oh, maybe that last one's just me…


Makes 500ml

The Line Up
4 whole lemons, chopped, + coarse grated rind of two extra
330g (1 1/3 cups) castor sugar
150ml (Approx ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) 95% Rectified Spirit (available at your local bottle shop, usually with the vodka)
Water to 500ml

The Game Plan
Place the lemons and sugar into a large pot, and bruise over low heat until quite syrupy. Do not allow to boil, but continually stir for 10-20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add alcohol, stirring constantly, then add water to make 500ml. This is where I usually make a mess in my kitchen, because I tend to tip the mixture into a measuring jug through a strainer before adding the water, to make sure the end mixture will be the traditional 30% alcohol/volume. Completely up to you though! If you do this, add the fruit back to the mixture, and allow to infuse for 48 hours. I usually place the covered mixture in the fridge at this point due to lack of space in my kitchen, and then taste it after 24 and 48 hours. If it's not infused to my liking, I either leave it to infuse for longer, or tweak it with the addition of a bit more sugar syrup or lemon juice. When infused to your liking, strain through a clean fine sieve, and funnel into empty, pre-sterilised bottles. Label these with the date and contents, then store in the fridge, where it will keep for about 2 months, if it lasts that long! Serve well chilled, and mix before pouring.

The Interchange
Substitute the lemons for other citrus fruit, mangos (with the skins removed), pitted stone fruit, cored apples or pears for a different flavour. Fruit that is well ripened, or even over-ripe, works best.
It's easy to change the alcohol content with this recipe. Omit it completely for a delicious syrup that's safe for the kids. I normally wouldn't increase the content, 30% EtOH/Vol is fairly standard for a liqueur. The one time I did try to boost it to 40% (similar alcohol content to your average vodka), I was hit with a cloud of ethanol fumes every time I opened the bottle or took a sip, and ended up diluting it back to make it tolerable.


Note: This is not the traditional way of making limoncello, and lacks some of the depth and complexity that comes with the longer infusion of the 'proper' method. It's all about personal taste, and I have found that I prefer to use the whole lemons, rather than just the rind, as they give a bit more balance to the serious amount of sugar used. If you do use just the rind, and use a cold-infusion (i.e. you don't heat the fruit), make sure you don't include any of the white pith, as this will make your limoncello bitter.