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The last of the Summer Sun

Sunday boating in Megaride harbour, Naples.

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The Taste of Italian Summer: Lemon and Ricotta tart

Lemon trees here in the south, and especially on the Amalfi coast, are rightly famous and grow everywhere.  We have two in the garden which bear fruit for most of the year.  I was looking for a light Summer desert menu with a lemony zing and decided upon this simple but stunning tart from the Two Greedy Italians – Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo.  Both from near Naples, they cooked the dish outside on a terrace high above Amalfi.

The recipe uses candied cedro, a citrus fruit from the south of Italy, with pungent lemon zest sprinkled on the finished tart.   But you can use candied lemon peel too.  The result, as shown above, is a very light, delicate tart which is lovely either on its own or, as recommended by the cooks, with Summer poached pears.  This version is from the BBC website.

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Colours of the Italian Summer

Summer in Naples is long and hot.  A particular annual treat is the blooming of the oleanders in various shades of pink along the roads throughout the area.  Elsewhere vibrant, almost gaudy bougainvilleas climb walls and jasmine scents the air.  Here are a few pictures of the neighbourhood.

Italian Cocktail of the Week: Italia Settanta Cinque

When visiting Naples, a friend  introduced us to the classic French 75 cocktail.  This was originally created at the New York Bar in Paris, later Harry’s New York Bar, in 1915.  The potent combination of gin, lemon juice, Champagne, and sugar was said to have a kick like a French 75mm field gun and the name stuck.

There are many recipes around which try and give this classic cocktail an Italian twist.  One adds limoncello instead of the lemon juice; another muddles the gin with basil, before using grapefruit juice and bitters.  One recipe substitutes grappa for gin.

But I think this recipe via Feast best preserves the gin/fruit/fizz intent of the original.  It uses the freshly squeezed, slightly bitter, juice from a blood orange, a fruit native to Italy and the primary orange grown in the country.  And of course Prosecco instead of Champagne.

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Italian Cocktail of the Week: Orange Blossom Special

The weather here in Naples has at last taken a turn for the better.  The temperature is up, the shorts and summer dresses are out and the sprinklers are on in the evening.  Time for a cocktail which you can find all over Italy.

What better way to celebrate the arrival of Summer than to mix and serve this classic Aperol Spritz.  It’s a feel-good, relaxed and refreshing drink, low in alcohol and high in style, which comes with a slight, but not overpowering, bitter taste.  Its orangey-rhubarby hue makes it unmistakeable in the bar or on the beach.  And it comes in a cool bottle too.

The recipe is simple:

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