Monday, 4 March 2013

Daniela Loves Marco - by Nicole D

When it came time to celebrate/commiserate our close friend Daniela’s trip down the aisle/exit from singledom, Alissa, I and the the other maids set out to find a location of fine dining with water views. And so we decided on the Tilbury for a salute and then Otto’s (both at Wolloomooloo) for a “lazy, long lunch”.

It was time to also think decorating…and so we came up with the idea of making a party favour for all the ladies to take home (or drink in the car on the way home) in memory of Daniela’s special day.

So of course, what could we whip up in culinary style? Thoughts of chutney, mustards, sauces circulated our inbox until we decided on LIMONCELLO! Italian, sweet and bright – just like Daniela.

Alissa and I began our search of recipes, which included a visit to an old Italian family friend of mine who in the past years had generously delivered bottles of limoncello in old olive oil bottles to my family whenever she had made a batch. Unfortunately she has stopped making this delight as she no longer can obtain 100% alcohol from her local Italian pharmacist who used to give her a supply?!

Her recipe was simple: 
8-10 lemons (peeled)
1 litre of 100% alcohol
2 lemon leaves
1100mls of water
700-750 sugar

Peel the lemons, ensuring no pith remains insitu. Add the lemons to the alcohol with the 2 leaves. Place liquid in an air tight container and place in a dark room, shaking daily, for 4 weeks. Boil water, add sugar and dissolve. Cool, then add to the alcohol. Strain through a piece of muslin and you are done! Place in freezer and serve cold. Basically, all recipes are pretty similar so we decided to follow this old traditional recipe along with one from Sweet Paul magazine.

Our first step was to find the strongest alcohol we could find considering 100% is now no longer available. We did try! Alissa and I both, with our contacts with hospitals, but to no avail. But what we did find came pretty close.

We then began by zesting our lemons. 

And then placed the zest into the bottle of 95% alcohol. This proved not to be an easy job – the alcohol was so strong that it almost ate its way through the spout of the funnel and contributing to this, Alissa’s feistyness in her job of forcing the zest into the bottle – so much so that poor Pinocchio lost his nose during the process!
No 4 photo Technical- Methods

The mixture now was ready to sit and wait for us for 4 weeks. James, my husband, kindly offered to take on the turn of bottle turner which was done daily – I think this now gave him a real excuse to go to our liquor cabinet!

Next it was time to work on the sugar syrup and so we dissolved the sugar in the water and allowed it to cool, then pouring it into the mix of alcohol and zest. And left it to ferment for another 4 weeks.

Now to sterilising the bottles – first in the dishwasher, then in the oven at a low temperature until totally dry. It was then time to strain the liquid through a sieve and then through muslin and we were ready to pour into our bottles.

We ordered our cute little bottles and labels through Etsy  Despite having a delay with delivery (they arrived at 4.35pm on the Friday before the Sunday event), due to post issues over Christmas, we were thrilled with the end result. Alissa’s sister Arielle designed the labels.

After pouring we placed the sticky labels on the bottles, probably the most difficult part of the whole journey, and placed the little corks in the tops of the bottles!


All that was left to do was decorate the tables at the restaurant and we were ready for our lazy, long lunch... which it was!

NB. Limoncello is best stored in the freezer. Drink straight from there – icy cold!

- Nicole is guest blogging as Liss discovers first hand that even in the Antarctic it's hard to freeze alcohol

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