Summer has arrived this week. Please don't check your calendars, just go by my word. Hayfever, sunscreen, over-warm public transportation. But also long days, pea shoots springing up in the garden, and hours spent sitting in parks with Baby A&N and the other local mummies and babies. It's intoxicating (or that may be the hayfever medication), and I'm beyond happy that I'm still on maternity leave rather than sitting in an office chair, projecting my disembodied spirit outside the window and sending it frollicking barefoot through greenery.
And now summer has gone. The past two days have been cold - heating intermittently on, hat on the baby, a few extra minutes standing in the shower to take up the warmth of the water. And grey grey grey. The summer fruits and flavors that have started to come out at the market don't seem to fit with the steely-skied gloom outside. But I am thankful for the embarrassment of sweet and juicy things that are suddenly on offer and which I am buying up by the bag-full and eating with closed eyes, hoping the skies will brighten by the time I'm finished.
I have trouble each year with deciding which is my favorite summer fruit - peaches! cherries! strawberries! watermelon! - and always risk filling myself to the point of sickness in the attempt to find the winner. Healthier than gourging yourself on chocolate, but still an act that can result in a something of a sweetness bellyache. An antidote, then, is a summery sweet thing that doesn't send you into hyperglycemic shock: a lemon sorbet.
Refreshing in both a cooling and tongue-invigorating way, I made this sorbet with a bit of basil thrown in for extra interest and a different dimension to the sweetness. A good twist to a classic, keep it in the freezer for those hot summer days. Or those days when summer disappears and you need a reminder of how the season ought to be enjoyed. C'mon back, summer. Whatever it was that we did to upset you, we're terribly, terribly sorry.
Lemon and Basil Sorbet
makes 1 and a bit liters / 4 1/2 cups
- 750ml water
- 500g caster sugar
- 300ml lemon juice (8 or so lemons)
- zest 1 lemon
- good handful of basil
- Gently heat the water over a medium heat, adding the sugar and stirring until dissolved.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the lemon juice and zest. Taste for tartness and add a bit more sugar/lemon juice if desired.
- Cool completely.
- Finely chop the basil then add to the cool mixture.
- Add to an ice cream maker and churn for about 20-30 minutes or until smooth.