Homemade Lemonade

Finally, finally warm spring weather has arrived. It’s come later this year and in fact at the beginning of the season, in March, snow brought the country to a standstill – and prevented me and my friend from getting to Wembley to see the Stereophonics which we were most upset about, but that’a a whole other story.

After the late start spring seemed to appear overnight with trees and flowers blossoming, grass looking greener and lusher thanks to the April showers, and birds singing merrily – take a look at the video I took of the dawn chorus on my Instagram page. The sun is now shining gloriously and it’s so wonderfully warm you could be forgiven for thinking we’ve skipped spring and moved straight into summertime.

Watching my partner’s little girl, Ella, who’s seven, play outside with her friends in the warm weather is a joy and takes me back to my own childhood and seemingly endless summer days playing on the grass, making daisy chains, riding my bike and playing with my sister and friends. Back then there were no mobile phones, no iPad games, no social media and in these different times there’s a greater significance in seeing children playing outside and it needs to be encouraged all the more.

I thought it would be lovely to make some fresh lemonade this weekend for us all to enjoy. It’s so easy and no trouble at all to make, and it brings real pleasure to see the kids sip it up thirstily and eagerly through straws.

This recipe features in my cookbook but if you don’t have it (why not?!) here it is for you to try. Do adjust the sugar and water quantities to your own taste, and try it with still and sparkling water to see which you prefer.

Makes approximately 1 ltr

4 large un-waxed lemons
200ml still water, boiling
80-100g caster sugar, depending on how large, and how tart, the lemons are
Approximately 600ml still or carbonated water

Peel the skin off lemons, leaving the white pith on them, and then juice them. Put the zest and juice into a measuring jug and pour over 200ml boiling water from a kettle. Add the sugar and stir well until it dissolves then leave it to cool. Once it’s cooled you can either use it straight away or leave the lemon zest in the liquid for longer for a stronger flavour.

To serve, pass the mixture through a sieve then dilute it with still or carbonated water. Check the taste and add more sugar or water if necessary. Serve chilled in a big jug with lots of ice and slices of lemon.

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