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Zesting Into Summer

My favourite time of the year is finally here!! Don't get me wrong, I love being cosy and having hygge but nothing, absolutely nothing beats the summer. Long days, plenty of sunshine, whiling away free evenings in the garden/park with friends. The Mr. calls me a "sun worshipper" because at the first sight of sun, I am in it. Whether it's at home or on holiday, I just love the sunshine.

People are happier when the sun shines. Obviously (in Britain) there are people who will complain incessantly: "It's too cold, when will summer come?" And then in the summer: "Uff it's too hot, I wish it would cool down". PICK A SEASON PEOPLE!!! You can't complain in both the summer and the winter.I choose to complain in the winter. Really short days and what seem to be interminable nights. I mean, no. Who wants to live in the dark? I love being in the North in the summer - it's still hot and the nights are weirdly much longer. Where's the best place for a summer day in the UK? Edinburgh.

Apart from being beautiful, Edinburgh is so far north that it won't get dark until about half ten in the evening and it really does get hot as well. I do miss Edinburgh sometimes. But York is stunning. If you've ever walked along the city walls of York from the South side of the city towards town, you get an unbelievably stunning view of the Minster that is just incomparable. If you've never been to York, get here. It's gorgeous!

The only time I've ever made lemonade is in the summer. I have tried a variety of recipes and all of them have been... nice. I've never made a bad lemonade. But I've never made a great lemonade. Until I decided I wanted to mint it up and really experiment with getting the right strength of lemon and sugar. I know some people are puritanical about their lemonade and won't add any sort of flavouring. But I think lemonade isn't right without mint. It is a very Arab thing and very popular in shisha cafes around the world. And for a very good reason.

Mint lemonade

  • Zest and juice of 10 lemons

  • 400g caster sugar

  • 1.25L water

  • 4 hefty sprigs of mint

Put the zest, lemon juice, water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring every so often.

Take the pot off the heat, add the mint and put the lid on the pot. Let the lemonade cool right down to room temperature. Strain it into your serving bottle/vessel of choice and chill it in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Try a little bit first. I love this because it's nice and strong but I know some people might find it too strong. Dilute it gently with water until you have your ideal flavour. OR, fill a glass with ice and pour in the chilled lemonade. The ice will melt and it's so nice and refreshing. It's how I like to drink it.


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