In June we welcomed Shannon, Niamh and Alison to Tre Cancelle. This was not to be their first visit, especially for Shannon and Niamh who have stayed with us many many times now, in fact we are practically like family. The three girls had just completed their exams, Shannon and Alison had just taken their finals at university and Naimh her ‘A’ Levels. They now had some well deserved time off and we hoping to relax a little and unwind from the stresses and strains of the last new months. Shannon and Niamh, who are sisters, were to stay for a month with us, and Alison for 2 weeks. They very kindly volunteered to help with a few jobs around Tre Cancelle during their time with us.
The grass and weeds in the olive groves had grown almost waist high, and if left like this would become a definite fire risk during the hot and dry summer months. Since his heart problems Paul does not have the energy to strim all the grounds, so Pietro had recently brought back some of his horses to graze under the olive trees and at the same time do a little natural fertilization !!! This time there were 6 mares, and old Pino came back just for a few days. Alison is a lover of horses so she was in her element.
The girls’ visit coincided with Kay and Elsie being here for a few days. Last year Kay and Elsie drove to Tre Cancelle from South Wales.
Here is Kay relaxing in the pool.
We were all invited to have lunch with our American friends, Pat and Melinda, at their apartment in the characteristic Medieval town of Minturno. Their property has a beautiful sun terrace with a magnificent panorama of the Campania coastline and plains.
The following day Shannon and Alison were on tenterhooks as the results of their final exams were due to be published imminently. Suddenly we heard high pitched screaming and screeching !!! The girls were elated !!! Both Shannon and Alison had obtained first class honour degrees.
We decided to celebrate with a bottle of bubbly to congratulate them both on their wonderful achievements.
Shannon and Alison’s visit also coincided with the arrival of our grandson Aneurin, his Mum Emma and another of our good friends, Michäel.
We all decided to celebrate being together by going for a meal at one of our favourite restaurants in Campodimele. Pat and Melinda have nicknamed it as the “Gas Station”. They decided to tag along with us too. I have written about the “Casareccia” restaurant before, Maria’s food there is simply divine !!!
Alison, Shannon and Niamh were inspired to do some cooking of their own. Our amareno cherry trees had a bountiful crop this year. The girls and Aneurin helped to de-stone them.
Some were to be used to make jam. Some were bagged ready to go into the freezer and some were set aside to make a bottle or two of cherry liqueur (see more about making liqueurs below).
This was the girls’ first attempt at jam making.
They also had a go at making some lemon marmalade.
They baked a cake or two …..
….. and then tried their hand at making scones to go with the jam.
The scones came out of the oven more like biscuits. Shannon named them the “Scones of Death” !!! Paul still devoured them anyway and lived to tell the tale !!!
Now moving on to Making Liqueurs.
Melinda was keen to have a try at making some home-made liqueurs, and she started using some of our amarena cherries, and some white mulberries that had been gifted to us by Frank. I had never seen white mulberries before. Shannon was more than happy to assist Melinda.
The cherries were washed and then dropped one by one into a large wine bottle. When each of the bottles were approximately two thirds full neat alcohol was added until it covered all the fruit. The fruit in the alcohol then has to be left to steep for between 30 or 40 days. Ideally you need to shake the bottles from time to time.
After this period the mixture must then be strained and filtered to remove the fruit from the liquor. Next between 300 and 500 grams of sugar is slowly dissolved in a pan containing a litre of warm water to make a clear syrup, Then this must be left to cool thoroughly. The infused alcohol is then diluted with the sugar syrup using about the same amount of syrup to alcohol, however some people may elect to add a little less if they want the liqueur to pack a real punch.
Melinda and Shannon carried out the same procedure with the mulberries.
Next – Walnut Liqueur
This liqueur is traditionally made on the feast day of St John the Baptist which falls on the 24th June. So we took 24 green immature walnuts from our tree. These then needed to be cut into quarters and placed into a larger bottle with a wider neck, such a demi-john or kilner jar. A cinnamon stick, a vanilia pod and 5 cloves were then added and enough alcohol to cover the fruit, and were then set aside to steep as above.
Next – Cedrino Liqueur
In our garden with have a cedrino or lemon verbena bush, the leaves when crushed between one’s fingers give off a wonderful lemon aroma. We gathered 120 cedrino leaves and dropped them into a large wine bottle.
We then added the rinds of 4 lemons and topped the bottle up with a litre of alcohol and left it to steep.
Let’s wait and see how all the liqueurs come out !!!
Melinda can’t wait !!!
photos except where indicated are © me, Louise Shapcott, Shannon White and Melinda Abbott
Last year Last year Kay and Elsie drove to Tre Cancelle from South Wales:
A previous post about the Casareccia Restaurant: