Preserves – a little quote from Lawrence Durrell

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If you love making preserves as much as I do then this little titbit from Lawrence Durrell in Prospero’s Cell will ring a chord with you….

“Now that the robola is safely on the way, the Count can turn his attention to the kitchens with their gleaming copper ware and dungeon-like ovens. Here he busies himself with Caroline and Mrs Zarian in the manufacture of mustalevria – that delicious Ionian sweet or jelly which is made by boiling fresh must to half its bulk with semolina and a little spice. The paste is left to cool on plates and stuck with almonds: and the whole either eaten fresh or cut up in slices and put away in the great store cupboard.

‘Sykopita, Zarian’s favourite fig cake, will come later when the autumn figs are literally bursting open with their own ripeness. But for the time being there are conserves of all kinds to be made – orange-flower preserve and Morella syrup. While the Count produces for the table a very highly spiced quince cheese, black and sticky, but very good.” 

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