The Roundabout of Death has sprouted flowers. This seems like a juxtaposition – something that symbolises doom and demise has born new life. These little white, yellow and purple fronds flutter in the constant breeze from the cars’ slipstream, their sweet scent completely overpowered by petrol fumes. Oh to lie amid you flowers, to playfully roll around among you like a perfume advert, or to carry over a picnic blanket and eat quiche and finger sandwiches. If you weren’t growing on a roundabout I so would. So please stop winking coyly at me already.
Out of the bad can come the good. In winter this roundabout on which we live is hell on earth, clogged with cars, bleak from cold rain and dark by 4pm. Now, I eat my breakfast on the balcony while reading a book. The sun is warm, the flowers dance and I barely notice the traffic as I eat my favourite meal of the day.
Today is a sleepy Saturday. A productive morning raiding the shops for summer clothes (I’m still wearing tops from sixth form) has resulted in an apathetic afternoon; a lazy sandwich lunch on the balcony – soft white baps stuffed with ham and cheese gently melted under the grill before filled with fresh gem lettuce, chunks of beetroot, cucumber and homemade sweet chilli sauce. Dinner is a pick ‘n mix affair; sometimes I just crave a bit of this, a bit of that, all wrapped up snuggly in a tortilla blanket. Bowls are lined up correctly on the table – some crunchy lettuce leaves, julienned carrot sticks drizzled in olive oil, lemon and minced garlic, yoghurt stirred through with chopped parsley and cucumber, and sweet roasted pepper salsa with diced red onion and chilli. These fresh, crunchy sides are stuffed into wraps along with juicy lamb koftas and rolled up to munch methodically.
The sun still shines through the French windows. Bank holiday weekend. It’s the excuse for lemonade. My mum has a cookbook from her school days called ‘Learning to Cook’. It’s food-stained and tattered, marked with her pencilled annotations. It’s the book I turn to for the basic roux sauce recipe, or the simple, sweet lemonade. With only three ingredients it is the easiest way to use up your lemons and relax in a sleepy stupor, ice clinking in your glass, on a sunny Saturday.
As this only requires lemons, sugar and water, there shouldn’t be many hiccups. However, as I am quite lazy, I used the only sugar in the flat – soft brown. This still worked perfectly, although the lemonade was much more yellow than usual, perfect to mix with iced tea.
- Boil the kettle and peel half the lemon. Put the peelings of zest in a jug with the sugar. Pour over 150ml of boiling water and leave the zest to steep the water until cold.
- Once chilled top the lemonade with the remaining 250ml cold water and the juice of the lemon.
- Serve with lots of ice and maybe a splash of elderflower or lime cordial.