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one more time

Recipe: lemon sorbet

The lovely and wonderful Meeta and Jeanne have coordinated and are hosting Meeta’s Monthly Mingle: A Taste of Yellow in honor of our friend, Barbara, who passed away at the end of June. Barbara used to host A Taste of Yellow to raise cancer awareness, and that is how I first met her on the internet. I had decided to contribute a post to her event in 2008. I was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer at the time.

the end of the day

I never had the pleasure – the honor – of meeting Barbara in person. But despite being on opposite ends of this planet, we grew close and became good friends. We compared notes on our experiences with cancer: the treatments, the way people react to you (both good and bad), wonderful oncologists, supportive partners, hopes, fears, the pain, regaining the strength to walk, lingering side effects, being able to taste food again. More than that, we tapped out emails to one another on photography, food, travel, friends, family, blogging, bloggers, life. Life was the big one… making the most of it and being grateful for each day. We had both arrived at this directive independently. It cemented our friendship.

We occasionally talked of travel plans – for her to come to the States or more realistically, for me to visit Australia. The thing is, Barbara was always making plans and looking ahead. She didn’t let chemotherapy or radiation stop her. Sure, they slowed her down, but she was not one to wallow in self-pity. Barbara once wrote to me that she didn’t want anyone’s pity. Cancer was not a label she accepted. She was so much more than that. Barbara was a special, classy lady with a fierce fight in her. She ranks up there with my grandma in my Book of Ladies Who Kick Ass. Her words carried the heft of wisdom and experience, wrapped in kindness and love, sprinkled with her great humor and wit.

My favorite comment she left on my blog was from this past New Year’s Eve:
“Happy New Year Jen. I appreciate your friendship. Oh god I do sound formal don’t I. Love ya sweet cheeks. xoxo”

For all of the people who knew her and loved her – love her still – this post is dedicated to my dearest Barbara and A Taste of Yellow. The recipe I chose for my submission is lemon sorbet. It is a perfect treat for summer, the season that most reminds me of Barbara.

get some organic lemons

and a cup of sugar and a cup of water

Whoever came up with that saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” probably wasn’t much of a cook, because I think lemons are terrific. Lemons are bright, tart, almost floral. Pair that with sugar to bring out some of the complexity of the fruit. Instead of making lemonade, we’re going to make lemon sorbet. It’s nearly as easy and it is definitely a welcome relief from the heat.

make the simple syrup

zest a lemon

ready to juice

I basically follow similar steps to making lemonade: simple syrup and lemon juice. The difference is that I don’t dilute it with water, I freeze it. When you taste the lemon juice-simple syrup mixture, it will be wildly sweet and tart. That’s how it should be, because freezing diminishes the intensity. By the way, my simple syrup is brown because I use organic evaporated cane juice.

simple syrup, zest, lemon juice

mix it all together and chill

churned in the ice cream machine

I had planned to add a tablespoon of limoncello to the sorbet to keep it smooth, but it actually came out with a decent texture. Not silky smooth, but smooth enough for my liking. I served myself a scoop of the sorbet and walked out onto the deck to watch the sun drop behind the mountains. This one is for you, Barbara. Love you.


a taste of yellow

Lemon Sorbet
[print recipe]

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed (about 4-8 lemons depending on size)
zest of 1 lemon

Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir over high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let it come to a boil for a minute then remove from heat. Let the simple syrup cool. Stir the lemon juice and lemon zest into the simple syrup. Place the mixture in the refrigerator or on ice until completely chilled. Churn the mixture in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze the sorbet. Makes almost a quart.

21 nibbles at “one more time”

  1. Sally - My Custard Pie says:

    A touching insight into the character of an inspiring lady.

  2. Purabi Naha says:

    wow, is there anything more tempting and refreshing than this?! Perfect use of lemons!

  3. Mrs Ergül says:

    You are in that book of mine too :-) enjoy the rest of what summer has to offer, Jen xxoo

  4. Debs @ The Spanish Wok says:

    This is beautiful, albeit sad, story you have written. It reminds me of a similar friendship I have gained via the net too due to my recent cancer. I met Az via a food forum who was aware I had colon cancer and we have become friends for life!

    I just love lemon sorbet and I have trees in the garden gleaming with fresh lemons. I have pinned this to make real soon, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here for entry details and current theme offering a new theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This is lovely, and has always been a favorite of mine. Can’t wait to try to make it myself!

  6. Meeta says:

    “Ladies Who Kick Ass” yes that she really was! You cannot believe how happy I am to see you taking part in this one Jen. Thank you for sharing your story and bringing along the lemon sorbet! xox

  7. Sarah says:

    A sweet tribute to Barbara and although I met her only briefly through the internet I felt/feel the same way about her.

  8. Karen says:

    Hi, I found your blog whilst Googling a recipe – not this one but Spanish Omelette – and then I started looking further and found your Homemade Mexican Chorizo which made me drool. And so I looked further…

    I’ve been so enchanted by your words and photos so felt I had to post a comment to tell you how impressed I’ve been.

    But, even more impressive is the way your words about your friend Barbara on this page have touched my heart. I’ve experienced cancer myself and I’ve lost two friends AND my Mum to it, all within a few months of each other. Luckily, I too have a lovely and very supportive husband and also I’ve just had the five year all-clear so I like to think I’ve won. I do hope that you win your own battle against this terrible thing and I send you all good wishes and healing vibes.

    As Barbara was, I’m several thousands of miles from you but would be delighted to receive an email, if you should wish to write (no obligation). And I hope you don’t mind that I’d really like to visit your blog more, now that I’ve found it. Hope that doesn’t sound stalkerish!

    I’m looking forward to trying some of your gorgeous recipes. You could be responsible for a huge weight gain!!!!

    Take care now, and all the best, and thank you for adding something wonderful to my day.


  9. Kristin says:

    Love the “ladies who kick ass”! I’m sure this recipe does as well!

  10. Shut Up & Cook says:

    I can only begin to imagine how perfectly delicious this must be. Beautifully written too.

  11. Jill says:

    mmmm, lemon, my absolute favorite!
    Loved Barbaras blog.
    She is missed.

  12. whaleshark says:

    What a cracking recipe – loving the clean simplicity. Might just have to make this, regardless of the whatever the sun decides to do.

  13. Gio of The Hungry Giant says:

    My mom makes really good lemonade. She’s a breast cancer warrior and she will never let a disease define her. Thankfully she’s still with us, though we’re thousands of miles apart. I miss her lemonade more than ever after reading this. I’d like to believe you, Barbara and my mom are ladies who truly kick ass. On a personal level, you inspire me so much, Jen. :)

  14. Paz says:

    Oh! What a lovely taste of yellow! :-) I discovered your blog a few years ago because of Barbara and have enjoyed it ever since.

  15. Savannah says:

    This is beautiful- thanks for all the great recipes and helpful photos

  16. jenyu says:

    Sally – she was so very special.

    Purabi – thank you!

    Mrs. Ergül – xo

    Debs – I am sorry to hear of your cancer, but glad you are here with us. And I’m also totally jealous of your lemon tree!!

    Katrina – thanks!

    Meeta – Thank you so much for hosting, dearest Meeta xo

    Sarah – I think she made quite an impact on just about everyone xo

    Karen – thank you for your kind words. I hope we all remain in the clear :) xo

    Kristin – :)

    Shut Up & Cook – thanks.

    Jill – xo

    whaleshark – that sun is so fickle sometimes ;)

    Gio – you are so very sweet xoxo

    Paz – thank you!

    Savannah – you’re so welcome!

  17. Joy says:

    Thank you for sharing the recipe. It looks great.

  18. Ann says:

    Hey Jen, have you ever written about how you manage to stay so awesome despite hardship? You’ve seen your fair share of shitty stuff in this world but you remain so incredibly inspiring and positive. How do you pick yourself up when you’re down?

    Also… this post has made me crave a lemon popsicle!

  19. jenyu says:

    Ann – that’s incredibly nice of you to think I’m awesome :) But really, I just do my thing on my terms and I’m very lucky that I get that option. When I’m down I usually try to exercise and that makes me feel heaps better! Or I snuggle my pup or my guy. And that’s pretty much it. There are just too many wonderful things in the world to be down for too long xoxo

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