Annunziata, Carlo’s mother, always kept the dregs from her coffee pot, sweetened them with sugar and poured them into a bottle in the refrigerator to serve later as iced coffee with lots of ice cubes.

In the summer, once she had refrigeration, she would put this into a tray in the freezer and, using a fork to break it up while it froze, make delicious granita di caffe. She made granita di limone the same way.

She never owned a refrigerator or freezer until she was well over 60 years old. She always maintained that it was a dangerous invention. Instead of shopping every day for food and sharing with everyone what they had, she observed that people started to shop less often, buy too much and start to hoard food in the refrigerator and the freezer.

The consequence of this was that the modern curse of food waste became the norm.

Granita di caffe

Coffee granita


900g strong espresso coffee

250g sugar


Dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee in a small saucepan.

Allow to cool.

Transfer to a shallow dish and put into the freezer.

As it starts to freeze, remove the dish from the freezer every ten minutes or so and with a fork, whisk it to break up the ice and make crystals.

Continue every ten minutes for an hour or so until the granita is ready.

Keep frozen, and break it up a little before serving.

Best used within 2-3 days to keep the flavour fresh.

Annunziata’s home-made lemonade

Carlo’s mother would be shocked at the money we spend on canned sugar drinks. She always had a jug of home-made lemonade in the fridge. Cost price? A lemon and a spoonful of sugar !


3 glasses of water

1 glass of juice of unwaxed lemon with zest

½ glass granulated sugar (made into a syrup with same quantity of water. )

Fresh mint or basil


Make a sugar syrup by combining the sugar and equal quantities water in a saucepan.

Bring to a slow simmer and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Simmer for 5 minutes or so until the mix is syrup-like.

Leave to cool.

To make homemade lemonade combine the water, lemon juice and zest with the cooled sugar syrup. (Warm the lemon in your hands before squeezing to extract the maximum juice. )

Adjust to taste but it should be refreshingly tart.

Serve well chilled with lots of ice cubes and sprigs of fresh mint or basil.