Sugar cane is generally thought to have originated to our immediate north, in New Guinea. There are hundreds of wild varieties of sugar cane growing there but this bamboo-like grass is now cultivated throughout many of the world's tropical and sub-tropical regions.
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- 500g white sugar
- 500ml water
- 5-6 medium-sized lemons
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved.
Wash the lemons well and trim about half a centimetre from both ends of each. Cut the lemons into thin slices and remove any seeds. Lay the lemon slices in a baking pan in rows, each slightly overlapping the next. Add the sugar syrup gently over the lemon slices so they are covered. Place a piece of baking paper, randomly pricked all over with a sharp knife to allow moisture to escape, on top of the lemon and cover the baking pan with foil.
Bake in the oven for about 50-60 minutes until the lemon slices are translucent. Remove the foil and continue baking for a further 30-40 minutes until the sugar is syrupy. Remove from the oven and cool before using.
It will keep refrigerated in its syrup for weeks. Use the lemon slices for custard tarts, decorations for cakes or any citrus dessert.