Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

There are few things that I go to the trouble of doing just for myself.

Generally, if I’m not doing it for someone else as well, then it’ll get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list and eventually, probably just fall off. This is most certainly NOT the case for this syrup. Matt is not a fan of bold, sour, spicy flavors and the combo of ginger and lemon might be one of his all time least favorite things, however, I could drink it by the gallon!

I stumbled across it mostly by accident after making limoncello for gifts over the holidays. I had around 20 peeled lemons and no ideas what to do with them. I also had a chunk of fresh ginger that I needed to use up as my ginger cookies were just never going to get made. I juiced the lemons, threw the ginger in the food processor and then dumped it into a pan with some scoops of sugar and boiled it up for about an hour. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it but I strained it into a bottle and popped it into the fridge. That night I tipped a bit into a mug with some hot water and rum and instantly, heaven. Matt snarled and wrinkled his nose in disgust. More for me! It’s fantastic for creating cocktails, just having with some hot water in the evening, or on ice cream…I could go on and on. I polished off that bottle within a fortnight and have been on the fence about making another batch ever since. Today, I couldn’t take it any more and made it official by writing down the recipe!

Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup.

7 lemons (this works out as about 2 cups of juice)

1 chunk of fresh ginger (3 tbsp chopped)

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

The best way to chop the ginger is to just throw the chunk into a food processor. You don’t have to worry about taking the skin off as you’ll be straining the ginger out later anyway.

Put all ingredients into a large pan and heat over high heat until it boils. Lower the heat slightly and let it bubble for 10 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick.  Turn the heat off and cover. Let the syrup sit for around an hour. This step isn’t essential but it really gets the most out of the ginger and that’s a huge bonus for me.

Uncover and return to the heat. Boil until bubbling happily and then continue to boil for 20 minutes while stirring to prevent sticking. You’ll want to do a taste test at this point (remember to let it cool on the spoon before putting it in your mouth! this stuff is HOT!). You might want to add a touch more sugar, depending on taste. When you’re happy with the flavor, turn off the heat and let it cool. It should be thickening slowly as it cools, ending up at a nice pouring consistency. The longer you boil, the thicker it’ll end up.

Strain the syrup into a large measuring jug and then, with a funnel, pour the mixture into a bottle that you can seal up and keep (or gift. Reluctantly). After it has completely cooled, it’s best to keep it in the refrigerator. I mostly add it to soda water for a refreshing “ginger ale” or to hot water for a yummy, warming drink.

Enjoy!

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Nature’s Candy Bars

March 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

Matt and I are both attempting to up our levels of healthy for the summer. We do OK as is, I suppose, both mainly vegetarians who eat fish and I cook pretty much every meal. We’re organic conscious and try to keep up a varied diet. But there are always naughty things that sneak in and all we’re trying to do is replace bad naughty with good naughty…as there’s not a whole lot of point to a life with no naughty at all! So this morning I baked up some snacks too keep around for healthy munching. They’re a made up version of what could best be described as Granola Bars.

Here’s what I had in the cupboards:

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup Irish Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 of a stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of mixed dried fruit (I used prunes, apple, apricots, pears, cranberries and raisins, all chopped up)

What to do:

  1. I spread out all the oats, oatmeal, nuts, seeds and flour on a tray and baked them at 350 F for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Whilst this is toasting nicely, combine the honey, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, salt and butter in a pan and heat gently until it makes a big, runny, goopy mess. Delish.
  3. When the oats are done, remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the oats into the syrup (TIP: I found the best way to do this was to put a piece of foil down under the oat mixture, then I was able to fold it and pour the oats out without tipping them all over my stove top).
  4. Stir in the chopped, dried fruit and quickly smoosh into a greased brownie pan.
  5. Squoosh it down really well and then pop it back in the oven at 300 for about 30 minutes.
  6. When it’s done, let it cool almost completely in the pan, tipping it out just before it’s totally cold. You might just need to leave it sat upside down on a chopping board for a minute or two, but it should slide out nicely. Then chop it up into bars, you can choose the size depending on how large of a snack you like to nibble on.
  7. Relax. Enjoy!

My Grandad would probably refer to these as bird food. In that case, I’m a very happy little bird. With some yummy granola bars in my tummy.

bird food

bird food

Holgaraphy and wedding anniversaries…

March 14, 2008 § Leave a comment

On February something-or-other, Matt and I passed the 2 year mark!

As a romantic, technology gift (my favorite), Matt bought us a scanner, a pretty snazzy one at that! An Epson Perfection V500 Photo. Very nice.

Epson Perfection V500 Photo

What it means is that I will be able to take more holga shots and actually scan the negatives! Which is darn exciting for me. I went ahead and pulled out an old film I had shot and only developed to negative and taDA, some pretty pictures!

snowscapes

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It will also let me scan sketches from my book a lot easier! Super exciting!

The other anniversary gift I received was from my Gran. I actually happened to be at her house in Wolverhampton, England on the day and was treated to a candle in my breakfast grapefruit and this gorgeous, old family book. I am totally in love with it! Especially the sections on Cake in Emergencies! and Entertaining Without a Maid!

Gosh.

cookbook005.jpg

Cookery illustrated and household management

cookbook007.jpg

Expect me to quote from this book more than I should. Heh.

Bread, bread and a bit more bread.

February 6, 2008 § Leave a comment

The results for the Hungarian Cheese Bread were mixed. It apparently had similarities to the original product but wasn’t spot on. It was however, disgustingly delicious, considering just how much cheese and butter went into it. Urgh. It honestly made me consider upping my vegetarian-who-eats-sushi grade to vegan-who-eats-sushi (because, let’s face it, I’m not giving up sushi). Anyway, I will be trying again, but I’m going to wait a little while and let my thighs work off this loaf.

Hungarian Cheese Bread - take one

I did also make some more rolls however. This time I made the decision  stick entirely to the KitchenAid recipe, which I regret. Far, far too salty. I’ll be sure to cut that out next time. But still, making bread and having it actually rise and puff and golden, is beyond satisfying!

Rolls!

Rolls!

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