Although experimenting in the kitchen with new and unexpected ingredients, fancy utensils and crazy flavors is one of my greatest joys, I also fully rejoice in home cooking, using shortcuts and coming up with ways of using up what I have lying around.
Syrups are a great thing to have on hand for fast flavor boosts (read : cocktails) but I am not much of a sweets person and the store-bought ones don't work for me. Enter, the home-made syrups ! It really can't get easier than this : water, a sweetener and a flavor agent.
I improvised three variations with what I had lying around : Pepper/Ginger, Rose/Cardamom and Blackberry/Sage. As per usual, use these as inspiration but try to move away from the recipes and to look at what you have and like : maybe rosemary works better for you than sage ? Maybe you hate rose but love lavender ? This is extremely forgiving, so play around with it.
The resulting syrups can be used in crêpe batter, cake batter, cocktails, or simply mixed with fizzy water for ginger beer for example, used in vinaigrette or ice cream bases, chia puddings, oatmeals..
Have fun !
500mL of water
100g of honey / agave / maple
Pepper variation :
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- a thumb of fresh chopped ginger
Sage and Blackberry variation :
- 10 leaves of fresh sage chopped
- a handful frozen blackberries
Rose and Cardamom variation :
- 2 tbsp rose water OR a handful of dry rosebuds
- 1 tbsp cardamom pods crushed (in a mortar or with a knife)
Simply place the base ingredients in a saucepan along with the ingredients for the variation you chose. Bring to the boil, then lower down to a simmer. If a white foam forms on the surface simply take it out with a spoon and discard it.
After around 20 minutes taste to see if the flavor works for you or if you want to leave it a little longer. Strain, discard the solids and pour the liquid into bottles. Leave to cool before keeping in the fridge.