Is it too late to wish you all a Happy New Year?!
In any case, let us kick aside the tumbleweeds that have inhabited this space and make something nice and simple to ease us into 2014.
The first time I made lavender lemonade was for the Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic. I was feeling rushed and disorganised, not to mention a little under pressure to make something decent to contribute to a mass of food bloggers!
Out of sheer desperation and the fact that I had a big ‘ol bag of lemons from the tree where my parents live(that fruits all year round), lemonade made sense. I used dried, food-grade lavender in this batch, as well as a fistful of mint from out the back, and topped it up with soda water.
The second time I made this was on a 36C day when I was staying with my parents in Orange over Christmas. It was a dry, stinking-hot day, one where you probably should stay inside for the better part of the day. The sound of the cicadas was deafening and all was dry and still. The tree was still dependently full of lemons, the grass was brown and crunchy underfoot and there were masses and masses of lavender with bees lazily buzzing from flower to flower. I looked out the window at the bright, yellow balls hanging listlessly on the tree, and I decided that the only way to get through that (“Scorchio!”) day, I needed to make that lemonade again.
There wasn't mint in this batch – and I didn't need it with the fresh lavender, as it had a greener flavour than the dried flowers.
This is the first time since the last time I posted that I have opened up my laptop, I just needed a giant break from it. It was an epic 2013 for me (in so many ways) and I just needed some time to switch off and hang out with my friends and family.
I didn’t stop cooking though!
I revisited old favourites from this blog for various events over the holidays. For instance: this gateau au chocolate fondant de Nathalie was my dessert contribution on Christmas Day. This time, it was draped with rum soaked muscatel grapes instead. It is such an easy cake to make and it always gets compliments.
These salmon rillettes continue to be one of my favourite party foods and I made them on three separate occasions over the last two months. This on a piece of crusty baguette with a glass of sparkling = happiness.
Lastly, these peaches had a work out – but, instead of using mascarpone, I used gorgonzola. Now I will probably use gorgonzola every-time I grill peaches from here on out. I also used this beautiful, wild honeycomb on top - perfection.
So here’s to buzzing bees, lavender and year-round lemons. Here’s to the discovery that you can make an excellent French 75 with this as well….
Happy 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
About 8 fresh, organic lavender flowers – rinsed / or 1 tablespoon of dried, food-grade lavender.
1 cup castor sugar
2 cups of boiling water to make the lavender syrup.
1 ½ cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Water or Soda Water to dilute to taste.
In a bowl, gently rub the lavender flowers through the sugar using your finger tips to combine.
Pour the boiling water over the suger, stir and set aside to dissolve for a minimum time of 30 minutes or better yet, overnight.
Strain the syrup and pour into a jug or bottle – depending on when you want to drink it.
Stir through the lemon juice and top up with soda water or water along with a good handful of ice. I recommend 1 part lemonade to 3 parts water or soda water.
Fresh herbs like Mint or Rosemary