Recently we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the many wonderful uses of lavender in savoury dishes – yum yum yum! However after stopping by our local farm shop and picking up a punnet of the freshest, biggest and sweetest strawberries I think I’ve ever eaten (apparently the long period of cold weather this year has caused the strawberries to put in an almighty growth spurt resulting in the hugest, juiciest and sweetest strawberries for years – so there is at least one good thing about our recent weather!), I was left longing for some really lovely sweet treats.
There are loads of great sweet recipes that feature the wonderfully aromatic flavour of lavender; lavender shortbread, lavender scones and I’m just finalising a recipe for a lavender infused panna cotta (to die for!). But what if you want a quick and simple way to get the gorgeous flavour of lavender into numerous dishes, with an extremely high result to effort ratio? Well then, Lavender Syrup is the way forward.
Lavender Syrup, to be honest, couldn’t really be simpler to make, it can barely be called a recipe!; simply put equal quantities of white sugar (using golden sugar leaves it with a slightly odd yellow tinge!) and water into a pan with a few teaspoons of our lovely dried culinary lavender. Heat this very gently until the sugar dissolves and then let it bubble away until you have a lovely sticky syrup. You can then either strain the lavender out, if you want a clearer lump-free syrup, or leave it in which will result in a stronger taste and pretty little flecks of lavender in your syrup.
At this point your choices are endless! Here are a few of our favourite uses:
- Mix it with a little extra water or a sweet dessert wine and use it to poach peaches, then serve with vanilla ice cream and a little extra syrup drizzled over the top.
- Pour it over rhubarb, cover tightly with foil and bake until the rhubarb is soft and wonderfully perfumed.
- Drizzle lavender syrup over sweet pancakes layered with sliced strawberries and crème fraiche.
- Simply serve poured over a plain panna cotta or ice cream – this is especially nice if you leave the lavender in the syrup.
- Use it to sweeten whipped cream that is then sploged onto meringues – also nice with the lavender flowers left in.
- Put it into a sterilised jar or bottle, add a pretty ribbon and label and give it as a gift – a lovely and unusual addition to a Christmas Hamper, it should last a couple of weeks in the fridge.