Infused Syrup Pots
I have an admission to make; I am woefully unprepared for this year’s festive season. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason for my apparent disinterest but there it is. I’ve no care for it at all. Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed all the magical anticipation and gluttonous revelry before but this year I feel accosted by the extravagance and excess of it. It’s crept silently upon me and instead of confronting my unpreparedness I’ve shied away; blissfully ignorant of times expiration. Perhaps it’s a result of my recent pace or because I find myself in a transitionary stage of life; maybe I’m just tired. From wherever its root though we’ve not a decoration in sight, nor any gifts to speak of - oddly enough it feels liberating though in equal measure there is a building sense of regret.
If you happen to find yourself camping on similar ground, take comfort in solidarity. I’m calling it. Christmas has become far from fun or festive. Most especially when you find yourself upon its eve and empty handed. I think the pressure is a product of our own making though; certainly it is for me. I assume expectations must be up kept; to appropriately gift my love, to impress with feast and favour, to be presentable and gracious. If I were to offer an honest thought though; it all stems from external influence, from what I and likely others have built up in our minds as to what festivities should mean.
I am loathed to play the grinch however and regardless of the commercial fanfare that surrounds the season I do believe it a time for gratitude and kinship. It’s for silly aunts and wily grandfathers, for sneaking hands and paper hats; for indulgence and occasionally for the sufferance of families. It’s perfectly imperfect - made to celebrate all our loves. Perhaps my disregard is subconsciously intentional, a need rather than a neglect - a subtle nudge towards more important thoughts. Space for less perfection and more reliance on communion.
For those of us flailing amongst the festive tide then, these are a simple gesture to accompany your imperfections, A small favour in jest of good spirits. They’re little pots of infused syrup made effortlessly with whatever you have on hand. They’re my eleventh-hour gift idea - inspired by similar renditions from Sarah Britton of My New Roots. I adore how beautiful they seem, like a little well of gold tinted by soft flavours. Best of all they demand almost no trouble and are always marvelled upon by their recipient. I’ve noted three of my favourite combinations below, though don’t be shy of your own liberation - they just as readily lend themselves to any number of compilation.
Tropical Infused Syrup Pot
220ml of raw honey
1 dried mango, sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves
Half a vanilla bean (I split mine lengthwise)
1 tbsp of pink peppercorns
Simply combine the mango, kaffir lime leaves, vanilla bean and pink peppercorns in a small pot and pour over the honey. Seal the pot and store it in the refrigerator.
Floral Infused Syrup Pot
220ml of raw honey
1 tbsp of dried lavender
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp of dried blueberries
1/4 of the rind of a lemon
Simple combine the lavender, thyme, blueberries and lemon rind in a small pot and pour over the honey. Seal the pot and store it in the refrigerator.
Chilli Chocolate Infused Syrup Pot
220ml of maple syrup
12 raw almonds
1 dried chilli
1 tbsp of cacao nibs
Simply combine the almonds, chilli and cacao nibs in a small pot and pour over the maple syrup. Seal the pot and store it in the refrigerator.
Seasonal guide / temperate climate
Lemons, annually though the best are from mid summer through late autumn.
If you’re wondering after the definition of raw honey, it’s technically quite vague. In essence it means not heated past pasteurisation - a process that destroys microorganisms with heat. In honey though given its low moisture content and high acidity, bacteria and other harmful organisms cannot live or reproduce, so pasteurisation is not done for that purpose. It is mostly undertaken so that the honey is more visually appealing and will last longer in its liquid state. Honey at its natural temperature is stable and alive – or rather the enzymes in honey that give it the nutritional and beneficial qualities are alive. Pasteurisation destroys these and although still sweet means that the honey is chemically more like a processed sweetener.
Other combinations to explore; macadamia, wattle seed, cacao nibs and cinnamon.
Pistachios, apricot, star anise and orange peel.
Almonds, thyme, black pepper and dried strawberry.
Hazelnuts, dried fig, rosemary and vanilla.
Walnuts, dried apple, rose and vanilla.
Other ingredients to experiment with; cardamom, dried peach, pear or pineapple, coffee beans, coconut flakes, saffron, cloves, fennel seed and white pepper.