Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Breeze

As I write this post, it almost seems as though the skies are falling over my corner of the world. Rain, rain and more rain. Nothing but rain. The type of rain that leaves you little chance if you're unlucky enough to head out of the house without an umbrella. And it's not much warmer than a brisk 15C. 
Is this really summer? Please indulge me as I complain about the weather. It's a Dutch thing, you see. On days like today we complain about not having a summer and on days when it actually gets past 25C, (and those days are unusual little blessings) we complain that it's so darn hot. 
Just the other day, I was reminded of the summers of my childhood. Months of warm weather, sun  and rain the exception, not the rule. The days that always included a run through the water sprinklers, the sound of the ice cream truck after dinner and catching fireflies in the balmy evening air. Summer vacation was endless  and summer vacation was warm.
Craving some sunshine, I created a little something the other day that I would really love to share with you. It's a refreshingly fruity syrup which can be used to make all kinds of fun summer drinks. To me, it really tastes like the sunshine. Must be the tangy tickle you feel on your tongue when you take a sip! It couldn't be easier to make either! Slice some citrus fruit and a rhubarb stalk, add some sugar and a touch of Orangina (you read correctly) and boil away until it reduces. Then strain, cool and add to bubbly water, white wine or even champagne. I've named it 'Summer Breeze'.
If only I could come up with  such an easy recipe to magically create a real summer breeze...

Summer Breeze
For about 100ml syrup
1 unwaxed organic lemon, thinly sliced
1 unwaxed, organic orange, thinly sliced
1 rhubarb stalk, chopped
120g raw cane sugar
150ml Orangina

Put all of the ingredients in a pan, stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a light simmer, put the lid on the pan and cook for 30 minutes. Take the lid off of the pan, give everything a good stir, increase the heat and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes until you achieve a syrupy consistency. Allow to cool completely and strain, pushing with a wooden spoon against your colander to get out every last drop of juice from the fruit. Refrigerate. Keeps for at least a week. If adding to sparkling water, drop a mint leaf in the glass for an extra 'uplifting' taste.
'Capturing' the Summer Breeze. In a moment of actual sunshine.

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