Recipe: Lavender syrup and lavender lemon granita
This uses the same principles as making mint syrup to create a delicate golden-pink coloured syrup with a very aromatic floral taste.
It's great for adding to cakes or biscuits, as a cordial if you have a sweet tooth ("a trillion thumbs up!" from the 7 year old- the adults thought it was a bit revolting...) or for making a really subtle and delicious palate-cleansing granita.
To make the syrup
10-15 heads of lavender
1 big cup sugar (about 300g)
You will also need
A saucepan with a lid
A sieve or clean cloth to strain out the lavender
A sterile jar/jars (you will need a bit over 500ml storage for the syrup)
A cup and measuring jug, for measuring
A wooden spoon or heatproof spatula
Put the water and sugar into the saucepan
Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil.
Switch the heat off and add the lavender heads (without the stalks- pull them off)
Put the lid on the saucepan and leave overnight to infuse.
Strain the syrup through the sieve or cloth into the measuring jug.
Rinse the bits out of the saucepan
Pour the syrup back into the saucepan and bring to the boil.
Put into ready-sterilised jars and seal
The syrup should keep for a number of months in a cool dark place.
If the syrup smells funny when you open a jar, or if the jar releases pressure when you open it (if the seal safety button is up on a normal jam jar) then something has gone wrong with sterilising and sealing. DO NOT use syrup that has not sealed properly!
To make the lavender-lemon granita
250ml lavender syrup
Buds/flowers from 5 or so lavender heads (optional)
Juice and zest of one lemon (zest optional)
You will also need
A tray to put in the freezer (metal works best but any will do)
A measuring jug
A sharp knife and chopping board
A vegetable peeler or zester (optional)
A freezer tub with a lid (any old plastic tub) if you want to store the granita rather than eating it straight away.
Pour the lavender syrup into the freezer tray
Add the juice of one lemon
Add 500ml water, stir and taste- add more water if it tastes too strong (remember that freezing makes things taste a bit less strong anyway)
Once you are happy with the flavour, add lavender flowers and finely-chopped lemon zest if you wish (there is debate here about whether having bits in sorbets and granitas is a good idea or not- I like to have the bits!)
Put the tray in the freezer
Break up the forming ice with the fork every 30 minutes or so.
In a couple of hours, your granita will be ready to eat!
This is a really lovely hot-day cooling treat or a delicious palate cleanser after a strong-flavoured meal.