Saturday, January 5, 2013

Warm Your Bones: Spiced Ginger Syrup

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. – Chinese Proverb

375 ml of winter blues "cure"

What a day so far. First I couldn’t get a connection to the internet so I gave up trying to write my daily post at my usual time of 6:30 am. It's my first daily task and I love it.

Sadly I had another first daily task waiting for me. Snow shovelling. Not my favourite activity. Actually, I hate it.

Perhaps hate is too strong a word, but it’s close. Anyone who has to shovel their driveway every time the snow plough goes by knows exactly what I mean. It’s like trying to stop waves on a beach.

So what do you? Curse winter and the snow? Temporary pleasure, but it won’t have much effect. So I guess a person should light a candle, so to say.

This particular “candle” is something that you can put in your coffee or hot chocolate during a break from all that shovelling.

I made a few syrups for gifts over the Holidays. But they’re so simple to make you really have no excuse to not have at least one hanging around throughout the winter. They only take about 20 minutes.

This variation has loads of ginger, with some spiciness via one large whole chilli, a hint of liquorice from star anise, and some warming cardamom thrown in for good measure.

Ginger has a long list of medicinal benefits. Just a few are: antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-inflamatory, antiseptic, anti-fungal, analgesic, expectorant... This is just a partial list, remember.

It’s fantastic in coffee, and only takes a tablespoon to really impart the taste. The heat of the coffee (or hot chocolate) makes it aromatic too. 

Since this is a syrup you could also whip some into full fat cream for an interesting dessert topping. Or – if you must– this wold be a great flavouring for some winter season martinis!

So after that fifth outing shovelling, why not curl up in front of the fireplace with a pitcher of ginger martinis… I mean a hot cup of ginger coffee… and relax!

Spiced Ginger Syrup
Cook: 20 min  |  Yield: 375 ml
1-3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped fresh ginger
1 whole dried red chilli pepper
1/2 whole star anise
10 green cardamom pods

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the spices and let boil for 20 minutes.

Strain the solids from the syrup and place in a sterilized bottle. 

If gifting, add the chilli, a piece of the anise and a few of the cardamom pods to the bottle. This will develop the intensity of those flavours over the time it is stored.

If refrigerated, the syrup will last one to two months.


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