Strawberry & Rhubarb Syrup

Summer is here! (It’s forecast to rain tomorrow, but 3 days of sunshine and 20+ degree heat is good enough in the UK). To celebrate all the sunshine and possibility of sitting outdoors without a jacket, I made some delicious, delicious syrup. It was one of those recipes you see and think to yourself “I need that in my life”. And I wasn’t disappointed. I took some rhubarb from my parents’ garden, bought some strawberries and a lemon, and a cute milk bottle, and after very little effort, I had this:

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It’s great as a summer drink mixer – use 2-3 tbsp of syrup and add sparkling water, or my personal preference, bitter lemon. If you’re feeling like you need some alcohol, add 2 shots of gin, and maybe a few crushed mint leaves. Beautiful.

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Lemon & Thyme Loaf

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY/BRITISH SUMMERTIME!

So, today was supposed to be a Mother’s Day post. But then my oven blew up. I wish I was joking, but I got home on Thursday evening to find that the electricity in my house had tripped and the whole place smelt of burning plastic. We quickly realised the smell was coming from the oven, and that it would no longer switch on. No, I didn’t leave it running for hours on end or anything – it’s been playing up for a while (because everyone loves an oven that switches itself off in the middle of baking something). Someone is coming to fix it next week (I hope), so I’m going to my parents’ today and making the secret Mother’s Day thing there, where they have a functioning oven.

As a result, we have Lemon and Thyme Loaf instead! It’s very simple, and tasty – I didn’t really get the thyme flavour coming through, but that might be because I didn’t use enough, or perhaps because I didn’t make the syrup. I baked this shortly after the thumb burning incident with the Pancaken, and I genuinely couldn’t bear the thought of being near molten sugar again. It tastes good without the syrup, I’m sure it tastes even better with it.

Lemon and Thyme Loaf (from Hummingbird Bakery’s ‘Cake Days’)

Loaf
190g soft, unsalted butter
190g flour
zest of 2 lemons
3 tsp finely chopped lemon thyme leaves
190 caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
25ml sour cream
Syrup
40g caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp finely chopped lemon thyme leaves
40ml water

1. Preheat the oven to 175C and grease a loaf tin.

2. In a mixer, or with a hand whisk, or with some EFFORT, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and thyme until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure it’s all mixed in.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add in half at a time to the butter mixture. Stir the sour cream in, and then pour into the loaf tin.

4. Bake for 40-50 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Whilst the loaf is in the oven, make the syrup by putting all the ingredients in a saucepan together, bring to the boil, and let it reduce by half until you have a syrup. Pour the syrup over the loaf whilst it is still cooling in the tin.

Next week: the Mother’s Day post!