We are having an extended heat-wave in Melbourne just now, with temperatures above 30 for the last week and a bit, and continuing until late next week. Combine this with grant applications at work, a broken food processor, and the fact that I’ve just been generally unwell this week, and the result is rather unimaginitive cooking by yours truly… when I can bring myself to cook at all. I’m actually really desperate to do some baking, but I just can’t cope with this heat, and by the time I get home from work, I’m really too tired to consider it.
Hence, drinks. The drinks section of this website has been a bit scant up until now, because my drink of choice is water, or if pressed, milk or occasionally orange juice. But in this weather, I’m willing to venture further afield – and drinks, at least, don’t heat the house up too much. True, this one involves making a syrup, but I promise you’ll only have the stove going for fifteen minutes, and if you do this in the morning, it won’t have much effect on the heat of the house…
Also, this is a lovely variation on lemonade. For one thing, it’s pink! For another, it is sweet, but not quite too sweet, and has a lovely herbal perfume from the lavender, which blends brilliantly with the raspberry (I know that sounds like bragging, but I’ve never achieved quite such a good synergy of flavours before). For another, it’s cold and it’s liquid and have I mentioned that this weather is absolutely ghastly?
Drink. And then go for a swim, or find some air-conditioning. Libraries are often good for this. So are cinemas. Even the supermarket will do in a pinch. Whatever it takes to stay sane…
Your Shopping List (this makes about 2 litres of lemonade)
Now what will you do with it?
Put the sugar, 2 cups of water and the lavender in a small saucepan, and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat, and then simmer for 2 minutes. Leave to cool to room temperature.
Put a seive over a jug, and strain the lavender syrup into it.
Squeeze the lemons directly into the jug of a blender. Add the raspberries, and blend. Add enough water to bring the total liquid in the blender to 1.25 litres (you will need about 3 cups) , and blend briefly to combine.
Pour the contents of the blender into the jug with the lavender syrup and stir well. Chill before drinking. (That means you as well as the lemonade).
If you like your soft drinks fizzy, don’t add the water to the blender, but chill the raspberry-lemon mixture with the syrup until cold, and mix with 3 cups carbonated mineral water or soda water when you are ready to serve. You can do this by the glass, if you like – fill your glass a bit over half way with the syrup/raspberry/lemon mixture, then top up with cold mineral water. Yum.
You can make this without the raspberries, to make it more fructose-friendly. Just add an extra cup of cold water.
You can also, of course, adjust the sugar to taste. This is quite a sweet drink, I find (but what would I know? I usually drink water…). I’d recommend that if you use less than a cup of sugar, you make the syrup with only one cup of water at the start, and add the other cup of water at the end. Note that this drink will taste sweeter when it is cold than it did when still warm (I thought it was a bit sour on first tasting, but by the time it had cooled, it was very nearly too sweet). You could also, of course, dilute the drink with water to serve if it’s a bit much.
And I’m sure blueberries would work just as well as raspberries here.
And, if you are in Melbourne, stay cool.