The Christmas Blog Edition- A Lemon, Ginger and Xmas Spice syrup to sweeten up your days

Once upn a time I used to post two, three times a week on this blog. Amidst all the other things I did, I managed to post at least twice in seven days. It took time, as any old blogger will know and tell you, because blogging is not easy - no matter how many times some folks say it is, it's not. Food blogging is particularly hard, because it involves a lot of research and a lot of experimentation and a lot of cooking. Then the styling, the shooting, the editing and the writing of the posts, it is very time consuming, trust me. It is also a bit of an expensive thing, if you're into experimenting trends and fads and unusual recipes. I don't get to try what I wish I did as much and as often as I would like to, because I simply cannot afford to, but yeah, I must confess we do indulge a bit here at this household. We love food, we love cooking, we love eating.

So I used to post more often here, and I used to work more on this blog. But one day I reached a kind of a crossroads where I needed to face my own truths. This blog was going nowhere, I had next to no visits, and comments were even scarcer, I achieved nothing with it (except for what's most important right now when it comes to my blogging, which is personal pleasure) I had no recognition, no sense of belonging, no sense of community. This blog was going nowhere and it was consuming far too much of my time for something that... well, felt like a waste of time mostly. A waste of energy and money, too. I had to take a long, hard look at myself and what I did here, and face the truth. My blogging was shitty. The images - which have not much evolved - were lousy, the recipes far too simple and far too daily, common fare, my posts weren't enticing, the whole thing was a flop.

On the other hand there was my writing and my "career" as a novelist (not that it fares much better than blogging, well, actually it does, I managed to achieve a tiny little bit of recognition for my work in that area and have even made a bit of money from it). It is also a time consuming work, that of writing stories and then putting them int books. There's the actual penning of the story, there's the revisions, the editing, the re-reading, the formatting, the publishing, not to mention the research, the promotion, the interaction with possible readers, the advertising, the trying to find future readers, trying to pin down one's target audience. It is very hard work and very time consuming. So something had to change. I needed to take time from blogging to invest in my novels. But the thought of not blogging any more was daunting. Scary. Sad.

You see, I love food blogging. I adore food blogs, food styling, food photography, cooking and eating and planning and thinking and inventing recipes. I love that and I don't want to stop doing it. I decided to only post once a week, keep up with my common, day to day food, my breads, my pies, my quiches, simple nourishing dishes. I try my best at styling, and still do study the art and that of photographing and working with light as well, just not so intensely, nor with such a need to become better and better and better. And I actually feel a lot better for it. The blog still has very few visits, very few comments, but I don't mind anymore. I feel good about this blog, and I feel good with psting only once a week, on Fridays. Except for the festive season, that is. Come Christmas time and I always have so many ideas for shoots and for dishes running round my head I wanna do them all. In order to get it out there, I need to post more than once a week, so I will probably be posting twice until the New Year. I hope you don't mind. I'm calling it The Christmas Blog Edition.

The first double post of this week was inspired by Thiegan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. She did a post with gorgeous looking syrups that set my mind to work, and seeing my son has a cough right now, I tried my hand on a combo I was dying to experiment with. It's a lemon, ginger, Christmas spice syrup and it is so good! I've used it in tisanes, in baked fruit, cakes even. It's fragrant and tasty but not overpowering, and it does add a zing, also it seems to ease the cough. Here's my version:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tblsp honey
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 1 allspice berry
In a medium pot bring the water, honey, sugar, lemon and ginger to a boil. Once it's bubbling, add the spices and lower the heat so it simmers. Allow to do its thing for ten to fifteen minutes, until it thickens ever so slightly. Let cool and sieve. Transfer into jars or flasks, it will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks - but you'll finish it way before. As I said, you can add this to cake batter, you can use it to sweeten your tisanes, you can use it as concentrate and add a bit of water so you make a drink, or add it to a rum cocktail. It's rather versatile, and it tastes and smells of Christmas! Perfect as a gift too!