Ginger and Fennel Syrup

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A couple of weeks ago my friend, and fellow blogger Sam (from Me and my Second Self), and I, had a little jaunt out to Silverdale to do a recce on a campsite we’re thinking about booking for a church camping trip in the spring.

We chose the wettest, windiest day of the year to do this. It could not have been wetter!H

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Here we are soaked to the bone, dripping hair plastered on our faces and waterproof jackets anhilated…

So, after we’d succumbed to the wrath of the Great British weather, we called in at the Wolfhouse Kitchen for a spot of lunch, and to warm up and dry out. The food there is fantastic and I really couldn’t fault my celeriac rosti with wilted greens, poached duck egg, chilli and peanuts. It was a taste sensation. Sam and I both enjoyed a ginger and fennel hot chocolate too. I’d never experienced ginger, fennel and chocolate together before but the flavours really work. It inspired me to have a go at making my own ginger and fennel syrup and I finally got around to doing it today.

I’ve made a large batch with the intention of giving it away as Christmas presents, so, if you want to, quarter the recipe to give a smaller batch. I used:
1200g sugar
800ml water
A large chunk of ginger root
4 tablespoons fennel seed
1 tablespoon of ground ginger

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Scrub the ginger (but there’s no need to peel) and slice thinly. Put the fennel in a dry pan and toast lightly until you get a whiff of that distinctive aroma. Bash the seeds up a bit with a mortar and pestle to realease the flavour, but don’t grind them to a powder.

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Put all the ingredients in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about ten minutes until the syrup starts to thicken. Your kitchen will smell divine!

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While the syrup is thickening sterilise a large jar or bottle. I use my daughter’s old bottle steriliser to do this, but there are various methods, just have a look online if you’re unsure. Poor into the jar/bottle, seal and leave to cool.

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Once cooled I opened the jar and strained the ginger slices and fennel seeds out, re-boiled the syrup and re-sterilsed the jar before decanting the syrup back into the freshly sterilised jar. At this point you could decant into smaller bottles (which is what I would have done had I been organised enough to buy some!).

You can use this syrup however you wish. The initial distinctive aniseed flavour of the fennel, is followed by deep warming ginger tones and it works well as a cordial, over ice cream, to add a wintery touch to a fruit salad, in coffee, or best of all in a hot cocoa, served with whipped cream and a sprinkling of ground fennel, ginger and cocoa.

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Cinnamon Rolls

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I love cinnamon rolls! Absolutely love them. Warming, gooey, sweet, perfect with a steaming mug of coffee for elevenses on a frosty morning. That said, until yesterday I only ever attempted to make my Cinnamon Swirl Scones, the simple, quick and easy cousin of this yeast infused doughy delight. However, I bit the bullet and decided to have a go. After checking out a few different recipes, I did the following:

In a saucepan lightly heat:
1.5 cups semi skimmed milk
0.5 cup double cream
0.5 cup sugar
0.5 cup vegetable oil

In a mixer bowl measure out 4 cups plain flour and two and a quarter tsps of quick yeast, 1 tsp baking powder and a 1/4 tsp bicarb.

When the milk mixture is luke warm set the dough hook going on your mixer and drizzle in the milk. You should end up a wet dough like this:

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Cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to rise for an hour or so. You should end up with this:

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Now mix in an extra 0.5 cup of flour before turning out onto a floured surface.

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Roll out into a rough oblong shape about half an inch thick.

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Brush with approximately 75g melted butter, before sprinkling generously with ground cinnamon, dark brown sugar and light brown sugar.

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Roll up before slicing into half inch thick slices.

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Grease a few round tins. How many you need obviously depends on the size of them. I bought some disposable foil containers with lids and needed five of them for this amount of dough. I could fit five rolls in each.

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Leave them to prove for another half an hour somewhere warm.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 160oC.

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Now, ordinarily at this point I’d ice them. However these are going to be frozen for Christmas, so I’ll ice them in due course.  However, here’s my Cinnamon icing recipe for you. To a kilo of icing sugar add a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, a tablespoon of vanilla syrup and a tablespoon of camp coffee syrup. Set the mixer going on low and drizzle in a bit if milk until you have a very thick but pourable icing. Divide between the five trays of rolls while they are still hot, and serve. Delicious! Enjoy!

Coffee with coconut oil & butter (bulletproof coffee)

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When an American friend told me he had put butter and coconut oil in his coffee I had visions of an oil slip in the Atlantic…oily puddles drifting around on an ocean of black coffee did not sound appealing, but I was intrigued, so I gave it a go. If you want to know where the idea of so called Bulletproof Coffee came from check out the link here or Google it.

I filled the short cup on my Nutribullet up to the max line with freshly brewed coffee then added in a couple of teaspoons of organic, unrefined coconut oil and one of good quality butter (by all means add more if you want). I blitzed it for a few seconds,  then gave it a taste. The first thing that surprised me was the colour, it looked a lot lighter in colour than I had expected.  Plus, it wasn’t oily, just very creamy with a subtle coconut undertone.

I’ve since tried it with just coconut oil, and it works pretty well. The only difference really was the lack of frothy head.

This is definitely not an every day kind of coffee in my opinion, being high in calories but low in nutrients. Personally I’d rather spend my calories on a green smoothie, but give it a shot (no pun intended) and let me know what you think!