Strawberry chocolate syrup with a hint of fresh mint and cardamom is an easy to make recipe but with a flavour complexity that makes it an elegant addition to summer desserts and drinks!
The thing is, I’ve discovered, usually things don’t work out for a reason – you were meant to be somewhere else, doing something different instead.
And so, that’s how I found myself invited to a private reception for some Vancouver area Food Bloggers of Canada members to meet none other than food writing legend Ruth Reichl – former editor of the sadly departed Gourmet magazine and author of the new novel, Delicious.
To say it was an amazing moment would be an understatement.
I had no idea going in just how private the reception would be. I thought it would be a larger group. I thought we would listen to Ruth chat about her new book and maybe her career. And then I thought we might get our books signed and maybe a photo opp and then we’d all be on our way.
What I didn’t think was that there would be just 8 of us. Or that we would all just be hanging out in the kitchen of Barbary Jo’s Books to Cooks (if you’re ever in Vancouver, this delightful cookbook store is a gem – a must visit) drinking Prosecco and chatting while we looked through old copies of Gourmet with Ms Reichl. She pointed out her favourite covers (not necessarily the ones that sold well), the most controversial covers (cupcakes!) and told us the entertaining stories of how certain issues came about.
Nor did I think she would have read the blogs of all 8 of us. (that created a wave of terror amongst everyone who was in attendance! What?? You looked at my blog? But… but… it needs a new header. And my last post had awful photos… and never mind the terrible writing…). Oh my but you just never know who is looking at your blog, do you?
She wanted to know what a food husband was… I had to explain Sean. Explain to the best of my tongue tied ability!
We were all allowed to go through stacks and stacks of old issues of Gourmet and take home as many as we liked. Ms Reichl quizzed us all on our selections. Why had we chosen that issue? What did we like about it?
The covers I chose spoke to me as a photographer. I loved Gourmet’s style of layered simplicity. Nothing was over propped or over styled. Everything in the frame had a purpose. The images spoke. I loved that.
Thank you so much to Random House Canada for inviting all of us to meet Ms Reichl – it was such an honour and a highlight of my career in the food world!
This strawberry chocolate syrup is also simple, yet complex. Making a simple syrup of just strawberries and mint is not new. But the added hints of cardamom, vanilla and cocoa give it a flavour complexity that takes it up a notch. It’s perfect for drizzling on vanilla bean ice cream, stirring into lemonade or, as you’ll see in my next post, turning into strawberry chocolate iced tea!
Make use of the gorgeous berries just ripening here on the west coast and whip up a batch to store in the fridge and add to your favourite dessert or summer beverage!
- 2 cups diced strawberries
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup of sugar (add up to a full cup of sugar if you wish - I don't like my simple syrups overly sweet)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom
- ¾ tsp cocoa powder
- in a saucepan over medium heat combine strawberries, water and sugar and bring to a boil
- once boiling add in mint, vanilla and caradmom and stir to combine
- add in cocoa and continue to stir
- allow the mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes or until it is reduced by about ½
- remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine sieve (if you're just going to use as an ice cream topper, you can skip this step)
- store syrup in a sealed container in the fridge and use as needed. I've been told it will keep for months but mine never lasts that long!