These infusing suggestions from the blog Chef’s Pencil was a bit of an eye opener for us.
I guess infusing isn’t something that civvies regularly think of in the kitchen in regular cooking life, but really exciting that any warmed liquid can be sparked up so easily. Infusing has always been something of a slow-food activity for us…infused oils and vinegars. Thinking of rind warmed in butter before sauteeing or the hint of garlic in gravy, seems a soft and mellow of playing with flavour.
Some exciting notes from chefs here…and in addition, there are still amazing fresh local Sussex herbs to be had which, in minutes, you could tie into muslin and freeze, ready to drop into a sauce or gravy.
Infusing: to steep, boil or slightly warm a liquid containing a flavouring substance or aromatic agent, in an effort to draw the flavour out of the ingredient and into the liquid. Some examples might be: rosemary steeped in virgin olive oil, orange rind slightly warmed in a butter sauce, cinnamon quills boiled in milk or garlic cloves simmered in a red wine jus. In most cases the solid is strained out of the liquid before serving the liquid.
- If simply steeping, the longer it steeps the more prominent the flavour.
- If boiling use caution as it is a vigorous process and can become too strong due to the evaporation of the liquid.
- Remember there are no rules so use your imagination and try new combinations.
- Maybe a little garlic simmered in your next sauce before serving.
- Maybe a little ginger in your next cup of tea.
- Maybe a little vanilla bean in your coffee’s milk.
- Maybe some chilli peppers in your next salad dressing, the list is endless.
And summer might well be over, but there is always room for bringing a mint cocktail to the table…and a mint infused simple syrup in this Mint Julep sounds like a great example of herb infusion…and anyway, perfect for this season where food is a little more dense.
- 15 millilitres mint infused simple syrup equal amounts water and sugar
- crushed ice or shaved ice
- 2 fluid ounce Bourbon Kentucky whiskey
- 6-8 sprigs mint leafs
- If your bar is stocked with sugar syrup, allow the syrup to get to room temperature before infusing it with the mint leaves.
- Prepare the sugar syrup; allow to cool to room temperature. Add 10 sprigs of mint per cup (250 ml or 8 fl oz) of syrup and store in an airtight container for at least 12 hours.
- With a spoon, alternate the mint leaves and the crushed is into the rock glass. The glass must be “heaped” with the crushed ice.
- Keeping a couple of mint leaves for the garnish on top.
- Pour the mint infused syrup and the Bourbon whiskey over the crushed ice, add more crushed ice to fill the glass and garnish with a remaining sprigs of mint.
- Stir the glass with the stirrer or the straw, this will ensure that the glass is “iced-up” and ready for serving. Adjust sweetness of the drink to your liking and serve immediately.