Café’s tasty lemon balm syrup recipe to accompany desserts

Gemma Parker. Picture: Archant.

Gemma Parker. Picture: Archant. - Credit: Archant © 2007

A number of years ago I created a large herb bed at the café to help feed demand from our kitchen.

I’m not the most naturally green fingered person so I tend to be a constantly worried that my herbs will not grow back in the spring or some calamity will beset them.

If you are a thyme plant in my herb garden then you’d be rightly concerned for your health! Thymes never seem to over winter. I’ve literally tried everything to nurture them but each year I’m planting more. Reasons why I think they have died: an unseen creature has eaten their roots under the soil, our chefs have over-picked them in the autumn leaving nothing to sustain them through the winter, a larger plant nearby is sucking all the nutrients out of the soil, I’m not skilled enough to take care of them, they don’t like their home at Earsham Street Café and have given up the will to live. Who knows which, if any, of these is the problem.

Herbs that seem to love their home here are tarragon and lemon balm. If one picks any lemon balm it seems to make no dent in the plant at all. I have therefore had to come up with numerous recipes to keep it under control. One of which is the lemon balm syrup detailed below which is great with ice cream or accompanying other desserts.

Lemon Balm Syrup

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225g/8oz granulated sugar

300ml/ ½ pint water

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Juice of ½ lime

30g/1oz fresh lemon balm sprigs

1/ Dissolve the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat. When completely dissolved bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

2/ Add the lime juicand continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

3/ Put the lemon balm in a bowl and pour the hot syrup over the top. Cover and refrigerate for two to three days.

4/ Remove the lemon balm and shake off any syrup clinging to it. The syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge until required.

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