Spearmint & Lime Mojito Syrup

Spearmint & Lime Mojito Syrup by New Zealand Herbal Brew

Using spearmint tea, it is easy to create a delicious mojito-style of syrup that can be added to soda water to create a non-alcoholic beverage or made with the addition of white rum for a classic mojito.

 

INGREDIENTS
  • 200ml lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon spearmint tea
  • 1 cup of sugar

 

METHOD
  1. Place add ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. 
  2. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Strain into a sterilised bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  4. To remove the fine particulate matter from the tea, strain through a cheese cloth or fine tea strainer.

Hibiscus Grenadine

Hibiscus Grenadine by New Zealand Herbal Brew

This is a very simple yet delicious and versatile recipe with a very vibrant colour.   This is great for use in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.

A healthier, less shelf-stable version could be made using fresh or dried stevia, although it will not thicken to a syrup and would require a thickening agent such as agar agar or corn flour.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds (approx. 1 medium fruit or 1 packet of pre-packaged seeds)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/8 cup Hibiscus flower tea
  • 1/2 cup water
METHOD
  1. Bring everything to a boil in a saucepan and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes to thicken the syrup a little.  The longer the syrup cooks for, the thicker it will become.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool before straining into a clean vessel.
  3. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
SERVING
  • As the syrup is very heavy in nature, you can add it to a glass of orange juice or lemonade and it will sink to the bottom of the glass. 
  • You may also add the syrup to the glass first, then fill the glass with ice and gently pour your orange juice or lemonade over the ice and the syrup will still remain on the bottom of the glass.

Herb Salt Recipe

Herb Salt by New Zealand Herbal Brew

Herb salts are a great way to add delicious flavours to your cooking.  You can create any number of herbal combinations to suit your taste.  Use the below recipe for either fresh or dried herbs.  If using fresh herbs, the ratio of herbs to salt will be less and the flavour not as strong as using dried herbs.

You can also grind some, all or none of your finished herb salt, depending on whether you prefer a chunky texture or a more powdered texture.

 

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup pink salt or sea salt
  • ½ cup of the main herb of choice e.g. rosemary/basil/mint/sage
  • ¼ cup chives
  • ¼ cup garlic granules.  (For additional flavour and interest, you can also add 1-2 teaspoons of fennel seeds to the rosemary version or 1-2 tablespoons of chive flowers to the other versions)
Dry Herb Method:
  1. You can use either purchased dried herbs or dry your own finely-chopped fresh herbs in a dehydrator at 50C for approximately 3 hours or an oven on its lowest setting for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours. 
  2. Ensure the herbs are very dry. 
  3. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. 
  4. Grind or leave chunky.
  5. Store in an airtight jar for up to 12 months.
Fresh Herb Method: 
  1. Finely chop your herbs and add together with the garlic and salt. 
  2. Mix well and dry in a dehydrator at 50C for approximately 3 hours or in your oven as described above. 
  3. Stir every 30 minutes and break up any clumps. 
  4. Once completely dried, either grind or leave chunky and store as above.

Herb salts are delicious on roasted vegetables and meat, add to scrambled eggs and egg dishes, sprinkle on savoury scones and over steamed vegetables with a little fresh lemon juice. 

Herb Salt by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Herb Salt by New Zealand Herbal Brew

Elderberry Jellies Recipe

Elderberry Jellies by New Zealand Herbal Brew

This is a delicious recipe using elderberries and roses in their dried form.  Any kind of your favourite herbs or fruits could be used instead and you can change up the liquid component to plain water or even wine.  The amount of agar agar used, creates a firm-textured jelly.  If you prefer something a little softer to serve as a dessert rather than as sweets, try using a lesser amount.

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup dried elderberries
  • ¼ cup dried roses
  • 1 ½ cups of sweetened fruit juice (I used feijoa syrup leftover from bottling feijoas which was a 1:2 ratio of sugar to water.  You can also use water and add 2/3 to ¾ cup of sugar or honey)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice (or any citrus)
  • 1 tablespoon of agar agar.
Method:
  1. Place the fruit juice, elderberries, dried roses, lime juice and whole cloves into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and strain.  Use the back of a spoon to press out all of the liquid. 
  3. Place the liquid back into a saucepan and bring back to a simmer. 
  4. Mix the agar agar to a runny paste with cold water and add to the liquid, whisking all of the time. 
  5. Allow the mixture to simmer whilst whisking for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens and becomes quite clear. 
  6. Next, remove from the heat and pour into silicon moulds and allow to cool and set. 
  7. Enjoy as a treat or served with ice cream as a dessert or with cheese and crackers.

Decorating Baking With Dried & Fresh Edible Flowers

Baking With Flowers by New Zealand Herbal Brew

One of the simplest and very vibrant ways to decorate your baking is with dried and fresh edible flowers.  Using flowers such as:

  •  rose
  • lavender
  • cornflower
  • elder flower
  • hibiscus
  • fennel or dill flowers
  • red clover
  • borage
  • dandelion
  • viola
  • nasturtium are among many of the edible flowers readily available. 

Try colouring your icing with different colours to enhance the flowers or petals.  Using a combination of fresh and dried flowers, along with a crunchy component such as chopped nuts or coconut flakes, crushed meringue, crushed freeze-dried fruit or shards of toffee brittle can also add interest to your baking decorations.

If foraging for fresh edible flowers from your garden, always ensure correct plant identification first before using the flowers in food preparation.

Certified organic dried rose buds in pink and yellow, dried cornflowers, hibiscus and elder flowers are available via our online store. 

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberry Syrup by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Elderberry syrup is an ancient and traditional remedy, most commonly used to assist with coughs and colds. Elderberries are tiny, dark burgundy-coloured berries that are sour in taste and contain many nutrients, in particular, high levels of antioxidants.  Elder trees grow well in Auckland and can be propagated from cuttings.  The flowers are often used to make cordial or wine and are typically ready in early-mid summer, with the berries being ripe in mid-late summer.  Trees will often contain both flowers and berries at the same time.
 
Elderberry syrup can be taken by the teaspoonful daily as a tonic or at the onset of a cough or cold several times a day, or mixed with chilled carbonated water to make a soda drink.
 
INGREDIENTS:  
  • ½ cup elderberries (dried)
  • 2 cups water
  • approximately 1 cup of honey
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 cloves
 
METHOD:
  1. Place the elderberries in a saucepan with the water and spices and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the liquid has
    reduced by half.  
  2. Remove from the element and strain.  Use the back of a spoon to squeeze out any juice.  
  3. Measure the juice and add back to the saucepan.  
  4. Add the equivalent amount of honey to the saucepan and return to the heat.  
  5. Simmer until the syrup coats the spoon and leaves a light, toffee-like effect.
  6. Remove from the heat and cool a little before bottling into a sterilized bottle.  
  7. Once opened, store in the refrigerator for up to one year.

Herbal Shortbread

Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew

Based on the shortbread recipe from the 1986 version of The Edmonds Cookbook, the possibilities for shortbread flavour creations are endless by adding herbs (fresh or dried), spices, nuts, seeds, peppermint candy canes or other boiled lollies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g butter
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 125g cornflour
  • 220g flour.

 VARIATIONS:  

  1. Elderflower: 7g of dried and ground elderflowers.  
  2. Rose & Blackcurrant: 3g of dried and ground roses (calyxes removed) and 5g of blackcurrant powder.  
  3. Hibiscus & Orange: 6g dried and ground hibiscus flowers (hibiscus sabdariffa) and 1 teaspoon of fresh orange zest.  
  4. Spearmint: 3g of dried and ground spearmint.  These are really lovely plain, but also very tasty sandwiched together with spearmint icing using fresh or dried spearmint or spearmint essence.  
  5. Pistachio & Lime: 35g chopped pistachio nuts and 1 teaspoon of fresh lime zest (these are great iced with white chocolate and sprinkled with fresh lime zest).  
  6. Gin Flavours:  6g Juniper berries dried and ground, 1g Angelica root dried and ground, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest.  Roll in caster sugar before baking.

METHOD

  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar until light and creamy.  
  2. Add the cornflour, flour and any fresh or dried herbs, spices etc. and mix until well combined.  
  3. Use your hands to shape the dough into a round or square sausage.  
  4. Cut into 1cm slices or thinner if desired.  
  5. Roll or coat in any coatings if using, such as caster sugar, hundreds and thousands, crushed peppermint candy canes etc. or press patterns into them using a fork or other patterned tool.
  6. Bake at 150C for approximately 25-30 minutes.  
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

NOTES:

  • Shortbread can be iced or glazed or sandwiched together with flavoured butter cream icing or simply enjoyed plain.  
  • It makes a great accompaniment for desserts and can be used as the base for individual cheesecakes, served as an ice cream sandwich, or crumbled over a dish to add a crunchy component.  
  • The biscuits can be stored for a month or so at room temperature if not iced or frozen for up to six months.
Juniper, Angelica & Lemon Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Juniper, Angelica & Lemon Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Rose & Blackcurrant Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Rose & Blackcurrant Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Peppermint Candy Cane Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Peppermint Candy Cane Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Pistachio & Lime Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Pistachio & Lime Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Spearmint Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Spearmint Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Elderflower Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew
Elderflower Herbal Shortbread by New Zealand Herbal Brew

Spearmint Chocolate Chip Ice Blocks

Spearmint Chocolate Chip Ice Blocks

These have a delicate spearmint flavour and a nice texture (not too icy).  They can be chocolate-dipped for extra decadence and the avocado can be changed out for either banana or fresh coconut flesh.

I tried two versions: one using Spearmint Tea (the dried herb) and the other using fresh Spearmint.  Either works well.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • If using Spearmint Tea – Use 2 tablespoons of the tea and grind it into a powder
  • If using fresh Spearmint, Use 7g of fresh leaves, finely cut up
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 100g avocado
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 pieces (or thereabouts) 72% chocolate cut into fine pieces

 

METHOD

  1. Add all of the ingredients except the chocolate, to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. You may need to use a tamper to push the mixture down into the blades.
  3. Once mixed, use a spatula to remove the mixture from the blender into a bowl.
  4. Mix in the chocolate pieces, then carefully spoon the mixture into the ice block moulds.
  5. Remember to add your ice block sticks at this point, then place them in the freezer to freeze until hard.
  6. Once frozen, either eat them as they are or chocolate coat them if extra deliciousness.

 

NOTES:  To make a quick chocolate coating, use 4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil and to that add 2 tablespoon of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.  Mix together and spoon over the frozen ice blocks.

Hibiscus & Rose Tea Jelly Tip Ice Creams

Hibiscus & Rose Jelly Tip Ice Creams by New Zealand Herbal Brew

The flavour from the hibiscus flowers and rose buds in the jelly part of this ice cream are really quite stunning and delicious.  You could use any tea flavours you like to make the jelly, or even use wine, cider or kombucha along with tea.

JELLY INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 T rose buds (heaped)
  • 1 T hibiscus flowers (heaped)
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons corn flour to thicken the mixture

ICE CREAM INGREDIENTS

  • 175g frozen banana (approximately 2 medium bananas)
  • 162g (approx.) frozen pineapple juice (take 1 tin of pineapple pieces, strain the juice off and freeze in ice cube trays, use all of the frozen juice)
  • 2/3 cup coconut cream
  • 80g pineapple pieces
  • 1 T icing sugar

CHOCOLATE COATING INGREDIENTS

  • 2T dark cocoa
  • 2T maple syrup
  • 4 T coconut oil
  • (or for a richer coating, try Whitakers 72% dark chocolate instead)

METHOD – JELLY

  1. Make the tea by adding the boiled water to the hibiscus and rose buds in a heat proof jug.
  2. Stir and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, then strain and add the tea to a small pot, along with the maple syrup and bring to a boil.
  3. In a small dish, add 2 teaspoons (approximately) of cold water to the corn flour and mix well.
  4. Turn the heat down on the stove and stirring the tea vigorously, slowly pour in the corn flour mixture.
  5. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes clear and thickens. 
  6. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to a luke-warm temperature.
  7. Divide the mixture between four ice block molds and freeze while you make the ice cream.

METHOD – ICE CREAM

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and on a low setting, carefully blend everything until it is well combined.  You’ll need to use the tamper to push the mixture down into the blades as it will become very thick.
  2. Spoon the mixture on top of the jelly mixture in the ice block molds.
  3. Add your ice block stick to each ice cream at this point.
  4. Return to the freezer and freeze for several hours or until hard.

METHOD – CHOCOLATE COATING

  1. Melt the coconut oil, then add the maple syrup and cocoa powder.  Mix well.
  2. Have a baking tray lined with tin foil ready to go so you can place the coated ice creams on  there.  (Due to the tricky nature of the chocolate coating and the melting ice cream, you may have to keep the tray in the freezer and ‘ferry’ each newly coated ice cream to the freezer)
  3. Run the ice block molds under hot water to loosen them, and carefully pry them out as you need them. 
  4. Spoon the chocolate coating over the ice cream until it is well covered.
  5. Freeze until ready to eat.

NOTES

  • If the jelly tip falls off the ice cream when you attempt to chocolate coat it, simply sit it back on top of the ice cream and gently push it together.  The chocolate will help to hold it in place.

Hibiscus & Orange Syrup With Baked Pears

Hibiscus & Orange Syrup with Baked Pears by New Zealand Herbal Brew

Delicious is an understatement for this dessert.  The Hibiscus & Orange Syrup can lend itself to many different desserts and perhaps even a chicken dish.

Ingredients – Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Hibiscus Flower Tea
  • Zest and juice of a small orange
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 teaspoons corn flour to thicken the syrup
  • 1 cup boiled water
Method – Syrup
  1. Make the hibiscus tea by infusing the flowers in the boiled water for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain and add to a small pot.
  3. Add the orange zest and juice, the maple syrup and cloves and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn down the heat.  Mix the cornflower with a small amount of water to make a runny paste, then add it to the pot stirring constantly.
  5. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens and becomes clear.
  6. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Ingredients – Baked Pears
  • 4 ripe pears, peeled
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Method – Baked Pears
  1. Carefully remove the core leaving the stalk intact.
  2. Mix the almonds and dates together.
  3. Stuff each pear with the almond and date mixture, packing it firmly into the pear.
  4. Place in a baking dish and add the butter to the dish.
  5. Bake at 180C for approximately 1 hour – take care to check them regularly to ensure they don’t burn.
  6. Remove from oven and arrange on serving dishes.  Spoon over the syrup.
  7. Serve with Cointreau-infused chocolate avocado mousse and whipped cream.