Sunday, 13 November 2011

vanilla & rhubarb soda

The weather in Sydney has been awful. And by awful I mean hot.

All winter I have been looking forward to the warmer months, longing to slip into a pair sandals, drift about in light summer dresses and laze in the afternoon sunlight.

Hmmm. It seems I forgot that my sandals get so hot my feet slide about, the summer dresses stick rather than drift and the afternoon sun is less tropical holiday and more lost in the desert.

Yes, it’s been stinking hot.

Sweaty, nasty, sticky hot. Melting, searing, muggy hot. The kind of heat that trickles down your back and chaffs at your thighs.

Now I’m begging for winter to return.

But today was wonderful. The sun was out, and yet the wind was cool and refreshing, and Jonas’ mamma is visiting from Sweden.

We started the day off with brunch at the Abercrombie Hotel, with my sisters Stinky and Shamu, and strong man Tombolina. The Abercrombie make the world’s best cheeseburger [no arguing!] not to mention awesome lageritas and cameltoes [drinks people!].

As Jonas declared at the end of the meal “that burger was an express ticket to Flavour Country”. Indeed.

With our guts full of delicious burger, we waddled through the back streets of Darlington and the purple jacaranda lanes of Sydney Uni before hitting the hubbub of the Newtown festival.

The festival was too much for me. Waaaay too many people, no where to sit, drunks lurching unpredictably, gangs of hipster youths looking ironic, yummy mummies with strollers, hippies with unleashed dogs.

I was exasperated after 5 seconds and decided I’m too old for this shit.

Instead we headed to a more civilised bar and drank frozen margaritas while a random band played some surprisingly good tunes.

Great day.

Now that I’m home, the only thing that can save me at the end of a scorching hot day is an ice cold beverage.

And what better than a soda flavoured with a home-made syrup? Simple, but just a little bit fancy.

Try this little jewel on for size and tell me you don’t love it!

Vanilla & Rhubarb Soda

450g rhubarb
3 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 vanilla pod
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Chilled soda water


1. Split the vanilla pod in half, then combine all ingredients (except soda water!) in a pot and simmer for around 15 minutes or until rhubarb is very soft and liquid has turned a pretty pink.

2. At this point you can choose between:
- Clear Syrup: strain the ingredients (through muslin) and allow it to drip through for a few hours until the liquid has passed. Return to stove and reduce by a third. OR
- Chunky Syrup: puree softened rhubarb in blender with the syrup. (I prefer this one!)

3. Store syrup in the fridge until ready to use.

4. For a rhubarb drink, add chilled soda water and mix well. Feel free throw in a little vodka for an extra kick.


  1. I like the thought of having a bottle of homemade fruit syrup on hand for days like the pass weekend. Perfect for this warm weather. I think I know what I'll be making in the next couple of days. With pears though! Mmmmmm

    Now I'm kinda glad that I didn't make my way over to Newtown Festival yesterday. The weather over the weekend was brilliant, waaaaaay better than what we had during the week! What a nightmare!

  2. sounds very delightful! its kinda weird when you stop enjoying things that once were fun.....


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