A while ago I discovered a delicious Persian mint drink and was very pleased to find the recipe for it in my Middle Eastern Cookbook – it’s called Sekanjabin. Ever since, I have been making it for the Dargle Local Market. It is a great way to keep mint, which flourishes in summer, under control. If you’d like to try making it, here is the recipe:
2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, ½ cup of wine vinegar, juice of ½ lemon, 6 large sprigs of mint.
Stir water and sugar until dissolved then bring to the boil.
Add vinegar and lemon juice and boil for 15- 18 minutes until thick. Cool syrup should have a runny honey consistency.
Add the mint sprigs, boil for a minute and turn off the heat. Allow to cool and bottle.
At the market, I mix up a big jug for customers to try. Most people are surprised at the taste – sweet and tangy and fragrant and refreshing. Tomorrow is market day so I am busy getting prepared – stretching and resting bread dough, picking herbs, labelling cheese and weighing potatoes. Of course, I’ve made the mint syrup too. I was a bit startled when a bunch of bees arrived to have a taste too. They called their friends and soon there were hundreds in my kitchen! I closed all the doors and windows in my cottage and spent hours herding them outside. What a palaver. I only got stung once by one of the very last ones which I rescued from a puddle of spilt syrup on the stove – and I think that is because I was getting impatient. While I was calm they just tickled my arms and carried on their search for a sugar fix. Once relatively bee-free, I quickly decanted the syrup into bottles, washed them well and put in the fridge for safety. The pile of wilted mint leaves, still covered in syrup, I put outside in the veggie garden for the bees to enjoy at their leisure. Boy, then there were zillions.
I haven’t had a bee sting for years and last week Paul was stung for the very first time in his entire life! I’m sure that the bee visit is auspicious, at the very least it means I will sell out of syrup tomorrow! There are still a few buzzing about.
In Iran, mint syrup is served in a bowl with cos lettuce to dip into it. I think it is yummy, but friends I served this too at lunch recently, didn’t eat much, so obviously a personal taste.