Wednesday, July 2, 2014

homemade lemon + lime cordial recipe

Growing up, our water came straight from the sky and onto our tin roof, before draining into the dark green tank that sat perched amongst the jasmine flowers at the back of our house. There were no chemicals added, at all. We bathed in this beautiful rainwater, drank it and mum prepared our meals using it. I was the kid at school who wouldn't share her water bottle with friends, not because of germs or anything like that (we didn't worry about things like that when I was little!), no, all I cared about was running out of that fresh rain water from home! Yes there were taps at school which I could've used to fill up my bottle when empty, but the thought of all that chlorine made me guard my drink bottle like it was made of gold or something. 

Because of this upbringing I've never liked the idea of cooking with tap water, ever, and have gone to great lengths in the past to make sure I've always got filtered water on hand. When I first moved out of home, my sister and I (who flatted together) would fill huge bottles with filtered water from the cafe I worked at. We'd carry it through the town and up the hill to our house which overlooked Raglan, as we had no car. We were that committed (and used) to drinking and cooking with clean filtered water that it really wasn't a big deal. (We were also too tight to pay for our own water filter at the time! Lucky my bosses didn't mind us using theirs!). Fast forward a few years and one of the first things Si and I bought when we moved back to Raglan from years of living and travelling overseas was, you guessed it... a water filter! That very bench top filter is one of the few possessions we shipped over to Australia from New Zealand when we made the big move a few years back. You could say I'm somewhat picky when it comes to the water I will drink and cook with... and until we get our dream piece of land with our own home + water tank, filtered water is our best bet.

I get approached by a lot of companies wanting me to talk about their products. Mostly I say no thanks, but when I was approached recently to talk about the BRITA 3 Way Water filter tap I really couldn't think of something I'd love to promote more. It's an actual tap (with regular unfiltered hot/cold and cold filtered water) which means we've managed to finally get rid of that well-loved old bench top filter... making more room for our piles and piles of dirty dishes! Ha.
While many people are aware of the benefits of drinking filtered water, most still cook with regular tap water. As you will all probably know, I don't usually write 'filtered water' in my recipes even though this is what I've always used, however it is something I fully believe is an essential ingredients in cooking. Water filters reduce impurities which can affect the flavour of your food in a positive way and it also means you're ingesting less chemicals in your daily life. Which is always a good thing in my book!

Homemade Lemon + Lime cordial
This is a beautiful citrus syrup to have at hand in the fridge for those moments when you'd like a quick drink. You can top the syrup up with cold filtered water or freshly boiled for a warming winter version. Our lemons from the tree out back are huge, so I only needed 4 large lemons and 5 limes for this recipe. Gary's original recipe uses 1kg caster sugar, but I used a 500g jar of brown rice syrup instead. This results in a beautiful tart syrup, which is just how I like it. But use unrefined raw sugar if you prefer (although I'd suggest using 500-650g in place of the 1kg!). Honey could also be used here as the sweetener, although I didn't want it to overpower the beautiful flavours of the lime. If you're just using lemon's, honey would be the perfect choice of sweetener! You could freeze this syrup, or just make half the recipe if you don't think you'll get through it all.
This Gary Mehigan recipe (with slight Emma adaptions) was reprinted with permission from BRITA. Check out the BRITA site for more recipes.
 Makes 1 litre of syrup

6-10 lemons
5 limes
500g jar of brown rice syrup (you can also use unrefined raw sugar, see notes above)
1 litre cold filtered water, to serve
1 small apple + 1 bunch of mint for garnish (I also used slices of native blood limes to garnish)

In a medium sized saucepan place brown rice syrup in a pot along with the zest of 3 lemons and 2 limes. Juice lemons and limes to make 500mls of juice, add 500mls of filtered water and stir half of this mixture with brown rice syrup and zest in the saucepan. Place over a medium heat and gently bring to a simmer stirring to dissolve the brown rice syrup. Remove from the heat and add the remaining mixture. Cool the syrup and pour into a bottle with a rubber seal and cap. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

*If you prefer strain the zest from the syrup before bottling.

To serve pour cold filtered water into a jug and mix the lemon syrup in to taste, add ice, fresh mint and few slices of lemon, lime and apple slices.

This post is sponsored by BRITA, "Quality recipes require quality ingredients that is why cooking is better with BRITA." 
All opinions are my own, as always and I only promote products I believe in and think you will too.


  1. I now have a 1500 gallon rain water tank -- when we moved here in 1980 the City of Perth wouldn't allow rainwater tanks as they were 'unsightly'. Thank goodness times have changed. We're in the process of getting another tank the same size!
    SereneBee, East Victoria Park a southern suburb of Perth, just 6km from the CBD

    1. Lucky you! We are only renting, so installing a water tank isn't an option for us right now. xx

  2. Even better than a water filter, install a tank. take advantage of that lovely fresh water from the sky.

    1. Sadly when you don't own the house you live in, installing a tank is not always an option. It's our dream to live on a piece of land like I did growing up, and we'll definitely have a fresh rainwater tanks when we do, but for now using a water filter is our best bet.

  3. What yummy syrup indeed, perfect as I refuse to buy 'regular' cordial. My mum has a big rain tank on her farm and takes bottles of water everywhere just like you used to :) We have a little water filter, but how awesome to have it hot and cold on talk like that! X

    1. I dream of the day when we can have our own house and water tank again! This tap has regular hot/cold unfiltered water and just cold filtered water, but it's so handy having it all in the one tap!

  4. This is stunning! Super yummy sounding too :)

  5. that is seriously the coolest thing ever in the world that you drank rain water growing up. it's been raining cats and dogs here! i should learn how to harness all of that, yeah?!

  6. Great post, the images are homey and lovely and make me want to go home and make some cool cordial and read a great book!

  7. This looks amazing - what a fabulous recipe!

  8. This recipe looks so lovely and refreshing. Thank you for sharing it, and for the story about your childhood!

  9. I am thinking of getting a different Brita purifier than the 3 way you bought but can you tell me, does Brita filter out most things and does it taste good. Thanks

    1. 'BRITA claims that its filters remove heavy metals, including lead and copper, as well as the carbonate hardness that causes limescale build-up in kettles and affects the taste and aroma of tea or coffee. Carbon filtration also reduces substances that affect the taste and smell of tap water, such as chlorine, some pesticides and organic impurities.' And yes, it tastes great! xx

    2. Oh great, thanks Emma.

  10. I love the idea of this homemade cordial! I'm wary of the store-bought stuff (so, so sweet!) so making my own really appeals.

    1. Ah yes, you'll love this cordial then! It's just sweet enough to take the edge of those tart lemons and limes :-)

  11. Have tried agave and maple and coconut sugar but not rice syrup, will have to add that to the grocery list.

    In the end I think pure water noticeably tastes better. I never 'liked' water growing up but the water I get from my Brita or the fancy water purification thing at work taste so much better than tap water. That has to mean something right....


Thanks so much for stopping by, arohanui xx Emm

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