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some festive fruit! w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup

some festive fruit! w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messsome festive fruit // the first messsatsumas // the first mess
Do you get in those traps where you tell yourself (and everyone within a decent listening radius) that you’re soooo busy, but you’re also like, perpetually stuck in highly sneaky, time-wasting downward spirals? The end of the year brings a lot of heavy, life-y things into the foreground. How did we grow and change? What can I do differently? How can we make it easier? Add to that the million tasks, work, the gift guides, the merry-making… I think it’s easy to feel suffocated by your own life this time of year. Obviously some perspective plays into that, but you know what I mean.

All of the things have been veering on the edge of completely-out-of-my-control lately, so every night before I go to bed, I make a list of things I have to accomplish the next day (FYI: surprisingly effective strategy for getting a good night’s sleep) (Also, magnesium is some good shit). There’s the normal work stuff on those lists, but there’s also things like”remember to put chia seeds on the oatmeal,” and “eat some vegetables before work,” or “drink at least 3 litres of water,” and my fave: “pause and stretch before getting out of bed.” Cool thing? Silly as those reminders seem, I actually accomplish those little bits. The list makes for some structured intent on the wellness front–less of a wishy-washy, completely distant goal. It’s all right there in a quantified or qualified sense under a bolded date in capital letters.

So the legit work seems to follow along when I’m penciling out my stretches and veggie snacks. You know how they would strategically schedule nap and snack times in kindergarten? I guess there’s some wisdom there. I’ve been so contentedly living by the list that I’m experiencing pre-emptive relaxation guilt over our upcoming 48 hour sojourn in Denver this weekend. This also happened last Sunday when we took a little drive into the city to see a friend for a leisurely brunch. On the way there, my head was muddied with ideas of things I should have been doing instead of taking an entire day away from it all. Once I had that warm coffee cup in my hand, I stopped thinking about maximizing any renovation productivity, ingredients I had to buy for whatever shoot, or how my holiday work schedule could translate into any remote concept of free time. The meal and the gathering around it put me in the moment and brought some sense of relief. I think we all look for that in certain ways–whether it’s from a long day at work, unforeseen challenges in day-to-day being, the effing deluge of Black Friday emails, those self-imposed trappings of guilt, or obsessive list-making. Relief is release, however you arrive to it.

I decided to throw together this little warm-spiced fruit deal for our brunch gathering and  I was so pleased with how it turned out–actually one of the better, simpler things I’ve made in a while. I just had this loose idea for a particularly pretty winter fruit salad with pine-y rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla rooibos tea, a good hit of maple and cool mint. The different bits of citrus and pomegranate are all juicy and tart, the persimmon is soft and delicately sweet, and I like to use bosc pears for a lightly crisp bite. The woodsy sweetness from the syrup helps to veer this dish away from being a simple bowl of fruit, which I generally love to serve alongside a traditional dessert at a dinner get-together anyway, just so that the option to go lightly is there for anyone in need.

satsuma, grapefruit, pomelo // the first messpomegranate // the first messrosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messsome festive fruit! w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first mess
festive fruit w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup
serves: 6 – 8, depending on what else you’re serving
notes: I don’t think a persimmon needs to border on rotten to be ripe. If you’re holding it, it should have the mush factor of a lightly worked-in hackie sack. Also, my favourite vanilla rooibos of EVER is by Mariage Frères (and it comes loose or pre-bagged).

syrup ingredients:
1/4 cup maple syrup
big splash of water
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla rooibos tea
1 sprig fresh rosemary

salad ingredients:
2 ripe persimmons, sliced
1 grapefruit, peeled + segmented
2-3 satsumas or clementines, peeled + segmented
1 pomelo, peeled + segmented
2 bosc pears, cored + sliced
1 pomegrante’s worth of seeds/arils—>Life Hacker comes through with a (EFFIN LONG) tutorial
juice of 1 lime
handful of seeds (I used sesame + pumpkin)
1 sprig of mint, leaves sliced fine

In a small saucepan, combine all of the syrup ingredients. Put it over medium heat and bring it to a simmer, swirling the contents here and there. Once it’s boiling a bit, take it off the heat and set aside. Allow it all to steep for a good 10 minutes or so.

While the syrup is steeping, peel and chop all of your salad ingredients. Throw them all into a large serving bowl, reserving a bit of the mint and seeds for the top. Toss everything in the lime juice. Strain the syrup in a fine mesh strainer right over the bowl of fruit. Toss it all together and garnish with the leftover mint and seeds. Serve it up right away.

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Jason @ Plenty Of Zest05/12/2013 - 7:17 am

The colours of this salad are stunning Laura! And I don’t know how you got the shot of the pomegranate, but it’s brilliant :).

Emma Galloway05/12/2013 - 9:22 am

Beautiful! All of it xx

Sini | my blue&white kitchen05/12/2013 - 9:57 am

I’m intrigued by the vanilla rooibos syrup and those black sesame seeds. Just beautiful! I guess I would be the happiest person if I would have this fruit salad for breakfast.

steph@stephsbitebybite05/12/2013 - 10:11 am

This is so gorgeous!!

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)05/12/2013 - 10:14 am

This is one of the most beautiful dishes I’ve ever seen, Laura! Love the contrast of all of the colors and sesame seeds. Your photography always blows me away.

And totally feel you on the holiday craziness. I feel like time is disappearing before my eyes!

Alex05/12/2013 - 10:55 am

I really love that shot of the pomegranate. Stunning!

Sarah @ One Window Kitchen05/12/2013 - 10:57 am

Love this so much– the words, the pictures(!!!), the sound of all those flavors coming together. I agree that writing down tangible, doable tasks is so helpful in giving us some calm and (a very, very tiny bit of) control over our lives.

shanna mallon05/12/2013 - 12:35 pm

i love the hope you’ve inspired in me with this post. totally going to try the list thing. need it!

Ashley05/12/2013 - 12:46 pm

I feel like our lives are some what of a mirror image right now and your words express exactly how I feel but can’t quite put into words. So, thank you for this. All of it…words, food, photos, and general awesomeness. xo

dishing up the dirt05/12/2013 - 1:59 pm

Loved this post. i can totally relate to all the craziness going on this time of year and feeling out of control. At least we can retreat to our kitchens. Beautiful dish as always.

This is so simple and gorgeous! I love the simplicity and the combination of colors, brilliant!

Christine05/12/2013 - 4:28 pm

Laura, you have a masterful way of gracefully addressing deep and troublesome topics in a tone that feels entirely accessible, relatable, and calm. This irony of the beshackling liberation tactic – here, the list-making strategy that both relieves your anxiety and chains you to guilt – is well familiar to me, but its force is only as strong as we allow. Good pine-and-maple-mellowed fruit, shared around the communal table, is a good antidote to that and other bad-vibe forces. Thanks for creating this.

molly yeh05/12/2013 - 5:38 pm

pause and stretch before going to bed. i have needed that in the worst way this week and i’ve been too busy, like, pinteresting or doing dumb stuff! thank you for the reminder :-)

i love how you make such colorful dishes, even in the winter! and your use of rooibos is brilliant!

HOLLY05/12/2013 - 6:51 pm

Laura! Has anyone ever mentioned that you need to make a cookbook, CAUSE YA NEED TO MAKE A COOKBOOK- I’ve actually considered printing these all out and having them bound (for personal use obvi) but for really, cookbook.

Lindsey05/12/2013 - 7:06 pm

I probably should start making lists so that way when i wake up in the middle of the night I’m not an anxious freak! I will try that technique asap. I was totally thinking up a similar fruit salad, of course not with your genius syrup, but this is more beautiful than I could have imagined – for sure going on my to-make list!

Margie05/12/2013 - 7:12 pm

With my crazy stressed out mind I took the time to read your whole post, look at your beautiful pictures and read every word, and it calmed me. Thank you.

Eileen05/12/2013 - 8:48 pm

This has to be the most gorgeous fruit salad I’ve ever seen. Now I really want to go out and find a pomelo!

Chloe06/12/2013 - 4:33 pm

you LITERALLY nailed it, girl. always love your truth.

[…] This salad.  There are no words for the beauty of the photos. […]

Heather07/12/2013 - 11:38 am

Stunning! And what do you know, I had already signed up for a winter fruit salad for a potluck party this weekend and, this recipe, could not have dreamt up something so beautiful and wonderful if I tried (vanilla rooibos is my fave, and then drizzle it on fruit…say whaaaat?!). Thank you!

Kathryn08/12/2013 - 1:23 pm

Love how you take ingredients I think I know and make me look at them in a whole new way. A beauty of a post. And I’m definitely stealing that list-making trick, I’ve struggled to get to sleep recently and here’s hoping it will help!

[…] recommendation.  I think she was referring more to the texture though.  As Laura so eloquently describes, persimmon’s are at their best when they feel like a “well worn in hacky sack” […]

la domestique10/12/2013 - 10:37 am

I am seriously craving fruit and veg right now, pretty much ready to skip the holiday indulgence and start the New Year’s cleanse. I like how you’ve combined fresh, healthy fruit and festive, spiced flavors here. Can’t wait to try it!

Elizabeth11/12/2013 - 1:25 pm

This salad has been on my mind since last week. For every meal I plan, a voice whispers, “citrus salad.” So there’s that, but also I am very fond of your advice. The holiday stress came down full-force this week, and I’m going to make a point of remembering to stop and stretch or slowly sip some tea. I so feel for you as you get set up in your new place. Not knowing where anything is is a special kind of hell.

Hari Chandana14/12/2013 - 11:55 pm

Looks so colorful and gorgeous.. Awesome pictures too.. first time here.. happy to follow your space :)

[…] Festive Fruit with Rosemary + Vanilla Rooibos Syrup ~ The First Mess. As if fruit could get any sweeter and more swoon-worthy. […]

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Alanna30/01/2014 - 2:35 am

These photos are so exquisite – I can’t stop staring.. and the flavors sound amazing. Yum!

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