Tag Archives: recipes

Spiffing elderflower cordial recipe

8 Jul

Elderflower cordial is one of those drinks that make me feel that I’m a character in an Enid Blyton book.

You know how the Famous Five went on endless picnics and every time someone drank a bottle of ginger ale, they’d proclaim to the other four, “I do declare this to be the best ginger ale I’ve ever tasted in my entire life…”

Homemade elderflower cordial

Life is better with elderflower cordial. Fact.

Elderflower cordial is a bit like that for me. I love the stuff. And I feel an overwhelming urge to use words like “spiffing” whenever I drink it.

But despite my great love for it, this is the first year I’ve ever attempted to make it.

For some reason, I always had it in my head that elderflower cordial was really, really tricky to make. Despite being a prolific chutney, marmalade and jam maker, I’ve never branched out into drinks – fearing, perhaps, making something as unpleasant as my grandfather’s notorious home brewed wine used to be.

But I met up with a friend last week, who not only gave me a bottle of elderflower cordial she’d made, but also shared her recipe with me. And it turns out, it’s super simple.

The last elderflower blossoms are still on the tree, so if you’ve been similarly put off giving it a go in the past, head out and pick some now and make yourself up a batch to keep for the summer.

Elderflower blossoms

Lovely and frothy blossoms

Ingredients

  • 20 heads of elderflower
  • 800g white sugar
  • 3 pints water
  • 4 lemons, zested and sliced
  • 50g citric acid

What to do

Zested, sliced lemons

First, take your lemons…

  1. Boil the water and pour into a large bowl.
  2. Put the sugar in to the freshly-boiled water and stir til it has dissolved.
  3. Leave to cool
  4. When cool, add the lemon zest and slices and the citric acid
  5. Check the elderflower heads for bugs and put the flowers in to the bowl. (I could have spent a little longer doing this, judging by the amount of black things that were floating around at the end, but at this point,  you’re making something that looks and smells so delicious, you don’t even care if it’s got bugs in. Bugs? They probably taste just like roses…)

    homemade elderflower cordial

    I know, it looks too good to be true, doesn’t it?

  6. Leave, covered with a tea towel, for 24 hours. (I forgot mine and left it for 48 hours. It was fine…)
  7. Strain through a fine sieve ( muslin would be even better) and pour into sterilised bottles. (I didn’t bother to sterilise my bottles, because I was feeling lazy and I knew I’d drink it all before it would have a chance to go off anyway… I also put some in a plastic bottle and just stuck it into the freezer. I’ll let you know if that worked when it comes to taking it out.)
Elderflower cordial

Enjoy in a completely uncontrived situation like this one…

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Bounty from the weekend

20 May

Not much chat this morning (I’ve got a Monday morning head on, I’m afraid) but just a few pics of things I harvested / grew / stole over the weekend, along with plans for their transformation…

First up, this verdant little bunch of wild garlic leaves.

wild garlic leaves

I’ve felt a little jealous of the country lifestyle of my friend Laura (of Circle of Pine Trees) ever since I saw her amazing pesto recipe, made from hand picked wild garlic foraged from their local woods. So imagine my surprise to realise that there was a bounty of wild(ish) garlic growing along the side of a path just down the road from me. Admittedly, I do suspect it’s been carefully planted there by the council, but I nipped a leaf or two from each plant in the hope nobody would mind.

This healthy bunch of rhubarb, on the other hand, is from my own garden.

Homegrown rhubarb

We were lucky enough to inherit all sorts of amazing well-established fruit and veg when we moved in to our new house and the six rhubarb plants seem never-endingly abundant.

I will definitely be making a rhubarb and orange cake following the recipe from Waitrose. I’ve made this a couple of times before and it’s an absolute beauty.

I think I shall also try some chutney. This rhubarb and apple chutney, from BBC good food looks rather delicious.

Finally, a bit of booze. I’m getting married later this year and we were originally planning on making sloe gin for everyone as wedding favours. Except, when it was sloe season we had just moved house and had a really small baby, so we never managed to pick any. But, with the abundance of rhubarb in the garden, I think it could be worth having a crack at some rhubarb gin instead. I’ll trial a small bottle first before going for industrial quantities. Billy’s Booze Blog has two different rhubarb gin recipes.

I’m hoping this little pumpkin seedling will one day become just as prolific as the rhubarb:

pumpkin seedling

I planted eight seeds a few weeks ago and all have germinated. I shall have to give some away because I certainly don’t have space for that many pumpkins. I harvested the seeds myself and can no longer remember whether they are standard pumpkins or butternut squash. But, if the latter, I will certainly be making a butternut squash risotto or ten, come Autumn time. I usually just wing it when I make one, but I might be tempted to try this really unusual recipe by Nigel Slater, which uses leftover butternut squash soup along with stock.

How was your weekend? Was it sunny where you were too?

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