Remember me?

I have been rather neglectful of my little blog recently. Even flickr pretended not to recognise me when I tried to sign in today. The past few weeks have been verrrry hectic. There's been a wedding (not mine), two christenings (one of which was mine) and a variety of birthdays, visitors and, of course, the evil work.

Even this is a flying visit. I leave for Barcelona in three hours and there is still a very empty suitcase to fill. I just wanted to pop in and post a few pictures to show that in between the wedding dress shopping (again, not mine) and new kitchen ordering (more of which to come) I have been doing some cooking. Recipes and tantalising tapas pictures to follow.


Mum's Elderflower Cordial

On the last bank holiday weekend I headed home with the hope of walking in the country, gathering elderflowers in the sunshine (perhaps into a wicker basket) and returning home to make fresh elderflower cordial. Unfortunately every time I called my mum to ask whether the elderflowers were out, she told me no. Rubbish. There's something so appealing about making things from ingredients that you can gather free from the hedge, especially when such things retail at a ridiculous prices in the shop. Damn the elderflowers not coinciding with my weekend off.

In the end, mum came to the rescue. She gathered the elderflowers from the hedgerows after work and made the cordial herself. I went home for my sister's birthday last weekend and returned with a litre of the golden nectar. Yum. I would have asked mum to do a guest spot on here and explain how she made it, but unfortunately she's a little computer illiterate. So in the interest of encouraging you to go out for a stroll and grab the last of the flowers, I'll share the recipe she used. By the way, once you've found a good spot for the flowers, draw yourself a map. The elderberries will be coming soon and there's plenty of recipes to use them in.

We've been drinking the cordial after work with soda water and my heart-shaped ice-cubes with lime zest in them (check us!). Served in a wine glass, there's something of the child being given faux wine about the sparkling cordial which makes it seem all the more fun. If you fancy being a bit more grown-up, I think the cordial would be lovely in a vodka cocktail. It can also be used in jam and is often combined with gooseberries as in Antonia's crumble.

Elderflower Cordial

1.5 litres of boiling water
1 kilo white granulated sugar
20 large elderflower heads
4 unwaxed lemons (zested and sliced)
55g citric acid*

  1. First, go for a frolic in the sunshine and collect your elderflower heads. You should do this on a dry day.

  2. Shake the elderflower heads to remove any creepy crawlies etc.

  3. In a large bowl/pan pour the boiling water onto the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool.

  4. Add the citric acid and the lemon zest/slices and the elderflower heads.

  5. Leave the liquid to steep for 48 hours in a cool place.

  6. Strain twice through sterilised muslin and pour into sterilised bottles or jars**. You can keep the cordial in the fridge or freeze some so you can be reminded of summer in the depths of winter.

* Citric acid is available from chemists although you may only be able to buy one packet at a time. Apparently it's used by heroin addicts (for what I have no clue) so you may want to avoid going to buy it in your grotty tracksuit and looking unkempt lest people get the wrong idea!

** To sterilize muslin pour boiling water over it. You could also use a fine sieve. To sterilise glass jars/bottles wash and rinse them and put them in an oven at 160 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

*** Despite being administered homemade elderflower cordial, my stepdad is having a tough time of it health-wise at the moment so if any of you have any spare good thoughts to send in the Yorkshire direction, I am sure that would really help!