Saturday, 19 May 2007

The Elderflower harvest

'Now is the month of Maying...' aaaand making Elderflower Cordial. I've never made this before, but living in close proximity to a large, free supply I've been looking forward to this one. The recipe comes from a great book The new English kitchen, changing the way you shop, cook and eat by Rose Prince. A great writer, with many a savvy thought on how to improve your eating, avoiding the big four supermarkets - I would recommend it to anyone who likes to know a little more about where their food comes from and what goes in it. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Citric or tartaric acid is necessary to stop mould growing in this cordial. Buy it from Asian shops, if possible; it is very expensive bought from the chemist. (I actually bought mine here)

Makes about 4 litres / 7 pints

5 lemons, halved
5 oranges, halved
1.9kg / 4lb golden granulated sugar
4 litres / 7 pints water
25 very large elderflower heads
60g / 2oz citric acid

Put the fruit and sugar in a large pan and cover with the water. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, then add the elderflower heads. Turn off the heat and leave to cool completely. Add the citric acid, strain through a cloth into very clean bottles and cork. Drink diluted with water.

Following on from this, David and I decided it would be put to rather good use in a cocktail - so we invented the Elderflower Easy. I like it - I hope you will too!

1 measure vodka
1 measure elderflower cordial
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
top up with soda water

Serve over ice.

Please note
, since writing this I have made another batch, not half so 'elderflower-y' as the first. The conclusion is that to get them earlier on in the season (let's face it, my harvest from yesterday was a little past it) for best results. In addition to this I have had a tip from Miss Katie Theakston, that flowers are best picked earlier on in the morning, when at their most fragrant!

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