Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Spring is elderflower cordial

The last few weeks has seen the elderflower shrubs come out in thousands of teeny white flowers.
The taste of spring is elderflower cordial.

The branches are quite springy so you can pull them down to pick the flowers and let them ping back.
We collect about 20 or so stalks of flowers that usually have several separate groups of flowers on the stalk.
Back in the kitchen we use the flowers to make elderflower cordial.
It also requires 3 lemons from the garden, water and sugar.

Elderflower cordial
20 -25 stalks of flowers.
3 lemons
1.5 litres of boiling water
750g - 1 kg sugar

Snap off the longer stalks to leave all the little groups of flowers in a bowl.
Use a potato peeler to create strips of lemon zest from three lemons and place into the same bowl. (Keep the lemons for the next day.)
Pour the boiling water over the flowers and lemons. Push the flowers under the water and leave it overnight. It does not smell very nice - quite vegetative.
The next day strain the mixture through some muslin to collect the mustard green liquid in a pot.
Gently heat the liquid and then as it starts to steam and bubbles are rising from the bottom of the pot add the strained lemon juice of the three lemons and the sugar. I use up to 1kg of sugar but it is worth tasting and checking as you go by mixing some of the concentrated cordial with water in a 1 to 3 ratio. We have found if looking to drink it mixed with soda water rather than normal flat water, it needs to be a little more sweet. The liquid changes to a more golden colour from the green.
Once the sugar has all dissolved and the cordial has been gently brought to the boil, pour into sterilised jars - that don't last very long.
Mix cordial with either water or soda water in a 1 to 3 ratio. Perfect after a hot afternoon in the garden.

You can also make Elderflower Collins cocktails:
1 shot of gin (or 2 if you prefer)
1 shot of elderflower cordial concentrate
Shake with ice, pour into the glass and top up with soda water.

The one problem with being eager elderflower cordial drinkers is that so far we haven't had enough elderberries ripen to make jelly.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.