Friday, 18 June 2010

Its That Time Of Year Again! Ahhhh The Fragrance!

The trees are laden with the lovely frothy, frilly, fragrance-d delight!
Yes its that time again - masses of elderflowers - what to do with them?
Its nice to capture the lovely summery fragrance - store it up for times when the sun is hiding away and days of summer have long since gone. We find Elderflower cordial to be the best bet - it can be sipped as a delightful refreshing cordial with fresh water from the tap, jazzed up with sparkling water, or if you must have the giggle juice - add a slosh of Vodka! Its nice as a syrup too - on icecream, or yogurt.

Hubby P as always, was on hand to help with the picking of them - well if anyone ids going to fall out of a tree!?

I just marveled at the wonderful, frothy loveliness of the creamy blooms. I think we must try some elderflower fritters - a bit of a fried, fattening treat - but hey! its once a year!

I had the most important job of holding the basket - and counting the flower heads - the receipt said 20 heads.

All my tried and tested receipts are written in this battered little exercise book, so out it came of the spice drawer.

We picked our 20 heads of elderflowers, gave them a good shake to make sure no little creatures were hiding there, and and they were free of odd leaves etc.

Put them in a brewing bucket - any large bowl/bucket will do.
Put 1.8kg (4 lbs) of ordinary granulated sugar into a large pan with 1.2 ltrs (2 1/2 pints) of water, bring to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar - this makes the syrup.
To the flower heads in the bucket add the zest of 2 lemons, and then cut them up into slices and add them also.
Pour the boiling syrup over the flowers and stir well.
Add 75gms (3 oz) of citric acid (from brewing stuff shops/chemists) - stir well.
The citric acid is to help preserve the cordial - it keeps for months if properly bottled. You need not use it if you intend drinking - or freezing the cordial straight away.
Cover the bucket/bowl with a cloth or lid, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Next day (24 hours later) strain the cordial through muslin - or similar, bottle in screw top bottles or freeze. I use those brewing - flip stopper type bottles - I think they are used for larger - in the world of beer-y alcohol -y things. I find I don't lose the tops and they are 'user friendly' - but old screw to wine bottles do just as well.
I will make quite a fer batches of this to last us well into the winter, I shall also make some mixed fruit (summer berries, apple etc) cordial. I don't care to buy cordial from the shops - they tend to be loaded with artificial sweeteners and other chemicals, making my own means that at least I have an idea what we are drinking.
Its quite nice in the depths of a cold winter to sip hot cordial - especially if you have a nasty cold or flu - I bet the vitamin C content is quite high too.
Just a nice couple of surprises during the week too -
Postie brought me this lovely birthday parcel fro Juicy Fig - how kind is that!
She knows me so well - a pretty hand crafted card, some delightful handcrafted work - a lovely quilted bread basket, and seeds - can a girl ever have too many seeds - especially now she has a greenhouse!
Thankyou so much!

And before I go I must just tell you of an intriguing meeting I had the other week.
We - Hubby P and I, were selling our 'goods and chattles' at the local carboot sale, it was a nice sunny day - lots of people looking and stopping to chat - nice. I was chatting away to a lady who had come to see family, she was all the way from Sussex. She rented a little stall in an Antiques centre, and bought one or two items to take away with her.
Chatting away and it came to light that she had a Blog - so of course we had lots to talk about!
She has a super Blog - all about the Antiques centre and its goings on - take a peek, and of course if you live that way on pop in and say Hello.
She has a blog - Grandma P's Rambles Through Life
And the Antique centre one -
The centre is called - Pilgrims Antiques West Street Dorking.
That's all for now xxx Take care