It’s that time of year when elderflowers are beginning to show themselves, so I thought it would be perfect to post a recipe for one of my favourites…elderflower cordial.
I used this recipe last year to make my first ever homemade cordial, which was delicious and extremely self satisfying to make. The recipe will make approx 3 litres (5 pints) of cordial…plenty to see you through the rest of the year.
Here’s what you’ll need:
30 elderflower heads
6 pints (approx 3 litres) of boiling water
900g of caster sugar
50g of citric acid (you’ll find this at any local chemist)
1 unwaxed lemon
2 unwaxed lime
Gently rinse the elderflowers…this will remove any dirt and little critters!
Using a very large bowl, carefully pour the boiling water over the caster sugar. Stir the mixture well and leave it to cool.
Add the citric acid, sliced lemon and limes and finally the elderflowers.
Leave the mixture to cool in a safe place for approx 24 hrs, stirring occasionally.
The final step is to strain the mixture through muslin. Once this is done the mixture is ready to be bottled (bottles should be new and ideally sterilized). What I love about the cordial is that it keeps well and it also makes a great gift presented in a bottle with a tag. The cordial will keep for months and even longer if you freeze it (if you decide to freeze some, make sure that it’s in a plastic container or bottle).
For me, and most people I know, this time of year is mostly about food, food and food. With that in mind I’ve been in touch with Claire, my friend and domestic goddess from Ambergate, to ask what she recommends and here they are…two fab recipes to breakaway from the usual type of food on the menu at this time of year! For breakfast there are pancakes and risotto for dinner…enjoy!
For a small batch of around 8 pancakes just mix:
125g plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder (if you have not got baking powder you can use self raising flour instead and miss it out)
1 large egg
150mls of milk
1 tablespoon of melted butter.
Lightly mix or whisk together and use immediately. Spoon tablespoons of the gloopy mixture into a medium hot, lightly oiled non stick pan and flip them over when the edges start to bubble.
Serve with maple or golden syrup and cream or fruit. Double amounts is our usual order of the day and makes around 14 pancakes. For Christmas Day Brunch we tripled the amounts (3 eggs) and served them with sausages, bacon and maple syrup.
Here’s a great recipe for winter warming risotto.
Chop 1 onion, 2 carrots, 1-2 sticks of celery, 2 garlic cloves, 1 pack of thinly sliced pancetta. In a sauce pan heat a litre of good hot chicken stock…or turkey stock!
In a large, preferably non stick pan, fry off the pancetta until all the fat has run out. Then stir in the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. and cook down until most of the moisture is gone and the quantity has halved, adding a bit of olive oil if things start to brown too quickly. Stir in half a pack, 250g, of Carnaroli Risotto Rice and stir until it crackles.
Flamboyantly throw in a glass of Vermouth or white wine and stir well. Then start adding ladles full of hot stock, one at a time, as you keep stirring and stirring. Only add a new ladle full when the last one has been absorbed. When you have added most or all of the stock and the rice is just about done, take it off the heat. Add a handful of parmesan and an ounce of butter. Stir and leave it with the lid on for 10 minutes. This is when I add any interesting extras like skinned and deseeded tomatoes or fresh peas.
The great thing with risotto is that the additions can change with the seasons or whatever you fancy at the time…fish, mushrooms, pine nuts, prawns, asparagus etc.
Here’s one I made earlier:
A big thank you to Claire for kindly letting me include her recipes in the fabulousplaces.co.uk blog…I hope you decide to have a go! Click here to visit Claire’s blog, ‘Things We Make’, where you can find lots of other fab recipes.
Also, if you’re looking for somewhere to go during the holidays click here to go to the fabulousplaces.co.uk search page for some fabulous inspiration for some trips out and about in Derbyshire. Happy Holidays!