ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL, LOLLIES AND BELLINI

The next in my series of wild recipes that I have started at home since the last few weeks. Most of us are enjoying walks in the countryside at the moment so you might have noticed Elderflowers growing in abundance. Elderflowers are pretty white flowers with a light yellow pollen in the centre, often found in forests, woodlands and alongside private gardens from May to early June. I would recommend to pick Elderflowers on a dry and sunny day as they will be at their best. Remember to leave some flowers for elderberry picking later in the year, from mid-August to September – you will be able to make a syrup with the Elderberry.

I’ll do a recipe later in the summer for using Elderberries, so be patient – “Les Bienfaits” of  Elderberry are surprising and plentiful, packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins that can boost your immune system, they are believed to improve cold and flu symptoms, diminish stress, protect your heart and aid good digestive health. However, a word of warning, the Elderberry is actually not recommended for babies, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Now, back to the cordial…

To make the cordial and to guarantee a great result follow the steps described below.

Make the Elderflower cordial within a couple of hours of picking. Pick the flowers on a sunny and dry morning – the aroma changes in the afternoon. Ensure you choose a location away from traffic and high pollution.

Ingredients: 900g caster sugar; 1.2 L litre boiling water; juice and zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons; 25 Elderflower heads, stalks removed.

Method: Shake the Elderflowers to remove any insects. Bring the water to the boil and add the Elderflower heads, lemon zest and lemon juice. Leave them simmering for 30 minutes. Keep the Elderflower in the water for a couple of hours. Strain the Elderflower cordial through muslin or a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to collect all the flavours. Add the sugar to the warm liquid then decant into sterilised bottles. You can enjoy it immediately. Dilute one part cordial to four parts water or one part cordial to two parts water for fragrant ice lollies.

The question is: “How long can I store the cordial?” I am not a big fan of adding acids or tablets to my cordial. A good quality lemon is enough to keep your cordial 3-4 weeks in the fridge. You can used plastic bottles for a longer storage in the freezer. Otherwise, if you are using citric acid you will be able to keep it for 3-4 months in the fridge.

ELDERFLOWER AND PEACH BELLINI

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of peach coulis; 20ml Fab’s Elderflower Cordial; 125-150ml Prosecco; 1 strawberry.

Method: Pour the peach coulis and cordial into a shaker with crushed ice. Shake and double strain into a champagne flute. Top up with the Prosecco. Garnish with a strawberry on the rim.

THE HUGO

Ingredients: 30ml of elderflower cordial; a dash of soda water; 125-150ml Prosecco; ice; fresh mint; lime.

Follow the same method as above.

Elderflower is great to make granita, jelly, panna cotta or to infuse in honey and vinegar. Unfortunately, time is sometimes too short to try all the recipes so choose your favourite to try this Spring!

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