Elderflower Cordial

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Such a simple drink to make, using only 5 ingredients.  Elderflowers are synonymous with the start of the British summer and are in season for such a short spell of time, that it’s a shame to waste those fragrant blossoms when making cordial from them is such a simple thing to do.

Elderflower Cordial

You need to pick the elderflowers on a warm, dry day, allowing any dew to evaporate before picking. Make sure that you only pick heads that have just opened and are still the beautiful creamy colour, without any of the flowers starting to turn brown. Find a nice country lane or hedgerow, away from busy traffic routs that could taint and the delicate blossoms with chemicals.

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2kg granulated sugar
  • 2 Lemons
  • 20 Elderflower heads
  • 85g Citric acid
  1. Pick the heads and very gently shake any bugs free from them.
  2. In a large saucepan, add the water and the sugar.  Gently heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Using a potato peeler, pare the lemon zest from the lemons and slice the lemons into ½cm thick rounds.

Elderflower Cordial

4. In a large bowl, add some cold, clean water and gently swish the elderflower heads to remove any remaining insects.  VERY GENTLY shake the excess water off them.

5. Snip the elderflowers from the stalks (to leave too much stalk on them can leave a bitter taste).

Elderflower Cordial

6. Bring the water and sugar syrup to a boil and turn off the heat.

7. To the sugar syrup, add the elderflower heads, lemon zest, lemon rounds and citric acid.  Stir well.

8. Place the lid onto the saucepan and leave, covered and undisturbed, for 24 hours.

9. Line a colander with two layers of muslin and drain the cordial through into a clean bowl.

10. Squeeze the muslin to extract all of that delicious cordial. Discard the lemons and elderflowers.

11. Pour the cordial into clean, sterilised Kilner bottles.

Elderflower Cordial

This will keep for up to about 6 weeks in the fridge.  You can also freeze the cordial in ice cube trays/bags for use later.

To sterilise the bottles, you can either wash them and dry them, upside down in a warm oven, or wash them through your dishwasher cycle.

Valentines Cocktails & Mocktails – Strawberry inspired Bellini

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Christmas is over, and in a flash, I see all that is romantic and lovely in the shops awaiting the lovers of this world to embrace the season.  Not to be outdone by the festivities, even though I’ve been with my husband for *cough* 32 years this year (I know, I know; I don’t look it do I, but I was VERY young when we met! HAHA!) I jumped at the challenge work with the Central England Co-Operative and create a Valentine’s Day Cocktail (or non alcoholic Mocktail).   What I did end up with is one very tasty and very versatile drink which can be made either way, to your preference. Just a few simple ingredients and you have a delicious drink to toast your loved one.  Here’s how:

One Bottle of Cava (Sparkling Elderflower and White Grape juice for the non-alcohlic version).  Alternatively you could choose a bottle of Prosecco.

1 Lemon

One punnet of strawberries

A little bit of caster sugar

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Chill your Cava (or Elderflower and Grape juice) until very cold.

Using a very sharp knife (I love mine from I.O.Shen), slice up 6 ripe, juicy strawberries and add these to a mini blender with a squeeze of lemon juice and 2tsp caster sugar.

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Blitz until you get a smooth syrup.

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Pour the strawberry syrup into a champagne flute up to about 1/3 of a glass.

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Top up with Cava (Elderflower and White Grape juice).

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Slice a strawberry to decorate your glass.  It’s always pretty to leave the leaves and stalk on as decoration, don’t you think?

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Enjoy with a cheeky square (or several) of Co-Operative Fair Trade Truly Irresistable Ghana milk chocolate with toffee and red Himalayan Salt.

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Much love and cheers to you all!
imageRosie xx

I was provided with vouchers from the Central England Co-Operative to purchase the ingredients to create my cocktail/mocktail.

Vanilla & Elderflower Drizzle Cake

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175g Butter
175g Caster sugar
3 Eggs
150g Self raising flour
75g Ground almonds
5ml Baking powder
5ml Ndali vanilla powder
30ml Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Cordial
70ml Milk

FOR THE ELDERFLOWER DRIZZLE
60ml Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower cordial (undiluted)
60g Granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

2. Grease and line an 8″ deep round tin with baking parchment.

3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, vanilla powder, elderflower cordial & milk and beat until smooth.

5. Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 mins until a skewer poked in the centre comes out clean.

6. Just before the cake comes out of the oven, mix together the ‘drizzle’ cordial and sugar.

7. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, leave it in the tin and prick it all over with a skewer. Slowly pour the ‘drizzle’ all over the cake, allowing it to soak in.

8. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin, then carefully lift out onto a serving plate.

I chose to decorate mine with small, white fondant flowers cut & bunched to look like the head of an elderflower surrounded by some green leaves.

Enjoy with a glass of cold, sparkling Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower cordial, or a lovely cup of tea.

This is a lovely, delicately flavoured & moist cake that, due to the addition of ground almonds will easily keep for a few days. If you’re lucky and it doesn’t all get eaten very quickly that is!

Northampton Clandestine Cake Club Meeting July 2012

What a wonderful evening last night. We held our 3rd Clandestine Cake Club meeting for the Northampton district. Our theme was (appropriately with the weather) a Summer Garden Party and that’s exactly what we had!

We met at our ‘secret’ location which was the beautiful and characteristic home of one of our members in a beautiful Northamptonshire village. The sun was shining and her garden looked truly amazing – the perfect setting for a garden party.

There was a vast array of incredibly beautiful cakes, brought to our meeting from every corner of our county by lovely ladies (and even some gentlemen too!).

You can see the two tables, full to bursting point of these incredible cakes here:

For my cake this month, I decided to have a bit of a play with flavours that are evocative of a summer day; namely elderflower. Sadly it wasn’t homemade elderflower cordial that I used, but one that I buy all year round from Belvoir Fruit Farms. I adapted a plain, ground almond sponge recipe that I use by adding elderflower cordial in place of the majority of the milk to add a subtle flavour that I hoped wouldn’t bake out. Once the cake was baked and still hot from the oven, I mixed some granulated sugar with some more elderflower cordial and used it as a topping, which when dried would have soaked into the sponge leaving a wonderfully fragrant and flavoursome topping to my cake. I’m really pleased to say my recipe experiment worked perfectly too!

For decoration I cut lots and lots of tiny white flowers and stuck them to a flattened ball of fondant to simulate an elderflower head, which I surrounded by leaves, before adding two more much smaller flower heads to the cake.

A lovely evening filled with cake, friends, laughs and setting summer sun; perfect!