While driving through remote parts of Scotland last weekend, we couldn’t resist pulling over on several occasions to pillage the beautiful white flowers blooming on the trees. There was such an abundance of elderflower and I couldn’t bear the thought of spending £3 back in London on a bottle of cordial and leaving these trees packed full of the flavour which could so easily be in my glass. We stuffed a large bag full of around 70 heads and then drove back to London with an incredibly fragant smell emanating from the boot. It was a very hot day, so the freshness was much appreciated.
Here’s the recipe for my cordial which I think is best drunk with lots of ice, fizzy water and a slice of lemon. I’m also plotting on trying a nice Hendricks Gin cocktail with elderflower and cucumber. You can also use it as a flavouring ingredient in all sorts of cooking – biscuits, icings, etc. Or for example like I did in this pavlova recipe. I’ll let you know of any other recipes along these lines that I may come up with…
Makes around 3 1/2 litres
70 heads elderflower
2 oranges, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
Place the sugar in a large pan and cover with 3 litres of water. Place over a low heat and slowly bring it up to the boil. Remove from the heat.
Put the elderflower into two large bowls, removing the big stalky bits as they can make it a little bitter. Divide the lemon and orange slices between the two bowls. Now divide the syrup between the two bowls. Allow to cool and then cover with cling film and leave for 72 hours.
Line a seive with muslin and place over another large bowl, strain the elderflower mixture through it and then pour into sterilised bottles. Store in a cool place and use as desired!