Tag Archive | #recipes

Elderflower Cordial

It’s the time of year for Elderflower cordial. I can smell the flowers as I walk by the trees at the moment and the fragrance is so evocative of summertime – fresh and sweet.

                        

The recipe is very easy, but there are a few tips I have picked up over the years to ensure you get super sweet, fragrant cordial. This is good for mixing with juice or water, or (of course) Prosecco. There is also a gin cocktail which is a favourite of mine. Recipe below.

You will need:

20-25 heads of elderflower

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 litre boiling water

1kg of caster sugar.

My lovely trug, coming into action again!

 

 

 

Always pick the flowers on a dry day and in a clean place, ie. away from a busy road.

Don’t wash the flowers, but give them a good shake to get rid of any bugs/debris.

 

 

 

Place the flowers in a large bowl (I usually trim mine from the stalk with scissors and with half inch of stem).

Add the lemon zest and pour on the boiling water. Cover with a cloth and leave for 24 hrs, stirring occasionally.

 

 

 

Using a sieve, strain the mixture into a jam pan or heavy bottomed pan. Muslin or coffee filter papers are good to use at this point, as there are still sometimes little bugs that get through.

Add the sugar and bring the mix to the boil, then turn the heat down slightly and stir until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. It’s up to you how thick you want the syrup now. Thicker is good for pouring on ice-cream/ yoghurt etc.

Decant into sterilised bottles. The syrup should keep in the fridge for a few weeks, or you can pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

 

Gin and Elderflower Cocktail

1 part Gin

1 part Elderflower syrup

Tonic or lemonade or soda

Pour over ice and lemon and enjoy

 

Pasta with Spring Greens and Hosta shoots

The first recipe I flicked to in James Wongs book was one for Hosta. I knew about some edible weeds, ground elder, nettles etc, and I knew about lots of edible flowers; borage, nasturtiums etc. But Hostas? How exciting!

I needed to try this. We had some fresh pasta, I finally had some time to pick a few leaves, and it was probably my turn to cook (blue moon and all that). There was obviously some trepidation from the guinea pig, I mean husband, about eating random plants, but I was all set.

I’d almost missed the start of the hosta plants, given that you have to pick the leaves as buds before they start to unfurl. I only had about nine shoots. Luckily, I spotted a few ground elder leaves to supplement the greens. 

The recipe in the book is basically a pasta primavera with tagliatelle. I made a few changes, but the result was pretty much the same. 

The picture shows:

Mint and Lemon Balm

Hosta shoots

Ground elder (pick the small, newer leaves)
which were all from the garden

Broad beans, asparagus, peas and broccoli not from the garden.

Garlic, hazelnuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice.

I also used some Chicken Stock to blanch the greens before adding them to the pasta. I then removed the greens and cooked the pasta in that stock.

Fry off the garlic and greens in some oil, add the cooked pasta, then finish with lemon juice and zest, Parmesan and hazelnuts.

I don’t know whether to go into lots of detail about technique here, as it’s not really what I’m about, I’m more interested in the experimenting and discovering new things. I’m not that great a cook, and let’s face it, if you did a search online for ‘Hosta recipes’ there will be loads.

I’ll just show you what I did, hopefully give you a bit of inspiration to try for yourself, and if I have posted this, it means I haven’t given myself, or hubby, food poisoning, so it must be OK to try!