Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's elderflower time! November 16th 2013

suddenly realised last week that the elder flowers might already be flowering. It has been such a wet winter and spring that I thought everything might have been a bit behind but when I started looking in my secret places along an old railway line discovered that the elder flowers were in full bloom. So after work one day last week, I set off with secateurs and shopping bag to collect as many as I could. 
Some of the flowers were to go into making a sparkling elderflower drink for hot summer days and the rest were for making cordial syrup. I wrote a blog about this last year and mentioned that recipes for these were on Sally Wise's website but when I went to look for them, I could only find the sparkling drink recipe! After hunting all over the web, I didn't find one that had the elements of Sally's quick and easy version. I was very frustrated as I wanted to make the cordial while the flowers were fresh. I was sure I had written the recipe down but couldn't find it in all my folders of loose pieces of paper. I looked in her book A Year in a Bottle but only found the sparkling recipe in the index then had the thought to look inside the front cover....of course that is where I had put it! So, in case I look here on the blog next year when I want the recipe I thought I would publish it for my own reference as well as any blog visitors.
Elderflower Syrup
1.5kg sugar ( this can probably be reduced a bit if you intend to freeze the syrup in PET bottles as I do)
4 cups boiling water
Add 1 tablespoon tartaric acid
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
14 elder flowers
Dissolve the sugar in the water then add the remaining ingredients. Leave until cool then strain and bottle.

Sparkling Elderfower.   Make it in a food safe bucket or container
3 cups sugar
4 cups of boiling water
Dissolve the sugar in the water
Add 14 cups cold water
4-6 elderflower heads
1 chopped lemon
2 Tablespoons vinegar
Cover and sit for 48 hours. Strain and bottle. Ready to drink in 2 weeks

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What's the difference between Cotswold and Double Gloucester? November 12 2013

Not much is the answer. I discovered the other day when looking for a new cheese to make that the only difference between the two is just a sprinkling of dried onion and chives. This made it possible to make both at the same time since they required exactly the same steps right through the process including pressing. So there I was one very windy wet Sunday literally going stir crazy with a spoon in each hand. 
A few days later when they were dry enough I decided, instead of waxing, I would vacuum seal and put in the cheese cave to mature for a couple of months at least. Maybe we might open them up at Christmas just to try a little.