Saturday, July 12, 2014

Elderflower Cordial and a Book Review

Every year, as June turns to July and the days grow longer, the scent of elderflower hangs heavy in the warm air.
If you don’t have any elder bushes in your garden, then
head off out with your basket - they are very common in the hedgerows and easily identified by their clusters of creamy-white flowers and distinctive scent. (If in doubt
use a book to identify them, or take a knowledgeable friend along). Here is a recipe for elderflower cordial. Haven't tried it but it sounds lovely!
  • 250g elderflowers, cleaned
  • 1.1L  water
  • 900g caster sugar
  • 50g citric acid
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 limes
Bring the water to the boil, pour the boiling water over the sugar. Stir to dissolve and let it cool completely.
Wash and cut the lemons and limes in quarters and add to the stock syrup.
Pick the elderflowers and remove any dead bits and leaves. Place the elderflowers in a colander and wash under cold running water.
Let the elder flowers drain while the stock syrup cools.
Once the stock syrup is cold add the elderflowers and the citric acid, mix and place the mixture in a deep container in the fridge, place a layer of clingfilm directly on top of the mixture.
Let the cordial infuse for 48 hours, stir a couple of times during this period.
Pass the cordial through a fine sieve and pour into sterilized bottles. Keep refrigerated.
Makes approximately 2 liters of elderflower cordial
Food Fanatics Tips
If you add the elderflowers to they syrup while it's still boiling hot you will scorch the flowers and it will change the taste of the cordial. I have made this mistake in the past and the end result is not pleasant. Instead of keeping the cordial in bottles you can pour the cordial into ice cube trays and freeze them, this saves space and it will keep slightly longer.
Are you going to the Sheep and Wool Festival in September? 
I am thinking about getting a fleece and wonder if many of you do buy a fleece at a show like that? How do you know what is a good fleece? If I could take my knowledgeable friends with me I might be able to make a better informed choice. I know that you want to have as little vegetable matter as possible as nothing is so disappointing as trying to spin a wool that has a lot of twigs and seeds in it. I also don't feel as if I am a very versatile spinner and usually like roving or batts, not top. I find it that top need me to do a lot more pre=drafting. 
I am excited to look for a fleece this year. And who knows, I might buy on this year!
Just finished reading  The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America by Eric Larsen. It was published in 2003 so it took me quite a time to get to reading it but it was on my To Be Read list for a long time! You'll be reading a two-for-one with this Erik Larson's book. Either story line could be made into a compelling read for different folks with different tastes. One story line gives the reader a dark insider's look at how an intelligent serial killer moves through his world bringing a evil chill to society. The second story line contrasts that dark mind against the brilliant minds of architects in the U.S. in 1892 working against financial, political, and feasibility odds to create an astounding and forward thinking world's fair. Larson's book incorporates abundant biographical detail with architectural detail. The reader will see a different view of public buildings and parks when finishing this book. Larson's excellent research will delight those with inquiring minds Especially anyone with interest in the history of Chicago.


D. Thomas said...

Being originally from Chicago this story was especially informative of the lakeshore /museum area downtown. Had never heard of the serial killer before this book either.

Lynda said...

Eyes it made me think about how downtown Chicago grew up. The serial killer story was really chilling!