Elderflower Delight

Elderflowers are at their best for picking just when they open before they begin to drop their pollen.The stalks should always be removed. I first started making delight last year and was amazed by its popularity even with people who dislike turkish delight.I started with John Wright`s recipe from the River cottage handbook no.7, “Hedgerow” but soon began tweaking anf modifiying to suit my own taste, this is the result and I hope you like it.

  • 40 large elderflower heads, stalks removed,
  • 600mls water,
  • 1,400grms unrefined sugar,
  • 8 limes, jest and juice,
  • 200grms cornflower,
  • 40grms gelatine, leaf or powdered,
  • 1 teaspoon salt,

Line a shallow tray with baking parchment.put the flower heads and water into heavy sausepan and heat, leave to infuse overnight or for at least a few hours. Strain and return liquid to the pan.Add the sugar and lime juice and zest. Continue heating and stirring to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile soak the gelatine according to pack instructions. Make a smooth paste with the cornflower and some cold water. Stir the cornflower mixture into pan and mix well,add the gelatine and stir quickly to mix well and dissolve throughout mix.

Now (this is the tough bit) bring the mix to the boil stirring all the time, its a good idea to wrap the mixing hand in a tea towel to protect from heat and splashes of very hot mix.As the mix comes to the boil it will thicken and can “spit” a lot, keep stirring to prevent burning, boil for 10 minutes and then pour into prepared tray. Allow to cool and when cool cut into cubes.Place the cubes on a flat tray lined with parchment and allow to dry in a hot press or other warm dry spot for 2 or 3 days. Toss the cubes in a half and half mix of cornflower and Icing sugar. Delight can be stored in tin boxes if you can manage to resist eating it all straight away.

I would like to experiment a little further and try using Carrigeen moss to set the delight thus producing a vegan friendly version.

Nettle and Blackcurrant leaf Cordial

1 liter of nettle tops (packed loosely in measuring jug)

2 litres of blackcurrant leaves

1 kg unrefined sugar

1 teaspoon citric acid (optional)

Citric acid is used to improve keeping time if you wish to store your cordial for a month or so.

Put leaves into saucepan with 2 liters of water and bring to boil, boil for 5 minutes, cover and allow to infuse for few hours or overnight. Strain and return the juice to saucepan, reheat and when warm add sugar, stirring to dissolve, bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes, turn off heat and (if using) add citric acid. Stir to dissolve, Bottle.

Please note, this cordial is made with short cooking time, nettles love to ferment so keep in fridge or cold place and use within a month, easy to make a new batch and you can use Lemon Balm leaves or lemon to flavor.

Enjoy diluted to taste with water, sparkling water or even in a spritzer.

Nettles have a high protein and calcium content, also betacarotene and lots of vitamins.

Nettle Tops

May Photos

May Produce

Pig Nut / Prata Sioga (Fairy Potato)

Bily in ring of St. Georges

Plantain buds and St. George mushrooms

Dermot O’Neill and I foraging in the Slieve Bloom Mountains

Stone crop (or house leek) growing on rock

Rachel and Elderflower

Great find of St. George mushrooms:)

St. George’s mushrooms in situ.

Mushrooms and Elderflowers.

 

So its a wet weekend, a wet bank holiday weekend, but thats not all bad news, after the warm weather, wet weather usually means Mushrooms and sure enough when we went searching on the last day of May we found St.George`s Mushrooms (Calocybe gambosa) I had the great privelidge of sharing them with Dermot O Neill in his glorious garden, we ate them with young Ribworth plantain buds, yum, so good I served them the same way for dinner the next day, even the non mushroom lovers had second helps.

I have made first two batches of Elderflower delight, scoffed the lot in minutes so have not yet tried drying in warm oven or hot press for 3 days but will make more today.The other members of household are making cordials and “Champagne”

The Gorse wine is bottled now and looking very pretty and Beech leaf is ready to strain and bottle, Dermot and I had a little preview tasting and we reckon tis mighty stuff altogether so if you have`nt got at least one bottle on the go all I can say is Why not?? there are still a few young leaves to be found but not for long.

 

Other mushrooms appear around this time too and if you are lucky and know where to search you may find Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) Horse mushrooms (Agaricus arvensis) or even some early appearing members of the Boletus family, but please please do not be foolish with mushrooms and do not eat any mushrooms unless you are sure that they are safe.

 

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