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Monday, June 09, 2008

Elderflower Bliss

I've been having fun with elderflowers last week. Making cordial, and making a film.

It is of course elderflower season. The elder grows a lot by the Thames. Its a small tree or large shrub depending on how you think about things. The Blossoms are large white foamy circular things scattered all over the tree like white pancakes.

I made elderflower cordial which it turns out is incredibly easy and is probably the most delicious thing I have made yet from foraging food.

You simply boil some water, about 4 pints or more,

Add sugar so it melts in

and pour this mix over the elderflowers in a big bowl.

The mix looks dark brown in the picture because I used dark brown sugar. I really thought this would overwhelm the elderflower flavour but it doesnt at all, quite the reverse in fact.

Leave this in the fridge for four days or so, then strain off the juice. You can add lemon peel, lemon juice, and/or oranges and juice to add flavour and acidity, either at the beginning or after you make the cordial.

I was very surprised that the flowers don't seem to smell so sweet but the cordial has the most amazing luscious fragrance.

On Saturday I took part in a film shoot with some friends who are doing art events to do with the Olympics site.
They have been collecting elderflowers and making champagne as part of a project involving a semi-real, semi-fictional company that makes food from wild plants in the Hackney/Olympics area. View pics from the shoot on Flickr

We saw not just elders but roses, which they have been using to crystallise the petals for cakes, and also crab apples, a vine, pineapple mayweed, and lots of nettles. It was a very interesting day and it brought people together and talking about history (part of the film was set in the 40s) and wild food and grandmothers.

We had a 40's picnnic and sampled the sloe gin they made last year. That was fantastic, I am going to try that one day as well. The rowan brandy I made last year was frankly a waste of good brandy.

I would like to try my hand at the elderflower champagne!
Or maybe just buy a bottle at the performance.

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