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Elderflowers, I love them. The delicate flowers, the heady aroma wafting on the breeze. The simple sign that summer is here. Ok, so it has been a bit of a damp squid of a summer so far. Hmm, maybe that is an understatement given the amount of flooding here in Wales. However I refuse to be down about the weather. I will enjoy summer and part of that enjoyment has to be Elderflowers and all that they can provide. With this in mind I thought that I would share my recipe for champagne and cordial (or rather my results using other recipes and tinkering with them) and set a little challenge

The first year I moved to Wales I made Elderflower Champagne, a la River Cottage recipe and it was simply divine. I must have had a novices luck though because there were no exploding bottles here.

Last year I celebrated exchanging contracts on my house with a glass of  Prosseco mit Holunder in Bad Ischl.  Thats Prosecco with Elder for anybody who doesn’t speak German. And doesn’t Elder sound wonderful in German too?

The best recipes insist that the elderflowers are collected early on a bright sunny morning. As there haven’t been many of those around these parts I kept putting off the collection. Then a little window of opportunity opened up last week and so wells donned and basket in hand I set off on a mission. I am not sure that Max was so impressed when he realised that I was pulling the branches down to gather the flowers rather than picking up branches from the floor to throw for him

an ever patient Max

Picking the flowers was great fun as I had to stretch high and pull down the branches whilst making sure that I didn’t break them. I also wanted to be careful not to take too many so that there would be berries for later in the year. With my basket filled we headed home, but not before we had a game of chase stick to satisfy the ever patient Max Moo.

creamy flowers waiting to be brewed

Then it was a case of deciding which of the myriad of recipes I should follow, I opted for the River Cottage option given that the champagne had been a resounding success

steeping stage

I left the first stage for 24 hours as suggested and then followed the rest of the recipe. Although I admit I used a little less lemon juice and sugar than the given recipe. I opted to use the citric acid so that I could bottle some up for later

bottled

I admit to having bought a bottle of cordial earlier in the summer from a well known brand. Today was the day of reckoning. I took two glasses of cordial to an unsuspecting partner who was busy sanding and filling walls and asked him to taste test them. How pleased was I when he said that mine tasted nicer? “Less acidic and more mellow” were his exact words.

Success

Whilst in the greengrocers this afternoon I overheard a lady telling the shopkeeper that she was off home to make some gooseberry and elderflower jam. How glorious that sounds. So true to form I arrived home and looked up a recipe. Now all I need to do is find some gooseberries and give it a go.

That got me thinking about how many things elderflower could be used for. So here is a challenge for anybody who cares to take part.

How about you blog about your favourite elderflower recipe and leave a comment below with a link to your blog post? I will take a look and do a little round up in  a week or so.

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