The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Apple and Blackberry Cordial recipe

Posted in Cordials and Syrups | 19 comments

Apple and Blackberry Cordial recipe

2009 is a great year for blackberries. We have loads in our garden and I’m bottling them and processing them for winter. I’ve also become very interested in cordials. Danny has started using my Lemon and Elderflower cordial instead of white wine in cooking. I reckoned that Blackberry and Apple cordial  and a Wild Plum cordial would appeal to him. Deep into Oded Scwartz’s Preserving I read his words on making cordial, “Boil for just 4-5 minutes as you don’t want to turn it into jelly.” Basically making cordial is very easy...

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Fiona’s Elderflower and lemon cordial recipe

Posted in Cordials and Syrups | 11 comments

Fiona’s Elderflower and lemon cordial recipe

I love drinking citron pressé on a hot summer’s day. This is the juice of half a large fresh lemon, topped up with caster sugar and ice cold water. I discovered this drink on holiday in Brittany when I was nine years old and have enjoyed it ever since. So this year I thought it would be fun to make an Elderflower cordial with a distinct lemon kick. I’ve just finished bottling it. The result was a zingy grown up cordial that balances tangy lemon with the fragrant buzz of elderflowers. Delicious with iced water (my first teetotal sampling)...

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Mike Murphy’s Spicy Mexican Coffee Syrup recipe

Posted in Cordials and Syrups | 7 comments

Mike Murphy’s Spicy Mexican Coffee Syrup recipe

I must admit that if I’d heard the ingredients of Mike’s favourite childhood café Saturday morning breakfast, I don’t think that I would have tried his spicy Mexican syrup in my first mug of Sunday Saffron Walden coffee. Luckily chill con carne omelette hadn’t been mentioned at that point. Mike has a small chic espresso making machine that makes coffee to kill for. He usually makes an espresso in a mug for me, tops it up with water, sugar and milk. Yesterday he gave me a sideline glance. “You usually have sugar,...

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Fiona’s traditional elderflower cordial recipe

Posted in Cordials and Syrups | 163 comments

Fiona’s traditional elderflower cordial recipe

It’s elderflower cordial recipe season once again! Yesterday afternoon I found myself up a tall ladder with a carrier bag, picking elderflower heads. I picked about fifty heads. They are best picked when the sun is on them. I climbed higher and higher to find exactly what I wanted. They had to be perfect with no trace of brown blossom. According to Joanna’s Food brown blossom can foul the cordial. My sister brought a similar recipe back from France. Since I introduced Danny to elderflower and pink grapefruit cocktail, it seemed a...

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Non alcoholic drinks: Elderflower and Pink Grapefruit cocktail recipe

Posted in Cordials and Syrups | 5 comments

Non alcoholic drinks: Elderflower and Pink Grapefruit cocktail recipe

Danny was working in the garden yesterday afternoon. Studying the Sunday papers rather than waving a spade about. He wandered into the kitchen. “What sort of drinks do we have to dilute with water?” I pointed him in the direction of the Lemon Barley Water. Refreshing – they serve it at Wimbledon after all. Then I remembered a girlie lunch last summer. The hostess served jugs of a delicious drink. It was a mixture of elderflower cordial and pink grapefruit juice (Robinsons) diluted with water. No one could guess what the...

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Non alcoholic drinks: Anne Mary’s St Clement’s Punch Recipe

Posted in Cordials and Syrups | 6 comments

Non alcoholic drinks: Anne Mary’s St Clement’s Punch Recipe

On a hot summers day when I have been working in the garden I sometimes take a break and loll in the bower with an ice cold citron pressé. Half a squeezed lemon in a tall glass topped up with iced water and a dash of sugar. It is instantly thirst quenching and takes me right back to summer holidays in Brittany when I was a child. St Clement’s Punch is a much more sophisticated drink. Superb on a warm sunny day. Although it has a grown up taste, children seem to like it too so it is a great drink to make for a party or a fête. I...

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Katey’s Rosehip Syrup recipe

Posted in Cordials and Syrups | 186 comments

Katey’s Rosehip Syrup recipe

All my life I’ve loved wading through fallen leaves. At their best they have settled in frothy, tempting drifts on dull pavements. Crisp, dry, and waiting to be ruffled by any passer by. Just remembering the swish and crunch gives me goose bumps. To get the best effect, keep your feet close to the ground and use a skiing motion. This has to be a solitary activity, unless you are under six. As a child this delight and a daily spoonful of rosehip syrup heralded the start of winter. At home we queued up, in order of age, as my mother doled...

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