I’m going to be busy making elderflower champagne this weekend. I'm a virgin elderflower champagne maker so I'm excited by the prospect.
We used to have an enormous elderflower tree to the south side of the cottage. Unfortunately it died a couple of winters ago but luckily for us, this giant tree left prodgeny. So we have enough blooms to make our elderflower and elderflower and lemon cordials. The latter is much more of an adult drink and gets the thumbs up from anyone who samples it.
As elderflower champagne is a new venture for me I thought that I'd take the opportunity to show you how I develop my own recipes. I know that this blog is packed with loads of my recipes but I don’t just wake in the night and jot down a recipe that has been dictated in my dreams. No, my recipes are generally the result of curiosity, tweaking and trial and error.
Generally I start out with a couple of recipes from tried and tested sources. On the elderflower champagne front I’ve chosen two sources. Hugh Fearnley Whitenstall and Andy Hamilton. The former because I have a very soft spot for HFW and his recipes are tried and tested. Andy Hamilton's recipes just work and he does a lot of valuable research. Incidentaly Andy Hamilton’s Booze for Free is an excellent present for foragers and foodies who like a tipple.
Andy’s recipe doesn’t come from his book – I found it online here. This recipe appeals to me as you can use it either to make elderflower wine or turn it into elderflower champagne at a later stage. I love procrastination.
HFW’s recipe - also found online here - uses a pinch of dried yeast if necessary – so is relying on the wild yeast in the elderflowers. Wild yeast? Exciting stuff.
Of course in the fullness of time I’ll report back on the results and then it may be time to tweak and experiment.
Here are links to all our own elderflower recipes:
Traditional elderflower cordial
Elderflower and lemon cordial
Elderflower and lime jellies
Elderflower and raspberry jellies
Elderflower vodka liqueur. NB Initially I hated this but when I added fresh gooseberries and let them steep for three months the result was superb, a gooseberry liqueur with a subtle elderflower buzz. So I’ll be making it again this year and trying it with fresh strawberries too.
Angela's elderflower champagne
A few ideas for using your elderflower cordial:
Non alchoholic Elderflower and pink grapefruit cocktail
Pork chops with tarragon and elderflower cordial
Put a small dash of cordial in a fresh fruit salad, a cranberry and clentine sauce, stewed rhubarb or a fruit fool.
I also use elderflower cordial and fizzy water inside of tonic water in a gin or vodka cocktail.
Any other ideas on uses for elderflower cordial as a cooking ingredient would be greatly appreciated.
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