Finally, elderflower cordial

Just finished and tasted elderflower cordial, it is marvellous:

How to make: for 3l I brought 3l water with 2kg demerara sugar to boiling point, let it cool, added zest and slices from 4 lemons, 75g citric acid and around 60 elderflower heads. Steeped for 24 hours, stirred it every few hours, then strained into bottles.

Spent the afternoon today at Taste of London in Regents Park (for work so at least didn’t have to pay to get in) and the weather was doing all sorts of things from downpours to glorious sunshine.

Having gone quite far to find elderflower for cordial, found that Regents Park is full of it – wander if people pick it there?

Doubt that very much. It’s so wonderfully manicured:

Have also taken pictures of mud at Taste but no pictures of food, think Taste has become a bit too corporate now and hard to see the criteria for choosing exhibitors – certainly not as much artisan food/ small producers as there used to be 5 or 6 years ago. Anyway, I did buy some books (yay!) which I may post at some point later.

As I was leaving, the sunshine was indeed glorious.

Homemade butter and other weekend projects

I picked this book up years ago (Borders bookshops were all the rage at the time), thinking it may come in useful some day then put it on a shelf and pretty much forgot about it for a few years. Typical, have lots of books like that. Then I remembered it had a recipe for elderflower cordial, which I’m making at the moment and off the shelf it came. It also tells you how to make butter – did not realise how simple making butter is so thought I’d try it. Last night was as good a time as any – words fail at the excitement and joy I got from this tiny little pat of butter I produced.

Am sure lots of people make butter at home – have never really thought about it before but so glad I did this. Here’s what to do:

– pour double cream into a jam jar and shake until it separates into a lump of butter and the remaining liquid is buttermilk. ┬áThe cream should be a few days old, not fresh.

– pour out buttermilk and reserve if using for another recipe (e.g. pancakes), then rinse the butter by pouring water into the jar and gently swirling until water runs clear.

– press butter with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out any remaining buttermilk and do this properly or butter will go rancid. Add salt if you like salted butter (apparently it also keeps longer) or just put in fridge if you prefer unsalted.

That’s basically it. I probably had only about 100ml double cream left and the jar in the back of the picture is 500ml – gives you an idea on how much butter you get. The shaking didn’t take too long – perhaps around half an hour, was making dinner at the time so would just pick up the jar and give it a few vigorous shakes every now and then. Lost crafts book says some people make this in a food processor but I really see no need to do that.

Going to have my little bit of homemade butter for breakfast with yesterday’s black pepper rye bread.

In other bread news, I now have my first sourdough starter!! Am following Dan Lepard’s instructions from Short and sweet and have had a little dough ball (rye flour and water) for 5 days before mashing it with more water and adding more flour to make this mush last night. There are already bubbles in it this morning and it doesn’t smell particularly nice:

Can’t wait to make first sourdough but obviously still a while to go. Am likely to burst with excitement prior to actually producing any bread…

Last project this weekend – elderflower is currently steeping in sugar syrup so will be bottling my little batch of cordial later this afternoon when I get back from Taste of London where I’ve a little work to do. Shame the weather is rubbish, will probably get soaked…