Friday, 21 November 2014

Recipe for Elder flower Cordial

To my wonderful surprise I found a big Elderberry tree in the paddock and we moved into our cottage just in time to see the tree coming into flower. I have made elder flower cordial in the past and followed a recipe given to me by a friend.
The recipe is very common; the elder flowers are steeped in sugar water with lemon and citric acid for 24 hours.
This recipe works well, but I find the sugar water with the elder flowers a bit sticky to pour through the muslin cloth, so I have changed the recipe to make the process less 'sticky', but with the same result.
Two big bottles of elder flower cordial
The recipe is as follow:
After picking about 10 to 15 elder flower heads I soak the flowers in water and rinse well to get rid of little insects.
Next I leave the elder flowers to steepe in a bowl with 1 liter of water, one sliced lemon and 25 grams of citric acid for 24 hours.
I buy the citric acid in the supermarket and this is to preserve the cordial.
Elder flowers on the tree
After 24 hours I pour  the water with the elder flowers and lemon through a muslin cloth into a cooking pot and squeeze the flowers to get all the liquid into the pot.
Basket full of elder flowers

washing the flowers

The elder flowers steeping with lemon

Adding sugar
I heat the elder flower liquid on the stove and when boiling add 500 grams of castor sugar and stir till dissolved. I like to sterilize my bottles by pouring boiling water into the bottles and rinsing, then I leave the bottles and lids in the oven heated to 50 degrees Celsius for half hour.
I pour the hot elder flower cordial into the sterilized bottles and screw the lids on tight.
This cordial is not over sweet, but very refreshing with soda water or can be used in baking.
My elder flower tree in the paddock

Friday, 7 November 2014

Cottage in the country, the garden

The Spring weather has been unsettled the last few days, on Monday night there was a hail storm and we had a power cut for most of the night.
Sadly for a lot of apple growers the damage was more then just a power cut and hail on the decking,some growers lost their apple crops and when the grower is not insured there won't be any income for the year.
The following day I heard the hail canons blasting away, this device sends shock waves into the atmosphere to disrupt the formation of hail stones.

The hail stones on the decking.
Luckily the sun was shining again and I got busy in the garden. The neighbours sheep love the grass on the other side of the fence much better, that's my garden, so as soon as I open the gate to the paddock, they come running and blaring to be with me, no not really, rather to eat everything in their sight!
I leave the sheep mostly for about ten minutes, but when they start nibbling on the blueberry scrubs I escort them arm waving back behind the gate.

The neighbours sheep in the orchard 
Also the lawn tastes nice!
In the afternoon our friends son, Shiloh came to help me with cleaning the pond.
The pond was not a pond, just an area filled with mud and weeds to the top, I think the pond had not been cleaned for ten years or so.
It took Shiloh and me two hours to empty the pond with buckets and the mud is spread over the garden were it can dry up in the sun.
Now the pond is ready for clean water, waterlilies and gold fish!

Shiloh is helping to clean out the pond

The job is nearly done!
I can't wait to sit in my lounger, read a book and so now and then glance at the waterlilies and fish swimming away, yah!!