Seasonal Recipes

Elderflower Cordial

A simple creation, the aromatic and revitalizing elderflower cordial of spring can be blended with sparkling water for a crisp elderflower pressé, or introduced to wine, prosecco, or champagne to kickstart an elegant celebration.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½kg white sugar, either granulated or caster
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
  • 85g citric acid (from chemists)

Method

STEP 1: Syrup Preparation

Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan. Heat gently until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Use a potato peeler to pare lemon zest. Slice lemons into rounds.

STEP 2: Infusion

Bring the syrup to a boil, then turn off the heat. Swish elderflowers in cold water to remove dirt and bugs. Add flowers, lemon slices, zest, and citric acid to syrup. Stir and cover. Infuse for 24 hours.

STEP 3: Straining and Bottling

Line a colander with a tea towel and place over a bowl. Strain syrup through colander. Discard residue in the towel. Use a funnel to fill sterilised bottles. Cordial is ready to drink or store in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Alternatively, freeze in containers or ice cube trays for later use.

Sloe Gin

Sloe gin is a delicious and popular fruit liqueur made by infusing sloe berries (small, dark purple berries) with gin and sugar.  

As autumn approaches, it’s the perfect occasion to gather or purchase sloes and create your own sloe gin, requiring a minimum of two months for proper maturation, making it an excellent choice with Christmas drawing near.

When can you find sloes in their prime season? To begin, locating sloes is essential. In the UK, from late September to November, wild blackthorn trees are abundant with sloes. While opinions differ on the ideal picking time, a straightforward guideline is that when the berries can be effortlessly pressed between your fingers, they are ripe.

Ingredients

  • 500g ripe sloes
  • 250g sugar
  • 1 litre gin

Method

STEP 1: Preparing the Sloes

Rinse the sloes (small, dark purple berries) and remove any debris or impurities.  Gently pat the sloes dry using a clean tea towel.  Use a stainless steel fork or cocktail stick to prick the sloes. This helps release their flavors and colours.  Place the pricked sloes into a 2-litre glass jar. If you prefer, you can divide them between two smaller jars.

STEP 2: Adding Ingredients and Initial Mixing

Add sugar to the jar(s) containing the pricked sloes.  Pour gin into the jar(s) to cover the sloes and sugar.  Seal the jar(s) tightly.  Shake the jar(s) well to mix the ingredients. This step initiates the infusion process.  For the next seven days, shake the jar(s) vigorously once a day. This helps distribute flavours and sugars.

STEP 3: Straining and Bottling

After the seven-day shaking period, strain the sloe gin to remove the solid components. Prepare a plastic sieve and cover it with a square piece of muslin cloth. Set it over a bowl to catch the liquid.  Pour the infused gin through the muslin-covered sieve to strain out the pricked sloes and any solids.  The strained liquid is now your sloe gin.  Decant the strained sloe gin into clean, dry bottles for storage and seal the bottles tightly.  

The sloe gin is ready to be consumed at this point, but it will continue to improve and mature in flavor over time. It’s recommended to let it age for at least two to three months before enjoying it.  Ideally, if you can wait, it’s suggested to make the sloe gin one year before you plan to drink it, as this extended aging period enhances its flavour.  Remember that homemade infused liqueurs like sloe gin can be a wonderful treat. Enjoy responsibly and savor the rich flavors that develop through the infusion process!

Blackberry& Granola Yoghurt Pots

Ingredients

  • 75 g Blackberries 
  • 10 oz Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 25 g Blackberries (about ¼ cup)
  • 15 g Honey Almond Flax, granola cereal (about ¼ cup)

Method

  • In a small bowl add the first portion of blackberries. Using a fork smash the blackberries until they are not longer whole blackberries but still chunky with some blackberry liquid.
  • Now transfer the smashed blackberries to the bottom of your serving dish.
  • Top your smashed blackberries with the yogurt.
  • Now add the second lay of blackberries, this time leaving them whole.
  • Then sprinkle with your honey almond flax granola cereal. Enjoy!