The summer holiday’s are now well under way and we have a new addition to our family. She is called Mathilde and she is an Old English Sheepdog who, at the time of writing, is just nine weeks old. All very sweet, cuddly and amazing with her besotted older brothers but not exactly the best addition to a houseful of boy energy at the start of the summer holidays. Only because she cannot come with us to the Zoo or because when we took her for a walk in the forest last week we literally had to carry her back. So we try to make adventures a little closer to home.
We planned to make Elderflower cordial and needed to gather flowers from the forest in order to do so. I find that any adventure involving a knife and a reason to climb tree’s is a draw for the boys and we set off with great enthusiasm and a mission to collect forty flower heads. We quickly realised that actually a forest is not a great location to pick the flowers as they need sunlight to grow and in a dense canopy this meant they were mostly out of reach at the top of the trees despite our heroic efforts. Thankfully, we were making in tandem with a friend who happily realised that she had the perfect tree right there in her very own back garden, so we topped off our foraging treasures with some even better flowers from her garden.
We used a very straightforward recipe from Trine Hahneman’s Scandinavian Christmas. There are a few recipes in the book for Christmas that can only be made in advance using seasonal products at their very best earlier in the year and Elderflower Cordial is one of them. Having made a few of the recipes over the Christmas season very successfully I really recommend this book as a perfect introduction to the heart of Danish cooking.
The flower heads were checked for bugs and debris then added to a bowl with sliced lemon, citric acid and two litres of sugar syrup. I will gloss over exactly how much sugar but let’s just say we brush our teeth very well afterwards. I am not a very patient cook and despite the recipe needing four days to steep I have to admit to giving up after two. I hope that we did not miss a vital stage of the process but we think the cordial tastes amazing just the way it is.
There is a bottle in the freezer waiting to be added to Champagne at Christmas as per the recipe book but I suspect that the rest will disappear pretty quickly. In fact the very next day we started on batch number two because it was so delicious. There are also four jars of strawberry and elderflower jam in the dresser curtesy of a trip up to the Pick Your Own fruit farm at Vejborggaard.
We will be making a lot more trips into the forest as the summer roll’s on, there are raspberries to be collected, cherries and blackberries too. We just hope that puppy can manage the whole walk on her own soon!