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naomi devlin

Elderflower Cordial

by naomi devlin published on

Carole of Simply Gluten Free hosted this month's edition of Go Ahead Honey it's Gluten Free (GAHGF) and her theme was Man Food.

Hmmm, thought I - fan of roses and delicacy that I am - I guess I'll be firing up the barbeque and slapping on some steak then?

Each time we fired up the barbie, or seared a piece of meat just long enough to give a delicious savoury crust - but not long enough so that it was less than bloody, each time I made something hearty, I thought - 'ah, this is man food' and planned to post about it.

But something stopped me, the post feminist languishing at the back of my psyche kept poking me with her elbow, her eyebrow cocked in a question mark. Did I relish this meaty fare any less than Nick and Fin? Uh...nope. 

Did either of my gorgeous boys question their masculinity when I presented them with a tiny tart, seared scallop or bowl of leaves? Of course not - why they just picked up their forks and tucked in.

Yesterday all three of us cycled a wild and mostly off road round trip through Symondsbury, to Seatown and past Thorncombe Beacon - that tore at our thighs and stung our summer legs. Even through clouds of midges, vertiginous grassy climbs and the odd tumble, we filled our lungs with the freshest of air, felt the sun on our backs and gasped at each spectacular view.

As I turned back at the top of our final climb - too steep and rutted to cycle, I saw Nick and Fin trudging up behind me, Nick pushing both bikes and Fin looking gratefully up at him. At the summit a weary Fin threw his arms around Nick's neck and kissed him, saying, 'that's what Daddies are for'. 

Once we hit the road again and the wind sighed over our damp skin, I spied an elder tree heavy with creamy blossom. Moments later I was picking up speed, my pannier full of elderflowers and a plan a-brewing.

At home, I immersed the flowers with a few curls of lemon peel in a jar full of runny honey. Nick inhaled the muscat scent and suggested an elderflower martini - fresh from the hedgerow.

This morning I opened the jar and offered it around for a sniff. It was pronounced truly delicious - the essence of June. A couple of spoonfuls in a small glass of sparkling water transformed it into elderflower pressé. 

I'm thinking that similar treatment with a generous handful of ice and a good slug of vodka would yield a cocktail that only the gruffest curmudgeon could pass up - certainly not a man like Nick who would think nothing of fixing the shelves before breakfast, wearing little more than a fuchsia tee shirt and a manly smile. This one's for you darling. x x x

Elderflower Cordial (SCD)

1 lb (450g) runny honey - something light flavoured

zest of 1 lemon - use a vegetable peeler

6 or 7 medium heads of elderflower

Take the flowers off their stems with a fork, or just pinch off the ends of the spray.

Place into a largish jar with the lemon zest and pour over the honey. Any bugs that don't get away will end their days in the sweetest way possible and get strained out at the end.

Leave for 12 hours and then stir it all up. Leave for another 8-12 hours and then strain through a sieve into a clean jar, pressing all the honey through with your fingers or a spoon.

Taste and if you want more elderflower or lemon just steep again with fresh ingredients.

Seal and keep in the fridge.

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