The elderflowers are here and it is the best time of year. If I was more of a poet I’d have come up with a second line to go with that. I’ve been shoving elderflowers into various different things for years: cordial, gin, crumble and sugar to name a few. I wanted to try something a little different, and a bit less time consuming this time round, to get that wonderful elderflower fragrance down my neck as soon as I could. A celebration of late
I live in a village and on first appearances it has all the qualities of somewhere straight out of Call The Midwife. Actually living there is quite different; people don't know each others names, good luck trying to get them to take your bins in for you and there's so much material competition it's like a car forecourt out there. Of course there are exceptions; one of which is the white house on the corner. They have a Bramley apple tree and although
I thought I knew my local area pretty well, thought I’d trodden all its paths and roads and could take you to all the best places. Turns out I was wrong as a spontaneous left turn took me to all sorts of corners of Hampshire that I didn’t even know were there. We were planning on doing a bit of local exploring but hadn’t set our expectations too high as we were so convinced we'd already seen it all; we were amazed at all the new places we
I have just come back from a week in Wales. We went to a place where there is no phone signal and not even a hope of connecting to the internet so you have no choice but to properly relax and get away. Holidaying with the family is always good fun; lots of meals in, walks and catching up on silly things. This is what I got up to over the week and, if you’re heading off to mighty Wales, I hope it gives you some ideas for what to do.
When I heard about Brew It Yourself I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. I have made a few infusions in my time, almost always involving gin, so I was looking forward to seeing what Richard Hood and Nick Moyle (aka Two Thirsty Gardeners) had put in their book. It's been a while since I've opened a book up and not known which bit to look at or which recipe to try first but everything in Brew It Yourself sounds so tempting and completely achievable.
I love this time of year in Britain; when the weather is getting warmer and warmer but it hasn’t quite got to the muggy stage and it’s still nice and cool at night. There are flowers in the hedges and the fruit has started growing on the trees; most of my time is spent outside and as far as I’m concerned, shoes are optional. I have done plenty of cooking with elderflower in the past and it seemed an ideal time to try out something slightly different
If you fancy going out and trying your hand at foraging there isn’t much of a better time to start than now. Wild garlic is one of the best things to look for as it’s so distinctive; you smell it before you see it, the leaf is fairly specific and if you’re still not sure you can tear the leaves and do an additional sniff test before you start taking it home. I fancied my hand at baking some Wild Garlic Bread, sort of tear and share style, so
If you've been reading my blog over the years you'll know I love anything elderflower. This year I was invited to go foraging in the grounds at Audley Inglewood, home to restaurant The Walmesley, and to knock up a batch of homemade elderflower cordial with their head chef Gert Pienaar. It was great to go out to the fields, pick the elderflowers and have a good old chat about food at the same time. I've not made elderflower cordial before; syrup and
It all got a bit serious last weekend. I went all out for a foraging expedition; books, bags to carry what I picked and bigger bag to carry all my things, wellies, I was prepared for anything. While out I found a few new things I didn't realise were edible but I headed straight to my favourite patch of wild garlic to get picking before the season is over. I did have to travel a little downstream to get to the good stuff and there was a wobbly moment
You know when you go out blackberry picking you end up eating pretty much all of them and have nothing to show for it when you get home? As much as it is very hard to resist keeping any of the berries for later I thought it would be well worth the effort for a sort of hidden gem baked blackberry cheesecake. Beneath the pillowy layers of soft cheese you can find little bits of sweet, purple fruit. I didn't have to save too many either as you only need