Welcome Summer & Hello Elderflower

Lovely elderflower

Isn’t it lovely to have summer finally arrive? Just glorious! But like all good things, it comes and then you remember the things that are slightly annoying about it. Like the sunburn, the hay fever, the heat rash and those terribly chirpy birds in the hedge who wake with the light and go CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP. Tiny and sharp and irritating (at 5am), like little chirpy pneumatic drills that invade your head and your sleep.

This bird, and her chicks, wake me up every-single-morning. Sleepy.

But I do love summer. Even though I am Irish and pale and my body can’t actually cope with the heat. I think we operate best between 10 and 16 deg C.

Spring is best. When the flowers start to peep out and release their gorgeous fragrance, when the parks rush towards lush and green. The evenings are longer and people are happier. I love to wander in the local park, especially in the mornings.  If I can motivate myself I will even go before I start work. I always have a bag so that I can forage all of the delicious things like nettles and elderflower.

Elder tree at the end of the garden

This year is even better. Some of you will know that I have moved Saf, as we say here. South of the river in London that is. A new departure for me, I have always been a creature of the North and the East. There are many new things to discover, a gorgeous local park and woodland, lots of wild parakeets (really!) and at last, my little flat has a lovely little garden. In that garden is an elder tree. Perfect.

Elderflower, picked and ready to become cordial

I love elderflower. It brings me back to childhood and possibilities. Our hedgerows were full of elderflower, and I was easily amused so I would spend hours making elderflower cordial and trying to make elderflower perfume. The perfume never really worked for me, but the cordial has stayed. I would also make turkish delight in the microwave – a long story for another post – so I think it is only right that the two should finally meet.

So elderflower a go-go it is here right now. I have been making cordial for cocktails – bellinis and elderflower collins – as it is my birthday next week and I like a little excuse to party. I am also about to fritter some and dust them merrily with icing sugar. Tomorrow I will make that elderflower turkish delight. I can’t wait for the gooseberries to arrive so that I can make gooseberry and elderflower turkish delight which will be just gorgeous.

My elderflower cordial and bellini recipe are in my book, but the others are new to here. I will carry on perfecting them, and I will be right back with them for you to try at home on a glorious sunny evening.

Bye for now! Enjoy the lovely evening.

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Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.