Gorse Flower Cordial
Gorse flowers have a slightly bitter, floral flavour, with a hint of coconut. They make a delicate, refreshing cordial.
As many gorse petals as you can pick! Ideally, at least a litre jugful.
Juice & zest of 2 oranges
Pick the gorse flowers on a dry sunny day, ideally when you can smell the coconut fragrance as this will give a more flavoursome cordial.
Put the blossoms in a pan and cover with boiling water. You just want to add enough water to submerge the flowers. Leave to steep overnight. Strain through a jelly bag or piece of muslin. Add the zest and juice from the oranges. Measure out the liquid and pour back into the pan. Add 700 g of sugar per litre of liquid and heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour into hot sterilised bottles if you want to keep it for a few months, otherwise bottle into clean containers and keep in the fridge.
Wild Garlic Pesto
100g wild garlic leaves
100ml olive oil
50g grated cheese (optional)
Whizz all of the ingredients together in a blender if you have one, otherwise finely chop the leaves and nuts, or pound them in a pestle and mortar, then mix them up with the remaining ingredients. This is delicious stirred into pasta, boiled potatoes, spread on bread or eaten as a dip. It will keep in the fridge for about a week.
Rose hip Syrup
This recipe is based on the recipe from the Ministry of Food recipe. It is really delicious and tastes so exotic. Pour onto porridge, pancakes, icecream or add to prosecco for a special cocktail.
1 Kg Rose Hips
3 litres of boiling water
Immerse the hips in the boiling water and mince with a tough hand blender (doing this in the water helps preserve the vitamin c ) then bring back to the boil. If you don’t have a hand blender you could put them into a food processor, roughly mince them then add to the water. Leave for 15 minutes to stand. Strain through a jelly bag until most of the liquid runs through.
Put the minced hips back into a pan, add one litre of water and bring to the boil. Stand for 15 minutes then strain through the jelly bag.
Once the liquid has dripped through, combine both lots of rose hip juice. I pour them through the cleaned out jelly bag one more time just to make sure all the hairy seeds are removed. Put back into a clean pan.
Boil the mixture till it has reduced by about a third (up to a half if you want a really thick syrup)
Add sugar. I use fair trade granulated, 850g for each litre of liquid. Pour in carefully so the hot liquid doesn’t spit up at you. Stir to dissolve then bring back to boiling point and boil for 5 minutes. Pour into hot, sterilised bottles and seal immeditately. Like this it will keep for at least 6 months unopened. If you are going to use it immediately you don’t have to worry about sterilising the bottles, just store in the fridge
A number of people have asked me for a recipe for red clover wine, so here it is.
As with most of my wine recipes, it is adapted from Roger Phillips “Wild Food” this is one of my all time favourite books on wild food and I thoroughly recommend it.
2 litres of red clover blossom – I pick them into a litre jug to measure them. Press down lightly & add more til you get the amount.
1 litre white grape juice
1kg caster sugar
Pick your blossoms when they are freshly opened, with no brown bits. You need to use them immediately or they will turn brown. Scrupulously clean a bucket – I use sterilising powder. It will need to be large enough to hold a gallon of liquid ( I use a very large tupperware style 15 litre container with a lid. This means I can double up the ingredients to make enough for 2 demijohns if I want) Heat 3 litres of water with the sugar, stirring to dissolve. When it reaches the boil pour it over the red clover flowers. Add the chopped oranges & lemons. When it cools down to about blood temperature add your yeast. I use a teaspoon of Young’s dried active wine yeast. When cool add the litre of grape juice. This is to add tannins to the wine. You could add raisins instead or a teabag (if doing either of these you need to make up the extra litre of water)
Cover your bucket or container so no little insects can get in, a lid is best. Leave it for 5 days to start fermenting, then strain off into a super clean demi john. I cover the air gap with a piece of kitchen towel or muslin & elastic band for a couple of days before I fit the airlock while fermentation is very lively as I’ve had overspills in the past. When it calms down a little then I add enough cooled boiled water to bring the liquid just below the neck of the demi john.
Once it has finished fermenting, or there abouts, “rack” into a clean demijohn – syphon off the wine, I use a cheap plastic syphon tube from the home brew shop which cost a couple of pounds. This should leave the layer of sediment at the bottom. Leave to settle and clear, then it is ready for bottling and drinking. I found it was delicious immediately after I bottled it (about 4 months later) but did not keep well so I would advise quick drinking! I found it to be a mellow, refreshing wine. Red clover is said to be good for balancing estrogen and as a skin and blood cleanser, which is what I smugly told myself as I glugged my daily glass.
Let me know how you get on!