I had been planning to make elderflower Vodka for weeks, since I saw the first Elderflower umbels begin to flower. I bought Vodka and waited for a lovely summers day to go out and gather some elderflowers. In came the rain, and the gales, and cold weather, Brrr, not going out in this!
Yesterday I noticed that most of the elderflowers were already finished and decided today would have to be the day, or it was all over for another year, and no elderflower vodka. This morning it was sunny and still, a perfect day, and I only needed to walk a short way from my door to find a small elderflower bush with a shady side which was less advanced than I’d seen out and about yesterday. Ten or so Umbels picked and back to my suntrap back garden.
So what else do I need? a Lemon, and a bottle of Vodka, 100g of sugar, and a glass jar.
I gently removed the flower heads from the stems, Elderflowers aren’t toxic but the wood and stems are, I don’t think I would poison anyone if I’d left the stems on but you just never know. I de-stem the flowers over a plate so I can check for foreign bodies or small creatures, which can be encouraged away or squashed according to preference. I encouraged some small creatures to depart, the ones who wouldn’t go got squashed.
On top of the flowers went the zest of a lemon, and a 100 grams of sugar, and a 75cl bottle of Vodka, (it should have been a Ltr but I only had a 75cl bottle) So only 75 cls of Elderflower vodka this year.
On top of the flowers I put 3 layers of greaseproof paper and the lemon slices, this is to hold the flowers under the vodka to stop them going brown and colouring the vodka.
I found the recipe at wild at heart foods, thanks and credit where it’s due.
note to self… next time cut the paper to fit the jar, 3 or 4 layers slightly offset, each tucked down the side of the jar slightly will hold the flowers down better. Some of the lemon slices can go under the paper, all of them is too many. I have made elderflower liqueur before, see :- Elderflower liqueur
Having planned to go out on Sunday with our cameras, we took the 16 year old to Churchtown an ancient village nearby, mainly because although the sun shone and the day was mild and dry, there is still little evidence of spring to brighten the day and gladden the heart.
I do enjoy wandering about a country churchyard occasionally, this one made me think of Victorian lady novelists, Charlotte Bronte would not have looked out of place wandering amongst the gravestones outside this grand old dame with her tiny medieval doorways and leaning walls.
The crocuses are just blooming and still picture perfect.
We walked down the high street and found a house, old and uncared for almost derelict, how I would love to get my hands on that when it finally comes up for sale, what a development project, how beautifully and sympathetically I would love it back to life. Sadly I won’t have the wherewithal, no doubt some property developer will buy it and “modernise” the heart out of it, and sell it on for a King’s ransom. Such is life. Beside it we found a strange thing, an old red phone box, of the type which generally no longer exists in villages. This one is a free to use phone, not economical to run as a pay phone, the phone company BT have simply left it operational but no longer empty the coin box, so allow it to be used, Gratis!
Opposite is this picturesque post box set in the brick garden wall of the house which in turn faces the Old Post Office now a private house, it still has its Victorian shop front.
This tiny village boasts two public houses one a famous gastro pub, The Punchbowl, I haven’t been inside for 30 years but remember very clearly being accidentally squirted in the eye with a lemon by my friend, ouch! The other pub has lain empty for some time now, so I was really pleased to see it reopened and spruced up, perhaps I’ll take the old folks for lunch, on the way to the Quilt Exhibition in a couple of weeks time.
We came across a delightful young couple, who were working on a little mini car, they were renovating it meticulously, the interior was all new leather, the body work resprayed, and they were polishing the chrome fittings the grill and headlights. They looked so young; the car they were working on must have been older than both of their ages, combined. I hope they enjoy having such a great little car.