I'm just back from a glorious early morning cycle adventure and everywhere - whether field, hedgerow or forest... is full of the subject of this blog!
Gently bobbing in the wind... sharing her beautiful fragrance, she doesn't just limit herself to the silence of the woods or valleys either. Oh no, she can also be spotted flowering freely at the sides of highways, or on inner city railway tracks.
A lesson, perhaps - that true beauty will shine whether the ground is a fertile one, or not.
And her gifts are not just limited to our eyes or noses. For the all-year-round-cook, she also offers so many culinary delights! In flower she gives us a sweet fragrance full of the promise of summer ...and in the fall, her berries gathered, cooked and strained can be made into a syrup that can keep the winter colds at bay.
So yes - it's actually becoming a little bit of a tradition in this blog that each early summer I'm sharing an elderflower recipe. This wasn't planned... but seems to be happening on it's own accord. In my first year, I shared a recipe for a delicious cordial, in my second, for ice-cream... and now, here - as I hit the 2 and half year mark, let me share another way of enjoying one of nature's most fleeting but precious early summer offerings - elderflower fritters.
In many ways, the elderflower represents much of what I hold dear. This is not something you can just go down to the supermarket and buy wrapped in miles of plastic. It's a wild and abundant harvest which in order to pick, you need to go out into nature and scramble around the forests or by-ways with a pair of scissors and a basket.
So - onto the recipe. The elderflower season has coincided with our gooseberry bush producing the most berries it has ever managed (remembering of course that last year it produced the grand sum of 3) - and so it seemed like the perfect chance to combine them.
The tartness of the berries, combined with the crunch of the fritter and sweetness of the flowers - topped with a little cream and washed down with a glass of Rose - the perfect start to a not totally perfectly started summer ( we are talking rain, clouds, wind and storms... but with oh so much appreciated windows of perfect sunshine in-between).
For those dear friends who live in countries where elderflowers are perhaps not abundant, I hope this entry will inspire you to go out and collect whatever bounty the nature in your area provides. There's something so magical about coming back with a collection of foraged food - however, little... :-)
INGREDIENTS (for 2)
8 elderflower heads - shaken to remove any bugs
50 grams of flour - sieved
1 tablespoon of oil
80 ml of sparkling water
one egg white beaten to soft white peaks
a pinch of salt
icing sugar for decoration
some fruit sauce ( I used a small bowl of gooseberries cooked with a spoon of sugar). Rhubarb, raspberries or the first strawberries of summer would also work a treat.
a squoosh of cream if you like that kind of thing
MIX - the flour, salt, water and oil together.
LEAVE - for half an hour
BEAT - the egg white to soft peaks
HEAT - a small pan of oil (you are going to be deep frying these) It's ready when you add a tiny spot of batter and it sizzles.
FOLD IN - the egg white
DIP - each flower head into the batter
DEEP FRY - until golden brown
DRAIN - on some kitchen paper
SPRINKLE - with icing sugar
DECORATE - with fruit sauce, fruit, cream, mint leaf... whatever
EAT - quickly while hot.
So that's it for now folks. I hope you enjoyed the video - a little sharing of the other 'bounty' I'm busy with collecting at the moment - film footage. :-)
With love and happy foraging!