The penultimate butternut squash has become a delicious soup for lunch. I adapted an easy to make Jamie Oliver recipe.
2 red onions
2 celery sticks
4 garlic cloves
2 rosemary sprigs
Fresh red chilli to taste (I just pick and freeze chilli’s for winter cooking)
Salt and Pepper
A large butternut squash
2 Litres of chicken stock
Chop up vegetables and herbs. Heat some olive oil in a large pan. Add everything apart from the butternut squash and seasoning. Cook in the oil for ten minutes. Add the butternut squash and stock. Simmer until all vegetables are tender, then liquidise. I use a hand held blender, but my knack is a little hap hazard as I invariable end up with splattered soup up the wall! Heat through and season to taste.
Butternut squash stores well over winter, mine have just been left on a shelf in the utility room. The big decision now is what to do with the last one. I know the husband will want a butternut squash risotto, somehow I will persuade him to make his amazing Thai butternut squash curry.
To me Elderflowers represent early English summers. We have a few Elders in our hedges and I treasure their crop of flowers. The tree itself does little for me; it has a tendency to look like a tatty intruder, a weed of the tree world. Their existence in our garden is saved for the flowers and subsequent cordial.
I love Elderflower cordial mixed with sparkling water it’s a refreshing aromatic summer drink. I’m using Mary Berry’s recipe as she uses campden tablets, which helps extend the cordials shelf life.
Cut 25-30 Elderflower heads, they need to be fresh open flowers (with no brown bits), if shaken the flowers should stay firm and not fall on your feet like confetti.
Elderflowers that I’ve just picked
These are added to a slightly cooled mixture of water and caster sugar that has been brought to the boil to dissolve the sugar. To this I add finely sliced lemons, citric acid and campden tablets. Leave in a large bowl over night, then, pour through muslin to remove all the flower heads and lemons.
The cordial mixture
Bottle up the cordial and store in the Fridge. It should last for 2-3 months.
Bottled up cordial
Elderflower cordial Ingredients:
25-30 Elderflower heads
1.5 kg of caster sugar
1.5 litres of water
2 lemons finely sliced
50g citric acid
2 x campden tablets
Elderflower cordial also makes a cracking cocktail which I can highly recommend.
Fresh Mint Sprigs and/or Cucumber slices
Pour a dash of Elderflower cordial and 20ml of gin into a glass and simply fill with cold Prosecco. Then decorate with a sprig of fresh mint or slice of cucumber if you wish. Cheers!
Elderflower cocktails – cheers