Thursday, 1 July 2010

Elderflowers are my Raison d'Etre.

Well, the Norfolk Kitchen Raison d'Etre rather my actual being I suppose (you'd have to ask my parents about that one)

I think it was 2008 when I last made Elderflower Champagne, in the summer of 2009 I was wondering whether to make some more but was dismayed to realise I no longer had the recipe. It was then that it occurred to me that a kind of kitchen diary cum recipe scrapbook would be really useful, not just for recipes but also for recording the wild fruit we'd picked and - lo! - Norfolk Kitchen was born.

I never did get round to making Elderflower Champagne last year but have done this year. I kept things simple and used the River Cottage recipe (in 2008 I seem to recall endless Googling before amalgamating 2 or 3 recipes) I've cut it fine with regard to the elderflowers though, most have already wilted and begun to turn into tiny, green berries but, feeling somewhat foolish in my floral dress and nettle beating wellies, I managed to find just enough fresh blooms. Still, I'll be glad of the berries come crumble season.

On the way back home I investigated a local bullace shrub and found it laden with juvenile fruit (pictured), all around the foraging season seems to limbering up, ready for the main performance in a couple of months. I've seen cherry plums just beginning to blush red and baby apples burgeoning quietly in the hedgerows. Time to draw up my 2010 preserves wish list ....


  1. I still have 8 bottles of elderflower champagne to drink from last year, so have decided not to make any this year.

    I'm a novice gorager, so will be watching your blog close for inspiration. Those bullace berries look good.

  2. Hopefully you'll find lots of inspiration here, look forward to hearing more from you.

  3. Hi Tracey

    I also love the Elderflower Champagne, mine was made late on nearly the last blossoms too but it seems to be doing well at the moment. I won't make that mistake next year either with the cordial or the Champagne.

    What's on your wish list this year then? It sounds as though you are ideally situated to find all sorts of goodies locally where you live. Deadly jealous of the quince/japonica don't seem to see much of that this way on at all. Out of curiousity and in retrospect I have never tasted mulberry and wondered if you had come across it on your travels at all?

    Take care

    Pattypan xx

  4. The Japonica Quince is no more, sadly. It grew at a funny angle and had so much fruit last year that it toppled over and the council chopped it down. I've got a couple of friends with quince trees so I will probably be able to source more but it's not as satisfying as having your own supply!

    No, I haven't tasted Mulberry, let me know what it's like. My raspberries failed on the allotment this year so I'm thinking of alternatives to grow.

  5. How about Tayberry and Loganberry they are just as nice as raspberries. Nothing nicer than soft fruit like this crumbled fresh on top of cereal and cold milk in the summer months.

    I am feeling the urge to get a few small fruit trees to keep in pots dotted around the garden so that you can move them to best advantage. How about a vine to make your own vino and figs.

    Must go have to go to work

    Take care