So, I managed to miss out on last year's '30 Days Wild' and intend to make up for it this year, even if it means ending up writing my name in the dust that gathers on the furniture and eating baked beans for a month as a result! (Sorry Paul!)
Eating baked beans is not going to be an option for today though because on this, Day 1 of Somerset Wild's 30 day wild challenge, I am going to pick elderflowers. They are growing prolifically at the moment on the green lanes surrounding our village and I have already made some elderflower sorbet (great success) and elderflower cake (best not to speak of this!)
The beautifully illustrated The Hedgerow Handbook: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals by Adele Nozedar promised that the elderflower sorbet would instantly make the world a better place and suffuse my world with joy. (I'm paraphrasing). I decided I needed suffusing with joy so set to. Now, it is quite fiddly so be warned, but be prepared for the joyful effects and prepare at least 24 hours before you imagine yo're going to need suffusing with joy. I'm going to share the recipe with you. It went against the grain a little but the book said not to wash the flowers before using because you would remove the pollen - so I didn't. Any wee beasties will get strained away during the process anyway. Another helpful hint - gather the flowers after the sun has been on them for a while and not straight after the rain has washed away the pollen!
700g caster sugar
1 litre water
8 elderflower heads
zest from 3 lemons
1) Place sugar and water in saucepan over moderate heat and stir with wooden spoon until sugar has dissolved.
2) Increase heat and bring syrup to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly so tht syrup is at a steady simmer.
3) Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until it has thickened (mine didn't really thicken that much)
4) Remove from heat and add elderflower heads and lemon zest.
5) Leave to infuse until the syrup has cooled.
6) Strain the syrup (I used a normal sieve) and either pour into an ice-cream container and prepare according to manufacturer's instructions
or (and this is what I did)
Pour into a container (or two) and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours (or 24 hours in my case), stirring every half an hour or so bringing the ice crystals from the outside into the middle to stop the sorbet from crystallising too much.
It really is delicious. So delicious I'm going to make it again.
Now I was feeling magnanimous so I offered our poorly neighbour a taste of the spirit-lifting dessert (he was in dire need of being suffused with joy). He refused it on the grounds thathe didn't like elderflower. So there's more for us!
Now I'm hoping my rhubarb will have grown sufficiently to maker the Elderflower and Rhubarb ripple from the same book!
Enjoy 30 days wild everyone. I'll post a photo of the elderflower picking process later.