Friday, 19 June 2009
Elderflowers, Allotments and a Strange Thing to Say.
It's that time of year again, a time when we are almost inundated with fermentation buckets and demi-johns full off all manner of elderflowery concoctions. As I said in a previous post, the hedgerows are just laden this year and cannot be resisted, so Isabella and I set off to gather some ready for a gallon or three of elderflower champagne as a change from the cordials we have already got underway. In fact, we are only just finishing the very last of the previous year's batch of cordial and will need to make a similarly large amount this time to see us through once more. I have put the recipe for elderflower cordial back onto my website so click if you would like to have a go.
I have such a gatherer's instinct and cannot bear empty cupboards. I positively thrive on stacking the wood away in autumn, scouring hedgerows for anything that can be made into chutneys, jams and beverages or cooked up into delicious meals. I have never been any different and have made things like this almost my entire life, yet the pleasure of it never leaves me. I am lucky in that Dave is the same and also has made wines, etc since he was young and so we share in this love of the countryside and all it offers, creating our own version of it in our garden. The mixed hedgerow in the front is overgrown and desperately in need of a sort through, yet it offers food for goldfinches and blue tits, hedgehogs and slowworms, frogs and toads - why change anything then? Tom and I sat for a brief tea break today and watched young dragonflies and shimmering damselflies of azure blue hover for a moment before darting away.
Before collecting elderflowers Isabella and I had a brief stint at the allotment, digging some new potatoes and a few other bits and bobs after sowing a bed of peas together. Man can that girl throw a long way! This is what we found today: onions
Blackcurrants are ripening ready to be turned into ice-creams and cordials and wines, and to nestle on soft pillows of cream for a summer day's pavlova
Broad beans are almost ready and we picked a few tiny ones to add to the red and green salad leaves from the cut-and-come-again patch. I love to add chive and nasturtium flowers, mint, marjoram and rocket from our home garden too.
At home the figs are looking good again. Last year we ate some for the first time and they were just heavenly with that seductive velvetiness of the ripened fruit mingling with the syrupy juices...mmm.
You know, when I was pregnant with Isabella some poor deluded fool once said to me that I wouldn't be able to have any holidays for years now....this keeps coming back into my mind of late as it was such a bizarre thing to say to someone like me. Firstly, I couldn't see why a child would stop anyone having a holiday if they wanted one. Secondly, are holidays that important (and if so I question the homelife) and lastly, but most importantly to me - child or holidays? Abslolutely no contest as I get to do all these wonderful things every day, every year with Davey all our lovely children (even the older ones who head off all over the place and still love to come back for more, though the pic below is a few years old now as we haven't done strawberry picking for a while, but I am currently eating masses so it seemed relevant!).
Yep, no contest.
And anyway, look where we live!
Have a lovely weekend xx