Monday, 21 September 2015

Spiced Elderberry and Brownies

I have a fondness for fruit cordials, especially to the Bottle Green Spiced Berry one. To me, commercial squash is a vile thing, yuck. But as with most things I get attached to, the spiced berry one has become harder and harder to find, and just recently disappeared completely. Every year I have resolved to make my own using elderberries, since we have a tree at the bottom of our garden. This year I finally got around to making some, so while the berries are available I thought I'd share my recipe. Well, I say 'mine'. After combining various recipes from the internet, this recipe is an amalgamation. It's also something I used in a short story based around Halloween and something I used as a blog post. In Hallow's Eve, my hero Hal has a magical housekeeper - a brownie called Hodge - who's a master at making spice elderberry cordial.


Hodge's Spiced Elderberry Cordial

1.5 lbs elderberries (or however many you have!)
Demarara sugar
Cinnamon Sticks

Remove the elderberries from the stalks using a fork. Place the elderberries in a saucepan with just enough water to cover them, then bring to a simmer and allow them to cook for 20 minutes.  The berries will soften and the liquid will be dark red.

Strain out the berries with a sieve or use muslin cloth (crush with a fork or squeeze the cloth to extract as much juice as possible), keeping the juice (be careful as this stains!)

Measure the amount of juice.

Pour the juice back into the empty saucepan. For every 2 cups of juice, add 2 cups of demarara sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves and the juice from ½ a lemon.

Bring the mixture to a boil and maintain for 15 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure all the sugar dissolves.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Let the mixture cool while you prepare the bottles.

If you’re planning/able to store the cordial in the fridge, simply clean your storage bottles with hot, soapy water and then rinse in boiling water. Once the bottles are cool, fill with cordial, stopper and store.

Serve diluted with hot water as a warming winter drink and a boost during illness. In folklore elderberries were used as a protection against influenza, and research has now established that elderberry extract is a clinically proven treatment against flu. You could also add the same spices used in mulled wine for a more Christmassy variation.
And so this is also the perfect excuse to share the story with you too, since October is just around the corner. Something to read while trying your first cup of cordial maybe. ;)

Paranormal Romance Short
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Twelve months ago, Hal's world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He's waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he's learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk...

A Paranormal Romance short story

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