Elderflowers scientific name is sambucus nigra. Elderflower comes from the elder plant and has a white or cream flower. In spring, the plant grows black/purple berries. The plant can be found around the world however it is most common in the Northern Hemisphere.
There are various species of elder, the most commonly known being black elderberry, often used medicinally. In ancient folklore, the elder tree was also supposed to ward off evil spirits. Sambucus appears in Ancient Greek texts and plays most commonly in Pliny’s writings.
Both the Elder flower and berries are mentioned in European and Chinese medicine for healing. In British history, it has been used for respiratory health In Chinese medicine, it is known to help with joint pain and inflammation. It is said to be used in medicine since the stone age.
Elderflower is currently used in several different medical areas including Cold and Flu, Hay Fever, Constipation ad immunity.
Today, Elderflower can be used in cooking as well as medicine. Below are some yummy recipes that have elderflower as the star.
Prep: 45min Cook: 40 min Serves 15-18 Difficulty: Medium
oil, for greasing
6 medium Eggs
100g natural yoghurt
450g golden caster sugar
450g self-raising flour
finely grated zest of 1 Lemon plus juice
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
For the icing
250g Butter, softened
300g full fat cream cheese
700g icing sugar
finely grated zest of 1 Lemon
fresh flowers to decorate
- Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of 3 x 20cm cake tins with baking parchment. In a jug, whiskthe eggs, yogurt and milk. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric hand whisk. When you have a light and fluffy mixture, add the flour, the liquid in the jug and the lemon zest. Mix again until smooth. Divide the cake mixture between the tins, level the surfaces and bake for 40 mins.
- Mix the lemon juice and elderflower cordial. When the cakes are cooked, poke all over the surface with a cocktail stick then spoon the lemon and elderflower syrup over the cakes. Leave to cool in the tins. Once cool, you can wrap in cling film and keep for 3 days before icing.
- To make the icing, beat the butter until smooth with an electric hand whisk. Add half the icing sugar, use a spatulato mash the mixture together (this will help to prevent an icing sugar cloud) then whisk again. Add the remaining icing sugar, cream cheese and lemon zest, mash again, then whisk again until smooth.
- Stack the cakes on a cake stand with plenty of icing between each layer. Pile most of the remaining icing on top, then use a palette knife to spread it across the top and down the sides, covering the cake in swirls (don’t worry about it looking too perfect). Add the final bit of icing to the top and use it to cover any patches where the cake is poking through. Decorate with fresh flowers.
Prep: 25min Cook: 5min Serves: 6 Difficulty: Easy
bunch of Asparagus (about 8 spears), woody ends removed and discarded (or save to make soup), cut in half lengthways
200g pack sugar snap pea
140g fresh or frozen Pea
1 small cooked Chicken skin and bones discarded, meat shredded
250g Radish (use mixed colours and shapes if you can), sliced
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large curly round Lettuce or 2 Little Gems, torn
handful Pea shoots (optional)
For the elderflower dressing
2 tbsp elderflower cordial
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
zest and juice 1 large lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
- Bring a medium pan of water to the boil and fill a large bowl with ice-cold water. Drop the asparagus into the pan. After 1 min, add the sugar snaps. After another 30 secs, tip in the peas. Cook for 30 secs more, then drain and tip the vegetables into the icy water – this will cool them quickly, helping to keep their bite and vibrant colour. After 1-2 mins, drain and set aside in the colander while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Dry your bowl, pour in the dressing ingredients with plenty of seasoning and whisk together. Add the chicken, radishes, onion, cooled and drained vegetables, and the lettuce, and gently toss everything together until well coated in the dressing – the easiest way is to use your hands. Pile the salad onto a large platter and scatter over the pea shoots, if using. Serve straight away
Follow the hyperlinks to find some yummy adult only drinks.
Below are some ideas on how to add Elderflower to your everyday items to lift the flavour.
- Cream- add 2 Table spoons of Elderflower cordial to 1 carton of cream and use with your favourite desserts. We recommend trying this with Pavlova.
- Fruit Salad – add any fruits you like to a big bowl (serving size of plus 5) of fruit salad. Then add 2 table spoons of Elderflower cordial to the fruit salad and mix.
For more information please follow the hyperlinks and enjoy cooking 😊
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