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Wild Food Recipes

Gorse Flower Ice Cream - April 24th, 2014

We've been making lots of this delicious ice cream over the Easter school holidays, the gorse is perfect right now, bright yellow and filling the air with its exotic coconut scent, this is what inspired us to try it in ice cream, I thought apricots would be good in this recipe also but we would have to travel far to find apricots at this time of year...

This recipe is based on Darina Allen's Honey Lavender Ice Cream, one we make often in the Summer, we love it because it is sweetened with honey instead of sugar, the honey and gorse go very well together. Wear thick washing up gloves when harvesting gorse flowers, my children were enthusiastic helpers when they heard about the plans for ice cream...

250ml milk
450ml cream
250g gorse flowers
6 organic egg yolks
150ml honey

Bring the milk and cream gently to the boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
Add gorse flowers and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks with a little of the infused liquid and add to the saucepan
Heat gently till mixture barely thickens.
Add the honey.
Strain through sieve.
When mixture is cold put it into an ice cream maker or into the freezer.
We sometimes leave a few flowers in as they look pretty, or you could sprinkle a few fresh petals on top as you serve.
Makes about 1 litre.

 

Hawthorn Blossom Syrup - May 24th, 2014

I drove across the Wicklow Gap today to Hollywood, West Wicklow,
the hedgerows are white with Hawthorn blossom, time to make this lovely syrup which always surprises people with its strong almond flavour. Pour it over ice cream, add water to have it as a drink, pour it over poached pears,use it to make sorbet, add it to fruit salad...

Ingredients:
4 litres hawthorn blossom, loosely placed in a bucket as you pick them, not compressed.
Granulated sugar, around 1.6 kg. Makes approx 1.5 litres.

In a large bowl place a layer of blossom 2cm thick
Sprinkle with a layer of sugar 1cm thick
Continue to alternate layers finishing with a layer of sugar
Record amount of sugar used
Place a plate or lid that fits inside the bowl over the sugar
Leave for 24 hours
For each 500g of sugar used add 260ml water
Bring slowly to the boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan stirring to dissolve sugar
Strain through muslin and place syrup in hot sterilised bottles
Store in a cool dry place or in a fridge where it will keep for up to a year.

Elderflower Cordial - June 2nd, 2014

We took a walk up the lane this evening, the hawthorn blossom is falling like snow, but the elderflower is coming, some of the blossoms smell just right so tomorrow we will start making this year's elderflower cordial, I always try to make enough to last the year, so we have a little of last year's in the fridge and it still tastes great.
I try to smell each blossom as I pick the elderflower and I only pick the ones that smell right. It is best to pick the flowers on a sunny day as the sun brings out their perfume, there is no need to wash the blossoms.  Also try to make the cordial soon after you pick the flowers as they don't keep.

Elderflower Cordial

25 heads elderflower
1.4 kg sugar
1 litre water                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 1 organic lemon
50g citric acid (optional)

Bring the water to the boil
Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved
Grate in lemon zest and juice
When water has cooled add blossoms and citric acid if using
Leave to infuse for at least 24 hours, covered
Strain through muslin and pour into sterilised bottles with sterilised lids
Store in a cool place or in a fridge

If you have space to store the cordial in your fridge there is no need to add citric acid, you
can also freeze some for use in the Winter and Spring or you can pasteurise it by heating it in the bottles, there is lots of information available online.
I use organic lemons as conventional lemons are usually coated with paraffin wax, the zest is grated into the cordial so waxed lemons would not be suitable.