The suns out again. The hay fever has started. Not good news for those of us who suffer throughout the summer months. But for one bright white flower it’s worth it. Elder flowers are one of the most useful wild ingredients the summer larder has to offer. A wonderful aroma and delicate floral flavour. You can do a lot more than cordial with this blossom. It has a real affintiy with summer fruits which are in season at the same time and also marries beautifully with sharp lemon. Deep fried in a light batter and dusted with sugar it’s a revelation. On the savoury side it makes a beautiful fragrant oil and is useful included in cures for certain fish. It is also making an appearance on our bar as it infuses well into spirits and jazzes up a g and t. And as anyone who knows us knows. We love gin. So get out and about and make use of it while it’s here. We’ll give you a few recipes for you to get your head around but don’t limit yourself to these.

Elder flower cordial- I did say before that you can do alot more than cordial, but this is a good staple to have up your sleeve…

20 heads of elderflower, shaken well to get rid of any bugs

1.8kg granulated sugar

1.2kg water

2 lemons, sliced

75g malic acid (you can get this online, citric acid works well too)

Bring to boil all ingredients except the elder flower. Add the flowers and remove from the heat. Leave covered overnight to infuse. Pass through muslin in the morning and bottle into sterilised bottles.

Elderflower creme brulee-this is beautiful served with strawberries or raspberries, this makes 8 servings.

800g double cream

10 heads of elderflower

juice of 1 lemon

10 egg yolks

160g caster sugar

Bring to the boil the cream and add the elder flowers. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse overnight. The next day pass the liquid through a sieve into a clean pan and re-heat, in a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar. When the cream is just below boiling, pour it over the yolks whilst continuously whisking. Add the lemon juice and pour into individual ramekins. Bake in a bain marie in a low oven until just set (with a slight wobble). When cold cover the tops with sugar and blowtorch for a layer of caramel.

Elderflower jelly with strawberries-jelly in the summer is a winner, especially if you have on of those big rabbit shaped moulds. Party on.

170g elderflower cordial

330g water, sparkling water or champagne

4 leaves of gelatine, soaked in water

1/2 punnet of strawberries (or any nice summer fruits)

a few picked elderlowers to garnish

Cut the strawberries into pieces and divide equally between 4 jelly moulds/glasses. Warm a small amount of the cordial up and add the gelatine to melt. remove from the heat and mix in the remaining cordial and water/champagne. Pour this mixture into the moulds/glasses and fridge until set. Turn out or eat straight from the glasses with more fresh fruit, ice-cream, cream or custard. Enjoy.