The River Cottage Handbook on Preserves by Pam Corbin is one of my favourite books at the moment. The nice thing about a really good book is that it leads you to places you wouldn’t have arrived at from where you started without it. I bought this book for more ideas about jam and chutney. However, the chapters that have really taken my fancy are, well – all the other chapters!
This week’s fruit cordial has used up a range of bits and bobs of fruit (including a 3 sticks of unseasonal rhubarb, our whole crop of blueberries – all 4 of them, a couple of sad overripe pears and a solitary gooseberry) and is now sitting next to our last bottle of elderflower cordial – it looks and tastes pretty good.
The elderflower cordial was a particular joy, the only real expense was some sugar and a couple of lemons, but the flavour is every bit as good as the most expensive cordials going. What’s more you get the pleasure of knowing you made it yourself.
The principle is very simple, you just take your flavoursome ingredients, boil them up, leave to steep, strain and add a load of sugar, heat that up and then put in sterilised bottles.
I don’t think it would have occurred to me to find out how simple cordials can be without Pam Corbin’s guidance. Its a really great book. I’m going to keep experimenting… blackberry and apple perhaps.