I should know better by now.
Busy exhibition week is over, my last week of teaching including a weekend at Missenden Abbey finished for a couple of months and my plan is to catch up with jobs around the house and garden and get things ready for Open Studios next month. Instead, what do I do? Spend the best part of two days in my kitchen, trying all sorts of new recipes as well as some old favourites!
It is several years since I last made elderflower cordial. The elderflowers always seem to be at their best when it's my busiest time... most inconvient of them! I thought I'd missed them again but on an early morning walk on Monday, although most of the flowers were starting to wither, I still spotted several of the fabulous frothy heads good enough to use.
A swift bit of foraging, a quick trip to the farm shop for some lemons... and after not too much effort, I've got three lovely bottles of elderflower cordial. Perfect for a refreshing summer drink, diluted with ice and sparkling water.
There was about half a bottle left so I used most of it up and made some elderflower cupcakes.
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
4 tablespoons elderflower cordial
2 large eggs, at room temperature
75g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Line eight holes of a muffin tin with paper cases. Beat together the butter, sugar, almonds and 1 tablespoon of the cordial. Add the eggs one at a time with a little of the flour, beating well. Fold in the remaining flour and baking powder. Divide between the paper cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Pierce each hot cake several times with a skewer and drizzle the remaining cordial over the cakes. Leave to cool before adding topping.
To make the topping, whisk together until stiff, taking care not to over whisk:
200g marscapone cheese
100ml double cream
90g icing sugar
3 tablespoons elderflower cordial
Pipe or dollop onto the tops of the cakes and eat!
They really are rather extraordinarily good!
Now I really must stop faffing about making cakes and trying to take arty photos of food and start getting to grips with the huge backlog of chores around the house and garden.
For more good ideas for using up elderflower cordial see Sue's post here.