Showing posts with label PLANTS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PLANTS. Show all posts

Elderflower Tempura and Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower is just starting to appear, early this year. A simple way to cook flowers is in a tempura batter. I had intended to make the tempura with champagne but after trying decided to have a go with some sparkling elderflower cordial as the champagne overpowered the elderflower.
Elderflower is highly aromatic, something like 80% of our taste comes from aroma so very important to find a way to keep the lovely aroma through the cooking.

Elderflower Tempura 
3-4 heads of Elderflowers, pick when the flowers are fully formed and deeply fragrant
1/4 Cup Cornflour
1/2 Cup Plain Flour
1 Egg White (use a good free range egg, I recommend Happy Eggs)
1/2 Cup chilled Sparkling Elderflower Cordial (recipe below)
pinch of fine salt

Vegetable oil to fry

Whisk the egg white till stiff peaks form, add the cordial then fold in the sifted flour, the batter mix should be wet, consistency of single cream.

Heat the oil to approx 180C (one of the best investments you can make is a good cooking thermometer)

Drag small 'branches' of elderflower through the batter and place gently in the oil, drop the elderflower away from yourself to avoid splashes
Cook for approximately 30 seconds before turning over and cook the other side for 30 seconds

I like it served with fresh strawberries, but try with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

Elderflower cordial

1.5 l water
1 kg of caster sugar
20 large elderflower heads
4 lemons
50g of citric acid

Bring water and sugar to simmer, stir to dissolve the sugar, leave to cool
Add the citric acid, Lemon juice and zest, elderflowers
Leave in a fridge for 72hr
Strain (I use a clean 'J' cloth in a sieve).
Simmer till reduced by 2/3 in volume then store in sanitised glass bottles
To make up mix with soda water to taste, I prefer about 20% cordial


We have a new member of the team ... Jo (who is a Phd in woodland ecology) looked us up and showed up today with a big tray of whortleberries ... what yummy fruit. They are like blueberries but with flavour and more colour !

Looking forward to what else she shows up with ... lots of wild mushrooms for the autumn and should have some interesting plants over the next couple of months for the restaurant !

Made Berry mess using them and used as a coulis with Beth's brownies today in the restaurant ... will try with a burnt cream or mousse tomorrow ...

When we went down to the woods !

On Sunday we took the kids and went down to a friends woodland to see what is growing ... great fun but probably a little too early still for most foraged food due to the late spring.

We also had John Wright with us ... better known locally as 'Mushroom John' for his River Cottage mushroom book here and his TV work with HFW. John is just finishing a seashore foraging book due out May (I think) which will be a great reference. We had long discussions over seaweeds and umame flavours in the pub afterwards !

He has given us some great pointers on alternate local sourced seaweeds that I'll be trying as an alternate to the Japanese dried seaweeds I love to cook with ... watch this space !

John was tapping some birch trees for sap to try and make a reduction syrup ... to be honest the sap tasted like water but it was fun trying and hopefully, once reduced, the end product will be good.

We did find some wood sorrel which we were all very excited about, it will be a key ingredient when the restaurant gets started and watchers of Masterchef will have seen me use it at Noma making chef's signature dish. It has a great woody citrus flavour that goes well with meat dishes, its still early for the wood sorrel so we only picked a few samples but looking forward to going back and gathering in decent quantities.

Will post recipes over the next few days, filmed a spot on Market Kitchen last night ... more details to follow.

Sea Kale

Its the new stalks you want to eat, not the big leaves like this, dig down into the shingles a little to get white stalk and new shoots. Be careful not to damage the plant when digging around it and replace the shingle afterwards.

Sea Beet

Salty, sweet ... great salad food or toss in a little butter, season with pepper and serve with steak.

Sea Campion

Not so much flavour but great edible flowers.