Home-made elderflower curd

Elderflower curd with cup & pot of tea

My beautiful sambucus nigra is still blooming, so I was on the lookout for another recipe in which I could use the flowers. These days, I find so much inspiration on Instagram; one of my Insta-buddies had just posted a photo of some delicious-looking elderflower curd she’d made, so I thought I’d give that a go.

zesting and juicing lemons Elderflower curd ingredients in a saucepan

She used the wild variety of elderflower which has delicate off white flowers however, the flowers on mine are tinged purple. I wondered how that would affect the colour of the resulting curd. I was worried that it would turn out a sludgy brown, but I needn’t have been apprehensive. It had a slight pinkish blush to the usual yellow colour.

This recipe makes a single, average-sized jar, but you can easily multiply the quantities. If you don’t think that you’ll consume all the curd in a week or two, make sure that you thoroughly sterilise all your post-cooking equipment; jars, lids, jelly bag/sieve, spoon/spatula, funnel etc. Simply boil them up in a large jam pan/saucepan of water.

straining elderflower curd through a jelly bag into a measuring jug Elderflower curd in a glass jar

The taste was gorgeous; rich and fragrant. So far, we’ve had it on fruit scones, but it would be perfect in sandwiches, toast or between Victoria sponge layers. This is definitely an elderflower recipe I’ll be returning to every summer.

Click here or on the image below to save this elderflower curd recipe to Pinterest

Home-made elderflower curd recipe

Elderflower curd
Yields 1
Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 large or 6 small elderflower heads (you can use either white or pink flowers)
  2. 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
  3. 200g/7oz white granulated sugar
  4. 1½ lemons, zest & juice
  5. 2 eggsElderflower curd ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Sterilise a lidded jam jar, jelly bag or sieve, spatula and measuring jug. Set aside for the end
  2. Put all the ingredients except the eggs into a saucepan over a low heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved
  3. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl and allow the contents to cool slightly (about 5 minutes)
  4. In the meantime, bring a saucepan of water to a simmer (ensure the heatproof bowl can sit on top of the saucepan without the water coming into contact with the base)
  5. Add the eggs to the mixture and put the heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water
  6. Stir occasionally until the mixture thickens to the consistency of custard (about 45 minutes)
  7. Pour the mixture through the sterilised jelly bag/sieve into the measuring jug. Push the contents through using the spatula, if necessary
  8. Transfer the curd into the sterilised jar and cover immediately with the lid. Allow to cool completely before using
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Price Points: Cast iron griddle stones

Cast iron griddle stones

When the weather is really warm, we’re loathe to turn on the wood-fired stove in the kitchen. For hot days like that, we invested in an induction hob. The main difference between an induction hob and a conventional gas/electric/wood-fired hob is the kind of pots & pans you can use on it.

They need to be made of material such as cast iron. Aluminium, glass or stainless steel won’t be suitable. The best way to check is put a magnet to the base – if it sticks, you’re good to go!

We already had a few well-used & loved graduated cast iron frying pans however, after buying our induction hob, we purchased a set of cream enamel saucepans. To add to our cookery arsenal, I bought a cast iron griddle stone. It’s been great for making Welsh griddle cake, pancakes and this week’s yeasted flat breads.

We’ve listed three cast iron griddle stones below – ours is the example from John Lewis. We also love all the high quality pans manufactured by Netherton foundry in Shropshire. Just imagine cooking on a griddle from the 1800s, think of all the things that were made on it in the preceding 200 years!

  1. Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter): £15.40, John Lewis
  2. Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate: £75.65, Netherton Foundry
  3. Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle: £160.00, Etsy

shop cast iron griddle stones

Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
£160.00
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
£75.65
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
£15.40
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
£160.00
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
£75.65
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
£15.40
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
£160.00
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
£75.65
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
£15.40
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
£160.00
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
£75.65
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
£15.40
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
Antique 1800s cast iron skillet/griddle
£160.00
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
Black iron 12-inch griddle and baking plate
£75.65
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
Kitchen Craft cast iron baking stone (27cm diameter)
£15.40

Cakes & Bakes: Yeasted flat breads

Yeasted flat breads

Because of the continuing hot weather, we’ve still not turned on our oven this week. That doesn’t mean I can’t produce any home-made bread, though. I’ve brought out my trusty cast iron griddle stone once again to make some delicious yeasted flat breads on the induction hob.

Yeast mixture

Many flat breads are yeast-free so can be rustled up in a matter of minutes. However, I had ample time today to spend on making these and waiting an hour or so for the dough to rise.

Ball of yeasted flat bread dough Ball of yeasted flat bread dough

I bought a marble board a few years ago, and I can attest that it’s hard to beat for rolling out dough and pastry with ease.

Portions of yeasted dough

The recipe makes 8 flat breads. If, like us, you don’t need that many at one sitting, you can simply cook, cool and freeze the extra for a later date.

Flipping flat bread on a cast iron griddle stone

These lovely, soft breads are so versatile; they’re perfect as an accompaniment to curry, Mexican fajita wraps or alongside dips such as hummus or baba ganoush.

Click here or on the image below to save this yeasted flat bread recipe to Pinterest

Yeasted flat bread recipe

Yeasted flat breads
Yields 8
Ingredients
  1. 1½tsp sugar
  2. 180ml/6fl oz warm water
  3. 7g/2¼tsp active dry yeast
  4. 350g/12½oz plain or strong bread flour
  5. 140g/5oz full fat plain Greek yoghurt
  6. 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 2 tsp fine saltYeasted flat breads ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a measuring jug, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Stir in the yeast and allow to sit until foamy (about 10 minutes)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the yoghurt, olive oil and yeast mixture. Bring together to form a shaggy dough
  3. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or a reusable elasticated food cover and allow the dough to sit in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour)
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Form the pieces into balls and, working with one ball at a time, roll each out into 15cm/6" rounds about ½cm/¼" thick
  5. Brush a little olive oil on a large cast iron skillet/griddle stone and bring up to a medium-high heat
  6. Working one at a time, cook each flat bread until bubbles appear over the surface (about a minute). Flip and cook until cooked through (about 1 more minute). Continue to cook, turning often, until browned in spots on both sides (about a minute longer)
  7. Transfer to a plate and wrap up in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm and soft. Repeat with each of the other balls of dough
Notes
  1. To serve: brush each flat bread with a little olive oil
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Adapted from Bon Appétit
Adapted from Bon Appétit
H is for Home Harbinger https://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Jammy cornmeal griddle cakes

Stack of jammy cornmeal griddle cakes with butter pat on top

This past week or so has been so warm, we’ve not had our wood-fired range cooker running. That means I couldn’t produce an oven-cooked recipe for this week’s Cakes & Bakes post; no cake, no bread. Jammy cornmeal griddle cakes is a delicious brunch dish cooked on a stove top using a griddle stone or cast iron frying pan.

Wet & dry griddle cakes ingredients

Using half cornmeal and half wheat flour gives the pancakes a unique flavour. Buttermilk & bicarb rather than ‘plain’ cow’s milk gives the texture a softness and lightness.

Blackcurrant jam added to griddle cakes mixture Blackcurrant jam swirled into griddle cakes mixture

A little swirl of jam takes the griddle cakes to a different level; we used some home-made blackcurrant jam, but you can use any other to your liking – strawberry, raspberry, apricot, plum… If your jam is a little thick, simply mix it with a couple of teaspoons of water to get a thinner consistency.

Cooking a stack of jammy cornmeal griddle cakes on stovetop

Serve your stack of cornmeal griddle cakes with a knob of butter on top or with extra jam or male syrup drizzled over.

Click here or on the image below to save the recipe to Pinterest

Jammy cornmeal griddle cakes recipe

Jammy cornmeal griddle cakes
Serves 4
Ingredients
  1. 100g/3½oz cornmeal (either fine or coarse)
  2. 100g/3½oz plain flour
  3. 2tbsp caster sugar
  4. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 200ml/7fl oz buttermilk
  7. 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for the skillet
  8. 2 eggs, beaten
  9. 2tbsp jam (we used blackcurrant, but feel free to use any other fruit)Jammy cornmeal griddle cakes ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your griddle/ large cast iron frying pan over a low heat. Rub a bit of butter all over it
  2. In a large measuring jug, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, bicarb and salt. Make a well in the centre
  3. In a medium measuring jug, pour in the buttermilk. Add the melted butter and stir to combine
  4. Pour the buttermilk/butter mixture and beaten egg into the well in the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to bring the mixture together
  5. Spoon in the jam and swirl it through a little. Don't over-mix, a few lumps of flour is fine
  6. Once the griddle is hot, pour/ladle on approx. 3tbsp/50ml of the mixture into a round shape. Allow the griddle cake to cook for a couple of minutes. When bubbles begin to form and the top begins to dry out around the edges towards the middle, flip over and cook the other side for another minute. Repeat until all the batter is used
Notes
  1. Serve with extra jam, a pat of butter or maple syrup
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Cakes & Bakes: Malted flapjacks

Malted flapjack with mug of tea

Our house is rarely without biscuits of some variety; digestives, shortbread, cookies… However, when we’re out for whatever reason, a batch of flapjacks is easy to rustle up. For a twist on my regular recipe, I decided to try making malted flapjacks using medium oatmeal rather than my usual porridge oats.

butter, malt extract and honey in a saucepan Malted flapjacks in a cake tin before going into the oven

This is a ‘no sugar’ recipe, the sweetness comes from honey, the malt extract and natural sugars in the fruit. The dried fruit & nuts I used were sultanas and chopped hazelnuts and walnuts. However, you could use any combination that takes your fancy or you happen to have in your store cupboard.

Cooked malted flapjack Sliced malted flapjack

A single tablespoon of malt extract – two, tops – will suffice for this recipe. Malt extract is potent stuff, you don’t want the taste to be too overwhelming. Using the medium oatmeal instead of the rolled oats gave a crunchy texture and nutty flavour – I really like it!

Click here to save my malted flapjacks recipe to Pinterest

Malted flapjacks recipe

Malted flapjacks
Yields 12
Ingredients
  1. 125g unsalted butter
  2. 2tbsp runny honey
  3. 1tbsp malt extract
  4. 400g medium oatmeal
  5. 75g chopped fruit & nuts (I used a mixture of sultanas, hazelnuts and walnuts)Malted flapjacks ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Line a square brownie tin with parchemnt paper. Set aside
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter, honey and malt extract over a low heat. Stir occasionally to combine
  4. Add the oatmeal and fruit & nuts and combine well. Remove from the heat
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and, using a spatula or serving spoon, level it out pressing down firmly, not forgetting the 4 corners
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top begins to turn brown
  7. Allow the flapjack to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before lifting it out and slicing into portions
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Liquorice pudding

Nigella's liquorice pudding

I was intrigued when I discovered this liquorice pudding in Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima cook book. I love the flavour of liquorice; in ice cream, in All Sorts… and now in a creamy pudding.

Little tin of liquorice pellets

Nigella recommends you use Amarelli Rossano liquorice pellets (which were out of stock when I tried to buy some), but there are a few other brands available such as Simpkins Nipits, Barkleys pure liquorice pellets and Bel Canto imps (which are little rounds rather than pellets).

Liquorice pellets were originally produced as aids to clear the throat; natural liquorice is a mucoactive agent, which means that it helps to clear mucus from the airways. Perfect little cough & cold sweets!

Making liquorice syrup Slaking cornflour and milk

The recipe quantities make two little puddings – perfect for Justin and me. It’s easy to up the amounts if you’re making it as a family or dinner party dessert. It’s a quick dish to make, it can be prepared in advance and chilled and is gorgeous. Don’t forgo the addition of the sprinkling of salt flakes as you eat – it really does lift the flavour – like salted caramel.

Click here to save Nigella’s liquorice pudding to Pinterest

Nigella's liquorice pudding recipe

Liquorice pudding
Serves 2
Ingredients
  1. 60ml/2 fl oz water
  2. 1tsp pure liquorice pellets
  3. 2 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
  4. 175ml/6 fl oz double cream
  5. 2tsp cornflour
  6. 1tbsp milk
  7. sea salt flakesLiquorice pudding ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Put the water and liquorice pellets into a small saucepan (such as a milk pan) and bring to the boil, stirring or whisking frequently to help the liquorice melt
  2. Once it starts bubbling, turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes, stirring or whisking every now and again
  3. Turn the heat back on and whisk in the sugar, then the cream, and bring up to a bubble. Remove from the heat.
  4. Spoon the cornflour into a little bowl, cup or ramekin and slake it with the milk: which is to say, whisk in the milk until you have a smooth paste
  5. Pour this, whisking as you go, into the mixture in the saucepan. Still whisking, put the pan back on the heat and bring back up to a bubble, whisking all the while, for 20-30 seconds, or until thickened
  6. Divide between 2 heatproof glasses or cups and - unless you want to eat this hot - cover, touching the surface of the puddings, with cling film or baking parchment that you've wet with cold water then wrung out (this is to prevent a skin forming) and put them in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Allow the puddings reach room temperature before serving. Remove the cling film/parchment and smooth the tops with the back of a teaspoon. Put the salt flakes on the table to sprinkle over as you eat, if desired
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Adapted from Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration
H is for Home Harbinger https://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Wild garlic & goats cheese soda bread

Wild garlic & goats cheese soda bread

We’re lucky enough to have lots of wild garlic growing in parts of our garden. Before moving, we used to carefully forage in the wild for a few leaves to make pesto and garlic butter. Now that we have so much of it, we’ll be using it to make so much more… starting with this wild garlic & goats cheese soda bread.

Dry ingredients in a mixing bowl Wet and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

This year, for some reason, we’ve left it a little late to harvest. Leaves should be picked before the flowers come into bloom; which generally happens in early May. If you’re picking in the wild, try to pick only a couple of leaves from each plant. Don’t exhaust the plant or leave massive bald patches in the woodland floor; don’t pick more than you need. For this recipe you only need a handful… only about a dozen or so leaves.

Chopped wild garlic and goats cheese on wooden chopping boards Wild garlic & goats cheese soda bread before being cooked

The goats cheese I used was quite a wet, gooey one but you could always use a more crumbly-textured kind. The flavours of the wild garlic and goats cheese really complement each other. While it was cooking, the cheesy, garlicky smell engulfing the kitchen was mouth-watering!

I like it still warm from the oven, with just a bit of butter spread over – melting into the crumb. Justin thinks it’s delicious with poached eggs, bacon or cooked ham.

Cooked wild garlic & goats cheese soda bread boule

Click here or on the image below to save my wild garlic & goats cheese soda bread recipe to Pinterest

Homemade wild garlic and goats cheese soda bread recipe

Wild garlic & goats cheese soda bread
Yields 1
Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 350ml/12fl oz buttermilk (or 330ml/11½fl oz full cream milk with the juice of a lemon stirred in)
  2. 200g/7oz wholemeal flour
  3. 200g/7 oz plain flour
  4. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  5. 1tsp salt
  6. 100g/3½oz goats cheese, cubed
  7. handful of wild garlic leaves, finely choppedWild garlic & goats cheese soda bread ingredients
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Instructions
  1. If you don't have buttermilk, make something similar by stirring the juice of a lemon into full fat milk and allowing it to sit for about ½ an hour before use
  2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5
  3. Grease & line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, bicarb and salt
  5. Add the cubed goats cheese and chopped wild garlic leaves and toss to combine. Make a well in the middle
  6. Pour in the buttermilk and bring the dough together. Don't overwork
  7. Empty the dough out on to a well-floured work surface and form into a ball. Again don't overwork
  8. Put the dough ball on to the prepared baking sheet. Score with a deep cross on top
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is a lovely golden brown
  10. Take off the baking sheet on to a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes
  11. Slice and serve warm
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