Have you ever seen the website “Cake Wrecks”, you really should take a look, if you are familiar with the site, you’ll understand the meaning behind today’s blog post title in a moment.
Anyway, how was your weekend? I hope you managed to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures. We spent ours taking life slowly, friends dropped by for lunch on Saturday and on Sunday we nipped up to my pal W’s house for bacon butties. If you ever head over to Delamere Forest, you should stop by. She does the most amazing bacon sandwiches and even more stupendous scones (I didn’t try one, but a lady on the table beside us ordered one and I had serious scone envy).
We visited W to “scrump” her redcurrant bushes, she has what can only be described as a glut, and I was more than happy to take some off her hands. I spent the afternoon stripping berres and preparing to make redcurrant vodka, redcurrant jelly (more of those another day) and some of my favourite red berry cordial – think Ribena – but pinker!
I carefully measured out the juice, weighed the sugar and added it to the boiling liquid, poured it straight into bottles and popped off to my friend A’s for tea and a natter.
When I came back from my walk I thought a glass of cordial would be just the thing to cool off…
Oh dear … A clear case of not paying attention in the kitchen. You’ll be pleased to hear a rescue operation was mounted and I now have 6 more jars of redcurrant jelly than I was expecting. If you visit in the next couple of months, expect to go home with a jar or two. And if you feel so inclined, the cordial recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.
Whatever you’re up to, have a good week – and remember – nobody’s perfect!
Redcrrants, water, granulated sugar.
Useful things: A large pan, , a large piece of muslin, a funnel and a jug.
First of all you need make up a batch of berry juice. Do this by putting the berries (it doesn’t really matter if there are a few stalks) into a large pan and add half the volume of water to berries (eg if you have 500g of berries add 250 ml of water). Allow to come to the boil slowly, then simmer gently for 20 – 30 minutes until the berries have burst and released all their juice.
Strain the berry juice through a piece of muslin or use a jelly bag suspended over a bowl. I use a steamer lined with muslin placed over a deep saucepan. Leave the juice to drip for at least 3 hours, I leave mine overnight, just put a cover on to keep off the flies and ignore until morning. Don’t be tempted to squeeze or force the juice through as this will make the resulting jellies or cordials cloudy.
Next you’ll need to measure out your juice (carefully) and add 300g of sugar for every 500ml of cold juice. Warm gently in a pan over a low heat until all the sugar is dissolved and pour immediately into sterilised bottles. The cordial will keep for up to 3 months in a cold place (I keep mine in the fridge). Dilute with tap water or sparkling water and serve over ice. Delicious.
If you are new to preserving, I highly recommend you buy or borrow a good book on the subject. My favourite is many years old and out of print, but I’m also a big fan of the River Cottage Book of Preserving, which has some great recipes and lots of useful tips.