Fermentalist with a fetish for fatty foods. Don't listen to those looneys telling you that fat is bad for you. Love your gut, eat real food. Writer at Irish Examiners on Saturdays and Irish Independent and Sunday Times, Food and Wine Mag and Tourism Ireland
Today I did my first market as a small producer at the Summer Market at the fab No.1 Pery Square Hotel.
On Monday I nipped up to Dublin to get some nice bottles
Tuesday morning was spent researching the the market at UL, the afternoon was out in fields with the kids collecting elderflowers.
On Wednesday I bought lots of citrus fruits and sugar. Then I made the elderflower cordial and fretted over the colour. It spitted at me and annoyed me a lot, I nearly threw in the towel.
Thursday had me making rhubarb cordial, soooo pink and tasty, it brought me back from the edge. I also drew my logo and had it copied and got lots of print-outs.
Friday I made more rhubarb cordial, bought 100 lemons and made 21 bottles of lemon cordial, really yummy. I cut out all the labels, glued them on the bottels and nipped round to Mike at The Wine Buff for boxes. I fell into bed after midnight and spent today selling all my wares at the market. I sold about 55 bottles and had so much fun. I actually made some money and lots of people want to know where they can get more. Am I a contender for a regular market stall???
Thanks to Patricia and hubby at No.1 for hosting such a cool event and looking after us all so well with sausage butties on their own fab baguettes and endless clean glasses for testers. Extra special thanks to my fab friend Dee who helped me with everything and sold lots of bottles too xxx
"Booze can get you through times of no money better than money can get you through times of no booze", or something to that effect, once said by Fat Freddy or his wayward puddy cat. In times of no money but lots and lots of sunshine and abundant, lush vegetation, the gifts of nature seem ever more generous. Trends seem to come from nowhere, or some celebrity chef does something and then we all follow suit. I'm following in the hippy footsteps of Hugh Fernley Whattisname and well on the road to my own elderflower champagne. Out walking in the lovely Limerick countryside I could smell the heady sweetness of elderflowers in the air. I grabbed some scissors later and headed back out the country roads and filled up bags for champers and cordial. The cordial was such a hit it's almost gone, 3 large bottles went down a treat with my kids, surprise surprise, and friends. It's light and refreshing and made only with lemons, limes, oranges, water and of course elderflowers. You can freeze it in plastic bottles too.
The champers is a slightly different animal. It's made in a big plastic bucket or bin and takes no effort at all. The only work is in washing and sterilising bottles, but it's fun to make either way you look at it. I have read about bottles exploding so take precautions when storing this. It takes only two weeks from making it to drinking time. I have never tasted as a finished product but I do find it very sweet. I would probably make another batch with half the sugar. I hope this is ready to drink at a party for Friday night. At about 4 percent proof it's not too strong, free booze is free booze after all
Makes about 6 litres
About 24-30 elderflower heads, in full bloom
4 litres hot water
Juice and zest of four lemons
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this)
Method: How to make elderflower champagne
1. Put the hot water and sugar into a large container (a spotlessly clean bucket is good) and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water so you have 6 litres of liquid in total.
2. Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
3. Cover with clean muslin and leave to ferment in a cool, airy place for a couple of days. Take a look at the brew at this point, and if it’s not becoming a little foamy and obviously beginning to ferment, add a pinch of yeast.
4. Leave the mixture to ferment, again covered with muslin, for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised strong glass bottles with champagne stoppers (available from home-brewing suppliers) or Grolsch-style stoppers, or sterilised screw-top plastic bottles (a good deal of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide, so strong bottles and seals are essential).
5. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for a further eight days before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place.