There are some things which mark the passing of each month, season and year. On the calendar- birthdays, bonfire night, Christmas, and outdoors- hedgerows bursting into leaf, and later on, blood-red, ruby and crimson berries ripening under the sun. Perhaps my favourite of these markers is the elder and its flower.
Here, we use them in alcohol, cakes and to simmer with sweet-sour gooseberries. We discovered elderflower gin last summer, crafted by the Edinburgh gin company.
This summer, we made our own.
Twenty elderflower heads went into a glass bottle, along with a few tablespoons of sugar, and filled with gin. And after a week of gentle shaking and expectation, we tasted it… we’ll be sticking with the professionals next time!
The same evening, gooseberries were simmered in a heady mix of elderflower cordial and lemon juice. A sponge mixture was beaten up, topped with the gooseberries, and a crumble mix was scattered over the top.
We slid the cake into the hot oven. The air hung heavy in the kitchen with the scent of elderflower, citrus and homemade cake.
All cake is good cake, but this, this cake was perfect.