The British summer is nearly upon us, for a few weeks palest apple blossoms, mauve lilac flowers and early roses have punctuated the green landscape with their splashes of painterly colour..but the north wind doth blow, scattering blossom confetti at the feet of newly swelling fruit trees. And we shall have rain, and soon the rain leaches colour from these late spring blooms. But before you say goodbye to the smells and sights of spring florals, turn a few into a treat fit for a flower fairy, and her boozier elf friends….
These recipes are a mix of wondrous spring flowers, sour early fruit, herby surprises and weedy treats – they are worth both making together and eating / drinking in one sitting. You’ll be full of the joys of late spring if you do.
Firstly you’ll need to make a bottle of nettle syrup – don’t be put off, it’s heady stuff & you can eat the nettles for puritanical goodness..pick young nettle tips, add them to a pan with 250ml water, wilt and squeeze out the liquid – add your nettles to wild garlic pesto or blitz with a spoon of cream, scrape of nutmeg and twist of pepper & stir into pasta.
Add 250g sugar to the nettle liquid, warm and dissolve & take the liquid to the boil, making a syrup – add a squeeze of lemon and allow this to cool (e voila – you’ve gotten nettle syrup)
Gather a handful of apple blossoms, a mauve head of a lilac flower, an early rose, a few honeysuckle flowers and a handful of blackcurrant leaves..chop into slivers, and add to them the thinnest slices of rhubarb, pine tips, and angelica stems.
If you want to feed fairies, dissolve gelatine into the nettle syrup, stir in the blossoms and top up with soda water (or processo if your fairies are over 18) pour the mixture into a suitable container & place in a refrigerator until set.
Feasting with an Elf? They’re partial to a sun downer you know – gently pound the flowers, herbs and rhubarb in a pestle & mortar with a spoon of sugar & squirt of lemon. Pour into a tall glass for you and a thimble for the Elf, add a shot of gin or vodka, a chunk of ice and top up with soda.
Eat, drink and get a spring in your step..