In recent months I’ve met so many Danish people. How I’ve loved hearing their accents, swooning together as we remember beloved Danish recipes, laughing at how strange it is to adjust to Aussie culture when you’ve been raised in a Danish one.
I’ve met them through get-togethers with medieval Viking enactors and at the Danish Christmas Market Bear and I attended a few weeks ago. To a person they’ve all been delightful with a wealth of interesting information.
Our new friend Nikolaj is a talented gardener in nearby Toowoomba, (click here to see more about The Danish Gardener) and when he heard that I was growing elderflowers he was thrilled! Elderflowers and elderberries are truly beloved by the Danes, and they grow like weeds in the damp, cool climate of Denmark. Australian climate is just a bit different (!!!), but through trial and error I figured out how to get them to thrive, and was happy to pass along a couple of seedlings for him.
In return he shared his recipe for elderflower cordial.
Whenever I sip elderflower cordial I’m transported back to Denmark, to the tidy living room of the great aunt and uncle I was staying with. I couldn’t speak a lick of Danish, expect to ask for ice cream – my Grandpa thought that was a vital phrase to learn – so instead of chatting, we’d spend hours playing Uno, looking at old photos, and sipping ice cold glasses of elderflower cordial.
To me it was a magical elixir, something out of a fairytale with its flowery sweetness that wasn’t at all cloying. As Nikolaj described it this morning: “A little bit of heaven and everything summer.” I couldn’t put it better myself.
My spindly elderflower seedlings have shot up this year, well on their way to forming a proper hedge that will furnish me with blossoms and berries for many years to come.
This morning I picked my first basket full, utterly unable to keep myself from grinning like a Cheshire.
I gave them a good shake to dislodge any resident insects, plucked the blossoms and discarded the stems, added sliced lemons and a glug of bush lemon juice I made earlier this year, then covered the whole lot with hot sugar syrup. It’s now macerating in the fridge where each day for the next four days I’ll give it a stir. Once the flavor has fully infused the syrup, I will strain the concoction and bottle the liquid.
The elderflower cordial is delicious stirred into chilled sparkling water, white wine, and even champagne. I also like it whipped into a syllabub for a summery, creamy dessert.
Do you have a drink that transports you to somewhere special? xo
Nikolaj’s Danish Elderflower Cordial
20-30 big elderflowers
2 organic lemons
2 Tbsp citric acid (I didn’t have any, so I used bush lemon juice)
650 g sugar
1 liter boiling water
1. Shake flower for insects and cut off green stems.
2. Place in large pot/bowl with lid.
3. Wash lemons, cut in slices and put in pot with flowers.
4. Mix acid and sugar and dissolve in water. Pour over flowers/lemons and cover.
5. Leave in fridge for 4 days (stir once a day) Sieve through a cloth and pour onto sterilized bottles. Note: If bottles are not sterilized, cordial can ferment and bottles can explode and create a rather large mess.
6. To drink – mix with sparkling water or white wine.