The tracks are all looking great after the hours and hours of TLC given to them over the past couple of months, so come on out for a ride.
It is also the time of year for the Elder trees to flower, so if you or someone you know has a sudden desire to make elderflower cordial, elderflower champagne or any of the other host of elderflower ideas, why not come out over the weekend to pick some flowers. There are many right on the edges of the tracks so the picking is easy. They should be flowering for the next couple of weeks.
Easy Elderflower Ideas:
Buy a bottle of Schweppes Classic Dry Lemonade, swig 200ml, then push fresh elderflowers into the bottle and screw the cap back on. Pop in the fridge for a day, turning occasionally. Instant Elderflower Fizz!
4 litres hot water
Juice and zest of four lemons
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
About 15 elderflower heads, in full bloom
A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this)
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 sterilized 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 at least a week before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place.
Elderflower cordial recipe
1.5 litres of boiling water
1 kilo of white granulated sugar
20 large elderflower heads (if they are small, pick more)
55g of citric acid
In a Pyrex bowl (or deep saucepan) pour the boiling water onto the sugar and stir. Leave to cool, stirring every now and then to dissolve the sugar.
When cool add the citric acid, the lemons (zested and sliced) and the elderflower heads.
Leave to steep for 48 hours.
Strain twice through sterilised muslin
Using a jug and funnel carefully pour into hot sterilised bottles.