my foraging bargains
Have you any of your special cordial Nanny? Er, no. Damn.
It would so easy to have had some home made cordial but I have just run out - too busy making marmalade. So this weekend I was determined to put it right. Cordials are so easy to make, and so delicious, bearing no resemblance to the highly coloured, synthetic tasting gloop we have come to expect as standard. Most of them don't even require any cooking and if you sterilise the filled bottles in a waterbath they will keep for up to a year, They won't though - as they are too delicious. The recipes for lemon and lime cordials are on my recipe site.
I had two mangoes left from the mango chutney last week, which were lovely and ripe, and when I was foraging for supper in our local supermarket yesterday they had a lovely big pineapple reduced to 60p. So I snapped that up and cooked it gently with the mangoes until everything was lovely and soft and then poured it all into a jelly bag to drip overnight. Today I added an equal amount of sugar to juice, plus a tablespoon of citric acid. I stirred the contents of the pan over a low heat to dissolve the sugar then poured into sterilised bottles. A great way to use up the mangoes. THEN . . .
I put the fruit from the jelly bag into a clean pan with 3 large chopped onions, 3 large peeled and chopped cooking apples, 900ml/1.5 pints cider vinegar, 900g/1.5 demerara sugar, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon grated nutmeg and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Cook gently together until it is all soft. Finely slice two chillies of your choice - I used Scotch Bonnets - and add to the chutney; cook for a further 20 mins. Pot up into hot, sterilised jars and seal tightly.
And there you have the best possible result - two stunning preserves from one lot of ingredients!
Do try making some cordials - they are so easy to do, and now is a very good time as there isn't much else on the horizon except the imminent arrival of the rhubarb season. Oh, speaking of rhubarb, I bought a small amount of rhubarb on the same trip to the supermarket and made some Rhubarb and Raspberry Cordial as well, with a few frozen raspberries left from last year. So, Nanny is all stocked up again - my next batch will be when the Summer berries are here, Mixed Berry, Beena, Raspberry & Redcurrant, whatever takes my fancy.
All cordials can be diluted with water, or sparkling water, soda, tonic water, add some gin or vodka if you like. They can be poured neat over ice-cream or diluted and made into lovely ice lollies - a brilliant money spinner at the school fete!