Elderflower Cordial – Essential Summertime Drink

Mid to late spring is Elderflower season.   These beautiful flowers make the most amazing cordial and it is very simple to make.  Elderflowers are everywhere, once you know what you are looking for, you will spot the trees all the time.  Usually growing along the roadside, near rivers and parks.


Foraged Elderflower


Before you head off to find Elderflowers it’s important to know that the Elderberry plant is poisonous.  I don’t want to scare anyone away from making your own cordial but it’s something you should know, and something I wasn’t aware of until I had made my first ever batch last year and had to throw it out.

The leaves, stems and unripe berries of both red and black elderberry species contain cyanide-inducing glycosides which can cause a toxic buildup of cyanide in the body. When using elderflowers, be sure to remove them from all but that smallest stem attachments to keep these toxins out of your food.

When collecting Elderflower, collect the bright white and open flowers.  If they are turning yellow or cream leave them on the tree as they are past their best and not something you want in your cordial.


The flowers on this flower head a nice and white.  However, they still have unopened flowers.  I would leave this flowerhead on the tree.


Once you have gathered your Elderflowers for your cordial you will need to take the flowers off the stems.   the easiest way to do this is using your fingers or a fork and gently push the flowerhead into the bowl. See below.


Using a fork to remove the flowers from the stalks.


To make your cordial, you will need:

  • 1k  sugar
  •  6 cups boiling water
  • 3 medium lemons, washed
  • 30 large Elderflower heads
  • 55g citric acid
  • one large glass or ceramic bowl or jar
  • sterilised bottles

Preparing your cordial:

  1. Place the sugar into a large bowl or jar ( I have used a very large pickle jar).     Pour the boiling water over the sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved, leave to cool.
  2. Peel the rind of the lemons with a peeler and add to the sugar water.
  3. Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the sugar water. Add the citric acid and stir, then finally add the flower heads to the sugar water and stir again.
  4. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours. I usually give it a gentle stir after 24 hours and have a taste.

After 48 hours you are ready to bottle your cordial.

  1. Sterilise bottles in the oven or in a pot of boiling water
  2. Remove lemons from the cordial, strain the cordial through a clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl.
  3. Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles, seal and store in a cool, dark place.   Once opened keep in the refrigerator.

This cordial is delicious diluted with still or fizzy water.


The finished product, ready to drink or give away as a gift.



I hope you enjoy making your own Elderflower cordial.

Becks 🍹🍹


Kids in the Kitchen: Spiced Shape Biscuits

Spiced biscuits are perfect for cold wintery days, to have with a cup of coffee or tea and the kids love them just as much especially when they can ice them and put sprinkles on them.   I found this recipe a few years ago in a magazine and have adapted it to my liking. It’s a really quick recipe as well compared to the more traditional Gingerbread men recipe.  It also uses Spelt flour which gives the biscuits a melt in your mouth texture, but if you don’t have spelt flour you can use ordinary white flour.

I am not going to lie, baking with kids can be hard work, but they like getting involved, so to make it easy on myself I will usually make the dough while they are busy playing and once the biscuits are cooked and cooled they can decorate them to their heart’s content.    I just set up an area on the kitchen table, with a few options.  (today though they have helped through the process).


Spiced Biscuits

  • 120g softened butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 150g of Spelt flour – you can use plain flour if you don’t have spelt flour
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp mixed spice

Beat the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the flour and spices and combine until soft dough forms.  Be careful to not overmix.

Pop the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or baking paper and roll out flat.  Place on a baking tray and pop into the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Unwrap the chilled dough and use cookie cutters to cut shapes.   Reroll out cut-offs gently, you don’t want to work the dough too much.


Place the biscuits onto the tray and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Watch them though as they can burn quickly. (past experience)   If you need to do this in two batches this is fine, just place leftover dough in the fridge.

Let the biscuits cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.



Let the kids decorate or leave plain.  I have found for my children as they are still young that using these little tubes from Queen makes it easy for them and less messy for me. These can be found in the baking area of any supermarket.  We have a selection of sprinkles that I have bought from the supermarket and Cakestuff in Hastings.


If you need to make icing:  Mix 1 cup of icing sugar with a Table Spoon of hot water and a few drops of food colouring.   Add a little bit more water if you need to.   If the icing is too runny, just add a little more icing sugar.

Happy Baking!

Becks 🍪🍪👍





Homemade Seed Crackers

Since it’s Plastic Free July and so many people are really getting into it I thought I would share this great cracker recipe that I use all the time. I can’t claim it as my own, nor do I remember who to say thank you to but from memory, it was adapted from a Donna Hay recipe and shared a thousand times over on the internet. You can put your own mark on it and change it to suit your own tastes.

All these ingredients can be purchased from the bulk bins section of your supermarket or try places like Bin Inn or your local health food store. Use your own bags and then you won’t be stuck with plastic wrappers. I think you will be converted after trying them as well and never go back to eating packet crackers ever again. They really are divine.


  • 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Linseeds aka (Flaxseeds)
  • 1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup Spelt flour
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/3 Cup of Olive Oil
  • Dried herbs of your choice for sprinkling. (Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano etc. My favourite is Cumin seeds. YUM!!


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Line a tray with baking paper.

Place all seeds, salt, and spelt flour into a large bowl, stir to combine. Add the water and oil and mix to form a wet dough.


Divide the dough in half. Place one-half of the dough onto the prepared tray and cover with an extra piece of baking paper. Carefully roll out with a rolling pin to roughly 3mm thick. Sprinkle with salt, and dried herbs of your choice.

Using a sharp knife cut lines to make the crackers, this will make it easy to snap once they are cooked.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack, and store in an airtight container if they are not all eaten first.

Repeat steps with the next batch of dough.

**(If you don’t want your crackers to have whole seeds in them, pop them into a stand mixer and give everything a quick mix, (my mum does this and they come out really well).**


Plastic package free crackers. These crackers will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.

What are you making from scratch this Plastic Free July?

Becks 🍪♻️🌏

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Super Easy Cooked Playdough Recipe

It must have been the week, last week, for Playdough, as I saw so many photos and posts about Playdough.   We have had quite a bit of inside time as I was struck down with the horrible flu and have not ventured out unless I absolutely had to, so it was a week of inside play for us.  While all the Playdough photos were shared there were also many people asking for the recipe, so I thought I would share our Cooked Playdough version.

There are a few different recipes out there, but I found this recipe one of the best for nice, soft dough that lasts for ages, (three months in fact if you keep it in the fridge). This is also the recipe my mum used when I was little. I also add a few drops of essential oil, which makes it smell lovely, try lavender, orange or peppermint.  Homemade dough is super easy to make and you then know exactly what has gone into it.

All you need:

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • Essential oils of your choice (optional)

Pop all the ingredients apart from the essential oils into a saucepan.  Stir well on medium heat until mixture comes away from the pot and forms a ball.  Don’t overcook otherwise the dough will go dry.    Place on a board and knead well and then leave to cool. Once the dough is cool, knead in a few drops of essential oil.  The dough should keep for three months if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.   P1040928I give the kids a variety of utensils to use with the playdough rolling pin, cookie cutters, a plastic spork that I saved from something, cupcake wrappers, flowers and leaves for decorating, the ideas can be endless.   On this day Alex made a number of things and ended with cupcakes, he then made an oven out of a wooden box and some blocks.   These were then decorated with leaves and flowers and will be cakes for Daddy’s Birthday. P1040929

So there you go, a super easy recipe and you know what all the ingredients are.

Becks 🌻🍄

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Quince Jelly

Since we have been foraging a lot lately, I thought I would share the recipes that we use when we come across a good one. I also am a bit of a freestyle baker and will chop and change things a little to suit my taste buds.     Before making this Quince Jelly I researched a number of recipes and the reviews on them.  Hoping to find something that was not too time-consuming or overly sweet.

This recipe is a bit of mishmash of a couple of recipes, I reduced the sugar content and I wasn’t too fussy about water levels or draining the liquid overnight.   My finished product was a beautiful rose coloured and very tasty Jelly.

When harvesting Quince, look for yellow fruit without to much fluff left on them, they should smell deliciously fragrant. If they are not quite ripe, but you need to pick them, keep them in the fruit bowl till they ripen,  which should only take a day or so.


  • 6-8 ripe quince
  • Water to cover
  • Sugar (measured once you know how much juice you have)
  • Juice of 1/2 small lemon


  • Wash quince and remove any decay from the skins.
  • Chop fruit then place in a large soup pot with the cores and pips.
  • Just cover the chopped fruit with cold water. Bring fruit to the boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  • If you cook the fruit too quickly it will “mush” and cloud the liquid.
  • Leave the lid on the pan at this stage.
  • Cook for an hour or until fruit is soft and has turned pink.
  • Drain fruit and all the cooking liquid through a piece of muslin cloth.
  • Measure the liquid once it has passed through the cloth. For every one cup of liquid, you will need 3/4 cup of sugar.
  • Bring the liquid to the boil in a clean pot then slowly add the sugar. Do not stir once the sugar has dissolved.
  • Boil gently, allowing the scum to drift to the sides of the pan. Boil for 20 minutes or until a test sample sets on a cold plate.
  • Remove scum with a small sieve or a slotted spoon.
  • Fill sterilised jars then seal
  • Store in a cool, dark place.

If you haven’t made jelly or jam before it’s good to look at YouTube to see how to do a test sample on a cold plate.   When testing the jelly make sure you take the pot off the element.

Like wise if you are unsure of sterilising jars, check YouTube or google for a number of different ways.