Last weekend I had the honour of attending a Hen’s Party here in the Netherlands for a friend of mine who is getting married in a couple of weeks. One of the activities included a boat trip around the canals and waterways around Zwolle, while indulging on a delicious “High Tea” which we were all asked to contribute to.
(Must get the recipe for the delicious caramel walnut brownies!!!!)
I decided to mix it up a bit and instead of baking something like I usually would, I made home-made raspberry cordial and took a bottle of soda water to dilute it with (and yes that’s me with a cardigan and scarf, even though it’s summer here in Holland!!).
The best thing about making home-made cordial is that the fruits of your labour stick around for a while; the cordial keeps for months in the fridge. The worst thing about making home-made cordial is that you begin to really understand just how much sugar is added to fruit drinks. But do keep in mind that cordial is a concentrate, and this recipe makes an intensely flavoured syrup. You only need to add a little bit to the glass and top up with water or soda water (avoid lemonade as that only adds to the sugar content!). And of course home-made cordial contains no artificial colours or preservatives and is therefore so much better than anything you can buy in the supermarket. But still, I don’t think I can go so far as to say that it’s healthy …
Making home-made cordial is actually extremely simple. The only complicated bit is finding some muslin cloth or something similar in order to strain out the raspberry seeds. I was luckily able to improvise with some tulle lying around the house which worked perfectly.
Another idea is to make raspberry ice blocks by mixing 1 cup of the raspberry cordial with 1/4 cup of water and pouring into ice block moulds and freezing. And don’t forget that a bottle of cordial makes an original and creative gift idea! Just lay your hands on some cheap little glass bottles with a tight fitting lid, tie a ribbon around them and voila. A wonderful present to say you care!
- 6 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon citric acid
- 4 cups raspberries
- Begin by thoroughly washing and sterilizing your glass bottles with tight-fitted lids. I do this by squirting some detergent into the bottles and adding a little amount of very hot water from the tap. Shake the bottles well and then rinse them out thoroughly with the water running as hot as possible in order to get rid of any trace of the detergent. Next pop them into the oven on the coolest setting to allow them to dry while you prepare the cordial.
- To make the cordial, place the sugar and water into a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer while constantly stirring.
- Once simmering, add the lemon juice and the citric acid and stir until dissolved.
- Add the raspberries and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and leave to cool before straining batches of the cordial through a muslin covered sieve in order to remove the pulp and the seeds.
- Pour the cordial into the sterilized bottles and seal. Your cordial should last for months in the fridge.
- To serve, dilute the cordial to taste with either water or soda water (don't use lemonade as the syrup is sweet enough and doesn't need the extra sweetness from the lemonade!).