Fresh strawberry and rhubarb cordial

WP weekly photo challenge: fresh

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Fresh to me means produce straight from  my allotment, pesticide-free and naturally fed plants. I’ll give you the recipe for the cordial at the end, but first I’m going to show off some of my harvest, which despite the burning heat-wave we’ve been having, and my erratic watering, seems  to be doing pretty well.  The strawberries have been delicious – warm off the stem, or made into ice cream. We even outfaced the heat by having some in a crumble (i.e. baked with a butter-sugar-flour crumb crust) and served with some Greek yoghourt.

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And now the raspberries and blackcurrants are beginning to ripen which means it’s time to make jam with the raspberries and coulis with the currants, or Summer Pudding with both.

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And then there are gooseberries to make into gooseberry and ginger chutney, and gooseberry fool, or gooseberry sauce to have with grilled mackerel.

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On Saturday night, after a hard day’s picking, weeding and sowing, we had steamed artichokes served with crushed garlic in melted goat’s butter.

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And on Sunday night, after digging up some Charlotte and Red Duke of York potatoes, picking French and broad beans and broccoli, I steamed the vegetables and dished them up with salsa verde and a few grilled rashers of Wenlock Edge Farm bacon. Bliss.

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And now I’ve teased your taste buds to extremes, here is the recipe I promised you:

Strawberry and Rhubarb Cordial

4 sticks of rhubarb chopped

300 gm/10 oz ripe strawberries, hulled and cut in half

320gm/11oz caster sugar

1 litre/1.75 water

juice of 2 lemons

Place fruit in heavy based pan, add sugar and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add water and increase heat slightly. Cook for a further 15 minutes until the fruit is soft.

Leave to cool then strain through a sieve, pressing the pulp into the syrup. Add lemon juice and store in the fridge. To serve, dilute with chilled sparkling water, and add a sprig of mint if this appeals.

OR make a damn fine cocktail with some prosecco or other dry sparkling wine. I haven’t tried this myself yet, but I just know it will be wonderful – bellinis with bells on.

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And finally a shot of the marigolds and sweet peas that I grow amongst my vegetables to make the bees happy, and me happy when they have pollinated everything else.

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Happy summer to everyone who takes the

time to read my blog – lovely

people all of you.

50 thoughts on “Fresh strawberry and rhubarb cordial

  1. Marvelous pictures and very tempting post. I have to try the Cordial. I love rhubarb especially, but also strawberries of course. I was hoping it might have a little alcohol in it… but I suppose it’s worth making an exception to appreciate how you like it.

    1. Glad you like the photos, Shimon. Hope you enjoy the cordial, too. As I said, I think it would be good with dry sparkling wine. I think cocktail buffs would also come up with some other options. You can also use other soft fruit in the same proportions.

  2. Gorgeous photos. I feel almost as if I can taste the berries. Food we grow ourselves is so much more satisfying.

    1. Thanks, Su. Yes one can be horribly smug too when you’ve ‘grown it yourself’. But you can’t beat the flavour of stuff straight out of the ground, and with minimal washing.

    1. Glad you liked it, Mrs Carmichael. Hope your spamming difficulty is resolved. It was only because Northumbrian Light reblogged your post, that I realized that I was not the only person being spammed. So thank you.

  3. dear Tish, congrats for “some of my harvest, which despite the burning heat-wave we’ve been having, and my erratic watering, seems to be doing pretty well…”

  4. Tish, what lovely, summery, delicious photos. I would love to have berries of my own and especially artichokes. One of my favorite fantasies is that all thistles are artichokes. 🙂 I always wonder who on earth every first thought of eating one.

    janet

    1. Thanks for visiting, and yes that’s an interesting question, Janet. Artichokes aren’t exactly welcoming vegetables, are they. Got a few stabs trying to chop mine in half, and getting rid of the choke can be a pain too. But, yes, oh so delicious once you steam them into submission.

  5. Oh my Tish – where do you live and how soon can I come visit. All of that fresh produce is just making my mouth water (your goal I’m sure!). NOTHING beats a meal with food right from the vine.

  6. Bonjour Trish

    So envious of your fruit and veg garden. We do constant battle with the elements here in the Garonne valley and this year have an equal measure of success (raspberries, strawberries, courgettes, lettuce) and failure (tomatoes, haricots, cherries and plums).

    Your cordial looks scrumptious so next year we will grow a little rhubarb.

    What a delightful blog – your writing is a joy and the photographs vibrant and interesting. It is nice to know that you struggle, it encourages me to battle on – even though my writing ability is outstripped tenfold by my ambition.

    Looking forward to exploring your posts.

    Regards

    Dan

    1. Bonjour to you too. And thank you for your very encouraging words.
      As to struggling, I think it’s part and parcel of the process, though sometimes it can seem just too much. You just have to keep showing up at the writing desk. Your blog looks lovely too, so I shall be back there. That’s the joy of WordPress – you meet such great people doing such wonderfully creative things. Well met and bonne chance with the writing. Actually before I go I’ll mention Mark Haddon, best selling author of The Dog that Barked in the Night. He was visiting a school, and one of the kids asked him if he did “a lot of rubbing out”. He thought it summed things up. It does. Onwards and upwards…

    1. You are most welcome. Have just made some myself. Since I wrote this post, I have tried it with prosecco – at Christmas, so it freezes well too, and it was delicious. I’m thinking you could also churn it in an ice cream maker and have a brilliant sorbet. Then I had the idea of cordial ice cubes to drop in chilled sparkling water or wine, or mini ice lollies for kids. Enjoy!

  7. Hello Tish, thanks for visiting my blog and liking what you read. I love your blog and especially the Strawberry/Rhubarb Cordial, along with all of your gardening and flower shots, of course you know i would be a gardener over the years to love this part of your blog, Your photography is beautiful! Also helps that i love Rhubarb and think here in the US unless your live in the country and are a country cook is a very overlooked vegetable (along with Salsify “oyster plant” ) which you see the seeds for but do not hear many people talking about it these days.
    I am looking forward to reading more of your blog and writings and am subscribing! Have a great week Tish.

  8. Oh Tish, I rue not being able to dine with you! Yes, that is the definition of FrESh in my dictionary =). I envy you your free access to the gooseberries I’ve never had. You’re among the few I’ve come across who use goat dairy like we do. I would use a bit of raw honey instead of sugar but that sounds just out of this world. The marigold is stunning. Beautiful blog… =)

    Diana

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