In which I make some Gooseberry Cordial. While getting sloshed.
Ok, so city folk have got their transport connections and 24 hour access to ice cream, but I’ve got a gooseberry bush, so there.
This time last year, my mother-in-law came in from my garden with a bowl full of gooseberries and informed me I was the, less proud, more unaware, owner of a gooseberry bush. I didn’t take much interest. What the goose are gooseberries good for? It’s not like they were strawberries or something I actually bought from shops. So I generously invited my mother-in-law to take them home with her, for she was far less likely to put them in a corner and leave them until they started to ferment.
How times change. A year on, I’m a veritable gooseberry junkie.
My neighbour, the one I wrote an ode to here, excitedly informed me that a villager had served Gooseberry Cordial at lunch the other day and that as my neighbour and I BOTH have gooseberry bushes, we could unite the goose (geese?) and make some cordial of our own. Hell to the yes please.
Neighbs, which is what I call her when I’m being down with the kids, picked her geese, I picked mine, and Neighbs got to work buying all the other ingredients that aren’t growing on trees in our gardens.
280g caster sugar.
1tsp citric acid.
Juice and zest of one lemon.
1 litre of water.
Citric acid, you might wonder, can be bought from a pharmacy. I thought it would be in liquid form, I don’t know why. I think I was thinking of liquid aminos, which I bought once from Amazon and is really just soy sauce. But citric acid looks a bit like sugar. And the reason you have to get it from a pharmacy, I found out last night at Gooseberry Night, is that rapscallions have taken to using it to cut down their cocaine – or you could say dilute, seeing as this is a blog about cordial and diluting is a cordially word – so now you can only get it from pharmacies where they grill you on your intended use before they accept that you really are just a country girl with some gooseberries that need goosing.
The other ingredient was lemon balm – two handfuls of the bugger. Just so happens Neighbs has some lemon balm growing in her garden too. Is this the good life or what?
Now for the fun bit. Making gooseberry cordial consists of chucking all that stuff in a big pan and going outside to drink red wine.
It’s 400g of gooseberries, by the way, in case any thinkle peep I wasn’t taking measurements and was just getting a triple bit tipsy.
The cauldron was left to simmer for ten minutes (more like 30 because I just HAD to show my neighb the new chickens and we got distracted. By wine.)
Then we let it cool. (AKA took it off the hob and carried on drinking.)
Then we strained it through some muslin cloths. Well, dish-cloths, because that’s all we had, but it still worked a charm. Frankly a colander would have worked a charm by then.
Hey Presto! Gooseberry Cordial!
Disclaimer: It would have looked like this if a) We had pretty bottles. We didn’t, we just used old wine bottles. b) I’d taken nice pictures instead of just drinking loads of champagne with a gooseberry lace.