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Return of the camper

May 31, 2012

Arlo’s back from camp –  happy, tired, in need of a wash (“I didn’t have a shower so you don’t need to wash the towel”) and very exuberant at the moment – or as he said “Rejoice! Your youngest and best child is home! You can be happy for the first time this week”. They all had a great time and I think he’ll be talking about it for weeks to come.

I would have made a cake for his return, but we still have cake to eat left over from Rella’s birthday. Arlo polished off the last of the lovely mousse cake thing (see yesterday’s post) after a dinner of pizza, chips (“I ate lots of healthy food at camp so don’t cook vegetables for me”) and cabbage and mushroom stirfry with edamame soya beans. Nice.

By way of celebration I picked elderflowers this morning to make elderflower champagne. It’s a lovely drink, but won’t be ready for a couple of weeks. Good job I made some cordial so we can drink that in the meantime. My recipe for champagne is from the Encyclopaedia of Home made Wines by Mary Aylett and dates from 1957 . It’s a lovely book, but  not good with quantities. It says “Take two heads of elderflower, put them in a crock with the juice of a lemon, the thinly peeled rind, one and a half pound of sugar and two tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Steep in cold softened water for 24 hours then strain into beer bottles and screw down the stoppers firmly. In about a fortnight it will be ready to drink. It is only mildly alcoholic, but strongly effervescent and should be served cool.”

There you have it. Experience has taught me that you need at least three elderflower heads, preferably four  – unless they are huge, and that the crock needs to hold a gallon of water and it needs a lid.

It’s also better to put the champagne in plastic bottles because when it starts to fizz it will go mad and glass bottles can explode – with plastic bottles the bobbly bottom just stretches and the bottle falls over (which you’ll notice because you’re checking them every day).

It’s easy and delicious – so delicious that it’s hard to believe that something so lovely can be made with such simple ingredients. Make some while you have the chance!

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