Elderflower Drink

What a hectic week! With my husband visiting Coppenhagen due to his work, and both of our kids falling victim to the nasty virus circulating in their daycare, I had my hands full.

Luckily the children didn’t get very sick. Sick enough to stay at home, but well enough to run around like poisoned mice… πŸ™‚ So yesterday I took out the bike and attached the kid-carrier behind it: I took Cherry and Paddington down to the nearest town, Hammel, to feed the ducks at the lake. They loved it!

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About the ducks: they are like the tame animals in a petting zoo: they are so used to people coming and feeding them all the time, that they are not scared at all of humans. Moreover, I haven’t even parked the bike, they were already all running towards us, quacking wildly, demanding their lunch… It also means that I could easily take close-up photos of them πŸ™‚

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Cherry found it amusing from the very first moment, but Paddington didn’t share her enthusiasm at first. Basically he was freaking out because of the pushy behaviour of the ducks πŸ™‚ Luckily later on he also started to appreciate the situation, and the bread I took with me was gone Β quite soon.

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After the bread was all eaten up, the kids engaged themselves in the classic game of chasing the ducks around – in the rain, of course, it is Denmark, after all πŸ™‚ Cherry couldn’t stop laughing at the funny knock-kneed way of running of the ducks. Later the kids collected some feathers, and we went home.

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And it was time to make some lovely elderflower drink πŸ™‚Β 

As far as I am concerned, I simply love the elderflower syrup drinks! So I was very happy to see, that we have some nice elderflower bushes in our garden, and right now it is high time to pluck them and turn them into some sweet, smooth, golden, summery syrup drinks…

bush

To make the drink, you are going to need the following:

  • An elderflower bush would be nice to have around, probably in the forest…
  • A big bowl or basket to collect the flowers
  • A pair of scissors
  • A bowl for cooking the syrup
  • Some clean bottles
  • A 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy (optional, or can be replaced with children of any number, gender and age)

While I was trying my best to collect the flowers from the bush, Cherry was standing by, holding the bowl, and a little bit complaning about the bowl being heavy… πŸ™‚ Paddington was playing with the dog. Now that is what I call an ideal distribution of work tasks πŸ™‚

When collecting the flowers and putting them into the bowl, Cherry suddenly cried out: “Look, Mummy, the flowers all full of animals!!!” – well, it’s true. When it comes to “bio” elderflowers – and by that I mean that they are from our own garden, without the use of any chemicals – insects will decide to live and prosper among the bushes.

picking elderflower

That is why you have to give the flowers a very proper wash before using them. I flooded the flowers with plenty of water, thereafter I removed the floating corpses of the “animals” from the water. Not my favourite part of the process, I can tell you that…

washing

To make the syrup, you will going to need:

  • 40-50 bunches of elderflower
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 l water

ingredients mix

You start with adding the sugar and the honey to a bowl af water, and make them boil. When it is boiling, you add the flowers and the sliced lemons, and stir the syrup.

elderflower syrup

After that just put the bowl to a cool place to chill, and let it stand there for 3-4 days. I covered the bowl with an insect net, to keep additional ingredients (dead bugs) away from the syrup. And the net might also keep away curious children of the syrup, though I cannot guarantee that… But our house already smells heavenly!!!

cooling

You will have to stir the syrup a few times daily. After a few days the syrup will be ready to be drained and put into clean bottles. You serve the drink by adding water to it.

So far I haven’t reached the point of draining and serving the drinks, but obviously I will keep you updated πŸ™‚

Midsummer

Summer is officially at its peak. It is midsummer, 6 months after Christmas, 6 months before Christmas – alas the best time of the year to have birthday, according to my husband. As it happens, it is my birthday today πŸ™‚ But that’s not what I was going to write about.

I love this time of the year, especially in Denmark. As all of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark also welcomes an extreme amount of light hours during these months. The sun is up (even if sometimes behind the clouds) about 19 hours per day. Fantastic πŸ™‚ A nice change after the long winter months, when we can be happy, if we have 5 hours daily sunshine… All this light is beautiful, even if sometimes it causes its troubles, like when I am unable to get my kids to sleep, cause who is going to fall asleep in bright sunshine, even if it’s already 10.30 in the evening…. I remember my dormitory days, when I used to work as a dishwasher in a fancy restaurant to pay my bills, and every Saturday we had a wedding to attend to. It meant that I rarely got home before 4 o’clock in the morning, shut the blinds on the window of my dorm room, and wanted to fall into unconscious sleep, but I simply couldn’t, because of the light finding its way through the blinds, and all the birds making a terrible noise, singing happily outside my window… oh, those were the days of my youth πŸ™‚

Summer by the way means a lot of beautiful things. Like our roses that have sprung…

Or the fresh strawberries that make the milk you pour on them just amazingly pink and sweet…

strawberries

And also, the yearly Midsummer celebrations πŸ™‚ We had a little grilling and bonfire at our village’s sports field, where a lot of our neighbours, my husband’s football buddies and our children’s day care friends met up. It was a lovely evening, despite the occasional showers (but again, it is Denmark).

A man-sized bonfire was built earlier that day, and it was not easy to set it on fire, but finally the men managed to start it.

starting the fire

It was beautiful and scary at the same time, the flames reaching up to the sky, and I was so happy that I was not born a few centuries earlier, because I am sure that I would have been burnt as a witch, just because of my freckles… what a terrible death.

At the same time as the bonfire, a rainbow showed up above the village πŸ™‚ If you look at the picture carefully, you can see that it was actually a double rainbow!

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We had a lovely time, and walked home around 9 p.m, when our kids started to get tired, and somewhat wet from the on-and-off rains.

 

Is It Spring Yet?

My poor body is longing for spring. Mentally I don’t feel it’s been a long winter, at least not yet, but my body says: “I want sunshine! I want vitamins!” and it also says: “Let’s sleep!”. And so we do. I sleep 10-11 hours per night (I know, it’s unheard of among mums with small kids, but luckily mine are marmots – they are very good at sleeping – so noone disturbs me), still, in the morning I can barely crawl out my bed, and by the afternoon I cannot keep my eyes open. I am constantly craving for apples and tomatoes (and I swear, I am not even pregnant!) and coffee… These are all signs of my body is getting discharged.

But there is hope! Today suddenly the temperature rised significantly, and the snow started to melt in patches, also in our garden. And guess what’s been hiding under the snow? Spring! Spring has been hiding under it πŸ™‚

eranthis

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