dairy-free

Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder Steaks with Low-FODMAP Vegetable Sauce

Early spring and slow-cooking go hand in glove. It’s cold and it can sometimes be a struggle to ever remember what it’s like to have a light evenings. In the evening you need a meal to be ready on your return, welcoming you back with its warming aromas. This easy dish is ideal for rice, jacket potatoes, mash or even poured over crusty low-FODMAP bread.

You can use chicken, beef or vegetable stock, do check the ingredients for high FODMAP's if you are not using homemade. If you do not have a slow cooker bake in a heavy lidded casserole at 160°C for 3-4 hours. Use 400ml of stock, checking regularly to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

That's some parsnip puree hiding in the background.

That's some parsnip puree hiding in the background.

Serves 4

1 tbsp. garlic oil

250g carrots

4 pork shoulder steaks (around 600g)

10 sprigs of thyme

480g tomatoes

250ml stock

Large pinch of salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Peel and slice the carrots. Slice the tomatoes into 4 horizontally. Cut out the stalk from each top slice of each tomato. Warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Fry the carrots, stirring often for 3 minutes. Put the carrots in the slow cooker. Fry the shoulder steaks off in the frying pan for one minute each side. Place the steaks on top of the carrots. Add the tomatoes to the frying pan and fry for a minute on each side. Scatter the thyme sprigs and salt flakes over the steaks then cover with the tomatoes. Return the pan to the heat and pour in the stock. Scrape any stuck-on juices from the bottom of the pan into the stock and pour into the slow-cooker.

Cook on low for 8-9 hours. Using a fish slice or slotted spoon, gently lift the steaks out of the vegetables onto a warm plate. They may break up a little but you can reassemble on the plate. Remove the woody thyme sprigs from the vegetables. Using a hand-held blender, whizz up everything left in the slow-cooker until smooth. Season to taste. Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over the top – yum!

Low-FODMAP servings

Common tomato – 119g

Pork –

Garlic Oil - Oil should be infused with garlic to keep the FODMAP’s out!

Thyme, salt, pepper – FODMAP safe

Carrots – FODMAP’s are not detected in this food. Eat freely and according to appetite

 

Low-FODMAP Chocolate and Raspberry Pudding Cakes - gluten-free and vegan recipe.

Ahh, Valentine’s Day. I’m of the mind you shouldn’t restrict your romance and affection to one day a year. However, my daughter has other ideas and feels grand gestures should be compulsory. Therefore, I shall be demonstrating my love and affection to my family by making these low-fodmap, gluten-free, vegan, chocolatey-raspberry treats. In return they can show their love and affection to me by not bickering and doing their homework without me having to nag.

I’m using frozen raspberries as they’re readily available. You need to have 9 fairly good-looking ones for the tops but the others can be a bit battered. When using coconut cream, empty the can or tetrapak into a bowl first and beat with a spoon to thoroughly combine, before weighing out. Any unused cream can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container. Please do not panic if the tops go cracked – they’re going to be smothered in choccy topping. FODMAP friendly portion sizes at the bottom.

Squidgy

Squidgy

Makes 9 cakes

85g gluten-free self-raising flour blend

100g dark 72% chocolate, very finely chopped

85g dairy-free margarine

55g caster sugar

1 tbsp. golden syrup

125ml UHT coconut milk

36 frozen raspberries

160ml coconut cream

Pre-heat a fan oven to 150°C. Line a muffin tin with 9 paper cases and place 3 raspberries in the bottom of each case.

Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. In a small pan, melt the margarine, sugar, golden syrup and milk over a low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon as it warms, do not let it get hot. When it no longer feels grainy on the spoon, stir in 30g of the chocolate and remove from the heat. Keep stirring until it is all combined and melted.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the well in the flour and whisk well with a balloon whisk. Pour the batter into a jug then pour over the raspberries, splitting the mixture evenly between all 9 cases. Bake for 25 minutes. When baked, leave to cool in the tin.

Place a tightly fitting heatproof bowl on top of a pan of simmering water. Add the coconut cream and stir until it is smooth and just warm. Stir in the remaining 70g of chocolate until it just starts to melt then remove the pan from the heat. Continue stirring until it is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Whisk for 5 minutes using an electric hand-held whisk.

Keeping the cakes in the tin, spoon the chocolate on the cakes to as near to the top of the cases as you can. Leave to cool and set. Lift the cakes out of the tin using a palette knife. I like to remove the paper cases before serving. Place a ‘good-looking’ raspberry on the top and if you’re feeling fancy, sift over a little icing sugar.

Low FODMAP servings

Dark Chocolate – 30g

Margarine – 19g

Sugar – 14g

Golden Syrup – ½ tbsp.

UHT Coconut milk – 125ml

Raspberries – 10 berries

Coconut cream – not yet tested but it is processed in the same way as coconut milk so it is likely to have a similar results. It’s high fat content means it is possible it could be even lower in FODMAPs

This is a sample of how we do Valentine's Day - Homemade Moomin Cards. Like our family sayings - I have no recollection how we started this but after 16 years we're amassing quite a collection! They no longer look like Moomins but strange creatures that find themselves in a variety of unusual situations. 

This is a sample of how we do Valentine's Day - Homemade Moomin Cards. Like our family sayings - I have no recollection how we started this but after 16 years we're amassing quite a collection! They no longer look like Moomins but strange creatures that find themselves in a variety of unusual situations. 

Carrot & Walnut Bake for Autumn - low-FODMAP, gluten-free and vegan

Doesn't it scream autumn?

Doesn't it scream autumn?

Autumn weather is confusing this year and it’s confusing my usual autumn Low-FODMAP menu. Daddy-long-legs are drunkenly drifting about in the sunshine wondering what to do with themselves next. The apple tree has snapped in two under the weight of tiny red apples – as they are not FODMAP friendly I need to give these away – please pop in if you’re interested

I had intended to do something entirely different for teatime yesterday but I had an ingredients disaster and had to look to the store cupboard for salvation. Ras-el-Hanout came to my rescue again and gave a warm spiced pumpkin pie flavour to some decidedly normal carrots. Autumn means walnuts but to stop the flavour becoming too overwhelming I ‘cut’ them with some pumpkin seeds.

A low-FODMAP portion of dried cranberries is 13g so you’ll be within your ‘safe’ limit. Do check the ingredients of your ras-el-Hanout – there shouldn’t be any garlic. I seem to be strewing brown rice breadcrumbs over everything at the moment – I got mine from the local market. Eat for teatime or it slices well cold to have as leftovers.

No-one is more surprised than I that I got it out in one piece!

No-one is more surprised than I that I got it out in one piece!

Serves 4 generously, prep 15-20 mins, baking time 40 mins

1kg carrots, peeled and sliced

160g walnuts

50g pumpkin seeds

30g dried cranberries

Large pinch of salt

Heaped tsp. ras-el-Hanout

Heaped tbsp. brown rice breadcrumbs

Heaped tbsp. sesame seeds

A little olive oil for greasing.Pre-heat an oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 22cm pie dish.

Cook the carrots either by steaming, microwaving (or boiling, although you will lose some vitamins) until soft. While the carrots are cooking place the walnuts, pumpkin seeds and cranberries into a food processor then blitz to fine crumbs. Tip the nut mixture into a bowl and stir in the ras-el-Hanout and salt.

Drain the carrots really well and allow to cool slightly so the steam can escape. Place the carrots in the food processor (you don’t need to wash it first!) and blitz until nearly smooth. Add the nuts back in and blitz again until everything is thoroughly combined. Press the mixture evenly into the pie dish. I did make a pretty pattern on mine using a spatula but I’m not sure I’d bother next time!

Mix the rice breadcrumbs and sesame seeds together before scattering evenly over the top. Bake for 40 minutes. You may need to loose the edge of the bake with a knife before cutting out wedges.

THE BEST Low-FODMAP, Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate-chip Cookies!

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     Gotta catch 'em all!

Gotta catch 'em all!

Please excuse my excitable heading and font – but these really are THE BEST low-FODMAP, gluten-free, vegan chocolate-chip cookies EVER! Anyone who follows my Instagram feed (@ourhousefortea) will have witnessed the baking disasters I’ve created whilst getting to this point. I kept trying to replace the eggs with various ingredients and it was only when I wondered what would happen if I didn’t, that these little beauties emerged. They are crisp on the outside and a bit squishier and crumblier in the middle - perfect. I must confess I’ve had no breakfast but have eaten three cookies in a row… bad low-FODMAP evangelist ;-) Won’t ramble on now and will let you get to the good stuff. I’m just about to try substituting half the chips with crystallised ginger pieces*, will let you know how I get on, promise you’ll tell me how you get on too?

Makes 16 Prep – 10 minutes Baking time – 12-14 minutes

125g free-from sunflower margarine (Pure Sunflower for preference)

75g caster sugar

50g soft light brown sugar

2 tsps. vanilla extract

200g self-raising gluten free flour blend (Doves Farm for preference)

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsps. almond milk

150g dark (semi-sweet) chocolate chips

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   FYI, the raw dough won't do you any harm...

FYI, the raw dough won't do you any harm...

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Line two baking sheets with greaseproof baking paper.

Using an electric hand whisk beat together the margarine, sugars and vanilla in a mixing bowl, until light and fluffy. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift flour mix into the margarine and stir until it is combined. (If you use the electric beaters for this stage, the flour will fly everywhere.) When the flour is safely combined, add the almond milk and then whisk until you have a smooth, sticky dough. Stir in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.

Dollop the dough in dessertspoonfuls onto the baking sheet, keeping them well spaced apart. You should have 8 dollops per sheet. Smooth the tops a little with a clean finger until they are around 6cm across.

Bake for 14 minutes, turning the sheets halfway through to ensure they brown evenly. Allow to cool on the tray for 2-3 minutes to harden slightly then move to a wire rack to cool. If you are going to store them, wait until they are cold and store in an airtight container.

Eaten warm, (she says from experience) they are delicious with a glass of milk, or whatever you’re drinking these days that passes for milk. The chips are still a bit soft and the chocolate can travel a surprisingly long way, particularly if for some reason you have it on your elbow. How?!

*Half ginger, half choc chips worked! I also added 1/2 tps. of ground ginger with the flour - delicious!


As a special treat here's a pic of one of my many disasters - follow me on Instagram for more kitchen disasters @ourhousefortea

Hmm...

Hmm...

Cantaloupe Granita - Low-FODMAP and gloriously orange

Low FODMAP Cantaloupe Granita 2

Cantaloupe Granita - Low-FODMAP and gloriously orange

Aside from IBS and accidental-ingestion-of-a FODMAP associated pain, lots of childhood ‘illnesses’ elicit the same response from me. These are responses that can be said with a degree of concern in my voice but without betraying the scepticism I’m feeling. Nothing will quicken the turn of a perceived illness or injury into a full-blown illness, than a child who doesn’t believe you are genuinely concerned.

Low-FODMAP Cantaloupe Granita 1

Child – “Mummy, I’ve got a…”

Me, (in my best concerned voice, wearing my best concerned face) “Oh dear. Have you tried having a glass of water/ going to the loo/ having a little lie-down on the window seat/ putting a wet flannel on it/ opening a window/ running it under a cold tap/ putting on a jumper/ having a bath to relax your muscles/ putting a plaster on it/ not bending your leg/finger/arm backwards?”

Any of these seem familiar?

Heartless I know, but sometimes just having someone acknowledge your stress and pain is all that is needed. Often it turns out the illness/ injury was just a prelude to what has really been bugging them. A bad day at school, an injustice on the playground or disappointment that something didn’t turn out quite as anticipated. I think this is also true for grown-ups. When was the last time someone gave you their best concerned face? A little kindness can go a long way.

Sometimes, the struggle is real and you need to bring down a high temperature. Granita is a great to administer as a cooling-aid. Give 90g of cantaloupe melon granita, safe in the knowledge that you won’t also be tending to FODMAP related pain.

Check out the matching nails ;-)

Check out the matching nails ;-)

Prep - 5-10 minutes,

Freezing time 3 hours.

 1 ripe cantaloupe melon

Juice of half a lime.

Deseed the melon. If you have a hand-held blender, scrape the gorgeously orange flesh and lime-juice into a bowl. You could also use a blender or food processor. Whizz together, taking a moment to enjoy the wonderful perfume and wish you had a nail varnish the same colour.

Pour into a shallow freezer safe container. Cover and freeze. Every 30 minutes scrape in the ice that starts to form around the sides back into the mix, using fork. The mixture will start to get a granular slushy consistency. After 3 hours your granita will be ready.

For a grown-up slushie I recommend a shot of limoncello poured over the top.

If you keep it frozen, it will turn into a solid block. Leave to defrost slightly and show it some welly with either a food processor or blender to loosen things up.

Just realised I've given you a Low-FODMAP, sugar-free, vegan recipe - my life has changed immeasurably since 2012...

 

LowFODMAP Canteloupe Melon Granita 3

Parenting the poorly - learning to feed yourself Low-FODMAP and fairy cake recipe

Cocoa Lumps

Cocoa Lumps

Little Miss Low-FODMAP has been poorly with some sort of viral rash that was suspected to be shingles but having spoken to other parents I suspect wasn't as severe as all that. She had a couple of 'peaky' days but the rash has scabbed over and she's back, oh yes she's back! It was the bouncing off the window seat onto the sofa whilst singing 'Let it Go' that convinced me.

 Poorliness may not demand a lot of medical attention but it does demand a lot of attention. There is no point trying to fight that as a parent you are expected not only to be the constant carer but also the entertainer. As you'd expect, in our house my entertainment tends to involve a lot of cookery. Luckily, the poorliness co-incided with the arrival of some Masa Harina from Sous Chef (www.souschef.co.uk). She really got into the hang of making tortilla and there have been 5 different tortilla-based meals. It was worth every penny of the tortilla press! We've also had the ubiquitous green cheese sauce drowning anything that stopped moving long enough.

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     Tortilla faces in the sunshine.

Tortilla faces in the sunshine.

However, my favourite cooking activity was making Cocoa Lumps. Cocoa Lumps happen when you unclench for long enough (Let it Go) to let your children to invent something. It is highly unlikely it will be haute cuisine but it's only experience that divides those who can cook without a book from those who can't. What better time to get this experience in than now?

 Use a little gentle guidance to make sure the invention isn't an unmitigated disaster - the idea is for children to learn what does and doesn't work, not to scare them off from ever trying again!

 If you are cooking meat, be sure you cook it for the right amount of time and at the right temperature, Google if you need to.

 When using sugar, as a general rule if you bake it below 175C your baked goods will be soft. Above that will make for a harder biscuit/ cookie/ splodge.

  I'm of the school that often it is best to smell if something's cooked, particularly baked goods. If the kitchen smells of biscuits they're probably cooked. If it smells of burning use a time machine and get them out 5 minutes earlier.

Very painted nails.

Very painted nails.

Chocolate and orange goes together, lemon and sultanas go together but don't let yourself get too hung up on these details. Be curious - someone came up with the idea of salted caramel once and now there's no getting away from it. Worst-case scenario, it won't taste very nice and you won't make it again.

 Take notes. If you happen upon a brilliant idea or recipe you can replicate it. If it's awful you won't make the same mistake twice. If the experiment is 'almost' there, it's easy to fiddle with next time. Note-making is lots of writing and weighing practise that children may not even notice they're doing.

 When baking you need some sort of raising agent - self-raising flour, whisked egg whites, bicarbonate of soda, yeast, baking powder - see what happens when you don't use any and see what happens when you use too much!

 Experiment with substitution - if you have a recipe that you're missing ingredients for what happens when you use white sugar instead of brown, raisins instead of chocolate chips, maple syrup instead of golden syrup? We are constantly trying to make meals Low-FODMAP so this is particularly significant if you have a child with a restricted diet - they need to learn how to feed themselves!

Chalk Drawings

Chalk Drawings

If failure is not an option, make a basic sponge. You can ice fairy cakes if you feel so inclined or if you've run out of any other activities. The following guidelines makes enough for 12 fairy cakes but you can easily double or halve the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cases.

 Weigh 2 eggs, then weigh out the same amount of (gluten-free) self-raising flour, soft butter or (dairy-free) margarine and caster sugar.

 Cream the butter and sugar together using a wooden spoon, electric hand beaters or mixer until pale and fluffy. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add to the butter and sugar with a tablespoon of flour. You can add a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you fancy. Mix together thoroughly, it will curdle but that will not effect the final result. Fold in the remaining flour until it's thoroughly combined. Add a tablespoon of milk until it makes a 'dropping' consistency.  This is nothing more than it dropping off the spoon in a splodge but I suggest you use the term for added credibility. Gluten-free flour sometimes needs a 1/2 tbsp more and we would use coconut milk.

 Spoon the mixture as evenly as possible into the cases (remembering to let the child have some input) and bake for 20 minutes. Clear up during this time, it's as an important a lesson as the cooking. The cakes will be cooked when the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a rack.

 Decide whether you can bear the thought of decorating the cakes or whether it's now time for the millionth viewing of Frozen.

Elderflower fritters - low-FODMAP, gluten-free, vegan, flowery, summer treats.

The finished Elderflower fritters.

The finished Elderflower fritters.

When we moved house (pre-low-FODMAP days) I was thrilled to discover an elderflower tree in the garden. This was before I realised that outside of London, elder trees are pretty much everywhere. The children have been on elderflower-watch for a couple of weeks, monitoring the progress from tiny green balls, to white balls to sweet, fragrant flowers. It has been a tense countdown to elderflower fritter season.

A good haul of delicate green.

A good haul of delicate green.

When we moved house (pre-low-FODMAP days) I was thrilled to discover an elderflower tree in the garden. This was before I realised that outside of London, elder trees are pretty much everywhere. The children have been on elderflower-watch for a couple of weeks, monitoring the progress from tiny green balls, to white balls to sweet, fragrant flowers. It has been a tense countdown to elderflower fritter season.

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     Fritters with built in handles.

Fritters with built in handles.

Pick over your elderflowers and remove any insects or detritus. Warm a plate lined with paper kitchen towel in the oven. Place the sugar on a small plate.

Heat 2-3mm oil in a frying pan. Whilst it is heating, place the flour in a mixing bowl and pour in the soda water. Whisk together to remove any lumps and dip in the elderflowers, keeping the stem free from batter. This will be your handle when you are eating.

Fry the heads, flower side down in the hot oil until the batter is crisp and bubbled. You may need to do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan.

Remove from the pan, giving a small shake as you go and drop onto the sugar. Place on the warm plate while the rest cook. Eat by using your teeth to pull away the batter and flowers from the stem.

See you again next year pretty flowers, heralds of summer.