Saturday, 13 January 2018

Protection (I hope) - Elderberry Rob (Syrup)

With the flu season upon us - and a particularly nasty version of the flu this year -  I thought I would make a batch of Elderberry Rob to help kill the germs.  Make up with hot water 1 part syrup to 3 parts hot water.


4 lbs (1.8 kg) Elderberries, weighed on stems (mine weren't as I had already strigged and frozen them)
2 x 5 cm (2 inch) pieces cinnamon stick
1 piece root ginger, bruised
2 chips nutmeg (I used about a teaspoon of powdered)
5 ml (1tspn) cloves
5 ml (1tspn) allspice berries
275 ml ( 1 1/2 pints) water
350g (12 oz) honey to each 375 ml (1 pint) liquid
150 ml (1/4 pint) brandy

I only had half this amount of Elderberries, so halved the ingredients, though I've just realized I used the full amount of water, and the full amount of brandy.

Take the elderberries from the stalks and put them into a saucepan with the spices and water.  Bring them gently to the boil and simmer them until the pan is full of juice, about 20 mins.  Put a piece of muslin or an old linen tea towel over a large bowl (I used my old jelly making net).  Pour the elderberries through it, and gather the sides together and squeeze out as much juice as you can.  Measure it and return to the cleaned saucepan.

Bring the juice to the boil and add the honey.  Stir to dissolve it and then boil the syrup for 10 mins.  Take the pan from the heat and wait until the syrup stops bubbling.  Pour in the brandy.  Pour the hot cordial into hot sterilised bottles and cork it tightly.  Fills about 1 1/2 wine bottles.

Recipe from "The Countryside Cook Book" by Gail Duff.

I had bought some plums last week so made a pan of the Plum, Orange and Ginger Blondies . . .

As a change from a breadmaker loaf, I put the ingredients for a 70% Wholemeal loaf on a dough setting in the Panasonic, and then sknocked back and shaped this loaf and let it rise again before bunging it in the oven.  Nice and crusty and really tasty.

Finally, the cold weather has bought both the "passing strays" back into our orbit.  This is the Big Black Tom.  He does a good line in glares when he still has biscuits in the bowl, to tell me he wants MORE tinned food please, and jump to it!

There is meant to be a return of the colder weather again on Monday/Tuesday, so keep warm everyone.

Meanwhile, I thought I had got well stocked up, only to find that THREE things need AAA batteries (I have none of those, only AAs).  Let's hope the car is fixed on Monday.


  1. Not really a cordial with all that brandy in it! Hope it does the job

    1. Call it what you like Simon, as long as it does the trick with the cold and flu bugs.

  2. I have wanted for several years to make elderberry syrup. I thought we had some good berry bushes in the pasture along the lane but either the birds are harvesting the berries before i notice or Jim has it them with the bush hog. I do have a small vial of elderberry syrup purchased from one of the Mennonite shops.
    Your round crusty loaf looks so good!

    1. You can buy dried elderberries from health food shops, but I hope you can pick plenty this coming autumn. At least it sounds like you can buy it from the Mennonite shops.

      The loaf is SO tasty. I can never understand the attraction of the cheap pappy tasteless white slice loaf. Yuk. Yet some people wouldn't dream of eating anything else and pull a face if you mention brown or wholemeal bread!

  3. That looks much more effective than Benylin! Although I make elderflower cordial every summer I've never picked elderberries. My mum gave me Gail Duff's Vegetarian Cookbook when I went off to university - sadly I culled it which is a shame because I remember it was full of good recipes.

    1. It tastes better than Benylin too! I think there is something in the makeup of the Elderberry which does for cold and flu germs (surrounds them or something?). I know Keith's mum used to swear by Elderflower and Peppermint if she felt a cold coming on, so there is definitely something very useful in the Elder.

  4. The elderberry syrup looks rather good as does the loaf and cake! :) Lovely to see the first lambs and more photos of the castle in your last few posts.

    1. Some more photos from today's walk will follow. FIRST CELENDINE seen today! Hurray!!

  5. We have pulled out our store of elderberry rob, too. Fingers crossed! We don't normally add as many spices as your recipe gives but will certainly be adding them to this year's batch.
    There is some clinical evidence that the neuraminidase inhibiting chemicals in elderberries slow down the spread of the virus in your body, giving you a greater chance to fight against it, or so I am led to believe. If nothing else, it makes for a very nice drink!

  6. Hi Elaine. Neuraminidase-inhibiting - that's the term - not that it was even remotely held in the innermost recesses of my mind!! Nice to know that something natural can work so well and as you say, it tastes good too.