This weekend sees the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year. I love to celebrate this time of year and follow the pagan tradition by gathering of friends and feast under the stars. (hopefully if the weather is kind)
I have probably mentioned before about our incredibly small garden space. Out there we have a small, rusted bistro table and chairs set, which is perfect for an evening glass of wine, but not so perfect for eating on. On days when we are desperate for some alfresco dining we tend to carry a dining chair outside and squeeze around the table. This isn’t ideal. So I am looking for something to replace it with.
After looking around the web, I have discovered these at Tesco. A thoroughly brilliant range to suit all budgets and size. I am planning to style the space by adding a linen table cloth, mix matched vintage plates, candelabras, silver cutlery and festoon lighting…. the scene would be set.
Just add seasonal food, great friends and this delicious champagne… and solstice will be celebrated to the fullest.
- 800g sugar
- Florets from 8 elderflower sprays
- Pared zest and juice of 4 lemons
- ½ tsp yeast nutrient
- 5g sachet Champagne yeast
- Dissolve the sugar in 2 litres hot water in a fermenting bucket, then top up with 3 litres cold water. Allow to cool.
- Aerate and add the elderflower florets, lemon zest and juice and the yeast nutrient.
- Pitch the yeast or, if you like a bit of excitement, don’t.
- Elderflowers come ready stocked with wild yeasts and it can be interesting to see how things turn out.
- Leave to ferment.
- If you did not add yeast and fermentation has not started after 3 days then it is time to give the thing a kick-start with a packet of Champagne yeast.
- After 6 days of fermentation, strain the must through boiled muslin into a fresh fermenting bucket, leaving the lees behind. Cover the bucket and leave for a few hours for the dust to settle, then siphon into your bottles of choice.
- Your sparkly is about ready to drink after a week, and in any case a week is a good time to check to see how things are going.
(recipe via River Cottage)