this weekend we went to Brussels.
i had a few books i wanted to check out and eventually order. why not order from Amazon? you might ask. well, i m still old-fashioned in that way that i need to touch and flick through the books i want to buy or keep for myself. i need to smell them. does that make sense?
i always find what i need at Waterstones. so i bought myself another cookbook. but what a cookbook! Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume by Silvena Rowe.
did i mention that i d finally found za'atar and sumac in a Lebanese bistro over here in Antwerp? i was over the moon! and my new book contains loads of recipes that call for these spices.
before i had the book tho, i did experiment and made some stuffed courgettes with lamb mince spiced with za'atar. the evening temperatures and the retsina that we drank with the dish gave us an instant 'holiday' feel.
but back to Waterstones.
besides books, one can also find some typical English foodstuffs there (i m sure to please the expat as much as us Belgians); lemoncurd, digestive biscuits, PG-tips (teabags), and now also elderflower cordial, perfect for summer drinks.
i ve often wondered about the difference between cordials and syrups. i m thinking it s got something to do with the ingredients and their proportions, but i ve found that cordials always seem to contain citric acid? but then syrups also have lemonzest included for flavor... and they say cordials are medicinal too.
even though i already had some elderflower syrup at home, i did buy the cordial as well. just to taste and play around.
the syrup and the cordial
see the syrup is much more caramelly in color? the cordial looks more refined tho.
anyway, one of my favorite 'pick-me-up' drinks is made with apple juice, ginger, mint and a good dash of elderflower syrup.
for a pint-size (i mean a genuine English pint) glass
250 ml organic cloudy apple juice
150 ml cold water
1 tablespoon of elderflower syrup, or cordial, as you wish
about 7-8 large leaves of mint (pepper-, spear-, or Moroccan mint)
a pinky sized piece of ginger, grated
blend all ingredients in a blender and serve ice-cold
this cocktail is great any time of day but especially in the morning, after a late night, or when nursing a hangover ;-)
and good too while perusing new recipes and imagining oneself somewhere along a Mediterranean shoreline, on a terrace, while the sun is setting and the smells and sounds of a close-by kitchen drift up... oh, well, forgive me for letting my imagination get away with me. it is summer, yes?