jam making junkie englishmen

Last night was spent making my first ever batch of elderflower cordial and a few rounds of sinful, puffy elderflower fritters. I did everything they say you shouldn’t and they turned out amazingly. Beginners’ luck, I suppose. The cordial should be ready to strain tomorrow, golden and summery and very, very English…

One of the (few) ingredients in the cordial is citric acid. It’s not as easy to buy as it once was, on account of it being one of the (few) ingredients in a heroin junkie’s teaspoon of dark joy. The trouble with this is that, whilst clearly a necessary piece of legislation, it also means that every jam-maker, cordial conjurer and summer-fruit potting wizard must queue at the pharmacy counter to secure their little 50 gram baggy of the not-so-hard stuff. Up and down the country, apron-wearing jolly pudding makers and possibly not quite so rotund junkies stand in the same line, waiting in turn for the same potion to make their different spoonfuls tastier. Or maybe this only happens in city pharmacies.

The irony wasn’t lost on me as I stood and waited. I looked around for surveillance, searched for an immigration-hall-type trick mirror and generally built up jam angst. How can they tell, anyway? When my turn came, I – inexplicably overcome by naughty shame – completely over-compensated for not being a junkie and excused myself for being a cordial-making beginner at citric acid procurement.

The 16 year old behind the counter mumbled something and disappeared into the hallowed area where the huge rotating Christmas tree of drugs is kept. Bingo.

The elderflowers were easier to find, once out of London – a geographical situation that, I imagine, is the exact opposite for class A narcotics. Gripped by early summer fever and fresh from picking our bounty (along the main road, oops, but in the countryside nevertheless), David, overcome by the poetic loveliness of an English June day, came up with the ultimate appropriate anathema to the picturesque scene: Chap My Ride.

Roll over pimps. It’s time to tweed the steering wheel, Chesterfield the seats and install the G&T hamper. Eldeflower cordial and teaspoons optional, old chaps.

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4 responses to “jam making junkie englishmen

  1. Ha, I just wrote a post on what a mission it was finding citric acid. Hopefully will be worth it in the end though!

  2. Ahhh, that article takes me back to the time I stopped off in a country lane to pick blackberries for home-made blackberry wine – only to be confronted by the farmer who owned the land. He didn’t mind me picking, just so long as I invited him to taste the brew when the wine had finally fermented.

  3. great to see all the wild goodies growing in the hedgerows at the moment I ve just made elderflower cordial and waiting patiently for it to be ready for use.

  4. Elderflower champagne – next step. My lovely man has some brewing as we speak – the cheapest tastiest Champagne made in England!

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