Dried Acorns and Mirabelle Vodka

Of all the things dropping to the ground this summer, rain was particularly scarce. The area of eastern France where we live is always hot in August. This year, though, after a rainy spring, June started heating up. And then July was hotter. As hot as August, but weeks early. The minimal amounts of rain…

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A Whisky Woman and a Spring Cordial

I finally bottled a batch of elderflower cordial yesterday, after letting the brew steep for a couple of days and then rest in the fridge until I got around to cooking it up. One of the bottles I used – I’d actually saved it for use as a cordial bottle – reminded me of a…

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Shady Ladies and Elderflower Cordial

A small herd of new cattle appeared along my running path a few weeks ago, several cows and a single bull. All of them have thick, dark red hair that tufts up in waves like a field of wheat in the wind. And within a short time, there were small calves. They graze in a…

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Simple, Slow, Good

We harvested the last of the mirabelles today under heavy skies and to the sound of rolling thunder, the first raindrops already falling as we packed away the ladder and hurried inside with the last couple of kilos of yellow plums. There’s something so simple and satisfying about making old-fashioned jams and cordials, a word…

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Redcurrant Cordial

I’d had a romantic vision in my mind about making redcurrant cordial, something more in keeping with the ¬†word ‘cordial’. What I hadn’t anticipated was the 7 kilos (15 pounds) of redcurrants my single bush would yield under not very thorough picking. The simple recipe (see below) became a more complicated logistical matter of our…

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