Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 8 chicken and pasta in creamy thyme sauce and some elderflower champagne

With the elderflowers finally in bloom, I got my champagne laid up.

The recipe I use is very simple:

Fill the bottom of a shallow bowl with elderflower heads (at least 20), try to have as few stalks as possible as they are bitter.

Cover in a thick layer of sugar, then pour over a litre of boiling water then a litre of cold water.

Add 50g of citric acid and juice and zest of one lemon or the juice and zest of 4 lemons if not using citric acid. Once again I have my lovely North African supermarket to thank for the citric acid - a complete fluke find on the shelf in there one day last year so I grabbed a couple of packets as it is getting harder and harder to get hold of.

Cover the bowl and place in a warm dark spot for 24 hours.

Sieve the liquid and pour off into screw topped bottles, either glass or plastic bottles designed for fizzy drinks, and leave to stand for another 14 days in a warm dark place, until the wine settles and clears. I like to squeeze every last drop from the flower heads, and if the liquid doesn't have that slightly sticky feel to it, I add another tablespoon of sugar to the bottle it is being decanted into.

There is no yeast required as the flower heads provide enough yeast to set the process off.

If you just want cordial, then once bottled, put in the fridge to stop any fermentation continuing.

I like to make up some elderflower ice cubes, and then you can just pop one of those into a glass of white wine, top with some lemonade or fizzy water for a summery spritzer, or add a dash of lemon vodka for a more potent cocktail.

In total 6 litres of champagne bottled up, and another 2 tubs of elderflowers settling for some cordial.

Day 8 - Chicken and Pasta in a Creamy Thyme sauce

Cook some pasta twirls or shells or tubes, drain, rinse with cold water and leave to one side, the cold helps to set the pasta so that it does not go mushy before you come to use it.

Gently fry a couple of chicken breasts in garlic oil, add 500ml of chicken stock, and a veg of your choice, I used green beans from the freezer but anything that you have to hand will do, carrots, peas, broccoli are all good for this.

Once the veg is tender, add the leaves from several sprigs of fresh thyme, as well as 150ml of cream.  I like to use real cream as it is delicate enough for the thyme, creme fraiche has too much of a flavour of its own for me and swamps the thyme.

Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add the pasta back into the pan.  Stir the sauce through the pasta and there you go.  Another larder recipe.

Only another 2 to go - I am running out of fresh veg and dairy staples now though, may need to go and give the larder a good staring at for inspiration tomorrow.
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Susie said...

Your recipes are all sounding delicious!

Absinthe Fairy said...

running out of ideas now Susie, I hate to admit it but I think I may need to do some shopping.