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Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY -

Turn a com­mon back­yard flower into a re­fresh­ing, old-fash­ioned drink

LINDA Brennan is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist, eco-botanist and pas­sion­ate green thumb. In her new book, A De­li­cious Bunch: Grow­ing and Cook­ing with Ed­i­ble Flow­ers, Brennan shares her love of ed­i­ble flow­ers. She shares a cou­ple of recipes with Week­end.

Switzel is an-old fash­ioned drink also known as “shrub’’ or “fruit vine­gar’’.

Bougainvil­lea switzel

Makes about 5 cups of con­cen­trate IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: 4 cups bright, fresh bougainvil­lea flower bracts 4 cups fil­tered wa­ter ¾ cup white sugar 4 slices of lemon 1 cup fresh lemon ver­bena flow­ers and leaves OR lemon myr­tle leaves 1 cup fresh pineap­ple pieces ½ cup un­pas­teurised ap­ple cider vine­gar with the mother. To serve: Sea­sonal fruits

METHOD: Rinse the bougainvil­lea to re­move pollen be­fore adding them and the wa­ter to a large saucepan.

Bring to the boil and re­move from heat. Al­low to sit 5 min­utes. The wa­ter will take on the colour of the bracts.

Strain out the bracts, retaining the liq­uid. Re­turn the coloured liq­uid to the pot and add the sugar. Stir to dis­solve then re­heat to boil 1 minute to cre­ate a syrup. Turn off the heat and add the lemon slices, leaves and pineap­ple. Mash them with a potato masher to re­lease the flavours of the fruit. Al­low it to in­fuse in the syrup for 5 min­utes.

Strain the liq­uid and keep it, but dis­card the solids. Cool to room tem­per­a­ture.

Once cooled, add the vine­gar and leave on the bench, cov­ered, for 8-12 hours to be­gin fer­men­ta­tion. This will con­sume some of the sugar and give you a very slightly ef­fer­ves­cent drink. Pour into bot­tles and re­frig­er­ate.

To serve, add ice and chopped sea­sonal fruits to a glass. Pour in a lit­tle switzel con­cen­trate as you would for cor­dial. Di­lute with soda or min­eral wa­ter.

A De­li­cious Bunch: Grow­ing and Cook­ing with Ed­i­ble Flow­ers by Linda Brennan, RRP $39.95, is out now through Ecob­otan­ica.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

A bougainvil­lea switzel.

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