In the countryside, they say that summer begins when the elder comes into flower and ends when the berries are ripe. The large white flat-topped clusters of elderflower blooms have opened. Filling country lanes and suburban gardens with their heady scent and providing almost endless possibilities for a bountiful harvest. The flowers, which will bloom for three weeks or so, have a variety of uses and can easily be transformed into wine, cordials and sorbets. The smell of fresh elderflowers may be overpowering if you keep them in the house.

Elderflower cordial is readily available and easy to find in the shops. The jelly is served with a refreshing strawberry sorbet and a selection of good Scottish berries, their sweet and sharp flavours work extremely well with the citrusy and floral tasting elderflower.



Serves 4

250ml  Elderflower cordial
750ml Water
150g Castor Sugar
6 Gelatin leaves
1 Punnet each of Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries.
4 martini glasses

  1. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water.
  2. Place the castor sugar, half of the cordial and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. When boiling remove from the heat and add the gelatin leaves. Be sure to squeeze out all of the excess water from the leaves.  Stir well to dissolve the gelatin.
  3. Add the remaining water and cordial, stir well. Place all of the mix into a bowl.  In a bigger bowl place water with ice cubes in it.  Place the bowl with the jelly mix over ice water bowl. This will help the mix to cool and the gelatin to start setting.  Leave on the bench for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. When the jelly is starting to set, using a whisk, whisk the jelly well. This creates air bubbles in the jelly, and they will set within the jelly itself.
  5. Take the four martini glasses and set aside a space for them to be stored in the refrigerator.
  6. Pour the jelly into the wine glass a third full. Leave on the bench to set for 5-10 minutes. When the jelly is firm, add a couple of berries.  You want to keep the berries buoyant in the jelly so if they start to sink, just leave the jelly to set longer before you start layering the glass.  The idea is to add some berries, and then some jelly to cover them.  You need to leave the jelly to set after adding more to cover the berries; this will keep the berries floating in the jelly.  Repeat this process till the glass is three quarters full.  Place in the refrigerator and leave to fully set for 2-3 hours.
  • NOTE  If the jelly becomes too set for you to continue layering the glass, just heat for 5 seconds in a microwave to melt slightly and mix well.  When heating, do not boil at all.  This is cause the gelatin to die and not set at all.



500g Strawberries hulled
1 Lemon juiced
200ml Water
250g Castor Sugar
3 tablespoons Liquid Glucose


  1. Put the strawberries and the lemon juiced into a food processor and blend to a puree.
  2. Place the mix into a saucepan and boil, keep boiling till it reduces by half.  Take of the heat when reduced and leave to cool slightly.  Strain through a sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds.
  3. Place the castor sugar, water and glucose into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Boil for 5 minutes till all the sugar and glucose has dissolved.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly on the bench.
  4. Add the strawberry puree to the sugar solution and mix well.  Chill in a bowl in the refrigerator.
  5. Churn cold mix in an ice-cream machine until almost frozen, then transfer to a suitable container and freeze until its firm.
  6. Serve the wine glass with a scoop of sorbet on top, use fresh berries as a garnish.