eat in my kitchen

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Tag: elderflower syrup

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich with Gruyère

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

If two passionate cooks are in a relationship you need a well thought-out kitchen plan. My boyfriend and I have a great passion for cooking, we love to experiment with recipes and ingredients but it just doesn’t work at the same time. A cook is a leader and therefore needs total command in the kitchen to guarantee successful results. So many, many years ago we made a wise decision: depending on the recipe, one of us takes over control and has the last word when it comes to the important decisions, and the other one just assists. It works perfectly, no discussions and no arguments as long as we stick to the plan and don’t get in each other’s way.

Luckily, we love the same cuisine, Mediterranean and North European comfort dishes. The preparations are always quite relaxed and most of the time very satisfying at table. While chopping and cooking, there is often wine, cheese and olives involved to nibble and chill, I’ve mentioned it so often, it’s definitely my favourite way to end a day. However, life would be boring, if two people had the same approach in the kitchen and we’re definitely two absolutely different personalities. We find inspiration in different ingredients, flavours and combinations. My man likes it a bit more crazy, wild and experimental when he takes over the kitchen. He often combines flavours which seem too far apart to my mind, but the results are delicious and that’s what counts.

A few days ago he came up with the genius idea to deglaze onions with elderflower syrup, it was fantastic! And to make it even better, he placed them on top of juicy fennel burgers. So, you need to know, when he uses our fennel seeds from Malta, he measures them by the tablespoon and not the teaspoon, the aroma is strong and present in this recipe and pure bliss in combination with the elderflower onion’s smoky sweetness. There was also a thin layer of melted Gruyère cheese in between and at that point I knew I would have to share this recipe with you! I loved it!

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich with Gruyère

For 8 burgers (or 4 hungry people) you need

For the sandwiches

medium sized onions, cut in half and thinly sliced, 3-4
butter 1-2 tablespoons
elderflower syrup, about 6 teaspoons, to taste
salt and pepper

rustic white buns, cut in half, 8
crunchy lettuce, 8-16 small leaves
Gruyère cheese, 8-16 slices

For the burgers

minced beef 1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds
dry breadcrumbs 80g / 1/2 cup / 3oz
organic eggs 2
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar, 2 tablespoons
salt 3 teaspoons
pepper
butter 1-2 tablespoons
olive oil

Start with the onions and fry the burgers at the end, you want them to be hot enough to melt the cheese.

In a heavy pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and fry the onions for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown and soft. Add more butter if they dry out. When they are done, turn up the heat and deglaze with a splash of elderflower syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, take off the heat and set the pan aside.

Mix the ingredients for the burgers in a large bowl (with your hands or the hooks of an electric mixer) and form 8 thick burgers with wet hands. Heat a generous splash of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a heavy pan and fry the burgers on medium-high heat for 1 minute on each side, turn down the heat to medium-low and continue frying until they are golden brown, add more butter if necessary. The cooking time depends on how well done you like them, cut a burger in half to check the inside. Once they are done, lay 1-2 slices of cheese on top of each warm burger immediately.

Arrange 1-2 slices of lettuce on the bottom half of each bun, lay the burgers with the cheese on top and finish with the onions. Close the buns and enjoy!

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 

fennelburgerelderfloweroniongruyeresandwich8

Caramelised Elderflower Rosemary Chicken with spicy Potato Wedges

Elderflower Rosemary Chicken + Potato Wedges

My Elderflower Syrup gets put to good use once again! I marinated chicken breast for a couple hours in elderflower syrup together with some fresh rosemary and was rewarded with the most aromatic, tender meat. Flowery and woody flavours wrapped the chicken, the sticky marinade caramelised the soft surface, it was absolutely delicious! I seared it first and then baked it for 8 minutes, this way it keeps its juiciness. My old method of frying the chicken until it’s done left it a lot drier.

I don’t cook chicken that often but when it finds its way to my kitchen I like to play around with strong flavours. You could replace the elderflower syrup with maple syrup or any other flowery taste, honey works of course but it’s nice to try something different. I used the rosemary as it’s great in combination with elderflower and poultry, it turned smokey which added a bit of a flame grilled touch.

This meal had a rustic feeling to it, so crisp potato wedges felt like the right company. Flavoured with maple syrup, they also got a spicy coating. Don’t worry about the long list of spices, just use what you find in your spice box and what makes sense for your taste buds, this is what I mixed together: cumin, star anise, harissa, cloves, cayenne pepper, fennel seed, sweet paprika and black pepper.

Elderflower Rosemary Chicken + Potato Wedges

 

Elderflower Rosemary Chicken + Potato Wedges

Caramelised Elderflower Rosemary Chicken with spicy Potato Wedges

If possible marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes, a few hours would be even better.

For 2 people you need

chicken breast 2 (around 400g / 14 ounces)
elderflower syrup 50ml /1.5 ounces
rosemary, chopped, 1 tablespoon + 2 little sprigs
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

For the potato wedges
potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges, 500g / 1 pound
maple syrup 1 tablespoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons
cloves, ground in a mortar, 6
harissa powder 1/2 teaspoon
cumin 1/4 teaspoon
star anise, ground in a mortar, 1 piece
Hungarian (sweet) paprika 1/2 teaspoon
cayenne pepper, a bit more than a pinch
fennel seeds, ground in a mortar, 1/4 teaspoon
black peppercorns, ground in a mortar, 1/2 teaspoon

In a bowl, cover the chicken breast with the elderflower syrup and rosemary and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Cook the potato wedges in lots of salted water  for 8 minutes, rinse with cold water and lay on a cooling rack to dry (for at least 10 minutes to a day).

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (I use the Rotithem setting).

For the wedges, whisk the maple syrup, olive oil and spices. Spread the potatoes in a baking dish and cover with the spicy syrup. Roast in the oven for a few minutes until golden brown and crisp. You can turn on the grill for the last minute.

While the potatoes are in the oven, heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and sear the chicken breasts (covered in marinate and rosemary) for a few minutes on both sides till golden brown and caramelised. Season with salt and pepper. Put the meat in a baking dish when the potatoes are done and roast in the oven for 8 minutes. Turn on the grill for the last minute. Check with a skewer, only clear juices should come out.

Elderflower Rosemary Chicken + Potato Wedges

Elderflower Syrup and a Friday Hugo Cocktail

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail

It’s Friday, the weekend is near, the perfect day for a summery cocktail! I don’t need something frilly, I prefer simple and light drinks like a Hugo. This fruity long drink is from the Tyrolean region, it is originally made with sparkling wine but I like it with fruity white wine. The drink is mixed with elderflower syrup, mint leaves and lemon peel, all ingredients I find in my fridge or on the balcony apart from the syrup and this had to change! Not only does it make a nice cocktail it’s also deliciously refreshing in a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon, for those hot summer days ahead of us! That’s reason enough to make my own syrup.

I jumped on my bike, went to the park and came home with 25 big elderflowers. They just started to blossom here last week, I noticed their sweet smell as I was jogging. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe by my mother for years, she has been making her own syrup since she first tried a Hugo. I was always too late to pick the flowers and didn’t want to repeat this mistake again. When I came back home with the elderflowers I was stunned by their beauty which tends to fade into all the leaves and flowers  in the park so I never gave them proper attention. Their smell is enchanting and they feel so fragile!

I rinsed them briefly before pouring hot water mixed with sugar and citric acid over them and then I had to be patient. They have to sit for 5 days, stirred once a day, they infuse the syrup slowly with their distinctive aroma.

Strained and bottled, I was happy about my work, and satisfied to be able to make a Hugo with my own elderflower syrup from now on!

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail

 

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail

For the syrup

For 2 bottles of elderflower syrup you need

fresh elderflower umbels, briefly rinsed, 25
(use the whole umbel, cut the thick green stem off, the white florets should have just opened)
sugar 1kg / 2 pounds
water 1oooml / 2 pints
citric acid 30g / 1 ounce
organic lemon, thinly sliced, 1

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and dissolve the sugar and citric acid in it. Place the elderflower umbels in a large ceramic or glass bowl (not metal!), pour the hot water over them and put the lemon slices on top. Cover with a tea towel and let it sit for 5-6 days at room temperature, stirring once a day.

Sterilize glass bottles with spirit.

When the syrup is done, strain it through a cotton or linen kitchen towel and bring it to a boil. Strain through a towel a second time and fill in your sterilized bottles. Close well and put in your pantry. The syrup will last at least a year at room temperature, open bottles should be stored in the fridge.

 

For the Hugo cocktail

Fill a wine glass with sparkling wine or dry white wine. Pour in a dash of the elderflower syrup (to taste), add 1-2 ice cubes, stir and garnish with 2-3 strips of lemon peel and 3 mint leaves.

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail

 

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail

 

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail