Fit for lunch with a politician or a Christmas gift for teachers or friends, this homemade recipe for rhubarb and rose cordial from Kitchen Cabinet‘s Annabel Crabb and her best mate Wendy Sharpe is sure to please.
Cordial was a constant of my childhood, and I have since found that, decanted into sterilised bottles (see below), it makes for an eye-catching gift. Christobel Crabb, a woman who could not tolerate a commercial product if a home-made version was conceivable, hit pay dirt with this lemon cordial in the 1970s. A more recent creation, rhubarb cordial, is hard to beat for its glorious pink colour, while pomegranate spritzer makes a great non-alcoholic alternative to cocktails. Of course, both cordials can also be made instantly grown-up with a squirt of soda water and a splash of vodka.
Rhubarb and rose cordial
Makes about 375ml (1½ cups)
400g trimmed rhubarb, finely sliced
about 200 g caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid
4 drops rosewater
Put the rhubarb into a non-reactive saucepan with 250 ml (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the rhubarb is completely soft and squashy, about 10 minutes.
Set a sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth) over a bowl, then tip in the rhubarb and leave for 10 minutes. Now squeeze the rhubarb pulp firmly to get out as much juice as possible. Weigh the juice and add half that amount of sugar, then pour back into the pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the citric acid, then leave to cool completely. Add a few drops of rosewater; its potency varies, so taste as you go.
STERILISING JARS OR BOTTLES My preferred method is a hot wash (ideally in a dishwasher) followed by 10 minutes in a 140°C oven. Read the child mags blog interview with Annabel here. Recipe and extract from Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharp, published by Murdoch Books, available now.