Frozen strawberries are fine for this, as the fruit will break down better in hot water and release just as much, if not more, flavour. The cordial will keep for at least a fortnight in the fridge.
- 500 g (about 4 cups) very ripe strawberries
- 2 lemons, scrubbed, juiced, halves reserved
- 2 rose geranium leaves (see Note)
- 500 g (2¼ cups) caster sugar
- soda water or mineral water, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes 1.3 L syrup for 5.2 L prepared drink
Infusing time 12 hours
Place all ingredients in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over 1 L boiling water and stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve, allowing gravity to do the work. Don’t force pulp through the sieve – it can take a while, but it gives the best result. Transfer to sterilised bottles (see Note) and refrigerate until needed.
To serve, mix 1 part cordial with 3 or 4 parts soda water, mineral water, or simply water.
• Rose geranium is available from select nurseries. Substitute a few drops of rosewater to taste, from delis and Middle Eastern shops.
• Sterilising jars: It is essential to sterilise jars before filling them to prevent bacteria from forming. You can reuse any glass jar as long as the lid seals well. Or buy kilners (jars with rubber seals). To sterilise jars in the oven, preheat oven to 120°C. Wash jars and lids in soapy water, rinse, then dry. Place jars and non-plastic lids on an oven tray and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and fill while still hot. To sterilise jars in the dishwasher, place them in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle. Dry with a clean tea towel and fill while still hot.
Photography Alan Benson
As seen in Feast magazine, February 2014, Issue 28.