Who are the VYFWBP?

We are a friendly community group, run by parents, who meet every Thursday morning in West Bank Park, York. Whatever the weather, school hols included, we spend a couple of hours in the woods and meadows of the Park, doing nature games and crafts, building or making things with materials we find, telling stories and singing songs.

We are open to all - with a contribution of £1 a family (to cover basic equipment) - so if you want to join us, see you on Thursday at 10am at the statue of Queen Victoria, at the top of the Rose Walk. (Bring something simple to share at snack time.)

For more information contact Elly at: westbankparkkids@gmail.com

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The annual elderflower-fest!

Elderflowers, like everything else, have come very late this year!  But that means we are still enjoying them now.  We had what has become a much-loved annual event this morning: the making of elderflower lemonade.  I have given the 'recipe' (ha!) for this previously, but the idea of it is that the kids get to pick the ingredients, make and drink the stuff within the space of about an hour - no delayed gratification! - which is a wonderful experience for them.  It tastes different every year as no measuring is involved, and this year's rather sour offering went down an absolute treat, with second helpings being clamoured for all round. 

Here are three recipes for elderflower drinks you can make very easily.  The champagne (no. 2) is my personal favourite.  I've just downed a bottle of it (it's non-alcoholic - at least I think so!) while sitting here.

1                    ‘Instant elderflower lemonade’ as we make at the group

Some lemons
Some elderflowers
Some sugar
Some boiling water

Squeeze lemon juice into pot, add flowers (not stalks), sugar and water, mix, come back in an hour, strain and drink!  Sing lots of songs and do various bits of magic over the pot as you go.  Make children feel very honoured at being trusted with very hot water.

2                    Elderflower champagne (non-alcoholic fizz – really like magic! Uses the natural yeasts found on the elderflowers)

Makes about 6 litres

36 elderflower heads
1 lemon
680g caster sugar
3tbsp white-wine or cider vinegar
4.5 litres water

Remove stalks and put flowers in clean bucket/large pan, along with lemon juice and rind (no pith!), sugar and vinegar.  Add cold water, stir to dissolve sugar, and leave for at least 24 hours. Strain through muslin or jelly bag into sterilised bottles with screw caps, corks or flip-over lemonade tops.  Leave for TWO WEEKS.  Check occasionally that they aren’t getting too fizzy – if so you’ll need to open the tops to let the excess gas off or else they might explode!

3                    Elderflower cordial (keeps for a year or more, dilute to taste)

Per litre cordial use:
12 elderflower heads
1 lemon
1 pt water
1.5lb sugar

Water, sugar and rind (no pith!) together in pan, heat till sugar dissolved.  Remove stalks and stir flowers into this syrup.  Cool completely.  Add lemon juice.  Strain through muslin or jelly bag and put in sterilised bottles.

NB. To sterilise bottles you don’t need special tablets, just fill them with boiling water and leave for a while. 
NB2. For all recipes, try and get fresh, whitey-yellow elderflower heads, not the slightly ‘off’ looking (and smelling) brownish ones.

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Our beloved Queen Victoria

Our beloved Queen Victoria
We sometimes bow to her before we set off into the woods!