Elderflower cordial is one of my favorite soft drinks. I've never been one to drink fizzy drinks and occasionally have a Ribena, but I always make sure we have a bottle of elderflower cordial at home. So last year, when the elderflowers were out and blooming I was determined to make some cordial. Unfortunately it rained and rained and rained during their flowering season, so the flowers didn't seem as fragrant as they normally do, and I left it, promising myself I would make some this year. Which is exactly what I've done.

Elderflowers are best picked on a sunny late May/early June day, when the flowers are creamy white.

Elderflower cordial is pretty easy to make. Other than the initial mixing process, all it then involves is the patience to let the flowers stew in the syrup for 48 hours - our fridge smells delicious when I open the door!

You want your flowers as fresh
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Cookies are something I rarely eat. I never buy them from shops, and hardly ever make them, but I whipped up a batch to take with us to a rented cottage in the New Forest a couple of weeks ago. And they were really yummy! They're full of nuts, fruit and chocolate and are nicely soft and chewy.

You want to make the cookie dough about half an hour before you cook it, as the dough's better after a quick chill in the fridge.

Makes 15 palm size cookies

130g unsalted butter
125g light brown soft sugar
75g caster sugar
1 large egg
Zest of 1 orange
200g plain flour
1 slightly heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 flat teaspoon table salt
20g almonds
30g orange chocolate
20g golden sultanas
20g dried cherries

Mix the butter with the sugars and beat until light and creamy. Add the egg and stir in with the sugar mix. Zest the orange into the mix. 

Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a separate bowl and mix. Pour into the sugar mix and stir until all combined. 

Chop the almonds, chocolate orange, sultanas and dried cherries and add to the cookie dough mixture.

Lay a piece of cling film out and tip the cookie mix onto it. Flatten out and roll into a long cylinder, wrapping the cling film tightly around it. Refrigerate this for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Once chilled, slice the cookie dough into discs, about an inch thick. Place 6 discs on each well greased baking tray, spread out as much as possible.

Cook for 8-9 mins until lightly golden at the edges.

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Well made salsa verde is one of my favorite things. It is great with white fish, such as coley and pollack, and with oilier fish like mackerel and sardines. It also really compliments cooked and cold meats, and is fab with roast chicken, slow roast pork belly, barbecued lamb or Spanish hams. It is equally as good tossed through buttery pasta for an easy mid-week supper. Or just a dip with some nice homemade bread.

Make a lot of it, as you will want to put it on everything you eat (if you're anything like me!), and as long as it is covered with a thin layer of oil in an airtight jar it will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge - not that it ever lasts that long in my house!

1 large bunch of parsley
1 large bunch of basil
Either 1 bunch of tarragon, 1 bunch of corainder, 1 bunch of mint or 1 bunch of spinach
Handful of capers and a bit of their juice
1 tin of anchovies
1 clove of garlic
2 spring onions
Olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest

Roughly chop the parsley and basil. Depending on what you will serve your salsa with you can also add a bit of tarragon or coriander (great with chicken), mint leaves (for lamb) or spinach (for serving with white fish). It's up to you what variety of flavour combination to go for. 

Next chop the semi drained capers, spring onions and anchovies. Add this to the herbs and blitz for 2 seconds in a food processor with one crushed clove of garlic. When blitzing, try not to over blitz the salsa as it will become a bit slimey if it's chopped too much. Add a glug of good olive oil and the oil from the tin of anchovies, the juice and zest of a lemon and some black pepper. Blitz for ten seconds and transfer to an air-tight jar, cover with a thin layer of olive oil and it's ready for whenever you want it!

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This recipe isn't really for crab - I bought the crab already picked from the fishmongers at our local farmers market. But crab is in season now and any excuse to eat it is good with me.

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Last night I went along to an Action Aid bloggers' meet up to talk about the Enough Food IF campaign, which is being supported by over 170 global charities and organisations.

The campaign has come about due to the fact that the world produces enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food.

On June 8th Enough Food IF are inviting you, me and everyone who can get there to come to Hyde Park, to make a noisy and visual petition, so loud and large that world leaders can't ignore it, and are forced to act on world hunger NOW. It is absolutely unacceptable that 1 in 8 people in the world go to bed hungry. And by hungry I mean they haven't eaten all day.

Last night Action Aid brought along various guests to talk to us about world hunger problems. First up was actress and cookbook author, Fay Ripley. Fay talked to us about her involvment with Action Aid, which stemmed from her exasperation with the cost and waste involved with children's birthday parties, and her and her 6 year old's mutual decision to request donations rather than presents, which would fund her sponsorship of an African child. Fay has since visited schools in Africa with Action Aid, and has seen for herself how much difference food makes to a child's ability to learn, and go about day to day life.

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You may have seen the recipe I put up for barbecue sauce a couple of months ago. And while that is still my go to recipe for barbecue sauce, I came up with something at the weekend which is quicker and easier to make, but still tastes really good. You can get a batch of this ready in 20 minutes, and it will keep in a sterilised jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

I made this to go with our Big Lunch that I hosted yesterday with Grub Club, and it was the perfect accompaniment to the warm and cold meats, and salads that we ate. I've already had a couple of requests for the recipe so thought I'd put it up here.

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