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don’t you just love the name of this drink? for me it conjures up connotations of Huckleberry Finn, but it is made not with huckleberries, but with strawberries, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

here’s the recipe which uses 2lb of strawberries… I made a smaller quantity, like this:

  • place 200g of frozen strawberries in a saucepan.
  • add 200g granulated sugar, 200ml water, and the zest and juice of half a lemon.
  • bring to the boil. mash strawberries with potato masher. add 1.5 tsp of balsamic vinegar, a bunch of fresh basil, stems and all, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. your kitchen will smell scrumptious.
  • allow to cool to room temperature. strain through tea strainer.
  • fish basil stems out of pulp and save pulp to put on your porridge/icecream (am genius.)
  • the cordial will vary in strength depending upon the flavour of the strawberries and how hard you boiled it, so the proportion of cordial to water required is not precise – maybe one quarter to a third of cordial?
  • add cordial to a tall glass, and then add ice. top up with soda, or sparkling spring water, or diet lemonade. I used sparkling spring water which suited it well, as the strawberries are already very sweet.

I was concerned that the flavour of basil or vinegar would be too pronounced but there was just a hint of both. the predominant flavour was that of strawberries – a reminder in these darkest days of winter that summer will come again.

this would be lovely as a non-alcoholic summer punch – perhaps with some borage flower ice-cubes added?

I found a charming gardening saying while looking for the above image:

A garden without borage is like a heart without courage.

as borage self-seeds prolifically, once you have it in your garden, you will have it always. I am sending you courage today if you need it, to plant in your heart so that it will spring forth there eternally. Prim xx

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