ELDERFLOWER & LEMON CORDIAL + Sunday Morning Waffles

19 November, 2020


We have had a lot of rain recently. Although good for the garden, I have noticed my elderflowers looking rather sodden and bedraggled. A quick sprint to the garden between rain showers to harvest a small basket of flower heads resulted in an aromatic pan of elderflower cordial on the stovetop.

Elderflower can often be found growing wild along roadsides (although I would suggest finding a bush not so close to the main thoroughfare), plus it is an easy-care garden addition. Our tree started out as a small seedling gifted when our son was born over 8 years ago. It is tucked away in a corner of the garden, easy to forget, until the heady floral aroma begins to permeate the air in spring.

I do believe this delicate flower is one of life’s small pleasures, there is nothing quite like it and the resulting cordial is such a joy to sip. Next up is to prepare some elderflower fritters. These are a little like apple fritters with the flowerheads dipped in a light batter, then shallow fried until golden, and drizzled with golden syrup. Like I said – one of life’s simple pleasures. I would love to hear about your special elderflower recipes or preparations – please comment below or contact me here.

Small Batch Elderflower & Lemon Cordial

For this same-day cordial recipe, the elderflowers are gently heated to bring out the flavour. Generally, elderflowers are left to infuse in water overnight but I find a small batch like this gently heating and leaving to infuse for 20 minutes before straining works well too. The cordial makes for a lovely handmade edible gift.
Servings 600 ml
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 12 elderflower heads
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • About 4 tbsp honey or 1/3 cup raw sugar


  • Soak the elderflower heads in a bowl of water for 5 minutes, then gently shake to release any little bugs from the small flowers. Remove the thicker stalks and place flowers into a saucepan with the 3 cups of water. Use a peeler to create strips of zest and add to the pan along with lemon juice.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Stir through the honey or sugar until dissolved. Taste, adding extra sweetener if needed. Strain into a glass bottle adding a strip of lemon zest.
  • To serve, pour 2-3 tbsp into a glass and top up with soda water and ice. Garnish with elderflowers.

Sunday Brunch Elderflower Waffles + Sourdough Version

This is a plan-ahead breakfast for easygoing Sunday mornings. If you don’t have a waffle-maker, then simply cook large spoonfuls of the batter in a hot pan to make hotcakes. The yoghurt is optional, or use a sourdough starter, both added for the lactic acid naturally found in yoghurt and sourdough that will soften the starch in the flour to give the waffles a gloriously light crumb.
Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Overnight resting (optional) 10 hours


  • cups (220g) white flour
  • ½ cup (70g) wholemeal flour (or use all white flour)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup (180ml) milk – dairy or plant-based
  • ¼ cup (60ml) Elderflower & Lemon Cordial (or extra milk)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) natural yoghurt (optional) or sourdough starter
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Butter or oil for cooking
  • Mixed berries – I used frozen that were thawed and gently warmed
  • Yoghurt or whipped cream
  • Runny honey or maple syrup


  • Saturday evening: Place the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well and add the egg yolks, milk, cordial and yoghurt and whisk into a thick batter. Cover with a plate and place in the fridge overnight. Put the egg whites in a covered container and leave on the bench overnight – don’t refrigerate, or they will take longer to whisk in the morning.
  • In the morning, remove the batter from the fridge. Melt the butter and fold it into the batter, along with the baking powder.
  • Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and use an electric whisk to mix until soft peaks form. Add a spoonful of the whites to the batter to loosen, then gently fold through the remaining meringue. Don’t over-mix so to keep the volume in the mix. This step can be skipped, but the waffles won’t be quite as light, instead add the whole egg and sugar to the batter in the evening.
  • Heat a waffle maker. Add a small knob of butter (I prefer to use clarified butter as it won’t burn) and use a pastry brush to evenly coat the hot plates. Ladle ½ cup batter into the maker and lower the lid. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes.
  • Alternatively, use a heavy-based frying pan and cook hotcakes over a moderate heat until golden on both sides.
  • Place cooked waffles on a cake rack to serve at the table to prevent them from sweating. Serve immediately with warmed berries, yoghurt or cream and drizzle with honey.

Join the Conversation

  1. Thanks for this lovely recipe Nicola. My girls kept coming in with cute white flowers in their hair after tending our chickens. Turns out we have one tree in our chicken hutch and several throughout our gigantic rhodey. I had no idea they were elderberry/flower trees! Hugely thankful as I love elderflower cordial!!

    1. Hi Tiffany, what a lovely surprise for you. Elderflower seems to be quite happy growing wildly so I am not surprised. Don’t they have the most incredible smell!
      Enjoy, Nicola

  2. Trish Burton says:

    Hi Nic! Trish here. We hope ya all are enjoying the warmer days up there. Just wondering if I could bottle this recipe, to use during winter…what do you think? Xt

    1. Hi Trish! Ha, and it is your little seedling that is still going strong! Now quite a large bush in the corner of the garden. I can imagine you would find lots of elderflowers down south to harvest – we saw so many trees when road tripping Central Otago a few Novembers back.
      You could definitely bottle the cordial for winter. Either in a water bath once the bottles are full, or pour the piping hot cordial (don’t cool before adding the honey) into hot sterilised jars and seal. Check the lids invert once cool and you will be good to go. We just cracked open the last of our cold-pressed grape juice preserved in this way. No added sugar required and so sweet we use it like a cordial.
      Hi to your crew. Nic xx

      1. Trish Burton says:

        Yay! So nice to hear its growing strong! We have an elderflower hedge forming, its very tempting to pick the flowers but we are trying to save them for the berries and pick the flowers from foraging spots. I have bottled four jars of cordial now. Just need to get more flowers. I hope you get some calm time up there to enjoy a cup of elderflower tea too. Xxxt

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