A few weeks ago I paid tribute to poor old Blood Orange Posset, the deliciously delicate pudding that got lumbered with the worst name in the world. As if we needed reminding that life isn’t fair, along swooshes the elegant, beautiful, perfectly-named Apple Mint Cordial. If Blood Orange Posset and Apple Mint Cordial were guests at a wedding, BOP would be in the back row, behind a pillar and forced to wear a hat picked by Princess Beatrice, while AMC would be in the front pew dressed entirely in Alexander McQueen.
Not that it’s cordial’s fault. And I do love food that’s both a noun and an adjective. To drink a cordial that is cordial is very satisfying, although that might just be the cranky way my mind works. (While I’m on the subject of grammar, food that’s both a noun and a verb is weirdly full of fat — think of lard, milk, butter and oil).
This particular cordial will quench your thirst at a glance.
Apple Mint Cordial
Makes about 1 litre
1kg apples — Cox’s are best, although I used Royal Gala here
320 grams caster sugar
Finely pared peel of one unwaxed lemon
1 litre water
2 large handfuls of fresh mint leaves plus extra for serving
Chop the apples roughly, but don’t bother to peel or core them. Place them in a large pan with the sugar, water and lemon. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Add the mint leaves.
Simmer gently for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the apple is soft and mushy. Turn off the heat and pour the entire lot into a jelly-making bag and allow it to drip slowly through into a bowl for a couple of hours. You can squish it through with the back of a ladle if you like, but I prefer to leave it to its own devices so that it emerges on the other side as a clear rather than cloudy pink liquid. Pour into sterilised bottles. It will keep in the fridge for about a week. Alternatively, you can freeze it into ice cubes and use them at your leisure. Add about 1/3 cordial to 2/3 still or sparkling water and serve with plenty of ice and a handful of fresh mint leaves.
Drink your Apple Mint Cordial while making a consoling, slightly smug toast to poor old Blood Orange Posset.