This bottle-shaped black hole anticipates the winter ahead. We gained the acquaintance of an elder tree (Sambucus nigra) on a back lane of north Gower earlier in the summer and although we were too late for the blooms we recently went back for the berries. A elderberry rob is reputed to shorten the duration of colds and ‘flu and its method of preparation is an old way of making a concentrated syrup for a cordial.
I baked the berries until their dark viscous juice flowed and after straining made a syrup with sugar (you can add spices at this point). Now I had a ‘cure’, all I need was the condition; should I go out carelessly clothed on this dull wintry day and risk a ‘chill in my kidneys’ as my grandmother used to forewarn? I decided against the path of disagreeable experimentation and reached for the mug. Diluted in hot water it was internally warming and comforting as that other famed cold cure, honey and lemon – very good in its own way, but some like it robbed.