Bake it better with Belvoir

Bake it better with Belvoir

My love affair with Belvoir started a couple of years ago when they had a stand at the BBC Good Food show in Birmingham.  The stand was wonderful, set out with jugs filled with all of the different flavours and little cups to try them in.  As you can imagine, it was a popular stall and I stood patiently in the queue and worked my way around the flavours.  Then I went around for a second time.  They were delicious and I bought a few bottles, my favourite flavours and took them home.

Raspberry and lemon cordial is still my absolute favourite.  Like many of the Belvoir cordials, they are delicious with ice cold still water or sparkling giving them a gentle fizz. Elderflower is a close second and it is also delicious made with hot water on chillier days.  Elderflower and rose has a lovely soft flavour and honey, lemon and ginger is another one that either hot or cold brings relief on cold days when you need a boost or a refreshing cold drink.

A selection of Belvoir Cordials

At the moment it is all about elderflower and if you are anything like me, you will be able to smell the soft elderflower scent as the elder trees are bursting with flowers at the moment and the people at Belvoir are at their busiest harvesting the heads to make more bottles of their delicious cordial.

One thing I had never considered was baking using Belvoir and we were invited to a cookery demonstration with Belvoir and Lisa Faulkner last week.  It was all very exciting and my daughter is a keen baker already and she couldn’t wait to start cooking.  Lisa has been working with Belvoir on a few recipes using their cordials and you can find them on the Belvoir website.  There are creative cake ideas such as elderflower, lemon and poppy seed layered cake which is a real centrepiece, or the stunning semolina and raspberry layer cake with lemon syrup and elderflower Bakewell mug cakes.  Our task was to recreate one of her recipes, Madeleine Hot Air Balloons, using either the Belvoir Elderflower Cordial or the Elderflower and Rose.

 

Bake it better with Belvoir 1I certainly have never cooked in a cookery school kitchen before and it was an amazing experience.  There were quite a few bloggers and children and we each had our own station with the ingredients and the equipment we needed to create our culinary masterpieces.  Making Madeleines was another first but my daughter was happy to do all the baking and loved the idea of creating hot air balloons with the cakes.

Madeleine Hot Air Balloons by Lisa Faulkner

You can find the recipe here

Lisa demonstrated each stage of the process and the children followed her lead.  As we worked, Lisa came around giving help and advice and was absolutely lovely with the children and chatted quite happily with everyone.  Pretty soon, our mixtures were ready and in the oven and we all waited and watched as they take less than ten minutes.  Pretty soon, the wonderful of Belvoir infused Madeleines filled the room and we left them to cool over lunch ready to be iced.

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Bake it Better with Belvoir

After lunch, we set to work decorating our Madeleines and A had great fun making patterns that she deemed fit for a very fine hot air balloon indeed.  Once decorated and set, you can cleverly prop your Madeleines onto the top of a square flapjack using cocktail sticks and it creates the hot air balloon effect.  Very clever and it looked amazing once all of the cakes were finished.

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Our finished Madeleine Hot Air Balloons

To finish off our lovely day, there was a quick talk about the history of Belvoir. Now in all my years of drinking Belvoir cordials and pressés, I had pronounced it Belvoir (‘belvwahr) as that is how it would be pronounced in French.  Apparently not.  Of course, if you know the stunning Vale of Belvoir and its castle you will know that it is pronounced ‘beever’. Named Belvoir by the Normans, meaning beautiful view, it was an apt name as the views from the castle are beautiful but over time, the non-French speaking locals changed the way it was pronounced.

We also learnt that Belvoir cordials started from humble beginnings back in 1984 when co-founder Lady Mary Manners used elderflowers handpicked from bushes growing around her garden to create the original cordial. The whole family helped to make the first batch of elderflower cordial, chopping the lemons and stirring the syrup. Lord John Manners then popped the 88 cases of drinks into the back of his car and drove around to local farm shops, persuading the owners to buy a bottle here and there.

Thirty-three years later, Belvoir still uses that original recipe to make their wonderful elderflower cordial but the range of other cordials and pressés has grown as has the amount produced.  With 90 acres of orchards and over 40 drinks being made and shipped worldwide, it is a British company which deserves its success and it is lovely to see that it is still owned and run by the Manners family.  The demand is so high for elderflowers that they call on the local community to help with the picking and people can help to pick from the orchards and the plentiful supply in the hedgerows.  They pay for the bags of elderflowers by the kilo and there is even a prize for the ‘Biggest Bagger’, the person who brings in the most elderflower.

Elderflowers are best picked when the sun is shining and the harvest can easily be turned into home-made cordial at this time of year with a few very simple ingredients.  But if like me, you don’t have the time, luckily Belvoir have a plentiful supply and I am stocked up for the summer as their cordials are the perfect drink whatever the weather and after our wonderful experience in London, my daughter and I are going to be trying some of the other mouthwatering recipes from their website too.

It was such a lovely day and we both had a thoroughly lovely day. Lisa Faulkner was there all day and chatted to everyone and my daughter loved her.  We can now add Madeleines to our repertoire and my daughter is keen to make them again soon.

Chatting with Lisa Faulkner

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We were invited to London to attend the cookery class with Lisa Faulkner by Belvoir and we would love to thank them for an amazing day.   All opinions in this post are our own.

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16 Comments

  1. June 12, 2017 / 11:52 am

    My husband loves the ginger Belvoir! Looks like you had such a great day and it really is nice to read up on some history about a brand that we enjoy as a family

  2. June 12, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    What an amazing day for you and your daughter. Great for spending time together. I love the Belvoir cordials too. I’ve never thought yo add hot water in the colder months though. Mich X

  3. June 12, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    I didn’t know there was such a great range of Belvoir cordials. Looks a great day and A looks so confident in the kitchen – she did a great job with the Madeleines. Maybe she could make some more and you could bring me one when we finally next meet up.

  4. June 12, 2017 / 6:48 pm

    I love Belvoir. I lived off their cordial when going through ivf. This class looks great fun. I love the look of what you made

  5. June 12, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    What a great day! We love Belvoir in our house, the flavours are all so lovely, and natural too – always a big plus!

  6. June 12, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Ah what a lovely write up of the day. It was fantastic to see all the children baking and putting so much effort into decorating their madeleines. Lisa was lovely wasn’t she, and it was great to catch up with you on the day. I never knew they did so many flavours, I will definitely look out for them next time I go shopping x

  7. June 12, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    Wow, stunning baking creations! I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of elderflower but lemon and raspberry sounds delicious, might have to pick up a bottle of Belvoir next time I’m shopping.

  8. June 13, 2017 / 10:41 am

    Aww what a brilliant day and I love her hot air balloon cakes. I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever tried Belvoir but I am going to add it to my next shop!

  9. June 14, 2017 / 6:56 am

    Oh I love Belvoir – I used to have them as my weekend treat drink when I was pregnant! I’ve never thought of using them for cooking though so I’ll have to give that a go.

  10. June 14, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    What a fab day – I love the hot air balloons what a fun thing to make. I love Belvoir and it much easier and tastier than making your own!

  11. June 14, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    We love Belvoir but I would have never thought of baking with it! Thanks x x

  12. June 16, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    I too would never have thought of baking with them. A genius idea, but also so obvious when you think about it.

    I’m a big fan of Belvoir, especially the ginger ones. Gorgeous!

  13. June 17, 2017 / 8:34 am

    Sounds like a wonderful day out. I have not tried Belvoir before so will have to look out for it

  14. June 22, 2017 / 6:56 am

    I’ve never heard of Belvoir before.Now it’s full on summer here I’ll be looking out for them .

  15. June 22, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    What a great day, I love Belvoir and still pronounce it belvwhar. Love your finished Madeleines ?

  16. June 29, 2017 / 8:13 am

    I was gutted I couldn’t go to this and even more so now seeing the pictures, it looks like such a wonderful event and madeleines are my favourite so these look just wonderful. Looks like you had a fab time.

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