Lavender is a wonderfully versatile herb in the kitchen. It is becoming increasingly popular as an addition to all manner of dishes including sugars, roast meats, biscuits and desserts and as a garnish. It is said that Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed eating lavender conserve and also used it as a perfume. Apparently she insisted that the royal table should never be without lavender conserve. She also drank lavender tea to help ease her migraines. Even today, French farmers graze their lambs in fields of lavender to give the meat a superb, fresh, floral flavour. Both the flowers and leaves of lavender can be used in cooking. Lavender makes a great accompaniment with other herbs and is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and summer and winter savoury. English Lavender has a much sweeter fragrance than other lavenders and is the one that is most commonly used in cooking. Its flavour is sweet and floral, with lemon and citrus overtones. Unlike many herbs, the flavour of lavender becomes more potent when the flowers are dried.
Using Lavender in Cooking:
Lavender flowers add a beautiful colour to salads and taste good too. They can also be used in bread recipes or used to flavour biscuits. The flowers can ground in a pestle and mortar and added to a bag of sugar to use in cakes and buns. The flowers are excellent additions to desserts and will add a delicate floral scent and flavour to custards, flans or sorbets. Why not try adding lavender leaves to dishes instead of rosemary? Both the spikes and leaves can be used and will add a different dimension to the dish. Try popping a few leaves and flowers into savoury dishes, such as soups, stews and even meaty wine-reduced sauces.
If you are lucky enough to grow your own lavender, you can harvest the leaves and flowers from your own garden and experiment with this delicious herb at your will. Select flowers, which look fresh and have the fullest colour, and are not hampered by pests or diseases. Pick your flowers and leaves a short time before you use them in cooking as this will help preserve their flavour and colour. Simply cut the stems with scissors or secateurs and place them in a glass of water to keep them fresh until you use them. All blooms should be rinsed thoroughly to ensue they are free from dirt and insects.
(From herb expert co uk)
I grow several types of lavender in my garden and it is a perennial favourite of mine for cooking as well as a fragrance for the house…….I love the fact that my B and B guests slip into clean linen at night scented with lavender water, and that the cupboards and drawers all have sprigs of lavender in them to scent and soothe the senses. This Saturday I am going to share a simple but effective marinade with you, and the star of the recipe is lavender.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lavender honey
- 5 drops lavender, cooking essence ( or lavender flowers, crushed)
- one crushed garlic clove
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper
|Grilled Chicken Breasts using the marinade|
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together and brush over beef, lamb or chicken. Allow the meat to marinate in the marinade for 2 hours minimum and then cook as required.
- This marinade is great for the barbeque. If making ahead, store in a covered bottle or jar and keep in the fridge until required.
|Grilled Chicken Breasts using the marinade served with rustic potato wedges|