Just in time for the BBQ
~ English Lavender Marinade for Beef, Lamb or Chicken ~
Lavender is a traditional cottage garden plant. Its grey-green spikes of foliage and purple flowers provide colour all year. Since the Middle Ages, the dried flowers have been one of the main ingredients of potpourri. Fresh sprigs are included in herbal bunches known as tussie mussies, which have been used for hundreds of years to mask unpleasant odours and ward off illness. Use an infusion of lavender on insect bites. Dried flowers and seeds are used in herbal sleep pillows and baths for soothing and calming frayed nerves. Lavender oil applied at the temples will relieve a headache. Three flower heads in a cup of boiling water makes a soothing tea at bedtime. Lavender is my favourite herb – I use it regularly in the kitchen as well as around the house……as you may have already gathered!
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 they taste lovely 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. Today I am going to share a simple but effective marinade with you, and the star of the recipe is lavender……..English Lavender Marinade for Beef, Lamb or Chicken.
I will be back with MORE savoury lavender recipes over the next few weeks, but for now, I hope you will enjoy this just in time for the barbecue season, now we have the sun out! See you later with a special three-day menu of meals and a Fish on Friday recipe! Karen
English Lavender Marinade for Beef, Lamb or Chicken
|Serves||Enough for 1 whole roast chicken|
|Prep time||5 minutes|
|Meal type||Appetizer, Condiment, Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Starter|
|Occasion||Barbecue, Casual Party, Valentines day|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lavender honey
- 2 - 3 drops lavender, cooking essence ( or lavender flowers, crushed)
- one crushed garlic clove
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper
A wonderful marinade for beef, lamb or chicken; this marinade is suffused with the flavours and smells of summer, minus the sound of the bees buzzing! Allow the meats to marinate all day or overnight for a more pronounced flavour as well as being extra moist and juicy. Culinary lavender essence can be bought at specialist cook’s shops online or at your local lavender farms. If you cannot get hold of culinary lavender essence, use a handful of lavender flowers, lightly crushed.
|Step 1||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.|
|Step 2||This marinade is great for the barbeque. If making ahead, store in a covered bottle or jar and keep in the fridge until required.|
Do you cook or bake with lavender?
What are your favourite recipes that use lavender?
Maria @ Feisty Tapas says
I had never since any recipes with lavender, however there is a fantastic Lavender Centre about an hour from home. I love the smell of lavender and make little sachets to have around the house. Karen, I have decided from now on I am only visiting your blog if I have just eaten and I’m not hungry, otherwise I end up starving. I have in mind doing the Pan Bagnat soon, I am scared of knackering it when cutting it though!
Thanks Maria and thanks for your VERY flattering comments too! As for Pan Bagnat – cannot really knacker it when cutting as it is weighted down and should be fairly compact…should be fine as long as the weighting down has been done for a few hours! Some filing will fall out, but that is the cook’s perks! 🙂 Karen
lovely pictures I haven’t used lavender for cooking
It’s GREAT in scones and shortbread I think!
Jenny @ BAKE says
I’ve never thought of adding it to savoury food before! I can’t wait to have a garden so I can grow giant bushes of lavendar
Thanks Jenny – it is LOVELY with chicken and lamb in particular! Karen 🙂
Charlie Finch says
Just in time for the BBQ could not be more apropos. I am having BBQ with friends this weekend and I was wanting to blow them with a recipe they have not had before. This will do perfectly! Cheers!
Thanks Charlie – let me know how your BBQ adventure, and how the recipe goes down! Karen
rita cooks italian says
I have wonderful memories of the lavender fields of southern France. I’ve never used lavender for cooking, looks delicious and fragrant
Thanks Rita, I am sure it would be great in some Italian baking!
we are soooo on the same wavelength!… it’s FREEEEEAKY!!!… I love your lavender chicken recipe this is divine, I think I may have to steal the lavender honey idea and use it in one of my chicken thigh recipes… I just love love love the scented lavender as it roasts… gorgeous piccies as usual too! xx
I am SO pleased you like this idea Dom….I often cook with lavender, as you know, and my favourite way is a lavender marinade, it’s subtle and not too pungent! Bet this would be great on your thighs…..ooooo err…..chicken thighs!
I only have a little lavender plant so don’t generally use it for cooking, but this sound great. Rosemary is my favourite herb and as they are close cousins, I’m sure I would enjoy cooking with lavender.
VERY similar Janice and interchangeable! 🙂 Karen
Maya Russell says
I’ve only seen lavender used in cakes and chocolate. I think I’d like it in a marinade.
Fiona Matters says
What a great idea – I adore lavender and always have it around but have never thought of using it in cooking. I bet this would be lovely however. Just have to wait for the summer now *waits for snow to melt*
Maya Russell says
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Maya Russell says
Unfortunately I don’t have lavender today, but I might use rosemary from the garden today instead. Hope it goes with chicken and BBQs well.