Got some lavender, now what do I do with it?
I went to a great little restaurant for lunch last week and in your birth month, they give you a free bag of herbs. Usually in September, it's marjoram. But this year I got lavender. I've NEVER cooked with lavender before. Does anyone have a recipe?
Lavender is grown quite widely near me and looks beautiful in the fields. I also have a nice bush in my garden and have made this with it:
They tasted very good but I am still wary of cooking too much with it as it has a tendency to remind me of perfume and lavender bags used to scent clothes drawers!
However, if you're further inspired you could also try this website - the shortbread sounds interesting:
I'd love to know how you get on!
I make a Lavender Caramel ice Cream that is very good.
Lavender Caramel Ice Cream
makes 1 1/2 quarts
1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons lavender flowers
1 1/2 teaspoons water
3 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
1. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of lavender and 1 1/2 teaspoon of water. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture dries (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer to a plate to cool, then grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Set aside.
2. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the milk, crème fraîche, vanilla bean and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lavender. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot (about 8 minutes).
3. Remove from heat, cover and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve and return it to the saucepan.
4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. Gradually whisk in one-third of the warmed milk mixture in a thin stream, then whisk the mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan. Stir in the reserved lavender powder.
5. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard lightly coats the back of a spoon (about 5 to 7 minutes). BE CAREFUL NOT LET THE MIXTURE BOIL!
6. Immediately remove from the heat and strain the custard into a medium bowl. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water, and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (Or, you can use the refrigerator [or freezer]). Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours, or overnight.
7. Pour the custard into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
I also use the green part of the plant as one would use rosemary. It's really tasty in a roast chicken.
Lavendar Lemon biscotti is a nice treat.
The key to cooking with lavendar is resisting the urge to overuse it. Too much imparts a soapy taste. : ( Better to use too little and then need to make it again to decide what is the right amount for you. :)
This is the recipe I started with:
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