Lavender, normally thought of only for use in soaps and pot-pourri is limiting the use of this amazing aromatic herb. It is a road much less travelled to use it in recipes for food and drink. I do use it in soap and bodycare products, and its essential oil is perfect first aid tool for anything from bites and stings to minor burns and can be applied neat to the skin, unlike other essential oils. Give it a go!
4 tbsps (1/4 cup) culinary lavender*
2 cups boiling water
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
2 cups cold water
* Culinary lavender is lavender harvested for the purposes of cooking/eating. Please don’t buy the perfumed air-freshening kind because that is going to be utterly gross. If you want your lemonade to turn pink, you need to get the Hidcote variety (that’s the only one that turns it pink).
Steep the lavender in 2 cups of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the lavender. Place the lavender tea and the sugar in a small saucepan and set over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves (you don’t have to put it over heat, but I do this because I’m impatient and want the sugar to dissolve faster and completely). Remove from heat and let cool to warm. Stir in the lemon juice. Stir in the cold water. Add more to taste. I prefer to keep mine on the concentrated side because I like to mix it with seltzer water when I serve it. Serve over ice. Makes about 6-8 cups depending on how dilute you want it. http://userealbutter.com
Lemon & Lavender Vodka Tonic
A few lavender flowers (plus more to garnish), 3 oz. vodka, 6 oz. Lemon Pellegrino, 2 lemon slices.
Place lavender flowers and vodka in a glass. Muddle lavender. Place ice cubes in glass. Fill with Lemon Pellegrino or with tonic water (if using the later, add 2 oz of lemon juice) and stir. Garnish with lemon slices and lavender. http://www.bakersroyale.com
Peach Lavender Jam
Yield: 6 cups
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups finely chopped peaches (from about 5 to 6 medium peaches, peeled)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
Place lavender flowers in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over flowers and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and discard flowers.
Prepare canner and wash/sterilize 6 half-pint mason (or equivalent) jars. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use. Warm lids in hot (not boiling) water to sterilize and soften seal.
Combine lavender liquid, peaches, lemon juice, and sugar in a very large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in pectin.
Ladle hot jam into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Screw on lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 3 weeks. (Read more at http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2012/07/peach-lavender-jam.html)
Flour-Free Orange and Lavender Cake
For the sponge:
400ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
350g ground almonds
300g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
2 oranges, ideally Seville
2 tsp dried lavender
For the syrup:
Juice of the zested lemon and oranges above
100g caster sugar
A few cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
How to make Flour-Free Orange and Lavender Cake
This is one of the most popular recipes on the 'French Country Baking Day' at Cake Boy. It's inspired by the south of France, and it happens to be gluten-free. If you are not sure about the lavender, you can omit it, but at the same time you can change the ingredients to match the seasons. For example, replacing the lavender with sun-dried cranberries makes it more Christmassy. The rich spicy syrup works very well too.
1.Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm cake tin with extra oil, then base-line with baking paper.
2.In a mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, caster sugar, lavender and baking powder, mixing together well. Break in the eggs and add the oil, mixing gently together.
3.Using a fine grater,grate the zest from the lemon and oranges into the mixture, then mix together.
4.Turn the cake mixture into the prepared tin, and bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Cover the top with a piece of foil after about 20 minutes.
5.Meanwhile, make the syrup. Squeeze the juice from the zested lemon and oranges into a small pan. Add the sugar and spices, and mix together well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
6.Once the cake has been removed from the oven, pierce it several times with a skewer or small, sharp knife. Using a tablespoon, spoon the syrup over the cake, allowing it to soak in.
Tip: If you prefer a cake with a slightly less dense texture, substitute 50% of the ground almonds for finely ground polenta or semolina.