Artful floral food for the most bucolic barbecue ever... True botanical bliss.
Culinary flower and herb salt
Simply scatter this over salads for a wonderful salty garnish, or drop it into soups? I also add it to softened butter for the teatime table, as well as having a jar on the table for 'direct? salting of meals! The salt preserves the colour, fragrance and colours of the flowers and herbs, and I decant mine into an old Kilner jar for maximum gift-giving and 'decorative storage shelf? impact. Makes one medium-size jar.
YOU WILL NEED
* assorted edible flowers such as small rose petals, marigold petals, honeysuckle flowers, herb blossom (oregano, mint and rosemary, etc), borage flowers and assorted herbs (ie, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano)
* 200g sea salt
* glass jars with lids
1 Collect your flowers and herbs, making sure they are dry and free from pesticides and traffic pollution.
2 Cut any large blooms such as honeysuckle into smaller pieces, but leave petals whole.
3 Mix all the flowers and herbs together, and then layer them between the sea salt in a glass jar.
4 Place a lid on top and leave in a cool and dark place for 2-4 weeks before using.
5 Once opened, mix the flowers and herbs through the salt so that everything is evenly distributed.
Pimm's cup with floral ice cubes
You can really unleash your creative streak with flower ice cubes. Here, I used the traditional square ice-cube tray and sausage-shaped balloons. In the cubes, I went for purple stock flowers, orange marigold petals, blue borage flowers, dried rose petals and sprigs of lavender. The borage ice cubes look spectacular in a jug of Pimm's and echo the flavour of the cucumber. (Adjust the recipes below based on how many people you are serving.)
YOU WILL NEED
For the floral ice cubes * clarified water (see method below) * your pick of edible flowers For the Pimm?s cup * ice * 1 part Pimm's to 3 parts lemonade * cucumber * borage flowers
1 First, you need clarified water: you achieve this by bringing a kettle to the boil and allowing it to go completely cold. Do this three times.
2 Place the flowers and petals into the ice-cube trays and pour in about a centimetre of the now cold clarified water, and freeze. It should only take about an hour to solidify.
3 Remove from the freezer, scatter another few petals into the ice-cube tray and top up with the water.
4 The balloons are a little bit trickier. Start off by pouring in a little bit of water, gently push in the dried rose petals or sprigs of lavender, fill to the top with more water, and tie off.
5 Mix all the ingredients for the Pimm's cup together, add the floral ice cubes, and serve.
Want to make the rest of this barbecue feast? Pick up the current issue of Garden Heaven for Lesley's mouth-watering recipes for roasted, stuffed figs with Parma ham, beet and feta tabbouleh, easy flatbreads, barbecued sea bass with orange and fennel, culinary flower and herb salt... and more! On shelves now, priced €4.95.
Photography: Nathalie Marquez Courtney