"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."
Welcome back to another Romancing the Home Weekly Challenge! This week we decided to combine two of the best comforts in life, food and flowers! There's quite a variety of edible flowers, in case you didn't know...
Here's some 'food for thought'
The link on this image will redirect you to Shari's Berries Blog. I like this chart because it gives you an idea of the flavours found in flowers. There are actually more edible flowers than listed above, but please do some research before you visit your garden and start picking to throw colour into your food. Some innocent looking flowers could be really toxic and the last thing you want to do is make your family or guests sick.
More common garden flowers that can be used for cooking and decoration are Hibiscus, Rose, Lavender, Peony, Dandelions and Lilacs.
I kept things fairly simple, I don't have many edible flowers in my garden and only bought pre-packaged pansies from Checkers. I planned a three-course dinner around what I had and this is what I present to you today;
Starter - Balsalmic Watermelon Salad
Main - Basil and Tomato Grilled Chicken with Pansy Chickpea Lasagna (step-by-step below)
Dessert - Rosehip and Hibiscus infused Creme Fraiche with Cocoa Crumbs
The Starter was served on the traditional salad plate from the Presidential Collection dinner set I inherited from my mom who inherited it from her mom and features in this shoot. I chose to stack it for added drama!
Slice your tomato through the middle; I then cubed it into nine blocks. I carefully removed the centre of a ring of feta with a cookie cutter around the size of a cucumber and placed it on top, with a slice of cucumber the thickness of the feta, also cubed into nine. (the reason I did this is because it's easier to eat, without someone having to struggle though cutting these hard vegetables). I then used a bigger cookie cutter to cut out a nice thick slice of watermelon and removed the seeds, placing it on top. I arrange three black olives and three fresh basil leaves on top of the watermelon and decorated with a basil flower (it pained me to not cut these off before my blog was due) and a bright pansy.
Here's how to make the lasagna.
I used chickpea flower as it's got lovely flavour and quite a yellow colour. A simple Jamie Oliver Fresh Egg Pasta Recipe can be cut down to serving suggestion, I literally divided it by six and had enough lasagna to feed four people. You can replace the flour with various gluten free flours. You can also flavour your pasta, although it's a nice idea, it's best leave it plain so you don't run into clashes with the sauce etc.
Roll out your pasta to the thinnest setting (1) and arrange your flowers, take off any thick bits as they could poke through when you cover with a second sheet and put it through the machine, starting at the 3rd setting and working back down to 2. Going back to 1 will result in breakage of the flower inside. I don't dry my pasta before cooking as it can take a while, rather, fresh pasta cooks about 2-3 minutes in boiling water. I dished directly from the pot to the plate and served the meal.
The chicken was rolled in Basil flavoured Olive Oil by Willow Creek which is divine (you have to check out their other flavours available) and made a sauce by combining a 250ml fresh cream with a full tin of tomato puree and threw in a hand full of fresh basil. Et voila!
The dessert, to be honest, I kind of muddled the recipe...
My hibiscus flowers didn't dry properly. I couldn't find dried flowers in the shop. I used a Rosehip and Hibiscus teabag instead, steaping it my milk for the creme fraiche (I halved the recipe for this) on the stove and although I got the flavour, the colour wasn't very nice. It also curdled a bit because of the acidity of the flowers in the milk. I ended up adding a teaspoon of my Turkish Rose Syrup (a gift from my sister on her trip to Turkey) which sweetened it a bit and made the final colour and beat the custard really well until it was smooth. I also added about a tablespoon of medium fat cream cheese and a teaspoon of gelatin to help it keep its shape. I piped my custard into a silicone cupcake mold and allowed to set.
The cocoa crumbs are pretty easy, I combined 1/2 cup flour with 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/2 cup butter and crumbled the mix onto a baking sheet which I had in the over about 10min on 180 degrees celcius. The chocolate stroke decor is simply dark chocolate chips, about a tablespoon worth, melted. Then make four dollops with a teaspoon on a wax sheet and using the back of the spoon, drag the chocolate into about a 10cm line, starting off thick and ending thin. A teaspoon of Rose Syrup for added colour and a pansy flower finished the look.
So there you have it, my beautiful spread and how to make it!
There are so many ways to cook with flowers, whether raw, as decor or in salad or cooked in pasta or in baked goods, or served with drinks...it's a festival of colour athat adds something different to a meal. Just have fun with it!
Don't forget to pop in to SawdustandHighheels for an awesome Keto Diet dessert!
KeepItFrench with a table full of beautiful floral food!
Till next week!