Baking and blooms


I have had a growing sense over the past few years that I needed to pay more attention to herbs and spices – particularly to the use of flowers – in cooking. I am always drawn to the variegated dunes of spices in the markets, find myself picking rosemary leaves from the bushes by the gate at my grandparents on my way to the door just to smell them and, this past summer, fell in love with culinary bouquets at the farmer’s markets (posies of edible flowers and herbs, yes please!). I think that it may have something to do with my romantic invocation of old English kitchen gardens, medieval spice caravans and poems about herbs for healing. Scents have stories it seems. Not that long ago I did find a little illustrated cookbook of recipes (the best kind) that revolved around incorporating the diverse flavours of ‘herbs de Provence’ into sweet and savoury dishes. I have also used rose petals to dress cakes a few times this last year – but I have had this sense that there was more than could be done. Even though school work takes up most of my creative energy, these ideas have been simmering away, so to speak, on the back burner in my brain.

All that to say, when my friend Lauren presented ‘Lavender’ as a plant and product in our community group a few weeks ago (presentation complete with lavender scones to sample!), I finally made my first move. After a Wholefoods excursion I was ready to start – I experimented with a butter cake recipe from the Vintage Cakes cookbook – a birthday present from my grandmother. The cake book is a delight and the cakes (one loaf and several-many cup cakes) turned out so well for a first try. I added 3 tablespoons to the classic birthday cake recipe and made vanilla butter cream as the frosting. It was very decadent – but such a treat. All in all, I feel my lavender explorations have only just begun – the cake called for ‘cake flour’ which incorporates some corn starch into the mix – something that I am quite unfamiliar with. I think it makes the grain of the cake quite fine – not necessarily my favourite texture. For now I will count this as an excellent first attempt and will keep exploring the exciting world of herbs, spices and flowers in food. I will keep you posted!


How does your garden grow?

Asher is constantly amazed and delighted by the produce he has been able to harvest from our little garden this year. Requests for herbs, spinach and other greens, onions, carrots and potato to use in the kitchen are met with a grin, which only gets bigger as he returns with his green bounty. We have enjoyed baked potatoes, herby salads, spinach, kale, beetroot (and beetroot greens), carrots and spring onions in our dinners and salads … and have been able to give away samples to friends and family. I took a few photos before we headed south for our holiday break so we could record how it has developed through the spring.

With sunshine, rain, lots of watering and God’s blessing, this is a peak into how our garden grows!



















Digging for buried treasure – in our case, potatoes!

Home Grown Fish and ‘Chips’

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Panfried salmon cooked (with no oil added) using the electric frying pan lined with some baking paper to make clean up easier (mum deserves credit for this technique, it works a treat!), roast potatoes from our garden seasoned with salt, pepper and homegrown herbs, and finally, brocoli from our garden, panfried with olive oil, lemon and capers. One delicious dinner we kind of wanted to show off!