I first came across Rose Ice Cream about ten years ago on a family holiday to Alnwick Castle Garden in Northumberland. The castle is famous for its wonderful, dramatic modern garden which includes a large area devoted to scented roses. When we visited, they were selling rose-flavoured ice-cream with a flavour based on the old-fashioned roses in the garden. I loved the ice-cream and, as soon as I got home, set about trying to make a home-made version. If you love gardens, I would recommend a visit to those at Alnwick Castle which also include a cascade of 120 water-jets, an area devoted to poisonous plants and an extraordinary tree-house which is the location for a very fancy restaurant.
Maybe because I first had Rose Ice Cream in Alnwick, I associate it with an English summer garden. There are a few recipes for Rose Ice Cream which have a more exotic twist, including pistachios or almonds, and having a 1001 Nights vibe, but this is definitely a traditional English version.
Edible flower recipes – rose, lavender and elderflower
You only need the egg yolks for this recipe which means you will have spare egg whites. As I hate waste, I pretty much always make Meringues when I make ice-cream as, very conveniently, my Meringue recipe requires four egg whites. If you are in a rose-loving mood, you could make Rose Meringues!
This Rose Ice Cream is a lovely summer recipe which combines the floral taste of rose with fresh cream.
4 egg yolks
85 g caster sugar
425 ml double cream
1 tablespoon of culinary rosewater
A few drops of red food colouring (optional)
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
Put the cream in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
Pour the cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is). Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl.
Add the rosewater to the custard. If you wish, stir in a few drops of red food colouring so that your ice cream will be pink. If you don’t do this, your ice-cream will be cream-coloured but will still taste the same!
Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
When you are ready to make the ice-cream, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions. If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen. Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.
You only need the egg yolks for this recipe which means you will have spare egg whites. As I hate waste, I pretty much always make Meringueswhen I make ice-cream as, very conveniently, myMeringuerecipe requires four egg whites.
These Cheese Biscuits with Chilli are a heated-up version of a basic cheese biscuit recipe. They are fantastic as a snack with drinks as they are deliciously cheesy and pack a big load of chilli heat. I think they go particularly well with a beer!
I have been making the basic biscuits for years and if you are not a lover of spicy food, you can leave out the chilli. If you are serving them with wine, the non-spicy version might be better. Or you could do a batch and put chilli in one half.
I have a taste for savoury, salty snacks, which I try to moderate generally and indulge occasionally. One of the good things about making your own snacks is that you are in control of the salt levels. Adding strong flavour elements, such as chilli, also helps with this as it means that the snacks have a powerful hit of flavour without being overly salty.
Whether you are looking for a plate of snacks ready for a box-set binge evening or for a drinks party, these Cheese Biscuits with Chilli are fantastic. They will keep in a sealed tin for several days once baked. Even better, you can keep the dough in the refridgerator for a week and slice and cook the biscuits when you want to eat them. You can also freeze the dough for several months. I always prepare a large batch of cheese biscuit dough in the run-up to Christmas and refridgerate or freeze which means that I can have freshly baked home-made biscuits within minutes.
If you are in a snacking mood, you might also like to try my recipes for Spiced Nuts and Marinated Feta. Both are really easy and are great at a party or if you are just watching television with a cold beer!
Whether you make these Cheese Biscuits with or without chilli, they are a fantastic snack with drinks or for a box-set binge. The dough can be kept in the fridge or freezer and baked whenever you feel like fresh home-made biscuits.
100 g butter (at room temperature)
100 g strong cheese (eg Cheddar)
100 g plain flour
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined to form a dough.
Roll the dough into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
Set your oven to 180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4.
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut across to form disks approximately 1 cm thick.
Place the disks on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven and place the biscuits on a baking rack to cool.
If you don’t like chilli, you can leave it out. The plain, cheese biscuits are delicious too!
The baked biscuits will keep for several days in an air-tight tin.
The dough can be kept in the fridge for a week. So that you can cut it into discs and bake for home-made biscuits within minutes.
Just the name, Lavender Cake, makes me think about an English summer garden. I love the calming floral fragrance of fresh lavender, which is held in both the flowers and the leaves. I also think it looks beautiful with green-grey leaves and deep blue, purple or white flowers.
If you grow lavender in your garden, this is a cake to make in high summer, late June through to August when it is at its best. Make sure that it hasn’t been treated with any pesticides or other chemicals before you use it in your cooking! If you don’t grow your own lavender, you can use culinary lavender which is available from some supermarkets and also online.
Like many of the cakes that I make, this Lavender Cake is a variation on a simple loaf cake recipe. Lavender and lemon has become a popular flavour combination in cakes and desserts. For this recipe, I combined lavender with orange, which adds a similar zesty citrus flavour. It occurred to me when I had made this cake that lavender and orange are both included in the classic Herbes de Provence herb mix from the South of France which is used in savoury dishes.
So many lavender recipes….
I use lavender mainly in sweet recipes. I make Lavender Ice Cream, which is creamy and floral and fantastic at the end of a summer dinner party. If you want to give someone a summer treat, you could do worse than make them a lavender-themed Afternoon Tea with Lavender Shortbread Biscuits and Lavender Scones. I sometimes make a Honey Cream Tea, combining Cream and Honey with the Lavender Scones, which is a great twist on an English teatime tradition. If you have a lot of fresh lavender in your garden, you can capture the flavour by making Lavender Sugar which you can use as a baking ingredient.
1 tablespoon of fresh or half a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender
125 g butter
175 g Lavender Sugar (use caster sugar if you do not have Lavender Sugar)
175 g self-raising flour
Zest of 1 orange
For the icing:
Juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon of fresh or half a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender
100 g icing sugar
Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
Put the milk into a small bowl and add the fresh or dried culinary lavender. Heat to scalding point and then set aside to cool. Heating the milk allows it to take on the flavour of the lavender.
Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
Cream the butter with the Lavender Sugar or caster sugar. (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
Add the lavender-infused milk and the grated zest of your orange.
Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
While the cake is baking, squeeze the juice from your orange into a small bowl and add the fresh or dried culinary lavender. Heat to scalding point and then set aside to cool. Heating the juice allows it to take on the flavour of the lavender.
When your cake is done. Remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
When the cake is completely cool. Combine the lavender-infused orange juice with the icing sugar and then pour over the cake.
Keywords: lavender, cake, loaf cake
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