Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Cheltenham Five: Part 1 where we eat CAKE!


The best cake plate is an empty one!

The internet is a wonderful place to meet like-minded people and even within the food blogging community you find yourself drawn towards certain people's blogs and certain conversations on Twitter. Some of those conversations were verging on the smutty and so our hashtag #smuts was born.

There are eight of food bloggers who make up the #smuts, Karen of Lavender and Lovage, Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes, Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog, Fiona from London Unattached, Ros of The more than occasional baker, Sue from Heaven on a Plate, Dom from Belleau Kitchen and me!  After many false start discussions and meetings of two or three at various events, we felt it was time we all met together.  As we are flung to the far corners of the UK and France,  we settled on Cheltenham as a reasonable place that was easily accessible by rail.

Early on in our planning we lost one #smut,  as Jac was off to the sun for a well earned holiday.  Then more unavoidable events meant that Dom and Sue both had to call off almost at the last minute. And then there were five...not of all of those present will be featured in this post, Karen and I don't give a damn so you will see a lot of the two of us!  Fiona also features as long as her hair is okay ;-)

Fiona and Karen came up from London on the train together and I met them at Cheltenham Spa station.    After checking into our hotel, we had a bit of a scout around the sales in Cheltenham including Cath Kidston, Radley and Toast. 

We then headed for our rendez-vous with Choclette and Ros at the Well Walk Tea Room,
It's located in  one of Cheltenham's oldest shops and is a real delight, in terms of decor, customer service and the tea itself.


The shelves are groaning with beautiful vintage china tea sets.

Kitsch cherubs adorned the walls along with  tapestries.

As we were eating fairly early, we were supposed to be limiting our cake consumption, so ordered a 'Cake Medley' a selection of six cakes to share for £10.95.  My favourite was the Cinnamon and Rhubarb Cake which was moist and delicious.  All the cakes were very good indeed, although the Bakewell Tart was a bit too thick for me and not a moist as the other cakes.  The tea flowed freely with lots of top ups and the staff were very friendly and indulgent of our blogging ways.


We couldn't resist some scones with jam and cream as they were straight out of the oven!

Superb!

Bloggers do it with pictures!
Information about the menu and prices is available on the Well Walk Tea Room Menu page.


In the basement, the tea room has a Christmas Shop with vintage style decorations, open all year round.

I can thoroughly recommend the Well Walk Tea Room for a cup of tea and a cake and particularly for their delicious scones.  

I was not paid for this post and received no advantage from writing about the Well Walk Tea Room, I am sharing this review because it was a very good tea.

Friday, 28 June 2013

The Kings Ginger Summer Cup


The Kings Ginger has been made since 1903, although I must confess I had never heard of it until I was offered the chance to review it along with Bulldog Gin and Appleton Estate Rum. I love anything flavoured with ginger so was intrigued to see what this liqueur was like.  I was also provided with cocktail recipes and a little booklet of recipes using the Kings Ginger.  Fortunately these are also available on the The Kings Ginger website.
King Edward VII


The King’s Ginger is the emphatically ginger liqueur that was specifically formulated by Berry Bros. in 1903 for King Edward VII. Rich and zesty, it was created to stimulate and revivify His Majesty and has been appreciated by bon viveurs, sporting gentlemen and high-spirited ladies ever since.

The King’s Ginger is sporting a new look to assert the premium credentials of the world’s only high-strength ginger liqueur and to reinforce its peerless heritage.

King Edward VII was a thoroughly sociable chap who enjoyed the high life; his preferred pursuits were many and varied, chief among them driving his horseless carriage, a Daimler. His physician, a customer of Berry Bros. (as was the King), was concerned about Edward’s health, exposed as he was to the elements in his new automobile. He commissioned, therefore, his wine and spirits merchants to formulate a liqueur which would warm His Majesty; the result, a rich, golden liqueur with a pronounced spicy ginger emphasis and delightfully crisp flavour.

The King’s Ginger is a high-strength liqueur created by the careful maceration of ginger root enlivened by the judicious addition of citrus in the form of lemon peel. Although warming and heartening on a cold day as originally intended, it is a splendidly uplifting tonic to be enjoyed on its own all year round as well as in any number of cocktails and long drinks. It has been described by Jonathan Ray in The Field as “opulently and sublimely gingery.”
 

 
The Kings Ginger Summer Cup

1 part (25ml/1oz) The Kings Ginger
3 parts (75ml/2.5oz) Cranberry Juice
3 parts (75ml/2.5oz) Lemonade

Build in a glass over ice and add lemon wheels and strawberries. This can also be made in jugs and punch bowls.


I also tested Bulldog Gin with Fever-tree Tonic water, very delicious and refreshing, it's been a while since I've had a gin and tonic and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy it.  I do love the Fever-tree mixers they don't taste artificial as many other mixers do.  I loved the Mediterranean Tonic which I tried at the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh last year but have found it difficult to source locally.

Here's another alternative to tonic water in your gin:



Bulldog Gin Signature Serve
Ingredients:
50 ml Bulldog Gin
Top Cloudy lemonade
Sprig of Mint
Lemon wedge
Method:
Pour in Gin over cubed ice, top up with cloudy lemonade and garnish with a lemon wedge and sprig of mint.


I still have a sample of Appleton Estate Rum to try, but think I'd like to add that to a dessert or cake so I'll report back on that another time.

Bulldog Gin is available in 70cl bottles from Waitrose RRP £24.99
Appleton Estate Rum V/X is available from all major supermarkets RRP £20.29
Appleton Estate Rum 8 Year Old is available from Selfridges RRP £24.99
The Kings Ginger is available from Berry Bros. & Rudd in 50cl bottles at £17.95

I was provided with miniatures of these spirits to sample with mixers, I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.
 




Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Lemon & Sweet Pepper Marinaded Chicken


I can highly recommend trying one of the Bart Smokehouse Barbeque Rubs, there are five marinade rubs which reflect the diverse flavours of barbecue traditions from around the world:
 Smokey Chipotle Marinade Rub: a classic Tex/Mex chipotle chilli gives a smokey flavour
• Mediterranean Marinade Rub: traditional Mediterranean herbs basil, oregano, parsley and rosemary – blended with tomato and a fresh lemon finish
• Lemon & Sweet Pepper Marinade Rub: inspired by Australia, red and green peppers give this rub a great colour and the lemon oil provides an intense taste
• New York Steak Marinade Rub: A classic deli blend of mustard, garlic and pepper
• Tandoori Marinade Rub: tamarind as a main ingredient adds depth of flavour which blends with chilli to create a traditional indian flavour

Plus, as marinades can be messy to apply, the rubs come with a special “marinade bag” to make the whole process cleaner, easier, quicker. No sticky fingers, no washing hands every five minutes. Just delicious authentic flavour.

Simply place the meat or fish in the bag with your chosen Bart® marinade, hold the bag closed and shake gently to spread the ingredients around. For depth of flavour, leave in the fridge for an hour or more before grilling. And, just in case it’s raining, the bag can also be used in the oven for slow cooking, retaining the moisture. As  I don't do barbeques, I chose the alternative slow cooking.



I loved the fact that all you need to do is rub the spice mix on your meat, although I brushed my chicken with olive oil first, the pop it the roasting bag which is provided in the box and leave it to marinade.  You can then either remove the meat from the bag and barbeque or cook as you would normally roast your meat or you can do what I did, and roast it in the bag.

 It was so simple, the roasting tin didn't need soaking and scrubbing and I used my Oxo Good Grips Gravy Separator to separate the fat from the juices then turned them into delicious gravy.  The chicken was cooked with the Lemon and Sweet Pepper Rub and had a lovely light lemony flavour. The roasting bag made sure the meat was kept moist and it was very tender.  The left over meat was also really good with salad the next day.

See another review and recipe with Lemon and Sweet Pepper Marinade at Lavender and Lovage

I also tried the Smoky Chipotle Rub on some lamb steaks. 
I cooked this in the roasting bag after marinading for about two hours,  the meat was very tender and although the rub is quite spicy it didn't overwhelm the flavour of the lamb.

The full range is available at Ocado from the end of June and a selection of the rubs  will be instore at all Waitrose branches from 2nd June. They will also be available through independents, and delicatessens around the country. Or buy online at www.bart-ingredients.co.uk
from July. The rubs are priced at £1.49, there are alos sauces at £2.99 and spice mills at £3.99.

I was provided with the Barbeque Rubs, I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Beautiful Blue Bread Bin

My mum used to have a metal bread bin in the 1960s but it wasn't as pretty as this one! As well as looking good it's also a really good size as you can see below. That is a large loaf from the bread maker, so I recokon you could store couple of sliced loaves or one loaf and some rolls or other items like bagels or croissants in this bread bin. 

I was particularly attracted to this Shutter Blue bread bin from Garden Trading because it goes so well with my kitchen.  Garden Trading have the same bread bin in Flint (soft grey), Clay (off white) and Slate (dark grey) so there is sure to be one which would go well in your kitchen too.  You can also get the powder coated steel bread bin as part of a set with tea, coffee and sugar tins, which would make a lovely gift for a wedding or house warming.

The focus of Garden Trading is to design and produce functional everyday accessories and lighting for the home and garden.  Go and have a look they have so many high quality, stylish things you will want for your own home and garden or that would be perfect for gifts.

The powder coated steel bread bin from Garden Trading costs £28

Many thanks to Sophie for the opportunity to review the Shutter Blue bread bin.  I was not paid to write this review and all opinions are my own.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Nutribox - Healthy Snacks Delivered

The Nutribox- Healthy Snacks Delivered
The Nutribox describes itself as, “a box of deliciously nutritious snacks all made with gluten free ingredients, delivered FREE (delivery is free not the snacks!) to your door monthly. The healthy snack box is great if you want to eat more healthily or if you follow a particular diet or lifestyle and are looking for paleo snacks, vegan snacks, sports nutrition snacks, energy snacks or raw snacks.”


There are two sizes of The Nutribox, a standard box and a mini-box.  The Standard Box contains 16-20 snacks and the Mini Box contains 8-10 snacks. I received a mini box containing nine snacks.
There are a range of options for subscriptions from a single monthly purchase to a six month subscription.  More information about subscriptions is available on The Nutribox website read on to find out how you can get a discount on your first order. 

The snacks were well packed in the box with no damage or breakages. The only brand I recognised was Nakd, so it was quite exciting to see all these different healthy snacks that we would be tasting. I had to hold my husband back till I got some photographs taken! 


I was  particulary excited to try the Mulu Raw Chocolate as I've heard about raw chocolate but never tasted it. I'm afraid I was not impressed, the taste of the chocolate is okay, but not a strong, dark chocolate taste that I would expect from the colour of the chocolate.  What really put both me and my husband off was the texture, it was like cooking chocolate and there was none of the chocolate mouth feel that makes it...well chocolate.   On the plus side, it's free from diary, refined cane sugar, gluten and soya.

The Nakd Apple Crunch is gluten, wheat and dairy free.  It's made up of dates, soya crunchies, cashews, raisins, apple, apple juice concentrate.  It was a tasty furit bar, full of fruity flavour, I would recommend this snack bar.

The Beetroot from Rude Health has no added salt, no refined sugars is a source of fibre, gluten free and non GM. This was a tasty little bar however, the 'beetroot' seems a bit superfluous and a gimmick as the bar is 69% Dates and 20% Almonds with only 7% ground beetroot.

The Energy Bomb is a vegetarian, gluten free bar with no added sugar, no transfats and it is non GMO.  I'm not sure I would choose this one again, it tasted a bit worthy and reminded me of some of the snacks I used to buy in 1970s Wholefood shops, filling though.

The Bounce Natural Energy Ball in Peanut Protein Blast tastes very much like peanut butter, it's not oversweet but not one I would rush back to try.
The Double Chocolate Snack Bar from Frank Honest Snacking is 100% natural, gluten, nut and diary free.  It's 47.2% fruit, mainly dried dates, plums and fruit juice concentrates, it also contains coconut blossom sugar and coconut cream which gives it a lovely texture and a natural sweetness.  A big hit in our house.

The Happy Kitchen, Pecan Brownie was dense and very tasty indeed, I shared it with my friend and it got us through Friday afternoon!

Tropical Mix - a handy packet size, an awful  lot of coconut but it is a Tropical Mix,  but I enjoyed the almonds and banana chips.

The Brazil Nut Mix was a similar handy sized packet to the Tropical Mix, I find if the pack is too large, I just keep eating!  I'm not sure the name is very accurate, I had about 4 half Brazil Nuts, a lot of sultanas and banana chips.  Very tasty though.

Overall I would say The Nutribox is a good deal if you eat a lot of healthy snacks or would like to eat more of the healthy type of snacks.  They are a nice size and there was a good variety.

The first 10 Farmersgirl Kitchen readers to order a Nutribox will  receive 35% off their first box which you can claim by entering FARMERSGIRL35 in the discount codes box on https://thenutribox.com/join.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Summer Holiday Reading - My Notorious Life by Madame X


If you enjoy stories of strong women, like the White Queen, on TV at the moment, you might want to pick up a copy of My Notorious Life by Madame X, a novel  based on a true story by Kate Manning. It would be a great book to take on holiday, easy reading and great story-telling.

About My Notorious Life by Madame X:
'In the end, they celebrated. They bragged. They got me finally, was their feeling. They said I would take my secrets to the grave.
They should be so lucky.’
Axie Muldoon, the headstrong daughter of Irish immigrants, forced to beg for pennies as a child on the brutal streets on New York City, grows up to become the most successful – and controversial – midwife of her time.

‘Saved’ from poverty by a well-meaning philanthropist, Axie is sent West with her younger brother and sister. But the kindness of strangers is short-lived and soon Axie returns to the city of her birth, alone, but determined to one day reunite her family.

When she is taken in by a Manhattan doctor Axie learns the craft that she will live by – and later fight for. She rises from the gutter to the glitter of Fifth Avenue high society, and discovers that the right way is not always the way of the church or the law, and that you should never trust a man who says ‘trust me.’ But what if that man is an irresistible risk-taker with a poetical Irish soul?

As Axie’s reputation grows she finds herself on a collision course with the crusading official who would be the righteous instrument of her downfall. It will take all of her power to outwit him and save both herself and those she loves from ruin.


About the Author:
A former documentary television producer (and winner of two Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award), Kate Manning has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Glamour and More, among other publications. She is the author of Whitegirl, a novel, and is an adjunct faculty member of the English Department at Bard High School Early College. She lives with her family in New York City.


My Review
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters are well drawn, lively and appealing.  The story is told by Axie Muldoon and lapses into the vernacular just enough to remind you of her lowly roots.  There are no heros or heroines in this story just desperate people trying to make their way in a rich MAN's world.  It is very much a man's world and reminded me just how fortunate I am to have been born where and when I was. In Axie's time both rich and poor women suffered from medical ignorance and moral posturing.  Today it is mainly poor women who still suffer but unfortunately there are still many societies where matters of conception are still hugely contraversial and, of course, it is women who suffer.

If you enjoy a good story of a feisty young girl and her family, fighting fate, at first to survive and then  to make something of themselves, you will enjoy this novel.  It's a family story full of love and compassion without being soppy, it's a tragedy, a social history and an entertainment. My Notorious Life by Madame X will hook you in and keep you reading until you discover just how Axie survives her trials and outwits her enemies.

My Notorious Life by Madame X
Author Kate Manning
Publisher - an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing
RRP £12.99
Online Price £11.69

www.bloomsbury.com/author/kate-manning/
@KateManning10


Many thanks to Jude for providing this copy for me to review, I was not paid for this review and my views are my own.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Royal Highland Show - Farming and Food

You may remember that I posted about the Royal Highland Show a few weeks ago?  Well, the time has come for the 2013 show.  It's on from Thursday 20th June to Sunday 22nd June.  I took a day off work to visit the show with particular emphasis on the Food Hall!

Food Hall
I caught up with the lovely Claire, from Mackay's Jams who I met at the Marmalade Awards last year, I'll be posting some recipes using Mackay's Jams in the very near future.  If you are going along be sure to say hello to Claire.

Fab Team at MacSween Haggis
 And this is the 'Blaggis' Roll (haggis and black pudding) I bought from MacSween for my brunch, kept me going all day. After a scout around the Food Hall, I decided to head out to see some of the livestock before coming back for the Cookery Theatre.


These beautiful white Charolais Bulls were waiting to be judged, they have been brushed and talcumned within an inch of their lives to make them look their best.


Once in the ring, this one wasn't quite so well behaved!

I wasn't quite sure what they were doing here, they seemed to be getting this poor sheep to keep turning round so they could look at both sides, it seemed bemused rather than distressed by it though.

A magnificent working horse.

The Ladies Hunters were ridden side-saddle.

Now I could carry on as I have more livestock photos, but I think I'd better get back to the food!  First up in Scotland's Natural Larder Cookery Theatre was Wendy Barrie, a campaigner for local produce.  Wendy was a finalist for the Scottish Countryside Alliance Rural Hero Award recognising outstanding personal contributions to country life & communities for her dedicates upport of lcoal produce and her on going achievements.  Wendy was cooking up 'A Celebration of East Lothian Food and Drink'.

Wendy made some delicious trout skewers, the trout was marinated in lemon juice, honey mustard and honey.  They cooked in the oven in no time and were accompanied by a salad.  Wendy had some help to make the salad dressing from Michael Moore MP the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Michael Moore MP making salad dressing
Wendy also made a Chocolate Roulade and a Tea Loaf which was cooked flat as a traybake type thing, which was served with ice cream. Best Tip: Add some cocoa powder to your melted chocolate to intensify the flavour.

The main event, for me, was Craig Wilson, The Kilted Chef who is Chef Proprietor at Eat on the Green, Udny Green.  The theme of the demonstration was 'Science on a Plate' as Craig was accompanied by Nutritionist Alex Johnstone of the Rowett Institute of Nutrtition and Health at Aberdeen University and David Thomson, Head of Food and Drink for the Scottish Government.



Craig cooked three dishes a Cullen Skink Risotto using finely diced potato rather than rice.  Aberdeen Angus Beef with Vegetable and Chick Pea Bhuna and a Raspberry, Oat, Ginger and Chocolate Dessert.  While he was cooking Alex told us about the nutritional benefits of cooking our own fresh ingredients.  David was able to provide information about the Food Industry in Scotland, I learned that the Scottish Food Industry is worth £12.4 billion per year. 

Aberdeen Angus Beef with Vegetable and Chick Pea Bhuna

While making the dessert, Craig came down into the audience to let us smell the raspberries he had lightly sauted with some whisky, the aroma was incredible!  And you get to see that he really is a 'kilted' Chef.  Best Tip:  If your onions are cooking too quickly and starting to burn, add a little water to the pan to slow down the cooking

Raspberry, Oat, Ginger and Chocolate Dessert
I had a great time at the Royal Highland Show, there are still three days to go, so if you are able to get to Edinburgh, then I can thoroughly recommend it.  If not, then start planning for 2014!  I'll leave you with some more livestock, without them there wouldn't be a show.


Many thanks to Chris for inviting me to visit the Show.  I received a complimentary ticket and parking pass for one day of the Royal Highland Show, I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Cooking with Flowers - A Review


I really love this book.  The idea of eating flowers is not new to me, however it seems that there are many more flowers you can eat than I thought!  Despite the fact that I have browsed through the glorious pages of pretty food several times a week since I got my review copy, I have so far failed to make anything.  I am putting that down to the late spring and summer as I have no marigolds, nasturtiums or dianthus yet.  I had hoped to make Dandelion Cookies, but just when I had time to do it, our verges were strimmed and I managed to find only ONE dandelion in flower.


As I need to write my review, it is going to have to be without trying a recipe, but I promise I will come back to make some of the enchanting recipes in this book.  I've planted Calendula (Marigolds) and Nasturtiums so hope to eat those later, I even bought some dianthus at the garden centre, such is my determination to eat flowers.

The Author:
Miche Bacher is a herbalist, chef, and founder of the custom confectionery studio Mali B Sweets (Malibsweets.com), which she operates with Nanao Anton.  She lives in the waterfront village of Greenport, New York with her husband, Noah, her sons Jordan and Elijah and their dog, Mali.

Introduction:
Why Eat Flowers?  Did you know that Brussel Sprouts were a flower?  Ha! thought that would surprise you, so I think this part of the book should really be, you already eat some flowers so why not try some more?
From Garden to Table: here you learn about how to gather, prepare and measure flowers so they are suitable to use for culinary purposes.

After these two chapters we move straight on to the flower chapters in alphabetical order.  Each chapter tells you about what the flower means in the language of flowers e.g Calendulas signify sacred affections, joy, grief and remembrance, then there is a bit of background or history of the flower, information on culinary use, seasonality, preparation and measure.

Calendula
I do love these Pot Marigolds with their bright cheery faces and they are very easy to grow. Recipes include: Calendula Cornbread, Calendula Quiche, Calendula Ravioli, Calendula Orange Cake, Flowerfetti Cake and Calendula Cookies.

Dandelions
Usually we have loads of dandelions and I am cursing them seeding all over the place, but as I said earlier, no sign of them when you want them!  Recipes include: Dandelion Wine, Dandelion Muffins, Dandelion Blossom Cake, Dandelion Ham and Egg Cups and Dandelion Cookies.

Daylilies
Now this was a surprise to me, I had no idea you could eat these rather exotic looking flowers.  Recipes include: Gouda Cheese Daylily Biscuits, Daylily Petal Salad, Roasted Daylily buds known as poor man's asparagus and Daylily Curry.

Me and my bouquet
My wedding 'bouquet'

Dianthus
These 'Pinks' are probably my favourite flowers of all, I simply adore their clove like smell and that was what I wanted in my wedding bouquet along with daisies. I didn't know it at the time,  but according to this book, Dianthus stands for love, fascination, distinction and pure affection. I must have chosen well as we will be celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary this year! I had to make do with commercial carnations and marguerites to create the effect which unfortunately didn't have the glorious scent.  I'm waiting excitedly for the weather to improve so my pinks will flower and then I can eat them.  Recipes in this chapter include: Pickled Pink Petals (Pick a Peck of Pickled Pinks), Dianthus Spiced Chocolate Cookies, Pink Tuiles and Pink Rose Wine Cake.


Elderflowers
These are one of the better known culinary flowers, we used to have a nice tree at the top of our road, but it got kind of leggy and stopped producing nice flowers and fruit, so it got cut down.  There don't seem to be many Elderflowers around our area this year.  Anyway, if you have some then this chapter has the following recipes: Elderflower Fruit Salad, Almond Elderflower Pound Cake, Elderflower Marshmallows, Elderflower Lemon Cakelets and Elderflower Blueberry Cobbler.

Geraniums
This is the Perlagonium or Cransebill.  For best flavour you need to use scented geraniums, it is the leaves rather than the flowers that give the bulk of the flavour and scent.  Recipes include: Chocolate Dipped Orange Geranium Cookies, Rose-Scented Geranium Filo Cups and Geranium Angel Cake.


Herb Flowers
This chapter covers Basil, borage, chamomile, chive, lavender, oregano, rosemary and sage, recipes include: Herb Flower Pesto, Herb Flower Shortbread, Blackberry Borage Fool, Borage Spritzer, Creme Fraiche Chamomile Ice Cream, Popcorn Chive Blossom Cupcakes, Lavender Mango Sandwich Cookies, Chocolate Lavender Biscotti, Lavender Lemonade, Rosemary Flower Margueritas and Rosemary Flower Madeleines. 

Hibiscus and Hollyhocks
These are rather more exotic flowers and certainly don't grow in my Scottish garden.  They look fantastic though and you can make the following recipes with them: Hibiscus Chutney, Hibiscus Chilli Caramel, Hibiscus Cream Pie, Hollyhock Scones and Hollyhock Clafoutis.

Lilacs
The heady scent of lilacs is enough to make you want to eat the, but it seems that the cleaning and preparation is quite time consuming.  If you are up for putting in the time for preparation you can make: Lilac Pavlova with Lime Sorbet and Lilac Blackberry Syrup, you have to see the picture of the Lilac Sorbet to believe how incredibly intense the colour of the purple lilacs is, one to impress.  I love the sound of White Pepper Thumbprint Cookies and Lilac Jam ( more info on making flower jams later in the book).

Nasturtiums
These peppery and spicy plants are popularly used as a salad herb, they are really easy to grow and give a great show all summer.  Here are some of the ways you can eat them: Corn and Black Beans with Nasturtiums, Nasturtium Pizza, Goat Cheese and Nasturtium Ice Cream and Nasturtium Thumbprint Cookies,.

Orchids
Who would have thought that orchid petals taste of cucumber and endive and are popularly used in stir-frys, dessert decorations and a Turkish icecream called, sahlep?  Here are some recipes to whet your appetite:  Thai Orchid and Beef Salad, Orchid Seafood Saute, Orchid Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and Passionfruit Orchid Tartlets.
 

 Pansies and Violas
I've often used pansies and violas in salads but here are some of the other ways suggested:  Pansy Petal Pancakes, Pansy Lollipops, Pansy Tea Sandwiches and Pansy Rhubarb Galettes.

Roses
How delightful to be able to enjoy the sight, smell AND taste of roses!  Let's start with Cardamom Cake with Raspberry Rose Mascarpone (yes, please!), or maybe some Pistachio Rose Shortbread or some Fig and Rose Cream Trifle?

Squash Blossoms
When you've had your fill of courgettes or other squash, why not eat the flowers?  Squash Blossom Tempura is a simple dish of deep fried blossoms, Squash Blossom Quesadillas combines the blossoms with tortillas and fresh cheese, you can also stuff the blossoms, the Stuffed Squash Blossoms in this book are stuffed with quinoa and goat cheese.

My mother-in-law grew this fab sunflower last year

Sunflowers
We are all aware of sunflower seeds and oil, the petals are not great eating but the unopened bud,  apparently, tastes like steamed artichokes.  Recipes include: Sunflower Bread, Steamed Sunflower Buds, Sunflower Chickpea Salad and Carrot Sunflower Sandwich Cookies.



Tulips
Another surprise to me and another flower that tastes of cucumber.  I've also learned that the paler the tulip the better it tastes.  Recipes include: Tulip Martinis, Tulip Ice Cream Bowls and Spring Tulip and Pea Shoot Salad.

Violets
Typically violets are eaten whole or candied, here are some recipes using violets: Violet Teacakes, Potato Salad with Violet Vinaigrette, the Violet Flower Cupcakes are very pretty as are the Violet Macarons.

The Basics
This chapter provides simple recipes for stocking up including Dried Flowers, Flower Sugars, Candied Flowers, Flower Simple Syrups, Flower Syrups, Flower Rock Candy, Flower butters and Flower cheeses, Flower-Glazed Cheeses, Flower Jams, Flower Vodkas, Flower Ice Bowls and Ice cubes, Flower Wines, Flower Teas, Flower Vinegars, Flower Vinaigrettes, Flower Whipped Creams, Flower Pastry Creams, Flower Frostings, Flower Buttercream Frostings, Flower Ice Creams, Flower Sorbets and Flower Lemonades.

Sources
The sources are for the USA.

Who is this book for?
This is a beautiful book, even if you never made a recipe it would be worth having just to read about and look at all the fabulous photographs.  If you are interested in more adventurous cooking and would like to expand your horizons to make stunning dishes that impress the eyes and the palate, then I would recommend you get this book.

Pros
I learned a lot from reading Cooking with Flowers and really enjoyed all the information provided with the recipes.  The amazing photography by Miana Jun is matched by the excellent styling (I couldn't find an acknowledgement for the styling) of the recipes.

Cons
The recipes are in US measures, there is a metric conversion chart at the back but that could be a bit of a nuisance if you don't own a set of US measuring cups.  I think it would be worth buying a set just to make some of these recipes, they are not expensive and I found it easy enough to get used to using them.

Worth Buying?
Definitely.  There is even a link to some exclusive recipes that the publisher couldn't fit into the book.  Bonus recipes for the medicinal and cosmetic use of flowers and downloadable recipe cards.


Cooking with Flowers
By Miche Bacher
Published by Quirk Books
Distributed in the UK by PGUK
Price: £10.87 (Popular online bookseller)

Thanks to Mat for asking me to review Cooking with Flowers, I was not paid for this review and all views are my own.


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