Saturday, July 11, 2009

almond and lavender biscuits

One of my favourite screen savers is a bewitching photograph of lavender fields in Provence - armies of pale purple flowers marching over rolling hills as far as the horizon. Not only is lavender gorgeous to look at and great for scenting linen but being a herb (it's a member of the mint family), it's incredibly versatile in cooking too.

My lavender bushes are in full bloom right now and flush from the success of the stuffed courgette flowers, I searched for lavender recipes on the internet and found hundreds. It can be added to salads; candied to use as cake decorations; used to make 'lavender sugar' (pulverize the flower heads with sugar in a liquidizer) to use in baked goods or custards or to scatter over ricotta to eat with strawberries or peaches; used to flavour ice-creams, sorbets and jellies; popped in a glass of champagne; used in stews or sauces; added to bread recipes or herbal teas. In fact its uses are only limited by your imagination.

The addition of lavender buds to these almond biscuits gave them a distinctive sweet floral flavour. But use judiciously or it can be over-powering (especially dried lavender which is more potent than fresh.) This is taken from Nigel Slater's almond and lavender biscuits.

125 g butter
50 g castor sugar
100g plain flour
100 g ground almonds
2 level tsp lavender buds

1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz until you have a dough-like consistency. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

2. Pre-heat oven to 300°F/150°C. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter and place on a greased baking tray.

3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until pale gold in colour.


Jane Flanagan said...

I want some! Beautiful photographs too.

Neil King and Carol Duncan said...

Nothing to cook along to for this one? Lilac Wine by Elkie Brooks perhaps? Down in the tube station at midnight by the Jam?

Kate said...

Loving the obvious sun inall of these photos! So far removed from the cold down here. Jealous!