Add a little bit of magic to your cooking. Edible flowers are flowers that can be consumed safely while cooking and garnishing. Flower cookery has been traced back to Roman times, and to the Chinese, Middle Eastern to Indian cultures. Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign.
Now a days, restaurant chefs garnish their plates with flower blossoms for a touch of elegance. The secret to success when using edible flowers is to keep the dish simple, do not add too many other flavours that will over power the delicate taste of the flower. Today this nearly lost art is enjoying a revival. Some flowers are spicy, and some herbaceous, while others are floral and fragrant….the range is quite surprising.
One very important thing that you need to remember is that not every flower is edible and NEVER use pesticides or other chemicals on any part of any plant that produces blossoms you plan to eat.
Risotto grapes and rose petals:
500g arborio rice
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
100ml white wine
600ml vegetable stock
200g white grapes
Salt and pepper
Heat large pan add butter, onions and garlic. Sweat them off until soft, add risotto and toast it slightly. Add white wine and slowly add stock until risotto is nearly cooked. Add the grapes and 5 roses keep on cooking till risotto is to your likings. Taste for seasoning and add the Parmesan shavings. Serve hot and for garnish add the other rose petal.
Mixed petal pasta.
For the dough:
500g 00 flour
Pinch of salt
For the filling;
100g pecan nuts
For the dough: mix flour, eggs and salt in a food processor. When the dough is combined work the dough on a floured surface until firm.
For the filling; In food processor blitz bacon and pecan. In a different container mix mozzarella, thyme flower, tulbaghia flowers, bacon and pecan.
On a floured surface roll out the pasta dough until 1to 2mm thick pass through the pasta machine( lowest setting) place flower petals fold in two and pass through the machine again until the required thickens is obtained. Stuff the pasta with the filling, cut into desired shape, egg wash and deep fry. Drizzle maple syrup before serving.
Flower Arrangement with rosemary flower vinaigrette
100ml olive oil
50ml apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Wash and dry flowers and lettuce and set them in a decorative plate.
For vinaigrette: in a mixing bowl put olive oil, apple cider and rosemary flower and whisk, add salt and pepper and serve.
Scones with rose jam
225g self raising flour
pinch of salt
25g caster sugar
1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze (alternatively use a little milk)
Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter.
Stir in the sugar, lavender flowers and then the milk to get a soft dough.
Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Pat out to a round 2cm thick. Use a 5cm cutter to stamp out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up. Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Technique: Glazing with egg wash 0:24 mins. Cool on a wire rack and serve with rose jam and maybe some clotted cream.
Rose petal jam
Combine everything in a pot over medium heat and leave to simmer for around 20min.
1ltr fresh fruit juice
In a pot bring to a boil the fruit juice and sugar. Let it cool down completely and add the mint and flower petals. Pour into lollypop container and freeze over night.
Fiori di zucca
Fiori di zucca
For the batter
1 cup flour
50 ml apple juice
50ml sparkling water
Sauté the onion and pears with some sugar until caramelized. Stuff the flowers with the mixture.
Combine the batter; dip stuffed flowers and deep fry until golden and crisp. Blend Gorgonzola with fresh cream.
Chocolate mousse flower pot
100 grams dark chocolate
150 grams double cream
150 grams whipping cream
40 ml frangelico hazelnut liqueur
100 grams ground chocolate biscuits
Pansies to garnish
In a heat proof pan heat the double cream until warm poor in dark chocolate and mix until all chocolate has melted. Set chocolate ganache aside until completely cool. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Combine the cream to the ganache folding in gently until well incorporate. Pour in the hazelnut liqueur and mix. Pour the chocolate mousse into the chosen container until 3/4 full. Place in a refrigerator and leave to set for 1 hour. Top the mousse with ground chocolate biscuits and finish by garnishing with pansy flowers
Citrus flower slow roasted pork belly with cottage cheese and herb blossom Mille foglie.
2 kg deboned pork belly
1 ltr milk
1 bunch citrus blossom
2 garlic cloves chopped
Zest of half an orange
1 tbspoon mixed herb blossoms (thyme, rosemary, chives)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon red crushed pepper corns
Mixed flower petals ideally tulbaghia, hibiscus, rose petals
Place the pork belly in a heat proof dish, pour the milk, add the chopped garlic, citrus blossom and zest. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at temperature of 120c for 2 hours.
In a bowl combine the cottage cheese, the herb blossoms, lemon zest, crushed red pepper corns and season to taste.
Once belly has cooked through leave to cool than refrigerate until firm and easy to handle. Trim belly to obtain required portions. Trim off skin.
Before serving heat pre portioned belly place on a serving plate. On top of layer the cottage cheese mixture alternating with the chosen petal leaves.
Hibiscus ice tea
1 liter water
3 tbspns honey
1 tspn orange zest
1 star anise
2 tea bags black tea
20 grams chopped mixed fruit( strawberries, grapes)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 bunch hibiscus flowers
Bring water to the boil in a heat proof pot add hibiscus petals, add lemon juice, star anise and tea bags, leave to infuse for a minute.
Add honey mix until dissolved, allow to cool, add ice and chopped fruit and cucumber, ready to serve