Gardens and hedgerows can be a great source of ingredients for recipes. When I was young my mum and dad used to take us into the country and we would pick elderflowers, rose-hips, blackberries and many other plants. These were used to make wine, jams and jellies. There is something special about opening a jar of jam and knowing you have made it and picked the berries. These days foraging for food is less common place, which in a way is sad. We had some great days out as children and learnt a lot about our countryside as a result.
The Chelsea flower show has just started, somewhere I would love to visit. The gardens are riots of colour and put my garden to shame. To mark the start of the Chelsea Flower Show Turtle Mat have challenged food bloggers to do some cooking with edible flowers. I love a good challenge and was interested to see what I could make. My first thought was some sort of salad, but that would not have been much of a challenge. I have fond memories of salads with nasturtium leaves and flowers using up the plants that were taking over my mums garden. This time I did not have to go and pick the flowers myself, I was sent a parcel with some dried edible flowers.It contained tubs of dried cornflowers, marigold and jasmine. I decided to make a dessert and created jasmine ice cream with cornflower butterscotch sauce and marigold and orange shortbread.
I have always been a lover of jasmine tea, it has a delicate floral taste that ends a meal perfectly. I wondered it if would be possible to create an ice cream that had a hint of that delicate floral flavour. I have made ice cream previously, last year when I had a glut of raspberries I made raspberry ice cream. It was not as hard as I expected and the purchase of a cheap ice cream maker made it easier. To make the jasmine ice cream I heated the cream until it was simmering then removed it from the heat. I added the jasmine flowers and sugar and then left the cream to cool for a few hours. The jasmine flavour infused though the cream.
I then strained the cream though a sieve to remove the dried flowers.The mixture was then poured into my ice cream maker and churned until it became ice cream. If you do not have an ice cream maker you can just freeze the mixture. The result was a lovely creamy ice cream with a very delicate floral flavour. It was lovely and I was really pleased with how it turned out.
The perfect accompaniment for ice cream is butterscotch sauce. I decided to use the cornflowers to infuse my butterscotch sauce with their flavour. Cornflowers are a familiar sight with their pretty blue flowers often seen in cornfields. They are also known as centaura cyanus, named for the Greek centaur Chiron who was a skilled herbalist. He used cornflowers to counteract the effect of arrows tipped with poison from the Hydra, the many headed monster which guards the gates to Hades.
Butterscotch sauce is one of those things that is really strange to make. The ingredients are heated together in a pan, the butter melts and you keep stirring wondering if it will ever thicken. Just when you are about to give up hope it thickens into a lovely sauce that is full of flavour and ideal for topping ice cream.
The orange colour of marigolds is a familiar sight in many gardens and I thought they would work perfectly teamed with orange to make a shortbread biscuit to serve with the ice cream. The shortbread would also be delicious served with a cup of tea in the afternoon or indeed eaten when you fancy something sweet.
The marigold adds an interesting colour to the biscuit as well as a delicate taste that works well with the orange. I think the strands of petals look pretty and add an interesting texture. If you didn’t know flowers had been used to make the biscuits you would not notice.
I was sent the edible flowers in order to create a recipe.