Sunday, 20 July 2008
Simple lavender salad
I've mentioned once or twice that I've been growing things in pots on our patio, and one of those pots contains a small lavender plant. We had a big bush of lavender in our old garden in Sussex and it was partly nostalgia which made me buy some more when we moved. I've never used it for anything - not even drying and scenting drawers, much less cook with it, but when Holler announced that the theme of No Croutons Required the event she and Lisa host, was herbs this month, I thought it would be the perfect occasion to let my lovingly tended plant shine in a whole new way.
My salad is very simple - just some mixed leaves, some tomato and some spring onion, and I got the inspiration for the lavender dressing from a book called Herbs by Joanna Farrow. It was a birthday present from my friends Julie and Tracy years ago, when I first started trying to grow herbs, but so far I've mainly enjoyed looking at the pictures rather than cooking from it. The description of the lavender dressing in the book says that it has 'a natural affinity with sweet garlic, thyme, marjoram and orange'. Since I was using such a simple salad I didn't put any garlic in this time (though I imagine that some roasted garlic smushed in with a more robust salad would be a very nice addition). I just mixed up a little orange juice, honey, olive oil, thyme, marjoram, and the flowers from three stems from my plant. It was a lovely citrusy dressing, but the lavender scent really stood out and made it really unusual. I was actually glad I was pairing it with such a simple salad for my first attempt so that I could appreciate it. (By the way, you do need to check that your lavender is suitable for culinary purposes before eating!)