Cooking with Lavender.
Happened to be passing The Salmon Shop in Salamanca Square the other morning and noticed an advert for a free cooking demonstration featuring lavender.
Lavender!!I’ve only ever bathed in lavender in the past, or put bags of it amongst my underwear. In fact, there is a stall at Salamanca market that sells a range of home made bath salts – they do a great line in lavender and rose scented bath bombs………………which, at the end of a long day working on the Boatshed at our Bruny shack site…….
So it was with a great deal of curiosity that I decided to attend the demo. Now most of us shack owners on Bruny know about the Atlantic salmon farms that surround the island. Their hardworking little tugs shift the pens around on numerous occasions, their lights are a comforting beacon in the channel in the dark of night and when the pens break (as they occasionally do) then it’s a free for all for the local fisherman. (Check out Sam’s story on Island Menu).
On the down side – the farms….…….run by Tassal do create a hell of a lot of rubbish (mountains of nylon cord and feed bags get washed on our beach at Umbrella Point) and they do pollute the water and, despite their website’s declarations of sustainable practices concerning wildlife and the environment, we did find a dead fur seal on the shore a year or so ago – suspicious but un-foundable.
So, it’s swings and roundabouts – but the product, it has to be said, is good.
The cooking demonstration was run by Jennifer and Robert Ravens…….………the current owners of Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Their innovative approach in extending their product range has already won them numerous accolades, particularly in the field of their culinary products.And it was these products that were used in the following recipes. The type of lavender used for culinary purposes differs from the common garden variety which contains camphor – the Lavendula angustifolia has a lot less camphor and is considered the best for cooking flavour.
The first dish comprised of Smashed potatoes with Bridestowe gourmet Herbes de Provence – very simple but very tasty. Any spuds will do…..……..scrub them thoroughly, boil them (with their skins on) until they are softish and the skins start to burst, then spread them into a well oiled baking dish……
……..’smash’ them with the back of a wooden spoon, add lashing of butter, sprinkle generously with Bridestowe gourmet PepperPlus, Bridestowe gourmet SaltPlus and Herbes de Provence and put into a hot oven to brown and crisp.Then the Ravens cooked up a Fish Kedgeree (of salmon) with their gourmet tomato and lavender relish. Kedgeree is thought to have originated as the Indian rice-and-bean or rice-and-lentil dish, Khichri. The recipe was brought to the UK by returning British colonials who had enjoyed it in India and introduced it to the UK as a breakfast meal in Victorian times. The final dish of the day was by far the tastiest. This was the baked Salmon with Bridestowe gourmet culinary lavender and Bridestowe gourmet lavender flower honey. Basically, the salmon is marinated in a mixture of honey, lavender, pepper and salt for a couple of hours, then wrapped in foil and baked for about 10 minutes until just cooked.I was pretty impressed by the entertaining and informative hour and a half given freely by the Ravens – the spectators got to eat the cooking examples, which really was, a free lunch…..