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Please, please, don't eat the daisies


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(In line with user agreement, I disclose that I'm researching an article on edible flowers)

I know I've seen somewhere, an old English recipe for flower petal sandwiches. Can anyone remember where or, indeed, suggest any other interesting directions.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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This BBC site has suggestions. In the East bannana flowers and vaious legume flowers are eaten, a blue flower used for its dye and cockscomb is used in Kashmiri cusisne for its red dye.

In the UK marigold petals were used to dye butter/cheese (can't remember which).

Obviously squash blossoms.

Cloves are flower buds.

Some people eat day lilies.

Flowers like rape, rocket and fennel are increasingly being used in poncy cooking.

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Nasturtium flowers are great in sandwiches. (They basically taste a lot like watercress.)

I don't think that is particularly uncommon though.

Or poncy for that matter. :raz:

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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In the unlikely event that your article is not predicated by the Chelsea Flower Show, you may want to drop in on Peter Jones for their themed "blooming marvellous menu". (Don't expect it to satisfy your need for weird though. Judging by the PR blurb, it seems more like unambitious Med-ish chow with a bit of pot pourri thrown on top.)

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Nasturtium flowers are great in sandwiches. (They basically taste a lot like watercress.)

I don't think that is particularly uncommon though.

Or poncy for that matter.  :raz:

Aikens has a scallop starter on the ALC using nasturtiam:

Roast scallop and tartare with pickled carrots, nasturtiam, and lemon puree.

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They were using them at El Bulli a few weeks ago. A dish of lightly poached salmon with pickled vegetables, and a small scattering of flowers, mostly lavender. Some chunks of tomato were served with an elderflower foam, and one of the deserts had a number of floral jellies; jasmine and rose. The mountains nearby were covered in wild flowers. Very, very pretty.

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They aren't ready yet, but elderflowers make great custard and custard type deserts (brule etc) can do same with wild roses, lavender and hibiscus but not for another few months yet! :cool:

http://www.allium.uk.net

http://alliumfood.wordpress.com/ the alliumfood blog

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming - Whey hey what a ride!!!, "

Sarah Poli, Firenze, Kibworth Beauchamp

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Jekka McVicar(something like that!) writes extremely well on the matter. Roger Phillips 'Wild Food' includes historical recipes for some wild flowers. I can remember picking Dandelions with my grandad to make an incredibly good wine. You may want to checkout Michel Bras' website or books(Veyrat too) having worked in the kitchen i know he uses an incredible range of blooms, from Viper's Bugloss(great name!) to Lady's Bedstraw( a herbal replacement for rennet used in cheesemaking many moons ago). Michel's wife was the daughter of a pharmacist who understood about herbal remedies, but that knowledge seems to be dissappearing with the advent of modern pharmaceuticals...pity. If you would like more info. Tim i can provide.

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El Bulli also had a recipe for tempura rose petals

And while on the subject of flowers and tempura, zucchini/corgette flowers seem to get stuffed with mousse and tempura'd every other day of the week these days

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El Bulli also had a recipe for tempura rose petals

Whilst on my stage in France Michel Guerard used tempura rose petals as a garnish for a foie gras dish. Not a massive amount of flavour but crispy and interesting.

The quest for perfection will lead you to role models that will last you for life (Nico Ladenis)

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Thanks everyone,

Loads to go on here.

Still can't track down that bloody sandwich thing though.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Somehow this seem like a very British-inspired, maybe even Victorian era recipe: Rose Geranium Scented Pound Cake

To incorporate actual flowers, you could serve the scented pound cake with a creme anglaise and candied rose petals.

A classic Escoffier dessert with rose: fresh pineapple sherbet/sorbet with champagne zabayon and candied rose petals.

I also associate violets with Victorian nosegays as this article also discusses: violet uses. I wonder if people used to make violet custards similar to the accompanying recipe in the article.

I hope you can link to your article once it's out; it would be interesting to see it.

edited to add: Googling a bit I did run across some tea sandwiches with nasturtiam blossoms and cucumber. Perhaps these are British in origin.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Booths at borough sell tubs of "edible flowers"

Obvious lavender is a classic with all sorts of creams, ice-creams etc. La Trouvaille in London do it with lamb.

Don't know if Daniel Patterson's "Aroma" book may have any ideas. Its mainly about essential oils (some floral). Does that count?

Still waiting for the Elder to come out in Denmark Hill so I can (hopefully) make some cordial...

ta

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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There are a number of books on the market that specialise in edible wildflowers/plants- I can lend you one if you need, as we take them out with us alot (mainly to make sure I don't poison half the population when I'm picking) There's also a book out there called "Food for Free" which is v. useful for flower uses!

http://www.allium.uk.net

http://alliumfood.wordpress.com/ the alliumfood blog

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming - Whey hey what a ride!!!, "

Sarah Poli, Firenze, Kibworth Beauchamp

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Thanks everyone,

Still can't track down that bloody sandwich thing though.

As Behemoth mentioned upthread, I suspect nasturtiums are the filling, not just the flowers but more importantly, the leaves. They are a dead ringer for watercress in a blindfold taste test. Watercress butties have been around for awhile, right?

An aside:

The commercial candied flowers from France seem to have eternal life. I was given some as a wedding shower present and have used them within the twelvemonth. The flavor has dissipated slightly, but the colors (mimosa and violets) and the texture are hangin' in there. (We have passed the Silver Anniversary by a couple of years.)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Obvious lavender is a classic with all sorts of creams, ice-creams etc. La Trouvaille in London do it with lamb.

Jason Atherton also used to do lamb with lavender at L'Anis.

I was once served a supurb pork dish at a dinner party in which the meat had been marinated with lavender for three days.

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An aside:

The commercial candied flowers from France seem to have eternal life.  I was given some as a wedding shower present and have used them within the twelvemonth. The flavor has dissipated slightly, but the colors (mimosa and violets) and the texture are hangin' in there.  (We have passed the Silver Anniversary by a couple of years.)

Note that the commercial candied flowers do, basically, seem to be 99% coloured/flavour sugar with a sliver of drive out petal inside - snap one in half and see

tasty, but more akin to sugar cubes than fresh blooms

J

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Thanks everyone,

Still can't track down that bloody sandwich thing though.

As Behemoth mentioned upthread, I suspect nasturtiums are the filling, not just the flowers but more importantly, the leaves. They are a dead ringer for watercress in a blindfold taste test. Watercress butties have been around for awhile, right?

"Nasturtium" is the botanical genus name for water cress, but in English it is also the name for the un-related New World plant that is used here. The green seed posts were pickled to make faux capers at one point.

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