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Monday, 8 July 2013

Lovely Lavender

Although not strictly in the vegetable garden I'd like to share with you my enthusiasm for lavender, who's purple blooms remind me of sleepy cottage gardens.  As a child I made little scented parcels for my sock draw from the lavender bush in my parents garden.  I made them with my Great Auntie Phyllis,  a lovely lady who taught me how to care for plants when I was little and who's enthusiasm for gardening was infectious.  I like to think she left me a little of her plant 'mojo'! Anyway, if you have a plant, or someone friendly who will let you have some of the flower buds you can have a go with cooking with it, which is even better than scented smalls :)  Try this ice-cream:

Sophie Dahl’s Earl Grey and lavender ice-cream

Muslin bag and string, for a bouquet garni
1 tbsp fresh chopped lavender leaves
4 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves
8 egg yolks
125g of caster/superfine sugar
500ml of double/heavy cream
500ml of milk

1. First make your bouquet garni by tying the lavender and Earl Grey tea leaves into the muslin bag. Make sure the string is tightly knotted. Put to one side.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy and keep to one side.
3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream, milk and bouquet garni of lavender and tea leaves up until boiling point, and then remove from the stove.
4. Temper the egg and sugar mixture by slowly adding the infused cream to bring the egg up to the same temperature, whisking all the time. Strain the mixture and then allow it to cool.
5. Churn in your ice-cream maker as per the instructions. If you do not have an ice-cream maker, freeze the mixture in a plastic container for two hours. Remove from the freezer, pour into a blender and whiz for a minute or two. Pour back into the container. Freeze for another two hours, then serve.