Everyone’s growing their own fruit and veg these days, but how adventurous are you when it comes to serving up garden flowers for dinner?
Nettle soup? Tick. Nasturtiums on salad? Got it. Tulip canapés? Hang on, what? Okay, it sounds a step too far down the too-cool-for-culinary school road, but it turns out that tulip petals topped with dips make surprisingly good party snacks. So, next time you’re looking to add a little floral adventure to your dinner, look beyond your veg patch to your flower beds. Here’s some inspiration for you (with thanks for the science stuff to the edible flower experts at gardeningexpress.co.uk).
Nettle Soup Soften a traditional soup veg base mix (onion, celery, carrot, leek potato etc) in oil and butter, add stock and simmer until tender, add nettle leaves until wilted, blend and serve.
Lavender lamb Make a roast dinner to remember by stuffing lamb with sprigs of fresh lavender. Alternatively, mix lavender with honey and oil for a glaze.
Chrysanthemum and dandelion frittata Take chrysanthemum and dandelion heads, chop roughly and fry with beaten egg, diced onion and cooked potato for a delicious flower-based lunch.
Nasturtium salad Give a regular salad an extra lease of life by tossing bright nasturtium flowers through it for their peppery flavour, similar to watercress.
Chamomile jelly Dissolve honey into boiling water, add chamomile flowers and leave to infuse. Sieve, add gelatine, and set in the fridge.
Hibiscus and sumac prawns Mix oil and lemon juice with hibiscus and sumac for a tasty marinade for prawns.
Viola cake Elevate your homemade sponge cake by decorating with vibrant viola petals; they have a sweet, perfumed flavour and are wonderful when they are crystallised.
Elderflower cordial Trim fresh elderflower heads from their stalks and infuse in a sugar syrup with lemon zest for at least a day. Dilute to serve.
Tulip canapés Tulip petals (untreated with pesticides) are eye-catching and edible mini-plates for parties. Top with dips for elegant canapés.
Garden chai Pour boiling water over geranium leaves and anise hyssop flowers, rest for 15 mins and strain. Fill a mug with half this garden mixture and half regular tea, add milk and sugar and stir before drinking.