29 Dec Lavender at Fairview Homestead
Because of the huge Australian Flowering Gum tree at the front of our property, the soil in those formal beds is dry and poor. That is why we have planted the hedges of Soutbos. We find that lavender can also cope with the soil and an added bonus is that it gives off the most amazing scent as you walk through the path toward the front door. There is such a lot to do with lavender flowers: I love making small posies using lavender and roses; I also tie small bunches on a ribbon and hang it in the wardrobes or I tie it around the bath taps and it gives off its perfume as the hot water runs over it. Ten sprigs of lavender in about 500 gram of castor sugar gives you a delicious lavender sugar (I sprinkle it on French Toast which I then serve with bacon, garnished with a lavender flower) I also would like to share a recipe for Lavender Jelly:
You will need 1 kg tart apples, 1 cup of lavender flowers, 500 ml water, 30 ml cider vinegar, sugar.
1. Chop the apples coarsely (with skin, core, and pips) Place in a pot.
2. Add the lavender flowers along with 500 ml water and boil uncovered until the fruit is soft.
3. Add 30 ml cider vinegar and boil another 3 minutes
4. Strain the layers through a double layer of muslin or cheese cloth (do not be tempted to stir or press to help the process along as this will cause a milky jelly)
5. For every 250 ml strained liquid add 200 ml sugar. Now put the strained sugar liquid into a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved. Once all the sugar has been dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly for about 20 minutes. It should now become jelly-like.
6. Remove from the heat, skim the surface if foam has formed, test by putting a drop on a saucer and put it in the fridge for a few minutes to see if it sets. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
You will need 250 ml cake flour, 250 ml self-raising flour, 250 ml cornflour, 250 ml lavender-infused icing sugar, 250-gram butter, 25 ml finely chopped lavender leaves, more lavender sugar for dusting.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius
2. Sift the dry ingredients together.
3. Rub in the butter, then add the lavender leaves. Combine well and press onto a greased baking sheet. Poke little holes into the shortbread with a fork and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
4. Remove from the oven and cut into finger biscuits. Dust with lavender sugar and garnish with lavender flowers once cool.