Another successful cooking episode

Lavender Tea Cake fresh from the oven
Lavender Tea Cake fresh from the oven

Well, that was an action packed weekend with a range of culinary activities including another batch of my impressive scotch eggs, an excellent slow cooked pot-roast goat and some lavender tea cake as well as the Glendale Show (in the rain).

The lavender tea cake idea came about after a previous post about our lavender looking good in bloom which had included  some links to intriguing recipes that make use of the flowers.

Somehow I hadn’t considered the possibility that it might be useful in cooking as well as just using it for the scent.

If you need any proof then the pictures included here show the results for the Lavender Tea Cake experiment which were reasonably successful. Apart from a slightly soggy patch at the bottom which I suspect was my fault not the recipe!

There was a pleasant hint of lavender throughout the cake without it being overpowering and it was very well received which is always a good sign!

Slices of Lavender Tea Cake
Slices of Lavender Tea Cake

What to try next I wonder?

The lavender flowers are on their way out now so I’ll have to take a wander around the garden to see what’s available. I’m not sure that Runner Bean biscuits are such a good idea but I don’t think there is  much else happening in our garden at the moment!


There’s more to the garden than vegetables

Lavender in flower with a bee
Bee on the lavender

Our lavender is looking pretty good at the moment although I really can’t take much credit for that. Apart from the fact that I originally planted it they have been left to their own devices but maybe that is the trick? It could be a lesson I should learn and apply to the vegetable side of things when i  consider the variable results I’ve had this year.

By not interfering I’ve allowed the lavender plants to develop at their own pace, as they have nicely filled the space allowed – sometimes exceeding it so I’ve had to clip them back – there has been no need to worry about weeding around them too much, just the occasional half-hearted effort.

It certainly looks like the bees love the flowers and I’m not known for my love of bees but I am coming around to them a little. They may even have a place in the future smallholding plans but only after learning more about then and taking all relevant safety precautions!

I was interested to find this link to the Newcastle and District Beekeepers association which looks like the best place to start and at least I know there’s somewhere fairly local to get help and advice!

Butterfly on lavender flowers
Butterfly on lavender flowers

I also took this lovely photo of the lavender flowers with a butterfly as well but I know very little about the different types of butterfly and further research has taken the shine off this in the end

According to my research this is a Cabbage White butterfly and is probably the reason for large holes in the leaves of the broccoli plants. More accurately this particular butterfly could be partly to blame for the damage to my cabbages earlier in the year.

I don’t like to hold a grudge though and it does look nice even if my photo doesn’t quite do it justice!

This isn’t just some idle ramblings about pretty flowers and wildlife though, I’m now curious to find out whether I can make use of the other plants in my garden for cooking and eating.

The initial signs are good and after a quick web search there are some promising recipes and ideas. Here are the first few that I think I’ll be trying in the near future

Lavender Infused Shortbread – this looks like the easiest of the lot so I may try this first!

Lavender Tea Cake – looks good and uses fresh lavender so limited preparation needed

Amy’s Lavender Still Lemonade – the recipe says “dried lavender” but I might try fresh instead