Lemon Lavender Berry Cake

Culinary Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb for cooking.  In today’s  home kitchens, fresh edible flowers are making a comeback as enhancements to both the flavor and appearance of food. As a member of the  mint family  it  is also  closely related to rosemary, sage, and thyme.   It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory.

Lavender has been a favorite herb for centuries. The historic use and recognition of lavender is almost as old the history of man.  As an herb, lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years. In ancient times lavender was used for mummification and perfume by the Egyptian’s, Phoenicians, and peoples of Arabia.  The Greeks and the Romans bathed in lavender scented water and it was from the Latin word “lavo” meaning “to wash” that the herb took it’s name.  Perhaps first domesticated by the Arabians, lavender spread across Europe from Greece.  Around 600 BC lavender may have come from the Greek Hyeres Islands into France and is now common in France, Spain, Italy and England.

The ‘English’ lavender varieties were not locally developed in England but rather introduced in the 1600s right around the time the first lavender plants were making their way to the Americas. English Lavender (l. angustifolia and munstead) has the sweetest fragrance of all the lavenders and is the one most commonly used in cooking.  The uses of lavender are limited only by your imagination.  Culinary Lavender has a sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes.  The potency of the lavender flowers increases with drying.

Queen Elizabeth I of England valued lavender as a conserve and a perfume.  It has been said that she commanded that the royal table should never be without conserve of lavender and she issued orders to her gardeners that fresh lavender flowers should be available all year round!  She also drank an abundance of Lavender tea to help ease her migraines and used it as a body perfume. Queen Victoria of England is most notable for making Lavender popular across England and it could be found, in one form or another, in every one of her rooms, as she used it to wash floors and furniture, freshen the air, and had it strewn among the linens. During the First World War, nurses bathed soldiers’ wounds with lavender washes.  To this day, the French continue to send baby lamb to graze in fields of lavender, so their meat will be tender and fragrant.

But I digress……the subject at hand was desserts.

This lemon lavender berry cake is soooooo good. It is not too sweet, but just sweet and savory  enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sometimes, Bundt cakes can end up heavy, dry and tasteless. This one, I promise you, is neither of those things. Buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and plenty of butter make sure the cake remains light and airy and moist and full of flavor. The cake is perfect for tea time or even served for brunch on a Sunday morning.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lavender extract (See Cook’s Notes)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, optional

Confectioner’s sugar, for  dusting

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Using vegetable cooking spray, coat a 10 cup capacity Bundt cake pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk until completely mixed.
In a standing mixer or with a hand held mixer and a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract, and lavender extract on a high speed until combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.

On a low speed, whisk the flour mixture to the egg mixture until just combined.

Still on a low speed, pour in the buttermilk and lemon juice, mixing until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries and raspberries until just combined.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared. Gently tap the pan on the counter top to release any air bubbles. Place the cake in the oven. Bake for 30 -45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Set on a wire rack to cool, at least one hour and remove from the cake pan

Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar. Garnish with berries, if desired and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
If you are having trouble finding lavender extract in your area, do not fret. There is a relatively new product by Taylor & Colledge Lavender that manufactures lavender a paste, made from the finest Lavender (Lavandula angustifoila) grown in southern Australia. In January, flowers are harvested and distilled to capture the true essence at its source. This naturally flavored paste delivers a fresh new taste to try in your recipes. Just recently, the product is being carried in most major supermarkets in the United States and can be bought on line for a fairly reasonable price. The paste comes in a 1.4 oz (40 g) tube, and the beauty of it all is that you only need to use 1/2 teaspoon for most recipes, making it very economical.

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Taylor & Colledge Extract Paste, Lavender, 1.4 Ounce


Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan, One, Gold

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you!


Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken

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Cranking up the oven toward the end helps to glaze the roast chicken in this 5-ingredient recipe that feeds a crowd, especially for family dinners.

Serve 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 lemons
⅓ cup orange blossom honey
Two 4 -5 pounds whole chickens
One ¾  ounce package of fresh rosemary
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Assortment of sliced citrus for garnishes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place a wire rack on a large, foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Into a small bowl, zest both the lemons. Halve lemons and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice into bowl (do not discard lemons). Stir in the honey and set aside.

With kitchen shears, trim any excess fat from the chickens. Season insides of chickens with salt and pepper. Divide lemon halves and rosemary between each chicken cavity. For each bird, tie legs together and tuck wings behind. Rub the oil all over outside of chickens. Generously season outsides of chickens with salt.

Roast 1 hour, brushing with honey mixture every 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Roast chickens another 15 minutes, until a thermometer inserted between the thigh and drumstick reaches 165°F and skin is golden brown.

Remove chickens from oven and let rest at least 15 minutes. before carving.

To serve, place on  serving platters and garnish with assorted slices of citrus fruit and rosemary sprigs.

 

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!


The Belmont Jewel Cocktail

belmont_jewel_web_image

The Belmont Stakes is will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York and horse racing fans will need a signature drink to sip during the big festivities.

The Belmont Jewel is the official drink of the final leg of the Triple Crown, combining bourbon, lemonade, pomegranate juice and orange zest.

in 2017, the Belmont Stakes had over 100,000 spectators in attendance and encountered every racing track’s worst nightmare: they ran out of alcohol. The track limited ticket sales to 90,000 this year and added additional drink stations to make sure the Jewels keep flowing.

The drink is relatively new to the Belmont Stakes. The Belmont Breeze was the race’s signature drink for years until the Jewel became the official beverage in 2011. The Breeze’s recipe also included bourbon but was a bit lighter with orange and cranberry juices and a splash of sherry.

The Belmont Jewel has a stronger bit of whisky to the taste, and with that being said,  here’s how to make the Belmont Jewel……..

Makes 1 Drink

Ingredients:
1.5 ounces of bourbon
2 ounces of lemonade
1 ounce of pomegranate juice

Directions:
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake and pour into a rocks glass and garnish with a cherry or lemon.