Category: Edible Flowers

The Flower Power Cocktail

No, I’m not getting out my love beads and turning all peace, love and mung beans on you but I have been inspired by all things floral this week and I made you an amazing cocktail which is a veritable flowerbomb of flavour! (And not even the slightest hint of Parfait Amour).

Flower Power CocktailSpring has sprung in Melbourne which means it’s constantly windy,  all the better to spread pollen all over the place, so I’m sneezing constantly.  We’re also having bizarre weather changes….Seriously WTF Melbourne?  From 27 to 13 in one day?  We’re living in crazy times!

IMG_20141013_212105

 On a happier note, the sun has been shining more frequently, we’ve had a couple of gorgeous warm days, I did twilight yoga in the park the other night and the garden is growing like crazy.  Back at Easter we planted the front garden – I was going for a Mediteranean look so we have an olive tree, rosemary, thyme and lots of lovely lavender.  We have a couple of dark pink ones:

Pink Lavender
Pink Lavender

 As well as the more traditional purple ones:

Purple Lavender
Purple Lavender

Then my mum brought over these gorgeous roses from her garden:

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 So in between the sneezes, it really has been all about the flowers. And they have inspired a fabulous cocktail, called the Flower Power.  It’s really a trashed up Lavender Lemonade, and you know what?  I can get pretty damn trashy!!!!  I was almost tempted to call this one the snowball, because once it got started it took on a life of it’s own. 

So here is the entire evolution of the Flower Power Cocktail.

The Spark – Flower Power Coctail v1

 The lavender in the garden got me thinking about a recipe I read ages ago on Thug Kitchen (which is an awesome blog) for Lavender Lemonade.  Which you can find here:

Lavender Lemonade

And it’s a great recipe.

You could just make this and live happily ever after.  It’s nice, it’s refreshing and they are very, very funny people. But you know, with all due respect to Thug Kitchen…it’s not nearly trashy enough for this girl!

Lavender Lemonade Ingredients
Lavender Lemonade Ingredients

 

Enter the Flower Power Cocktail v2.

Flower Power Cocktail v2 – A Kiss From A Rose

I had some gorgeous dried rosebuds bought to make my Persian recipes for book club (coming soon) and thought that they would be a nice addition. 

They were.

The mixture will start to turn colour after about 15-20 minutes.  For the best flavour, let the petals steep for at least an hour, I left mine overnight. An added bonus is that during the steeping your kitchen will smell like a garden

The Lavender and Rose Lemonade was really good.  And a gorgeous pink!  Very girly and perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon. 

Kissed By A Rose - Lavender and Rose Lemonade
Kissed By A Rose – Lavender and Rose Lemonade

 

But you know what?  Sometimes this  girl needs a little bit o’ booze mixed in with her flowers and citrus…so enter version 3…

Flower Power Cocktail v3 – The Crackling Rosie

So if you take your Lavender and Rose Lemonade and add a little hit of a florally gin like Hendricks you have a very pleasant cocktail.  Still very girly and whilst you could sip it all afternoon it does have a little ginny kick to it. 

Flower Power v3 - The Crackling Rosie
Flower Power v3 – The Crackling Rosie

But you want more.  I know you do.

So, without further ado…..

The Flower Power Cocktail

So far, we have been topping our lemonade or our cocktails up with a little sparkling water.

For the true Flower Power Cocktail, use the lemonade mix straight. 

Add your half nip, or hell, a whole nip of Hendricks.  Top with St Germain Elderflower Liqueur.

Oh baby, oh yeah! 

A couple of these and you’ll feel like you’re in San Francisco with flowers in your hair!

The Flower Power Cocktail
The Flower Power Cocktail

 Gilding The Lily – The Flower Power Cocktail Bling

 If you really want to trash up your Flower Power Cocktail you can add some flower petal ice cubes and make some lavender sugar to rim your cocktail glass. If you make the ice cubes use big trays to make them.  My ice cubes were kind of small and it was a hot day so I ended up with a couple of mouthfuls of petals.  Which is not great tastewise and even worse if you’re trying to look all classy and have to keep spitting out lavender buds!

Flower Power Bling
Flower Power Bling

Have a great week.  And live wild, flower child!

 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

The Flower Power Cocktail

The Flower Power Cocktail

Ingredients

    Cocktail
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups of just boiled water
  • 1 tbsp lavender buds
  • 1 tbsp rose petals
  • 1/2 cup sugar - or more more to taste
  • Soda or sparkling water
  • 4x 20mls Hendricks (or other florally gin) (only for the Crackling Rosie or the The Flower Power)
  • 4x 10 mls St Germain Elderflower Liqueur (only for The Flower Power)
  • Floral Icecubes
  • 1 tbsp flower petals or small edible flowers
  • Boiled Water
  • Lavender Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lavender buds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Orange Blossom Water / Rose Water / Lemon Juice

Instructions

    Cocktail
  • Place the lavender buds, rose petals, lemon and sugar in a heat proof jug.
  • Bang them about a bit with the end of a wooden spoon to release the oils.
  • Pour in the just boiled water
  • Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Leave 1 hour to overnight to steep in fridge.
  • When ready to serve, add the juice of 2 lemons to the jug.
  • Taste for sweetness, you may want to add more sugar or lemon to adjust to your taste.
  • Strain.
  • Fill your glasses about a third of the way with the lavender and rose lemonade.
  • For the Lemonade
  • Top with soda water.
  • For the Crackling Rosie
  • Add a shot of gin into the glass before the soda water.
  • Stir.
  • For the Flower Power
  • Rim the glass with lavender sugar
  • Add floral icecubes
  • Pour in the gin
  • Pour in the lemonade
  • Top with St Germain
  • Floral Icecubes
  • The petals or flowers will float so for best results you need to use a layering process.
  • Place the petals or flower into ice cube trays.
  • Fill with water to half way.
  • Freeze.
  • Once frozen top with more water to fill so the petals or flowers are totally covered.
  • Lavender Sugar
  • Place the lavender buds in a mortar and pestle.
  • Add the sugar and grind together until the flowers break up and the sugar becomes very fine. Taste. If not strong enough keep going or add more flowers.
  • There will be a lot of the sugar left over. Use in baking or make more cocktails!
  • To rim the glass, soak a cotton ball in orange flower water, rose water, lemon juice or even the lemonade.
  • Run the cotton ball along the rim of the glass to moisten.
  • Roll the rim of the glass in the sugar mixture.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/10/15/flower-power-cocktail/

Retro Food For Modern Times: The Floral Foraged Feast

What we’re going to do right here is go back, way back, back into time…

Today we are leaving behind those heady patchouli scented days of the ’70’s to take a step back to some really retro food and talk about my experience as a food forager! Food foraging has been around for as long as people have been around and basically involves making lots of deliciousness out of stuff that is growing wild around you…well, that’s my definition…if you want to get more technical, try google!   When most people think about foraging, they probably imagine it being done in the country however urban foraging is becoming increasingly popular.

Part of my birthday resolutions this year was to do something new each month –  which is why a few Sundays ago, I found myself sipping a Cleavers smoothie with a group of strangers.  I was taking part in an Edible Weeds Walk run by Very Edible Gardens (www.VeryEdibleGardens.com).  The smoothie was really good and set the tone for what was a very pleasant and informative few hours.  During that time we were taught to identify a number of so-called weeds and learned how these could be used both as medicine and as food.

The setting was amazing, an urban farm, virtually under the domes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Brunswick. And  a glorious day to boot….one of the first real signs that Spring was on its way.

It was also just a short stroll away from the CERES environmental park and the Merri Creek Bike Track.

Mind, you, the setting did have some drawbacks, on my way back to my car, I was quite happily strolling along, enjoying the lovely view, the sunshine and my solitude, when I came across this sign, and suddenly the fact that I was alone in this large  parkland became a little bit frightening!

However, I made it home safely and was able to use my new-found knowledge to make this lovely floral foraged salad!  For my salad I used:

Angled Onion – stalks and flowers:

There are literally thousands of these plants growing by our local creek and whilst I had previously noticed the strong smell of onions around them, I had no idea they were edible. They have an onion flavour, much like chives.

Wild Brassica – leaves and flowers:

This too is prolific in my local area. The leaves taste like supercharged cabbage It can give you that nose tickle you get when you eat mustard.  The flowers are much milder and added some colour to the salad.

Nasturtium – leaves and flowers

These were growing in my garden but the flowers are pretty and added some colour.  The leaves have a peppery flavour.  Since then, I have seen nasturtiums growing in the wild so this wasn’t too cheaty!

Dandelion leaves. 

These are quite bitter.  Adam,  our guide on the walk, said that even if you do not like these the first time you have them, to persevere with them as the taste really does grow on you.  Also, the bitterness is very cleansing.  I didn’t mind them in my salad but I was light handed, not only due to Adam’s caution but also because the park I was foraging in had just been mown and the leaves were not that easy to come by! 

Along with these foraged ingredients, to make my salad, I added some lettuce and some avocado, some thinly sliced radish and a few cherry tomatoes.  I also made a very simple lemon and oil dressing as I really wanted to be able to taste the different leaves and flowers.  Here are the ingredients:

This was a very tasty salad which, I will definitely be making again.  I think I was right to err on the side of caution with the dandelion leaves.  I chopped these up quite finely so whilst there was a slight underlying bitterness in some bites it was certainly not unpleasant and added a depth to the salad.  How pretty and fresh does this look?  I also took advantage of one of first really warm days and ate this outside….Voila!

The foraging itself was great fun, I really enjoyed walking through the park and identifying and choosing the weeds for my salad.  There is also something incredibly gratifying about picking and eating your own produce, whether you have grown it or foraged it.  In fact, foraging is a little bit more fun because it feels like you’re doing something a little bit naughty!

But really, cooking with things I have grown (or foraged) makes me feel connected to the earth and the environment in a way that shop brought produce can never do. Who knew I was such a hippy?  And now for my inner risk manager – if this post inspires you to commence your own adventures in foraging, I would really suggest doing a group exercise like I did – not all plants are good for you and many can actually cause you harm.  Having advice from a knowledgeable person like Adam could be the difference between a totally fun and enriching experience and one that leaves you very ill indeed!

Sorry Oscar, none left for you!

Adam, who lead our walk, has also written a  fab book:

This can be purchased at the following

http://www.eatthatweed.com/edible-weeds-book/

There are a number of other books and other resources on foraging you could use as well.  Here is a link to an article from Gourmet Traveller but most libraries and book shops will have something on the topic plus there is an abundance of info on the internet.

http://gourmettraveller.com.au/how-to-forage.html

I will be experimenting with more foraged finds over the next few months. I would like to try a cooked option next.  I don’t think the ngled onions will be in season much longer so before they disappear I’m thinking a stir fry with some of the wild brassica, some  chilli, ginger and garlic may be in order.  This would be delicious as a side dish or tossed through some noodles as a lovely vegetarian main meal.

In the meantime if you make something lovely out of  foraged foods, please let me know and….enjoy!

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