Lavender and lemon creme brulee

– NO!!! I don’t want it!

– But….

– NO! Don’t spoil it with some freaking flowers!!!! For that matter I WON’T EAT ANY FLOWERS!!! Make the one I like, you know the chocolate one? Mmmm… chocolate….

Well, that’s kind of our standart conversation, when I try to introduce a novel, “suspicious” ingredient in our kitchen. It’s like a tiny little war that I nearly always win (yes, yes, I know…. the infamous onion problem…). Fortunately the “war times” are basically over, for the last 5 years we went through most of the things you can buy here up North, as well as some that you actually can’t. With a touch ofย  nostalgy I remind myself of the times when even a simple broccoli was an enemy on the plate. Nowadays, though, those talks don’t happen anymore, or so I though, cause last weekend we just had one.

And all that fuss about lavender, you say? I know that for many of you lavender is a kitchen staple, yet I have never seen it on sale in Finland. Even more, I brought mine from the USA just a couple of weeks ago, so I guess it’s a kind of exotic ingredient here. Anyway, over the years, I acquired a perfectly working strategy, that let’s me push through whatever I want to be cooked the kitchen (yes, yes…. apart from onion). I like to call it the “peaceful diplomat” strategy ๐Ÿ˜‰ As an answer to Mr No Onion Please poison accusations, I simply murmur “aha, yes, yes, uhumm” and slowly walk away to proceed with my plans anyway. Once I’m done, I approach him joyfully, pretending to suffer from a severe dementia and say in delight:

– Looooook! It worked!, Look what I managed to cook!!!

He doesn’t have much choice at this point and that’s why it’s a perfect way to make him try new things. Yes… so this is the peaceful diplomat strategy… I have a feeling our governments are also pretty fond of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

This lavender and lemon creme brulee was an instant hit, and it surprisingly dethroned even the current favourite – the chocolate creme brulee! It is a definite must try! Mr No Onion Please reccomends, and that means a lot ๐Ÿ˜‰

***

INGREDIENTS:

500ml cream (30% fat)

1 tbsp vanilla paste or seeds from 1 vanilla pod

finelly grated zest from one lemon

2 tbsp lavender

60ml caster sugar

6 egg yolks

some more caster sugar for carmelising on top

***

1. Heat the oven to 150C. Assemble six shallow ceramic tarts in a roasting pan.
2. Stir the yolks to homogenise, beware not to incorporate air into the mixture.
3. Slowly heat up the cream with sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lavender. Bring it to simmer and keep for several minutes. Set aside for 10 min and let the lavender infuse the cream. Strain through the sieve.
4. Slowly add small amounts of cream to the egg mixture. Mix well and repeat till you incorporate everything. Try not to make any air bubbles
5. Pour the mixture between the tarts, tapping the roasting pan gently on the counter to settle the custard and remove any air bubbles. Pour hot water into your roasting pan so it comes up roughly as high as the custard.
6. Transfer to the oven and bake till they are set for 20-25min (for my size of ramekins).
7. Take them out, once they are cooled down to room temperature, transfer to the fridge (I find it is best to keep them overnight before you eat them).
8. An hour before serving toss some sugar on the top of each creme brulee and carmelise it with kitchen torch. Cool it down in the fridge again before serving.

Make jam when life gives you flowers :)

Oh, what a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a really nice relaxing time – some shopping, some cooking, a bit of hanging around and a really neat day trip with friends (maybe I’ll post some pictures later on). But, the most important part of the weekend was that finally, the rose bushes next to our flat started to blossom! And that means that the time has come to make a jam from rose petals! Yup, I’m not crazy, you can make a kind of jam from flowers. It is actually he taste of my childhood. My grandma uses it mixed together with plum marmalade to stuff doughnuts. The rose petal jam doesn’t have any particular taste, it is sugary with tiny bit tart aftertaste, but it’s totally not about it. Everything comes to it’s amazing smell! It is used to perfume whatever you mix it with and it is fantastic! I collect petals from Rosa Rugosa, that is a very common shrub in Europe. When collecting the petals you need to remember not to pick them in the vicinity of any road. The preserves are really easy to make and there is so much sugar that you don’t even need to bother with pasteurization.

Ingredients:

rose petals

sugar

1. Collect the petals. You’ll need quite much of those. The above tiny jar of jam was made from a salad bowl full of petals.

2. Spread the petals on the table covered with newspapers and let all inhabitants escape ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. Now the most tiresome task – grab scissors and cut away all the white parts of petals. They are really bitter and need to be removed.

4. Put the petals eg to your measuring flask and squeeze them very tight there with your hand, look at the volume that they take in the dish, now that’s the volume of sugar you’re gonna add

5. Blend the petals together with sugar. If it is too watery, then add a bit more sugar. Transfer to clean jar.