Saturday, 7 May 2011
There is nothing more beautiful, both to look at and to smell than gorgeous English Lavender. Down in Norfolk they have fields and fields of the stuff.
When we lived in the cottage down in Kent, the whole back of the house was flanked with beautiful lavender and during the lavender season, you could scarce move without being assaulted by it's beautiful smell. I have spent many an afternoon sitting out on the patio watching the bumblebees bumble from bloom to bloom. Such a pretty sight.
We have lavender here at our house in Chester as well, albeit not as much and it is just ready to burst into bloom, several weeks ahead of it's usual season . . . but that is result of the unusually warm April we had I think . . . Each year when it grows I am careful to harvest some of it to be used in our dresser drawers to help to keep our clothing fresh, and to lay amongst our sheets, pillow slips and towels in the linen closet as well. It smells just beautiful. More gets saved and put into bowls here and there in the house to keep the air fresh and yet more gets stuffed into jars of sugar to be used in delicious baked goods such as these lovely scones.
You might think that with a smell such as strong as lavender can be, that it would overwhelm the flavours of things that are baked with it . . . but you would be completely wrong.
The lavender sugar in these scones gives them a subtle fruit flavour and scent, and goes so very wonderfully with fresh lemon curd or preserves.
Make it a wonderfully different teatime treat by baking these lovely scones. Keep them guessing as to what your secret ingredient is. Buttery, subtly scented, with a lovely little crunch.
You can use storebought lemon curd of course . . . but making your own is really quite easy. I have a recipe here. It's wonderful! I think you'll find it will come in handy for all sorts.
*English Lavender Buttermilk Scones*
Makes about a dozen
These delightfully buttermilk scones are infused with lavender sugar and go very well with my homemade lemon curd, or preserves for a special Spring tea.
225g of self raising flour (scant 2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
50g of unsalted butter, cut into bits (1/4 cup)
75g of lavender sugar (see below) (scant 1/2 cup)
150ml of buttermilk (5 fluid ounces)
your choice of lemon curd or preserves
Preheat the oven to 220*C/ 425*F/ gas mark 7. Butter a baking sheet. Set aside.
Stir the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Drop in the butter bits and rub them in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Add the buttermilk, and stir in with a fork, only adding enough to create a soft dough. Tip out onto a floured board and knead a few times before patting out to a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out into rounds with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. Place onto the baking sheet leaving plenty of space in between for spreading. Brush with some more buttermilk.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before serving with your favourite spread.
To make your own lavender sugar:
Press two of three clean sprigs of fresh lavender, or a couple of TBS of lavender buds which you can buy in the spice section, into a jar of caster sugar and leave for at least 24 hours before using. Use pesticide free blooms, and wash and dry them before using.