lavender

All posts tagged lavender

Looking For Frenchspiration: Lavender and Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Published June 10, 2014 by The Feminist

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Imagine you’re craving something sweet but don’t have a lot of baking ingredients lying around. Imagine you’re hungry. Imagine you’re me.

Well, then you would probably look across the Belgian border and get your inspiration from the French. France is known for its classic and yet simple desserts and tarts, so it would have been absurd not to go in search of some Frenchspiration!

So there I was, sitting in my garden with the sun shining on my face, asking myself one simple question: If I were in the South of France right now, what would I want to eat? As if it were a sign from above, this stupid, annoying fly/bee/ weird-looking-and-flying-kind-of-object started harassing me. I chased it down the garden until the unidentifiable flying object managed to seek asylum in a bush of lavender.

Lavender!

The French Gods had spoken.

Lavender is probably the Frenchiest of things imaginable (Next to croissants and wine of course. ) and it is a marvelous ingredient to cook with. From lavender and honey roasted lamb shanks to lavender and apple tarte tatin. Lavender is  something that belongs in everyone’s kitchen, not just everyone’s bathroom.

Apart from the lavender, lemon is the other main flavour in this dainty cupcake. Since I didn’t have fresh lemons lying around, I decided to use my cherished jar of good quality lemon curd instead. It gave the cupcakes a zingy flavour and its sticky richness was hugging my dessert-loving heart.

Lavender and lemon are truly a match made in heaven. C’est l’amour.

Trust me. (The French know a thing or two about love.)

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Ingredients (makes 6):

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 jar of good quality lemon curd
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh lavender, finely chopped (plus some extra to garnish)
  • 20gr butter
  • 60ml milk
  • 60gr plain flour
  • 70gr caster sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder until you get a sandy consistency.
  2. Stir in the lavender and pour in the milk. Mix well.
  3. Add the egg white and whisk until everything is combined. Stir in a tablespoon of lemon curd.
  4. Pour the mixture into your cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool completely before spreading a generous layer of lemon curd on top. Finally, sprinkle on some extra lavender
  6. Bon Appétit!

 

 

La douce France, the cake edition: Lavender and honey cupcakes

Published July 8, 2013 by The Feminist

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Warning: this recipe may piss off French culinary snobs
Julia Child once wrote that “In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.” So trust me when I say that this recipe is not a take on a French classic. I do not want to piss off the entire French population. The French treasure their classic recipes and local ingredients in such a way that goes beyond my comprehension. I don’t hold on to traditions, on the contrary, I like to break them. So if your French, and for some odd reason you’re finding yourself reading my blog, I advise you to stop right now. This post may be bad for your heart.

Don’t say I haven’t warned you.

To all of you who are still here: welcome and feel free to imagine the perfumed aroma of lavender and honey! (Why oh why doesn’t smell technology exist yet?)

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Lavender is one of the most amazing scents on this planet, and one that I inevitable associate with France and especially the rolling countryside of La Provence. Should you still be under the assumption that lavender is just for soap and toilet fresheners, think again! Because lavender is amazing in cooking as well!

These cupcakes were completely transformed by adding lavender to the batter. They tasted fragrantly floral without overpowering the well-known and comforting taste of the humble cupcake. (Again, the French would probably call this heresy. Using their lavender in an Anglo-Saxon cake? How dare I? 😉 )

I used fresh home-grown lavender for this recipe. That way I can be 100% sure that there were no pesticides or other icky chemicals involved in the plant’s growing process. You can also use dried cooking lavender, but if you do so, you should know that the essence of dried lavender is much more concentrated. (You should reduce the amount of lavender by two thirds if you’re using the dried version)

To create a lovely well-balanced lavender flavour I made my very own lavender-infused sugar. Just add 1 ½ tbsp of fresh lavender to the required amount of sugar and let it sit overnight so the lavender can infuse the sugar. Before you start making the batter, sieve the sugar so that all the lavender remains behind.

What follows is the ultimate dilemma: more or less lavender? The first time I baked these cupcakes I only used the lavender-infused sugar. This resulted in a very yummy and fragrant cupcake, but although the cupcake tasted ever so slightly perfumed, you couldn’t really tell it was thanks to the magical aroma of lavender. I tried the cupcakes again a couple of days later, but this time used the infused sugar and one third of the lavender florets used to flavour the sugar (very finely chopped). The flavour was much more intense and you could tell it was lavender, but still without completely overpowering the whole thing. So it’s actually entirely up to you: will you be safe or will you be brave?

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Lavender cupcakes with honey frosting

Ingredients (4 big cupcakes or 6 regular cupcakes)
• 0,5ml whole milk
• 75gr lavender-infused caster sugar (see above)
• 60gr plain flour
• ¾ tsp baking powder
• 20gr unsalted butter
• 1 egg

Honey frosting
• 3 tbsp of honey, preferably good quality lavender honey
• 25gr unsalted butter
• 4 tbsp icing sugar

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
2. Put the flour, infused sugar, ½ tbsp finely chopped lavender (optional, see notes) , baking powder and butter in a bowl and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency.
3. Mix together the milk and egg in a jug and slowly pour in the flour mixture.
4. Spoon the mixture into your prepared cupcake tray and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. For the honey frosting, beat all the ingredients together until you get a smooth and somewhat fluffy frosting.
6. Spoon the frosting on top of each cupcake and decorate with a sprig of lavender.

Have your macaroon and wear it too: pretty pastels

Published January 18, 2013 by The Feminist

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Belgium may be covered in snow, somehow I still believe it is high time to start getting ready for warm weather. In my mind, spring has already begun! Pale hues were spotted in practically every designer’s spring-summer 2013 collection, and I simply swooned over all those sorbet coloured shades! Needless to say that this spring will be all about ultra-feminine candy-sweet colours.

To all the tough girls out there: there is indeed a risk of looking like a bridesmaid/ wannabe prom queen/ cupcake shop waitress. However, anyone with a bit of fashion sense can pull this off. (and we’ve got tons of style, ladies!) You just have to believe in yourself! So don’t be afraid to go for a head-to-toe sugary outfit! Too girly? Let me ask you something: what could be more ballsy than opting for a colourblock pastel outfit and totally rocking it? …

Ha! I thought so! 😉 (Being a tough girl isn’t about what you wear, but how you feel!)

Go for pale orange, framboise pink, mint, creamy pistachio, lavender or baby blue. Or mix them all together. Or combine it with nude colours to accentuate the delicate femininity of the outfit.

Spring will be super sweet this year, trust me!

Here’s Elie Saab’s baby blue:

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Leighton Meester in mint:

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Pale orange and framboise pink for Jemma Baines in Marie Claire:

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Oh yes, lavender is much more than a toilet freshener: the chocolate lavender cookie

Published October 30, 2012 by The Feminist

These little dark monsters may look like hell, I can assure you, they sure taste like HEAVEN! Don’t be put off by the lavender, it simply adds another dimension to an otherwise boring cookie. So for once and for all, stop associating lavender with soap or toilet freshener, because its fragrant smell and taste belong in the kitchen!