We are nearing the end of January already, which for chefs means it’s time to start writing our menus for spring. Most of the berries and summer fruits are still far from their best in late spring and even early summer, so I like to feature lavender on spring menus. It gives a fragrant flowery reminder of the beautiful summer to come, whilst being at it’s best while the air is still too chilly to bring out the Prosecco and strawberries. I use lavender honey that is already infused, but you can always make your own by warming plain honey and infusing it overnight with a few springs of fresh lavender.
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1100g Cream, very lightly whipped
Take 20 small metal rings See Here and cover one side tightly with a small square of cling film to stop the mix escaping out of the bottom. Put the rings on a flat tray and set aside.
Place the honey and yolks in a kitchen aid bowl and place over a bain marie. Hand whisk until the mixture thickens enough that it falls off the whisk and the ribbons are visible on the surface for a few seconds. Take the bowl off of the heat and place on the machine with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until cold.
Once the cold, use a spatula to scrape the mixture into a separate bowl and them use the machine bowl and whisk to whip the cream very lightly. The cream should not hold its shape, once the ribbons of cream fall off the whisk and hold on the surface for a few seconds (when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl) it is whipped enough.
Fold the cream into to the egg and honey mixture and place in a piping bag.
Pipe the mixture into the prepared moulds and smooth the tops with a palette knife. Place in the freezer overnight.
75g lavender honey
400g Caster sugar
20g Bicarbonate of soda
Firstly, line a deep sided gastro tray with non stick silicone paper and keep it close to your workspace.
Place all the ingredients apart from the bicarbonate of soda in a large saucepan and cook slowly to 150c on a Kitchen thermometer. Once at 150c, take off the heat, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and pour it into the prepared tray as quick as you can. It will look too light at this stage but the honeycomb continues to cook long after it has come out of the pan. Most people make the mistake of leaving on the heat until they get the colour they want, then find that it is badly burnt inside by the time it has cooled.
Set aside and leave to cool, ready for breaking into pieces later.
1 Tbsp of fresh lavender
60 ml Veg oil
0.5g Purple colouring
Infuse the water with the lavender by warming it in a pan and adding the buds, cling film and leave for 10-15 minutes.
Strain off the water and blitz it with the other ingredients to get a batter.
Heat a small non stick pan on the edge of the stove with a splash of vegetable oil. Pan fry a small amount of the batter at a time on low heat until the whole piece stops bubbling. (this is the point all the water has evaporated and it will be nice and crispy). You may have to turn the pan as some spots cook a little faster than others
Remove the coral with a mini step palette knife and drain on a paper towel.
Honey fluid gel
200g lavender honey
2g Agar Agar
Warm the honey and water in a pan before adding the Agar Agar and bringing up the the boil with a whisk. Boil for at least one minute and then pour into a deep tray to set in the blast chiller or fridge.
Once set, blitz the jelly in a blender until smooth and pass through a sieve. Pour into a plastic squeezy bottle and leave to one side.
6g Bicarbonate of soda
125g Rolled oats
165g Soft brown sugar
185g Unsalted butter, melted
40g Dried lavender, chopped fine
Place all the dry ingredients, apart from the lavender in a mixing bowl and add in the butter. Mix for 10-20 seconds for the butter to work through, but not too long, or the mix will develop into one clump.
Spread the mix out on baking trays lined with paper and cook at 170c for about 15 minutes or until the oats have coloured to a dark golden colour.
Leave to cool and break into pieces before pulsing a small amount quickly in the blender to get a nice even crumb. Add the lavender and set aside.
Place the crumble on the bottom of the plate and slide the parfait out of the mould on top (you may need to loosen the sides with a blowtorch).
Break up the honeycomb into small pieces and place some randomly on-top, filling the gaps with the fluid gel, the coral and a few petals of purple viola flowers.