….. in the wing. Here everything is done quietly and with care.
Currently a stream of spring flowers are flooding from my brush to the canvas: wonderfully fragrant pink lupines, small delicate white anemones, cute purple violets and small fragrant wild strawberries - three times the size of anything you find at home crowd my paintings, just as they do at the end of the grove each spring.
Spring flowers add much-needed bursts of colour to garden beds and planting areas, but did you know that you can make use of them in the kitchen, too?.
Sweet flowers and tangy edible leaves can be used to add elegant and unique decoration to cakes, cookies and other sweet confections. Decorative chive blossoms lend a delicate note to salads, vinegars and other dishes that call for mild, oniony flavour.
Roses, violets, lavender and clove are sweet, while purple-blue borage flowers and colourful tulip petals taste like cucumber. Johnny jump-ups and pansies have a minty hint to them and scented geranium petals, like the rose geranium, have a slight tartness that combines nicely with sugar.
How to sugar flowers
To start: Buy dry powdered egg whites and superfine sugar. Ready a bowl of water and keep tweezers, a small paintbrush, waxed paper and a cheese shaker (also known as a flower duster) on hand.
Choose the flower: Pick blooms just before using. It is best to use flowers from your own garden both for quality purposes and to ensure the plants have not been sprayed with a pesticide. Prepping the petals Flowers in the morning should be fresh, open and undamaged. Dip flowers in a bowl of water to rinse off dirt specks and place on paper towel. Gently blot petals to dry.
Make the mixture: In a small bowl; mix the dry egg whites and a small amount of water. Whisk to break up the dry egg white. Hold a flower by the stem with the tweezers and paint the egg white onto the flower covering it all, top and bottom. Sprinkle the sugar on the blossom to coat the entire flower.
Dry the blooms: Trim the stem off and dry the blossom face-up on waxed paper. You can manoeuvre and flip the blossom with the tweezers after a couple of hours to dry it evenly and prevent it sticking on the paper. Blossoms will take a few days to dry completely, so it is best to dry them someplace where they won’t be disturbed.
Pack them gently: When dry, they will be fragile and brittle. Remove them to a covered container, placing layers of paper towel or tissue in between layers of flowers. Pack them gently, leaving plenty of loose space around them. Store in a dry dark place, such as cupboard.
NOTE: Flowers used in culinary applications are best harvested from one’s own garden. This insures freshness and assurance the plants are pesticide-free.