LAVENDAR AND APRICOT SPONGE CAKE

Serves 10

2 tbsp dried lavender, plus 2 lavender sprigs 

6 apricots (300g)

280g caster sugar

250g unsalted butter, softened

5 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g self-raising flour

175ml double cream

Halve the apricots and remove the stones. Place in a saucepan and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of sugar. Cover with cold water and add the lavender sprigs. Poach, covered, on a medium heat for 10 mins, then allow to cool with the lid on.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease and line
2 x 20cm sandwich tins. In a bowl, combine the remaining sugar with the dried lavender. Place in the microwave for 45 sec. This will help infuse the sugar with the lavender flavour. Stir, then set aside around a tablespoon’s-worth to decorate the cake with later. Add the butter to the remaining lavender sugar and cream into each other with the back of a wooden spoon. Beat in the eggs, one at
a time, then stir in the vanilla. Sift in the flour gradually, folding
it into the mixture. Stir in 25ml of the cream.

Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for 20 mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until thick. Whip in three tablespoons of the liquid from the apricots. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate and top with the cream, then layer on the poached apricot. Top with the other cake and sprinkle with the reserved lavender sugar. Serve.

 

Roast side of salmon with lavender, orange and honey

Serves 8
1.5kg side of salmon
2 tbsp lavender buds, plus extra sprigs for garnish
1 orange
3 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

Zest the orange into a mortar. Add the lavender buds and peppercorns. Grind with the pestle until roughly blended, then add to a mixing bowl with the honey and oil. Season with sea salt and squeeze in the juice of the orange.

Line a large, deep oven tray with baking paper, then place the salmon, skin-side up, onto it. Coat the skin with half of the lavender mixture. Turn the fish over and cover the top with the remaining mixture. Fold up the baking paper, lift out of the baking tray and place the salmon parcel in the fridge for 1 hr.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Return the salmon to the oven tray. Open out the paper parcel but cover the top loosely with foil. Roast for 15 mins, then remove the foil and roast for a further 15 mins, until crispy on top. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Other lavender recipes in our July/August 2016 issue: