July 08: What a hectic couple of weeks we have had! Our stencilled home has been very busy. Rachel has escorted sixty school children on various trips around our house. We have hosted 'friends' of a major local art gallery, a weekend stencil course for a charming London decorator and a private house tour for a lovely New Zealand family. House tours are now over until September 3rd, so we can kick off our shoes and leave them to rot where they land. To celebrate we held a tea party. I raided the garden and for the next seven nights made food from flowers.
and lavender ironing water, but we didn't eat that! Then it was the turn of the roses. I whipped double cream with rose water and shredded petals. This was spread on top of the lavender scones and was accompanied by rose petal jelly.I did not have time to make rose petal jelly, so I had to buy some, but I will make my own before the roses fade. The biggest task was the elderflower sorbet. I have been wanting to make this for fourteen years, but I have always exhibited at a large London Home show during the optimum elder picking week. The flowers have bloomed and faded whilst I've been away. The home show is now deceased so I seized my chance.
With half a tub full of flowers and darkness looming I wandered happily home. At 3:30 that morning whilst I sat in my kitchen still plucking flowers from stalks, I was beginning to review the sanity of the sorbet project. The recipe said something like "this will be a long and tedious task, best shared amongst friends whilst you converse and watch hawks in the sky". Hmmm.... I think the author was Californian.
As there was an absence of friends and hawks, I sat in my fluffy pyjamas listening to the ever wonderful Bob Harris radio show and watched my thumb turn black from something in the flowers. The recipe also said "the green stalks contain a cyanide like substance so be careful to remove it". I was very careful, eventually it was five and a half hours worth of careful. Because this is a design blog rather than a cooking one, I will post my step by step photo recipes on Planet Helen blog and I'll let you know when. I tried three recipes for lavender scones and one was a disaster (surely a misprint occurred). The others looked as good as they tasted. The meringues were just fabulous: melty and chewy. They were to form part of a lavender Eton Mess.
Some of my guests brought baked offerings. I am not a good cook so these are always enthusiastically and gratefully recieved. Jeanne made the best chocolate brownies any of us had ever tasted, so she can come again. Joy baked a lovely cherry clafoutis, still warm when it arrived. Di had a hangover so nipped into the local farmers emporium for chocolate and cream based goodies.... And they were sooo good.
I have been on a diet for the past year and had finally reached my target weight last Tuesday. Somehow I think I'll be back on the beansprouts and lettuce for another month. I shall leave you with a picture of calorie free stencilled lavender from our Garden Room Collection.