Growing and cooking with chrysanthemums
Sep 4 2009 by Francesca Craggs, The Journal
There’s a lot more to flowers than simple aesthetics. Garden blooms are fast becoming an integral cooking ingredient, as Francesca Craggs discovers.
THE thought of chomping on a rose or chrysanthemum may not tickle everybody’s tastebuds.
Yet flowers, the edible sort, are fast becoming a favourite ‘secret’ ingredient for the likes of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and Michelin-starred Atul Kochhar.
Flowers have been eaten for thousands of years and are known to have been cooked by the Romans.
They are a great way of adding flavour and colour.
Pierre Rigothier, head chef at Jesmond Dene House Hotel in Jesmond, Newcastle, has devised a number of dishes featuring flowers from the hotel’s very own kitchen garden.
You can enjoy a floral feast of duck foie gras terrine with roast peach and hyssop, crispy soft-boiled egg with crushed courgette, girolles and sprinklings of wild rocket and courgette flowers, and a summer vegetable salad featuring chive flowers, rocket flowers, rosemary flowers, pensées flowers and nasturtium.
Pierre said: “Flowers give light and colour to a dish. They are great for decoration, but I mainly use them for their taste and flavour.
“Hyssop flowers, which have a strong aniseed taste, are the perfect compliment to fois gras.
“Nasturtiums are very colourful and have a wonderful peppery taste. You can use both the flower and the leaf. The most famous edible flower of all is lavender. It goes particularly well with carrots and in desserts.
“I like to use the classic techniques with a little twist, something that catches the eye as well as pleases the palate.