Lavender Infused Apricots and Raspberries

by Jacqueline on August 8, 2013

Lavender infused Apricots and Raspberries

It is particularly evident during the Summer months, that you can really appreciate why Kent is referred to as ‘The Garden of England’. During the month of July the fields surrounding the villages of Eynsford and Shoreham are peppered with poppies and lavender. The scenes are so picturesque that Summer would not be the same if we did not make the 8 mile circular walk that unveils some of the most beautiful views in Kent.

Clear route ahead across the Kent countryside

A field full of poppies - near Eynsford

A field full of poppies

Beautiful Eynsford landscape

Poppy time

Fields of Kent

Kent is the Garden of England

Style leading to Shoreham village

Quite often we will picnic among these fields and take in the breathtaking scenery or we will cool down by drinking something refreshing at the local pub.

The Shoreham village pub

The last time we did the walk, we visited the Honey Pot for afternoon tea. It’s a very quaint little tea room which is open from Thursday to Saturday but has the warmest of welcomes.

The very quaint Honey Pot Tea Room – Shoreham

Refueled, it was time to continue with the walk through Shoreham village.

House in Shoreham Village

During the month of July, the lavender fields are in full bloom and this used to kick off  a fortnight of Lavender themed activities including stalls selling lavender based products; from bouquets to baking and aromatherapy massages (using lavender oil). I think the format changed this year but lavender tours around the fields are still provided by Castle farm . The Hop Shop is a store that sits on the main site of the farm and sells lavender themed produce (and more) all year round. During the months of July and August the farm renders itself to the most amazing lavender fragrance, it is a wonderful way to entice potential visitors!

Lavender fields of Kent

Following a visit to Castle farm, we pass by Lullingstone Castle which is one of England’s oldest family estates and was home to a famous silk farm established in the 1930′s.

Lullingstone Castle

Lullingstone Viaduct in the distance

Beyond the castle, there is Lullingstone Roman Villa which is said to have existed since the Roman occupation of Britain and Lullingstone railway viaduct which was built in the 1860′s and now is a part of the South Eastern train network!

Viaduct near Lullingstone

Approaching Eynsford

Before too long, the chocolate-box-type homes of Eynsford greet us once more and the end of the walk is in sight.

So why all this chatter about the Kent countryside and walking? Well, I bought some culinary lavender flowers from the aforementioned Hop Shop and wanted to put them to good use. I’ve made lavender madeleines before and they were delicately fragrant – just the right balance I thought but now I wanted to use this very fragrant herb again. August is traditionally peaches month but I wanted to use apricots instead. These  beauties bursting with beta carotene have often left me disappointed as I’ve found the flesh too dry. Perhaps by poaching the fruit in a lavender infused syrup would bring about a change of mind.

Culinary Lavender purchased from the Hop Shop, Shoreham

The recipe is adapted from the EatingWell website which uses peaches and blackberries and fresh lavender instead of dried culinary lavender.

Lavender infused apricots and raspberries for breakfast

Lavender Infused Apricots and Raspberries

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: Serves 2 for Breakfast or Dessert

A delicious way of serving apricots for breakfast or dessert. Note prep. time includes refrigerating before serving.

Ingredients

  • 300ml of water
  • 150ml of orange juice
  • 4 tbsp of clear honey
  • 1 tsp of fresh culinary lavender, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise with seeds removed
  • 4 just-ripe medium apricots
  • 12 fresh raspberries
  • 2 tbsp of low-fat Greek yoghurt

Instructions

  1. Mix together the water, orange juice, honey, lavender, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan.
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring until the honey dissolves.
  3. Add the whole apricots to the boiling liquid and cook, gently turning, until the skins start to loosen, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the apricots and rinse under very cold (even iced) water and drain.
  5. Adjust the heat so the poaching liquid boils quickly and starts to reduce.
  6. Use a knife to peel the apricots and add the skins to the boiling liquid.
  7. Cut the apricots in half vertically, keeping the halves intact. Remove the stones.
  8. Adjust the heat to a bare simmer. Return the apricots to the pan and poach until they are not quite tender when pierced with a fork, about 4 minutes; they should still hold their shape.
  9. Transfer them to a bowl and allow them to cool.
  10. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  11. Add raspberries to the barely simmering liquid in the pan. Poach for 1 minute. Remove them to a small bowl.
  12. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  13. Adjust the heat so the poaching liquid boils briskly and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 100ml. Approximately 15 minutes.
  14. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing down on the solids to force through as much liquid as possible; discard the solids.
  15. Cover and refrigerate the syrup for at least 30 minutes.
  16. To serve, let the fruit and syrup come to almost room temperature. Arrange the apricot halves in pairs onto the dish. Spoon some Greek yogurt into the centre of the dish. Top with the raspberries and drizzle the syrup in the apricot halves and around the dish.
  17. Garnish with small lavender flowers.

Notes

Do not use more than 1 tsp of culinary lavender flowers, it may become too overpowering.

http://howtobeagourmand.com/lavender-infused-apricots-and-raspberries/

I was pleasantly surprised with the poaching liquor and how well it matched the apricots. It’s makes a lovely breakfast and is a good way of using up fruit if you want an alternative from eating straight from the fruit bowl.

You can always take this as a dessert by replacing the Greek yoghurt with vanilla ice cream.

How do you take your apricots? I’d love to know in the comments below!

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As I’ve used lavender in this recipe, I’m adding this to one of my favourite challenges; Cooking with Herbs owned and hosted this month by Karen over at Lavender and Lovage.

Cooking with Herbs

As, the Greek yoghurt can be substituted with ice cream, I’m adding this to the Four Seasons Summer Food Challenge owned by Anneli and Louisa. This month the theme is Summer Puds.

Four Seasons Food

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mich Piece of Cake August 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Such gorgeous photos! And that peaches must be so aromatic with the lavender…

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2 Jacqueline August 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Hee hee – do you mean apricots Mich?

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3 Camilla @FabFood4All August 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Wow, what beautiful photos, especially the close up poppy shot:-) Your apricots look lush too but I have to admit that I just don’t like flowers of any type in my food whether rose, lavender etc. Up until now I have just eaten my apricots as they are but did recently make jam with them along with some peaches which teamed up really well:-)

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4 Jacqueline August 9, 2013 at 10:26 am

Thanks Camilla! It was such a lovely walk :-) I think if you put too much of rose/lavender in, it can be overpowering and ruin the taste but I find most edible flowers on for example, a salad can be quite nice.

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5 Nazima August 9, 2013 at 8:51 am

What a gorgeous set of Kent pictures. It really is such a lovely part of England. Love the poached peaches. I can imagine the flavours work very well together. I wonder if griddled peaches in a lavender syrup might be nice too. hmm (new barbeque arriving today so I am in a grilling mood :)

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6 Jacqueline August 9, 2013 at 10:30 am

Thanks Nazima – it does lift the spirits :-) Griddled peaches are lovely – I have a recipe on the blog from last August using honey and balsamic vinegar
http://howtobeagourmand.com/griddled-white-peaches-with-a-honey-and-balsamic-glaze. Good luck using the BBQ :-)

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7 Heather @girlichef August 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Oh, how I wish I was there…it’s so beautiful! I wanted to be walking inside of every single photo. These apricots sound delicate and so delicious :)

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8 Jacqueline August 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

Thanks Heather – that’s kind of you. I’m never sure whether to post photographs other than food but I really did enjoy the walk and wanted to share so I’m so glad you appreciated it! :)

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9 Sarah August 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Love those poppy photos! And the idea of poached fruit for breakfast sounds pretty good too…might have to try this recipe.

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10 Jacqueline August 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thanks Sarah – it does provide an alternative idea for breakfast!

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11 Kumar's Kitchen August 10, 2013 at 7:23 am

gorgeous clicks, those red poppy flowers swaying in the breeze…adorable…
this is the best fruity dessert we have encountered…anything with lavender and raspberries is a winner with us, yummm :-)

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12 Jacqueline August 10, 2013 at 10:44 am

Hello Kumar and welcome to my blog! The poppies seem to be popular with my readers! Glad you liked the dish!

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13 Karen August 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Beautiful recipe, beautiful Kent and beautiful England in the summer, what GORGEOUS photos too Jacqueline! Thanks so much for linking this recipe and lovely post to Cooking with Herbs, and I enjoyed my “virtual” trip around the Garden of England, thanks to you! Karen

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14 Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

What a kind thing to say – thanks Karen x

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15 Maggie August 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm

My daughter lives in Kent and it is so beautiful – she is very proud to live in the Garden of England.
The photographic journey is lovely and so too are your beautiful apricots with raspberries.

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16 Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 9:36 am

Thanks very much Maggie – I feel very lucky as our London home is on the border of Kent so this walk isn’t too far away and it is so picturesque especially in the Summer.

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17 Fiona Maclean August 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I love those poppy photos…but I am so NOT looking at the recipe! much too lush!!!

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18 Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 9:36 am

Go on Fiona – it’s fruit and very healthy :-)

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19 rebecca August 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm

this post is first class and all the best things about England love it and lovely summer recipe

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20 Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

First class eh? Well I’m chuffed to bits thanks Rebecca :-)

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21 Karin@yumandmore August 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Beautiful countryside Jacqueline and those poppy fields are gorgeous!
Nice yummy summer recipe too i can see it with the lovely blackberries now coming out in full force.
xox

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22 Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

Blackberries would also work a treat Karin. Thanks for stopping by :-)

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23 Caroline Taylor August 14, 2013 at 11:08 am

I’ve not been to Kent but it’s on my list of ‘to-go’ places. I love the sound of this apricot dish as it would even make the tart ones soft and lovely.

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24 Jacqueline August 16, 2013 at 2:54 am

Oh Carline – you have to go! Try to visit during Spring/Summer – I’m sure you will love it!

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25 Rebecca-Thiswomansstyle August 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Jacqueline these pictues are beautiful, they’re making me want to escape to the country side immediately! I’ve never tried lavender infused apricots, they look delicous! Gorgeous summer recipe! xx

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26 Jacqueline August 16, 2013 at 2:55 am

Thanks Rebecca – glad I’ve tempted you away to the country!

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27 Anneli (Delicieux) August 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

What a lovely recipe! I think I would prefer it with the greek yoghurt in fact. But the infusion of lavender is such a brilliant idea. I love the fragrance it gives and the slightly floral flavour. Your photos are really good and make me think about how beautiful the Uk can be. I especially like the pic of the country pub – oh how I miss country pubs!! Such a lovely post :) Thanks for entering this into Four Seasons Food. xx

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28 Jacqueline August 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

Thanks Anneli. I agree the best way to take this is as a breakfast option with Greek Yoghurt. Kent is a lovely part of the world!

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29 Katerina August 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm

The pictures from the English countryside are so beautiful Jaqueline! I would love to visit these places some time! Lavender gives such a unique flavor to everything you put it and I am sure these apricots were superb!

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30 Jacqueline August 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Katerina!

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31 lisaiscooking August 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Your walk looks delightful! What great views and those poppies and lavender. Lavender-infused fruit sounds lovely. It must smell fantastic as it poaches.

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32 kellie@foodtoglow August 25, 2013 at 7:51 am

Goodness, the poppy & lavender fields are breath-taking! Such different scenery to Scotland. The Kent countryside is someplace I haven’t visited in over 20 years but I remember camping in settings such as these (on the look out for bulls!). Even the houses and pubs are beautiful. And what an extra fragrant way to serve summer fruits. I have a little pot of culinary lavender that I use for my peach, honey and lavender tart but I must pop some in poaching fruits. These would make a sumptuous rather Elizabethan breakfast.

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