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
Beautiful Eynsford landscape
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 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
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
A delicious way of serving apricots for breakfast or dessert.
Note prep. time includes refrigerating before serving.
- 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
- Mix together the water, orange juice, honey, lavender, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring until the honey dissolves.
- Add the whole apricots to the boiling liquid and cook, gently turning, until the skins start to loosen, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the apricots and rinse under very cold (even iced) water and drain.
- Adjust the heat so the poaching liquid boils quickly and starts to reduce.
- Use a knife to peel the apricots and add the skins to the boiling liquid.
- Cut the apricots in half vertically, keeping the halves intact. Remove the stones.
- 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.
- Transfer them to a bowl and allow them to cool.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Add raspberries to the barely simmering liquid in the pan. Poach for 1 minute. Remove them to a small bowl.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Adjust the heat so the poaching liquid boils briskly and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 100ml. Approximately 15 minutes.
- 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.
- Cover and refrigerate the syrup for at least 30 minutes.
- 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.
- Garnish with small lavender flowers.
Do not use more than 1 tsp of culinary lavender flowers, it may become too overpowering.
Unless otherwise stated, text and photographs © 2011 How to be Gourmand. All Rights Reserved. Kindly request permission from the author to copy or reproduce elements of this blog.
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.
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.