The cake on the cover with its creamy frosting and confetti of colorful flower petals caught my interest in the bookstore and I had to pick up the book and take a peek through its pages.
When I saw the photographs of delicate rolled tuiles cookies freckled with dianthus flowers and the oven baked doughnuts with lilac cream filling I knew I had to get a copy of this beautiful cookbook.
I could hardly wait to try my own hand at making the jars of pastel-colored flower jellies that I saw in its pages.
You may think that eating flowers sounds exotic and unusual, but chances are already eating flowers and just don't realize it.
Artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli.
They're all flowers!
As author Miche Bacher points out, edible flowers add color, complexity and even a sense of mystery to cooking that leaves you pondering the origin of the subtle flavour notes in sweet treats and savoury dishes.
Each edible flower adds a unique and often surprising flavour- calendula flowers are peppery, dandelion flowers have a honey-like taste, daylilies taste like fresh, sweet lettuce leaves and orchids taste like a mix between cucumber and endive.
Cooking with Flowers is divided into a series of floral chapters. At the beginning of each, the author offers the botanical name of each flower as well as notes on the background of its culinary use, seasonality, preparation and measure.
At the very end of the book there are additional suggestions to stock-up your winter pantry with candied flowers, simple flower syrups, vinaigrettes, jellies, flower ice creams and sorbets.
The first thing I decided to tackle were the flower jellies.
You will be glad to know that the receipe's method was pretty straightforward and fairly quick.
Very briefly: first you make an infusion of rose petals using boiling water. After it stands for at least a couple of hours you strain away the petals, and bring the flower-infused liquid to a rolling boil. Then it is a simple matter of adding lemon juice, sugar and powdered pectin.
The author advises that the finished jelly can be refrigerated for up to a month, or if you can the jelly, it can last up to a year in your pantry.
So how do you imagine Rose Petal Jelly tastes?
I honestly didn't know what to expect when I made it. In the end, I was surprised: it didn't taste floral and it didn't entirely taste like standard fruit jellies either. The closest descriptive I can think of is the tang of crabapple jelly with a hint of citrus.
I also tried my hand at making a Nasturtium jelly.
Last night, I sliced and buttered a baguette, rubbed it with a little garlic and then spread on some fresh goat cheese. After toasting the little round baguette slices under the broiler for a few seconds, I added a dollop of the translucent nasturtium jelly and a sprig of lemon thyme. I served the little toasts with a glass of wine. Yum!
After my initial success I am really looking forward to trying some of the cookbook's other recipes. Carrot Sunflower Sandwich Cookies with Creamy Sunflower Frosting!
Now doesn't that sound delicious!
Quirk books has kindly given me a review copy that I am going to giveaway in a draw to one lucky reader.
To enter the book draw, please leave a comment below. I ask all entrants to make sure there is some kind of link available to their email address. I need to have a way to get hold of you should you be a winner!
The Cooking with Flowers book draw will remain open for one week.
I am going to link this review/giveaway to Holley's monthly garden book reviews meme. To discover other really great gardening books, please click the link: Roses and other Gardening Joys.
More Information and Links:
Quirk Books Homepage.
Quirk Books Cooking with Flowers webpage. You can see a preview of pages from the book by clicking "View Interior Spread".
About Miche Bacher, author of Cooking with Flowers: Informed by a diverse background in culinary, visual and healing arts, Miche Bacher cofounded Mali B Sweets which specializes in cakes, chocolate, and other sweet treats that are made from fresh, local ingredients. Miche is constantly seeking out creative uses for herbs, flowers and spices in recipes both sweet and savory. She resides in Greenport, New York with her husband Noah, her two sons and their dog Mali.
About the book's Photographer Miana Jun: Miana Jun is an international photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. To see some of Miana's beautiful photographs and a sampling of her work for Cooking with Flowers, please click the link.
Please Note: Other than the cover, the author and the photographer's picture, the images in this post are my own.