Did you have to read the title of this blog post twice? And when you did, did you go W-H-A-T(!)-did-I-read-that-right(?)-and has-she-gone-completely-mental(?) this time?
The short answer to that is: Yes, you read that right. And no, I have no gone completely mental. (Although I might as well just be because this month’s challenge has been completely over my head!). Here’s the evidence:
So what happened there then?
Well, thanks to the unusual theme of edible flowers from my dear South African buddy, Gen over at Eat, Play, Clove for this month challenge, I’ve been nudged to step over to the uncharted waters. While the instruction was simple i.e. just use flowers in whatever way, the ingredient itself was not.
It was a tough challenge this! So many questions!
Firstly: What flowers can be eaten?
Secondly: Where would I find flowers that could be safely eaten?
And lastly: What food do I make with the flowers? (and what if we get sick!)
Funnily enough, when Gen told me about the challenge, we were in the midst of getting plants into our garden in the backyard. While shopping around for plants, a fleeting thought of edible flowers came wandering into my mind. I entertained that thought for a while but never really dwell on it.
Then Gen put it out there!
Since then, my radar for edible flowers came out. It wasn’t long before I start questioning if every flowers I see especially those sold along our langs de wegwere edible. I was beginning to get obsessed with the thought of edible flower and was veraciously reading about it.
On the other hand, I was also seriously getting worried that I may not be able to find them in time for this month’s challenge. Only because we could not find any that are cultivated to be eaten. Would using it only as a decorative garnish work? (It was nice to flirt with that idea for a while, though I’m sure Gen would probably smack my head with that)
And then the stars aligned. Just a week before I was almost pushed to throw in the towel (I did not want to), we found our answers from the neighbourhood’s garden center:
Aha! No more being obsessive about roadside flowers; this was it! Clearly labelled as edible and looking pretty good, the potted pansies and calendulas were begging to be bought. We also got ourselves some lavender too but to date, they have yet to start budding. So no go for lavender. Yet.
With these bloom bites ready to be used, I was ready to roll. There was however, no point of reference as to what these flowers would taste like,so I thought that I’d first do a pansy infusion with regular honey. I then decided to make a custard-like cake with it. The calendula petals were mainly used as toppings.
While I love how the custard cake turned out – spongy on the top, gooey in the middle and slightly jelly-like at the bottom, the flowery taste was not so prominent. Perhaps I did not use enough of it; there weren’t plenty to begin with.
Still. I’d say this is worth a try:
Pansy & Calendula Custard Cake
Soft, creamy, gooey pansy-infused honey custard cake topped with calendula petals to excite your taste buds.
This is by far one of the more difficult challenges I have done in the course of our Monthly Mystery Munchies . There is no doubt in my mind that Gen is the real instigator here who has now successfully fuelled the thought of using flowers in my cooking from now on.
This has been a huge learning curve for me. Right now, I’ll not only be waiting for more of my calendulas and pansies, but also waiting patiently for my lavender to bud and bear us those scented blooms.