The lavender bushes near me have been taking a bit of a beating from last week’s remarkable heat and sunshine. I was just about thinking that my summer of cooking with fresh lavender was over – until I went to see my sister in Cheshire. Round there it’s still lavender a-plenty.
For the past few months I’ve been using these flavoursome flowers in all kinds of recipes where rosemary would usually go. Particularly successfully in this joint of lamb with a paste of lavender and garlic rubbed into it.
Lavender and Garlic Roast Lamb
You need the kind of joint that can be rolled up. Supermarkets sometimes sell rolled joints that have their own stuffing in and there are worse things than getting one of those, unrolling it, taking their stuffing out and replacing it with this.
For a joint that will feed four:
Pull the flowers off eight lavender heads. Mush those up with the zest of a lemon, two crushed garlic cloves, a sprig or so of thyme, some pepper, salt and enough olive oil to turn it into a paste. Smear that all over the inside of the meat, pushing it into nooks and crannies.
Roll the meat up and wrap string around to hold it together. Roast as you normally would but with the ‘open’ side of the joint facing upwards. If the join faces down then as it cooks the lavender etc will seep out rather than sending the flavour into the meat.
Serve with a lightly dressed beetroot & walnut salad and some green beans.