Running through a field of lavender is something I wish I’d done much sooner in life….
(though not whilst wearing open-toed sandals. Now that is highly unrecommended).
The scent of Lavender for me will forever be connected with memories of my Grandmother. She always bought me little lavender scented gifts when she came to stay. Lavender scented stones and balm were like my magical fairy potion, that helped me drop off to sleep, and dream sweet dreams.
After arriving back into the somewhat colder clime of Southern England, our stop-over before returning home to Northern Ireland from France, I was able to spend a few hours with my Grandmother, Grandfather and Aunt who I rarely see. To my delight they took us to the beautiful little Caldwell Farm, home of Hitchin Lavender.
For as far as the eye can see, bright hues of purple and blue lavender line the fields. Row on row, different varieties and shades blend to make quite a breathtaking patchwork. Armed with scissors and a bag, we began to cut. That’s right, you can actually take the stuff home! Already I was dreaming up what yummy bakes I could make!
And I as mentioned, having just returned from a much warmer Monaco, I wasn’t exactly in the best Lavender picking attire. My white jeans and sandals were in for a shock. I managed to hold in my shrieks as I was tickled and scratched by what I can only hope was simply the Lavender plants, and not any unwanted creatures. (I was joined on foot later however, by a rather brave spider, whilst waiting on the airport bus in the rain, who was very rapidly kicked into oblivion!)
Armed with heaps of the purple flowers, they travelled safely home with me in my handbag.. which now has a beautiful lavender scent. As does everything else in there!
Left to dry on a tray for a few days and they were ready to be used in the kitchen! The little tea room at Hitchin was serving gorgeous Lavender Shortbread, and so I was inspired to give it a go myself. However, knowing my past experiences with any dough like mixtures, (see Vanilla Cookies) I was a little apprehensive to say the least. Yet miraculously they turned out a roaring success!
After whizzing my lavender and sugar together, my fingers (from stripping the stems) and the whole kitchen began to smell wonderful, and I had a good feeling things were heading in the right direction. Sure enough, after just a little coaxing and getting my hands in there, the dough came together. I call this my Lazy Lavender Shortbread, as it skips out the bit I find the most tricky, annoying, frustrating, time consuming.. etc etc. All faffing with a cookie cutter is replaced by simply shaping this yummy dough into a fat sausage and slicing into disks!
I found a perfect recipe from Nigella Lawson’s website, which you can find here: click for recipe. The only change I made was to cook them for a good extra 10 mins, as mine just weren’t ready after only 8-10.
Et voila, you’ve got yourself some extra scrummy, and quite fancy looking Lavender Shortbread! Give it a try lovelies.. they are to die for!