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Lavender in cooking
The scent and flavour of lavender flowers and leaves can be employed in a number of ways in cooking. They can flavour sweets and give a different yet scrumptious taste to savoury dishes. Lavender risotto: just delicious.
This herb, mostly known for its cosmetic use than the culinary one, has so many benefits that should be even taken in. At the herbalist’s shop it is recommended to treat spasms, headaches, intestinal cramps, nausea and hiccup as well as to alleviate the cough. It is useful for those who suffer from asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. Lavender also prevents urinary tract infections.
Its flowers, both fresh or dry, have an intense aroma and should be used carefully in cooking. Its leaves, which are edible too, have a more delicate flavour. For this reason they are more suitable for savoury dishes and in those recipes in which the flowers would be too scented.
A trick to soften the flowers’ pungent smell when you make a sweet dish is to infuse them into some lukewarm milk that you will use to prepare the dough once you have let it cool down and filtered it. Provence herb mixtures contain both lavender flowers and leaves as well as other Mediterranean herbs including rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, marjoram, savory, mint and they are suitable to season fresh cheese, vegetables, salads, grilled meat and creamy main courses.
Lavander risotto is exceptional. Don’t expect this dish to smell of soap. Lavender risotto is scrumptious and you would want to eat it until the last forkful. There are two different schools of thought on how to prepare it: with vegetable broth flavoured by two flowered heads of lavender or with minced lavender leaves (and no flowers), rosemary and shallot sautéed with a knob of butter cream. According to the latter version you should add to these ingredients the rice, the vegetable broth and simmer with white wine until reduced. In both versions garnish the dish with lavender flowers.
As a snack you can sip a cup of lavender tea, which is tranquillizing and refreshing and it is useful to relieve headaches. It is prepared by adding lavender flowers and leaves to boiling water and infuse them for five minutes.
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