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roasted chicken lavender

Roast Chicken with Lavender and Honey

Lavender, honey, lemon and thyme is an intoxicating combination. Their fragrance seems to take all drama out of the day, you can almost make believe you’re in the warm sunny Mediterranean. Roast chicken is perhaps the most comforting of all home cooked meals, combine it with these ingredients and you have a very special offering. This recipe is an adaptation of one by Rachel Khoo of The Little Paris Kitchen. It’s lovely, it makes you feel happy and turns the ordinary into extraordinary. Do try it. Culinary lavender seems to be available pretty easily these days, I found mine in Target!

Roast Chicken with Lavender and Honey.
adapted from a recipe by Rachel Khoo

1 4lb chicken, organic if possible
1 lemon
2 tablespoons culinary lavender
1/3 cup runny honey
A generous handful of fresh thyme
1 garlic bulb


Heat the oven to 375 F

In a bowl mix together the honey, lavender, juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon.

Dry your chicken and place in a roasting pan. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, give it a nice massage. Stuff the chicken with a 1/4 of a lemon and a few cloves of the garlic bulb.

Sprinkle over a few fresh thyme leaves, tuck the rest of the lemon and garlic bulb around the chicken. Place in the oven and roast for approximately an hour to an hour and a quarter basting frequently. If the top of the chicken is browning too quickly place some aluminum foil over the top.

When the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the oven.   Cover with foil, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Remove to a platter and serve.

strawberry crostata

Strawberry Crostata

When I think of a crostata I automatically think of the word “rustic.” Which is a good word as my interpretation is “don’t worry, it absolutely doesn’t have to be perfect, no pressure!” 
I like this, my day becomes so much more manageable without the added pressure of a perfect pie crust. Just roll it out, ladle on the fruit giving no particular thought to its arrangement and fold over the edges in a haphazard fashion. It’s sort of kindergarten pie making. The outcome is almost always a delight, a gorgeous slice of buttery pastry dripping with a sweet fruity filling – happiness.

Strawberry Crostata.

For the filling:

3 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in half
Zest and juice of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoon all purpose flour

For the pastry:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg
1-2 tablespoons ice water
1 stick unsalted  butter (diced and very cold)
1 egg for egg wash


Heat the oven to 357  F.

First make the pastry. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Pulse about 10 times to combine.

Add the cubes of butter a couple at a time and pulse until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs.

In a measuring jug lightly whisk together the egg and water. With the motor running pour the liquid into the flour and process until the mixture just comes together. If the mixture is too dry add another tablespoon of water.

Turn out onto a floured surface and very lightly and quickly knead for a few seconds. Place onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap it up well and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

While the pastry is resting, hull the strawberries.

Mix them together with the lemon zest, juice, vanilla extract, toss with the flour.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to an approximate 10 inch round. Carefully lift the pastry round onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a slipat mat.

Place the strawberries in the middle of the pastry.

Fold the outside edges in all the way around. Chill for 30 minutes. Paint the outside pastry edge with an egg wash and place in the oven for approximately 45-50 minutes or until it’s gloriously golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.


Berry Tarts

What could be sweeter than an individual berry tart, this is a quick and easy version of the French fruit tart. The filling is a heavenly mix of whipped cream, lemon curd and vanilla instead of the heavier traditional filling of creme anglaise. Of course use your favorite berries – mine are raspberries which I feel complement the lemon nicely. Although the pastry is very easy to make, if you just don’t have the time or have a bit of a mental block about pastry (as I do about yeast) you could always use a store bought roll out variety – nobody needs to be the wiser. On the other hand if you didn’t want to use store bought lemon curd you could make your own, which although time consuming, is wonderfully delicious. Here is a fabulous lemon curd recipe from the BBC and also here from Carmen Rose’s Mi Cocina.

For the pastry:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (diced and cold)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon zest of lemon
1/2 cup iced water with a dash of vanilla extract.

For the filling:

1 small store bought jar of lemon curd (or homemade)
8 oz heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 pints fresh raspberries

1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are combined.

2. Add the diced butter a couple of cubes at a time and pulse until the mixture looks like course breadcrumbs.

3.  Pour the iced vanilla water slowly into the flour mixture and process until it clumps together. You may not need all the water, go slowly.

4. Take the dough out of the processor and place onto a couple of sheets of plastic wrap, bring the dough together gently and shape into a disc. Wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

5. Heat the oven to 350 F.

6. While the pastry is chilling flour and butter your tart pans, you could use one large one or multiple small ones.

7. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Cut out discs and line the tart pans. Pick well with a fork making sure you don’t pierce right the way through the tarts.

8. Place some greased aluminum foil on top of the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the baking beans and aluminum foil and return to the oven for a further 5 – 10 minutes or until just turning a light golden color. (If you are using one large tart pan adjust the baking times accordingly).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

9. Whip the heavy cream together with 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Gently fold in three quarters of the lemon curd.

10.  Spread the remainder of the lemon curd on the bottom of the tart shells. Fill with the lemony cream mixture. Arrange the raspberries on top and dust with the rest of the confectioner’s sugar.

lemon posset

Lemon Posset

I was fortunate enough to taste this sublime dessert at The Three Horseshoes Pub at Elsted, West Sussex when I was visiting my family in England. Deep in the depths of the idyllic English countryside we enjoyed a lovely fireside dinner. It was a very special evening but when I tasted this dessert I was practically swooning. I’ve done my very best to recreate this old fashioned British classic and judging by my family’s reaction (they polished it off in no time) I think I’ve come pretty close.


Possets are old English fare, they date back to the 1600s when they where used as medicinal drinks to treat fevers and colds. King Charles I was apparently given a posset to drink when he was feeling unwell, although it didn’t do him too much good in the long run as he was eventually beheaded, poor chap. But on to happier fare – now possets are more mousse like and so entirely happily delicious.

It’s so easy to make it’s almost ridiculous. It’s amazing to me just how delicious a dessert can be with minimum effort and such a short list of ingredients. It’s perfect for summer, sprinkle a few of your favorite berries over the top or do as my husband suggested, add some granola and a drizzle of honey – delicious!

Lemon Posset

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • A handful of fresh berries


1. Bring cream and sugar to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil for approximately 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and zest, cool for approximately 10-15 minutes.

3. Stir mixture again and divide among  ramekins. Cover the possets with cling film and place in the fridge until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. To serve scatter a few berries over the top of each posset and serve.