Thursday, 5 April 2012

Dandelion Delights

The dandelions in the front garden are rampant, and after eating some in a salad the other day I thought I would look some recipes and see if I could do anything else with such an unusual ingredient. Turns out you can do an awful lot. One in particular struck me as sounding pretty lovely, Dandelion Sorbet, you can find the recipe I used over at Emma Brabradshaw's Blog, a great blog I discovered in my quest.  I did make some rookie mistakes during this recipe but you can forgive that.

What you will need
2 pint glasses full of Dandelion Flowers - make sure you harvest them from a pesticide free area.
3 cups of Water
1/4 cup of Honey
1/2 Sugar
3tsp Lemon Juice

I made the most basic miss calculation, not picking enough dandelions, I mean they looked like there where hundreds in the garden. Emmas recipe calls for three pints I gathered about two, instead of two and a half cups of dandelions I had one. Ultimately that was quite good as it made two small portions.

Cut your dandelion petals as soon as you have harvested them or they will start to wither, don't cut to close to the white base of the petal as that area can be bitter. Try to avoid the green bits, but don't worry if there are some.

Next I added three cups of water, a quarter cup of honey and half a cup of sugar, then brought it all up to the boil. It was a bit fiddly getting all the honey into the water, my hands ended up getting sticky and I ended up with petals stuck to my fingers.

Now stir in the dandelions and turn down to a simmer, the smell is hypnotic. Slightly lemony and a bit like incense. Simmer for about an hour with the occasional stirring to keep an eye on the water level.  The colour will change dramatically.

Then use a very fine sieve or a muslin, and strain the syrup through it into a ice cream container. Add three tea spoons of lemon juice and put in the freezer.

Every couple of hours check on the forming sorbet and break up the ice a little. You do not want big lumps forming, it does take quite a while to set so I'd suggest making this when you get up if you are having a summer afternoon Barbecue. As rookie mistake #2 I thought it would set in a few hours so made it at like 6 o'clock in the evening. In the end I went to bed with it still like a sweet caramelish lovely tasting slushie in the freezer.

Luckily for me it broke up really easily, I then served it in ramekins. It tastes of something! something I just can't put my finger on, it is a definite taste I recognise but can't put my finger on. Almost like earl grey tea but not. It is very sweet, I'd maybe cut the honey next time I made it.

Belinda Stepford

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