Book Review: Discover Cooking with Lavender by Kathy Gehrt

By Tracy Breckon
Echo Lane Lavender and Fibre Arts

Kathy Gehrt’s, ‘Discover Cooking with Lavender’ is a wonderful book that will have you putting lavender on the same shelf as the rest of your most loved cooking herbs.

Her recipes reflect a personal practice to, “use fresh, natural ingredients, enjoying simplicity and unique flavors.” I can envision myself using each and every recipe this book contains, beginning with the light sweetness of ‘Lavender Ginger Lemon Sugar’ to the robust and earthy ‘Hearty Tuscan Lamb Stew with Lavender’.

Each page reads as though a dear friend is divulging her secrets of lavender use, helping you to incorporate this exotic herb into your everyday menus. Kathy also includes notations with each recipe listing the origin, taste or a suggestion to set the scene for enjoyment.

Among the recipes I have tried, since purchasing my copy just a few days ago is, ‘Herbes de Provence’ found on page 21. It is a simple mix of dried herbs making it useful anytime of year. I added one slightly rounded Tablespoonful to approximately 3 pounds of peeled and cooked potatoes, mashed and mixed with butter, milk and a pinch of salt. My whole family agrees this recipe is a keeper. They are all food critics on their own scale and this is not the first time I have served them ‘flowers’ at meal time!

As well as the recipes, the photos throughout the book by food stylist, Shelley Thomas, and photographer, Brian Smale, will have you salivating and longing for next years’ harvest days of fresh lavender and sunshine.

I highly recommend, ‘Discover Cooking with Lavender’ as a useful addition to your library and as an inspiring gift for any cook at any time of the year.

Recipe for Lavender Mulled Wine

found on pg. 50 of Discover Cooking with Lavender – Courtesy Kathy Gehrt

Mulled wine is warm and comforting when the weather turns cool. It is great for sipping while sitting by the fireplace.

3 days in advance – pre-mix 1 tablespoon of dried culinary buds with 2 cups of granulated sugar. Place in airtight container and allow to sit for 3 days before using the mixture in the recipe.

1 bottle dry red wine (merlot or cabernet sauvignon both work well)

1/2 cup of Lavender Sugar

1 cinnamon stick

6 allspice berries

2 whole cloves

2 strips lemon zest

2 strips orange zest

1 sliced lemon or orange

Additional cinnamon sticks for garnish

1. Combine the wine, lavender sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and lemon and orange zests in a large saucepan.

2. Bring to simmer over medium heat, then cook for 5 minutes.

3. Strain into mugs and garnish with lemon or orange slices and cinnamon sticks.