Lavender & Honey Lamb

I’ve had this recipe in my head for such a long time, years, in fact. It’s not a new idea, it’s just that I’ve never cooked with lavender before. I remember mentioning it to the friend I was living with at the time only to have him look back at me with a confused expression – ‘lavender? in food?’  Using lavender in this way really works. Just don’t go using any you found in your local park or garden centre, it’s probably been sprayed with pesticides or some such nasty business. English lavender is apparently the best but if you live in another part of this glorious world don’t fret, you can buy it dried and be safe in the knowledge that you are just getting lavender and not a hefty dose of weed killer. We actually ended up with French Lavender.

The floral, pine like and slightly citrussy flowers combined with sweet honey and orange zest was a total winner. They would also be delicious grilled on the barbecue (I think I write that a lot don’t I?), if you have a decent one, which we currently don’t. Disposable barbecues and I have fallen out big time. A word of warning though, don’t go OTT on the lavender, it has similarities to rosemary and I suspect it will taste equally like perfume if you overuse it.

We ate the lollipops of lamb with a salad made from fennel tops and leaves dressed with mint sauce. I’ve not given a recipe for the mint sauce as it’s all down to personal taste. Just finely chop some fresh mint leaves, add enough red or white wine (or cider) vinegar to loosen it to a sauce, add a pinch of salt and then sweeten to taste with sugar.

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Lavender and Honey Lamb

1 rack of lamb, French trimmed
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers (depending on the size of your rack!), stripped from the stalks
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed with some sea salt
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7

– Mix the garlic, lavender, orange zest and honey in a bowl.
– Season the rack with pepper then heat a heavy based pan until very hot (until you can no longer hold your hand over it at a distance of 3″ or so for 3 seconds).
– Put the lamb in the pan, fat side down and render down the fat for about 10 minutes then flip it over for 1 minute onto the bones side just to get some colour.
– Remove from the pan and set aside. Let the lamb come back to room temperature and then brush with the lavender mixture.
– Put in a roasting tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes then let rest for 15 for medium-rare lamb.

Category: Barbecue, Flowers, Gluten-free, Main Dishes, Meat 29 comments »

29 Responses to “Lavender & Honey Lamb”

  1. Sophie

    I’ve been meaning to try lavender with lamb for ages too but I’ve always been a bit wary about what kind of lavender to use. I figured if it was grown for smelling rather than eating it might be absolutely covered in lots of nasty pesticides. I’m intrigued to know if Chris bought organic lavender or special cooking lavender, or if it was the normal florists/smelly things shop type lavender?

    Whatever it was it sounds like it worked perfectly. Looks delicious!

  2. Helen

    Hi Sophie, I am pretty sure this is organic lavender. I can’t remember the exact conversation but I know I wouldn’t have cooked with it otherwise. I do know however, that it is just ‘ordinary’ lavender, not a special type for cooking.

  3. Lizzie

    This sounds really interesting. I first saw the use of lavender at Ros’s blog http://www.roshani.co.uk/livingtoeat/index.php/2007/03/21/duck-breast-with-lavender-and-honey/ where she paired it with honey and duck. Seems quite strongly flavoured meat holds up well to it! Beautiful pics, as always.

  4. Peter

    AHAHAHAHA, you made a rack of lamb too…splendid! I see that you added orange zest too…nicely done!

    The chops look succulent and lavender is definitely an exotic ingredient for cooking. Did ya eat these with your fingers ’cause I would.

  5. Helen

    Lizzie – Thanks for directing me to Ros’s blog, I’m going to have a good look around.
    Peter – Is there any other way to eat them?!

  6. Peter G

    Helen, I think I’m in love with this dish! Wow! I can smell it through the computer!…LOL This is good stuff…amazing!

  7. David Hall

    As always Helen – absolutely fantastic! I can almost taste this now and you have made me starving. Which isn’t good – I’m just about to leave for a 7 mile run!?

    Cheers
    Dave

  8. Mag

    Hi Helen,
    Oh wow, I love lamb cutlets, I usually just place them on the grill, I never used lavender, but now I will defenitely use your recipe, it looks so good. Thanks.

  9. Fearless Kitchen

    This looks amazing. I love lavender, much to the Spouse’s chagrin. Your technique – rendering out some of the fat before adding the rub – is really interesting.

  10. Heather

    That sounds and looks wonderful. I make a similar sauce but use olive oil instead of vinegar.

  11. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    WOW WOW WOW! This is true brilliance Helen! Amazing, fantastic genius!

  12. Terry B

    Helen–You had me at lamb. But the honey and lavender sound like a wonderful combination, especially balanced with the garlic [and come on, how can you have lamb without garlic?].

  13. Wendy

    Ooooooh, there’s lots of lavendar in my garden. This has to be tried out. :)

  14. Kalyn

    The lamb is gorgeous. I’m not sure how I feel about lavender though, I don’t like the smell that much.

  15. Jeanne

    Oh wow, how gorgeous that looks! I love the taste of lavender – first had it many years ago on a game farm in South Africa and fell in love. And I think I need to get to the Ginger Pig for one of those racks of lamb – you’ve got my mouth watering now!

  16. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    I’m speechless! That lamb looks absolutely divine! I just bought a tin of culinary lavendar a few weeks ago without a clue as to what to make with it. This is it!

  17. nina

    I have loads of lavender in my garden and I know that they have never been sprayed with anything except water so I will most definitely give this a go. Wow, the lamb is perfectly cooked!

  18. City Girl DC

    Oh Helen, that lamb looks amazing! I love lamb but would never have thought of cooking it this way. Sounds terrific.

  19. The Phantom Chef

    I did a similar recipe, but with blueberry http://thebellyrulesthemind.blogspot.com/2008/03/rack-of-lamb-with-blueberry-and.html – Lavender is fantastic and very aromatic It’s always a talking point when put in food

  20. We Are Never Full

    I have to say, mint sauce (along w/ a bread sauce in close second) is one of the best things my English husband introduced me to. This looks really great. Love the idea of honey with the lamb.

  21. Helen

    Peter G – You can smell it through the computer?! If only!
    David – You really are addicted to that running aren’t you?
    Mag – Do try lavender, it’s a wonderful and under used aromatic ingredient.
    Fearless Kitchen – Thanks, I definitely wanted to render some fat down first although next time I will cook it out even more. I like crispy fat, but not flabby.
    Heather – I see, so you make it more of a dressing than a sauce.
    Jenn – You are very kind, as ever!
    Terry B – How can you have lamb without garlic? Exactly! Classic combo.
    Wendy – You and your lovely garden! Let me know what you think of the lavender
    Kalyn – If you don’t like the smell, I can almost guarantee you won’t like the taste either, it tastes a lot like it smells!
    Jeanne – Yes! It’s delish. I’m going to be using lavender a lot more now.
    Susan – It’s a sign!
    Nina – Thanks, these timings worked perfectly, even though our oven is a touch temperamental.
    City Girl – Thanks!
    Phantom – I just checked out your version, very nice! I would never have thought to put it with blueberries. You are right, great talking point too.
    We are never full – They are great English condiments – classics!

  22. african vanielje

    I’ve tried this before as we’ve always had lavender growing in our garden, luckily. And now I also have the Somerset Organic Lavender farm just down the road from where I live. Lavender has so many amazing culinary applications, and I agree with you, it is delicious with lamb and honey. My mouth is watering looking at your lovely dish. I wish I was sharing your sharing platter with you. The salad sounds gorgeous too.

  23. Heather

    It’s a pistou – the oil just holds it together (I don’t use that much).

  24. myfrenchkitchen

    Your lamb looks absolutley divine!! And along with lavender, seasonal and perfect. Beautiful photo.
    Ronell

  25. matt wright

    This looks awesome!

  26. Jason

    That looks absolutely fabulous. I will try this recipe very soon hopefully.

  27. Yannis Mameletzis

    I’m so making this for friends.
    Wow.

    Greeks love their lamb you know, but the lavender touch is ridiculously smart.
    Wow!

  28. James

    What an amazing combo. Lavender biscuits, lavender bread, now lavender lamb….. the possibilities are endless. Driving through the Snowshill Lavender fields as I traverse the Cotswolds is the most amazing sight when it’s in full bloom – especially set against the sunset. I know where I’ll be getting mine…..

  29. Kirsten

    I have linked my travel blog http://www.thechocolaterucksack.com to this site as I found this delicious recipe was worth a mention.
    My post is all about lavender so it fits perfectly.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

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