We’ve been longing to travel… but that won’t be happening soon So, if we can’t travel to Provence at least we can bring that idyllic wine and lavender oasis of France to our dinner table. And what is more reminiscent of the beautiful region in France than herbes de Provence.
Obviously travelling vicariously is not quite the real thing but, it’ll have to do and what better way to travel than through food.
This week it’s a simple meal: chicken, dusted in flour and roasted with shallots, lemons, tomatoes, olives and garlic in a douse of dry red wine (I use the Pinot Noir from our sister company North 42 Degrees Estate Winery https://north42degrees.com/product/pinot-noir-2018-vqa/ ) and a sprinkle of our own blend of herbes de Provence. https://serenitylavender.com/product/herbs-de-provence/ The chicken pieces crisp up on top, while the shallots and garlic melt into sweetness below. You could serve with rice, mashed potatoes or a simple green salad and a crispy fresh baguette to mop up the sauce.
Chicken Provencal with Herbes de Provence
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ to ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Serenity Lavender herbes de Provence
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 medium-size shallots, peeled and halved
- 1 pint/2 cups of cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives
- ⅓ cup dry red Wine
- 4 sprigs of thyme, for serving
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture; this will ensure the skin gets nice and crispy
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow pan or plate, and lightly dredge the chicken in it, shaking the pieces to remove excess flour.
On the stove top in an oven proof skillet heat the olive oil and place the floured dredged chicken skin side down until crispy and golden brown about 6-7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook the other side for about 6-7 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with the herbes de Provence.
Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves, tomatoes and shallots around the chicken, then add the dry red wine to the pan.
Put the pan in the oven, and roast for 10-12 minutes, then baste it with the pan juices (do not skip this step). Continue roasting for another 20minu tes, or until the chicken is very crisp and the meat cooked through.
Serve in the pan or on a warmed platter, garnished with fresh thyme sprigs.
Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or crisp baguette.
This time of year there is a lot of entertaining going on in our neighbourhood with house parties abound. The food is just as diverse are our friends who are hosting these little soirees from wine and cheese minglers to the causal elegance of a sit down dinner.
If you are hosting a party this season we have a perfect recipe that gives a tender juicy lamb loin or rib chop a bit of zing in the flavour department using locally grown lavender. The aromatic rub of lavender and orange zest is an ideal flavour combination to make any cut of lamb a herbal fragrant note that is reminiscent of the southern coast of France.
Served with a lovely fall salad of arugula or other bitter greens and tossed with roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate seeds are delightfully sweet and crunchy. The bright red colour and burst of flavour is one of our favourite additions to any salad this time of year, not just this one.
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon Serenity Lavender’s dried culinary lavender buds
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground black peppercorns
8 double cut lamb chops (about 450 grams each)
In a bowl, blend the olive oil with the shallot orange zest, lavender, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the lamb chops ad transfer them onto a broiling pan or metal rack set on a baking sheet. Let the chops rest in the fridge for 2 -3 hours
Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8-10 inches from the heat. Broil the chops for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until the temperature reads 140 degrees F.
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a large lemon)
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
400 grams of arugula
1/2 cup of roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the arugula in a large bowl. Add the remainder of the ingredients into a small round covered plastic container. Shake well until the oil and lemon juice are blended. Pour over the lettuce, toss and serve with the lamb chops.
Our bees have been busy this year and we have once again we have lavender honey!
What’s the buzz? A worker bee gathers in her entire life 0.8 gram (0.0288 ounce) of honey and it requires 556 worker bees and a million flowers to gather a pound of honey. Bees normally fly once around the world to gather enough nectar for that pound of honey but we make it a bit easier for them by placing our hives in our lavender production field. Still, that’s a lot of flowers.
Bees at work at Serenity Lavender
Raw honey has been used as a folk remedy throughout history. But those old wives tales are true and honey has a variety of health benefits and medical uses. It’s chocked full of antioxidants, is heart healthy and tastes delicious too!
The bees arrived back on our property on June 7th and we have 8 hives this year. The bees were very busy with 2 blooms this summer and our first batch of honey was extracted on July 21st.
Taste the pure goodness of raw lavender honey
Lavender honey in the making
Sooooo golden in colour and the delicate floral scent of lavender flows through this pleasant, well balanced and rounded honey.
Our bees make terrific lavender honey – not infused
Lavender honey comb
And we just stocked our shelves with some gorgeous honeycomb. Eating honeycomb is one way to enjoy the full fruits of our bees’ labour. To produce one pound of wax the bees consume 6-8 lbs of honey. The wax is edible and honeycomb contains not just honey but also pollen and sometimes royal jelly. It’s the perfect addition to a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and you’ll find it on our charcuterie boards at the Bistro 42.
We’ll be saying goodbye to our bees soon as the evenings cool but we thought we’d share this old family recipe as our bee season winds down and they go into hibernation.
Polish Honey Spice Cookies (Pierniczki)
1 c sugar
¼ c water
1 c honey
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
4 tsp butter
4 c flour
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup warm water
1 c confectioner’s sugar
1-2 Tbsp water depending on the thickness of the icing you want (glazed or piped)
½ teaspoon almond or peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan measure out 2 Tbsp of sugar and ¼ cup of water stir until dissolved and carmelize over gentle heat stirring until it begins to turn a golden brown colour. Add the remaining sugar, honey, spices and butter. Stir continuously until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from the stovetop and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl beat the egg and mix in the flour, baking soda and water. Blend in the sugar add spice mixture . Knead the dough until smooth. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest 20 minutes.
On a flour dusted countertop roll out the dough into a rectangle. Cut the dough into shapes using your favourite cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool. Ice the cookies.
All we can say is Wow! Our hearts are filled with gratitude to all those who came out to Lavender Festival 2019. From the artists and artisans to the musicians, our amazing team and to all of you, our customers a great big THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts! You all made this weekend a tremendous success!!!
Presentation, any chef will tell you, is vital to every finished dish. Open your nearest cookbook. Turn on the Food Channel. All the dishes have something in common; beautiful, well-presented dishes.
Our Chef Shawn will teach you the art of plating and presentation. He will teach you the rules to food presentation, garnish and techniques to plate the perfect dish and make your table shine. You will learn exciting new techniques such as: foam, spherification, carving and the use of smoke.
What to expect: Heaps of concepts to impress your guests and make any of your dishes look as beautiful as they taste. Learn how to set your table, fold napkins and make the use of height for that “Wow!” factor.
Dinner is available prior to the workshop. Reserve a table in our Bistro 42 by calling 519-738-6111.
Owners Martin and Suzanne are lovingly sharing their Polish culture and Christmas tradition in this busy workshop. They will demonstrate the technique of pierogi making with step-by-step instruction from the dough to the final dumpling. You will learn how to make 3 different fillings: potato & cheese, Sauerkraut & mushroom, and sour cherry, as well as tricks and tips for making those little packets of love seal properly. Of course, you’ll have a tasting of these delightful creations and take a sample package home.
Make an entire evening of the event by booking dinner at our own Bistro 42. Reserve your table by calling 519-738-6111.
Learn all about chocolate in our after-work chocolate truffle demonstration.
Under the guidance of our owner and microbiologist, Martin Gorski, and our Executive Chef, Steven Straiko, you’ll discover the origins of chocolate, how it is grown, and the process that turns this humble fruit into the chocolate we love. By the end of the demonstration you’ll understand the technique of tempering, preparing a basic ganache and how to hand roll and scoop ganache. You’ll learn about wine and chocolate pairing with an actual tasting, and each participant will receive a recipe and samples of truffles to take home.
Make an entire evening of the event and book your table for dinner at our own Bistro 42. Reservations can be made by calling us at 519-738-6111.
This time of year brings me back to my grandmother’s orchard with its wonderful fruit selection – plums, pears, peaches, and apples. My all time favourite were the wonderfully ripe peaches. They were so fragrant and succulent that the juices ran all over with just one bite. I can still smell the aromas just thinking about my childhood.
In days gone by we had many peach orchards in beautiful Essex County. We even celebrated peaches in our little town of Harrow with a festival and the crowning of the Peach Queen. The Harrow Research Station developed a number of peach varieties such as the Harrow Beauty and Harrow Diamond Peach. Today, you can still find fresh peaches at our neighbour’s Leslie and Doug of the Fruit Wagon and Maria’s on Ridge Road.
So today in celebration of the long weekend and fresh Essex County peaches I thought I’d share a lovely adult beverage recipe that incorporates my favourite herb- lavender and of course those luscious peaches.
Lavender Peach Bellini
2 ripe large peaches, peeled, halved and stone removed
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon Serenity Lavender’s culinary lavender
750 ml bottle of North 42 Degrees Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, chilled
Fresh lavender sprigs to garnish
Add water into a small pot. Bring to a boil add sugar stir until completely dissolved. Take off the heat and add 1 teaspoon of Serenity Lavender’s culinary lavender. Put the lid on the pot and steep for about 20 minutes. Strain the lavender and put the lavender simple syrup mixture into the fridge until cooled completely.
Blend the peaches in a blender until smooth. Place 1 tablespoon of peach puree into a glass add 1 tablespoon of lavender simple syrup and top with chilled sparkling wine.
Decorate each glass with a lavender sprig and serve straight away!
Use 1 parts puree to 4 parts sparkling wine. Good quality peach juice can be used as a substitute.
A match made in heaven- zesty lemon and luscious lavender! We can’t get enough of these creamy fragrant white chocolate bites and with Valentine’s day a few weeks away what better occasion to make these rich white chocolate treats for the one you love.
Finely chopped pistachios for garnish, cake sparkles or powdered sugar
In the top portion of a double boiler, combine the whipping cream, butter, lavender, lemon zest and lemon juice. Over low heat bring the mixture to a simmer while stirring continually.
Remove the mixture from the stove and extract the lavender and lemon zest by passing the liquid through a fine sieve.
Add water to the bottom pot of the double boiler and heat. Add the chocolate into the warm mixture of whip cream . Stir until it is smooth and melted. Do not melt the chocolate over direct heat.
Once you have a smooth mixture with the chocolate, pour the ganache (cream & chocolate mixture) into a bowl and leave a room temperature for up to 5 hours. At this point, the ganache should be hard enough to hold whatever form you wish. Use a teaspoon or a small melon baller to place small heaps of the truffle mix onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer for 15 minutes
Remove the ganache from the freezer, and quickly roll each heap between your hands to create small smooth balls, and place back onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roll each ball in chopped pistachio nuts, cake sparkles or powdered sugar and finish with a bud of lavender atop each truffle. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Adapted from Adventures in Cooking;
photo from Photo from betsylife.com.
Here’s a nice easy recipe for Lavender Lemon tea cookies that we’ve adapted from Dietitians of Canada, COOK! A tea time favourite- oooh so pretty too! They are a perfect pairing with a cup of Serenity Lavender’s Lavender Earl Grey tea on a cold winter’s day or just a nice treat to chase away the winter blues.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Serenity Lavender’s lavender sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 large egg beaten
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 tsp lemon extract
1 cup icing sugar
2 1/2 – 3 tbsp 2% milk
2 tsp non-hydrogenated margarine
1 tsp lemon extract
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
In a large bowl, combine flour, lavender sugar and baking powder. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg, milk and lemon extract. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until a stiff dough forms (do not over mix).
Drop 1 tablespoonful (15 mL) about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
In small bowl, combine icing sugar, milk, margarine and lemon extract to form a smooth, thin frosting.
Drizzle frosting over cooled cookies and top with Serenity Lavender’s Culinary lavender buds.
Makes about 30 cookies
Excerpted from Dietitians of Canada, COOK! by Mary Sue Waisman, photos by Colin Erricson © 2011 Robert Rose Inc.