What to get for Mother's Day? Chocolates, Spa Break, Potted Plant, Flowers? Flowers are usually the big winners for Mother's Day. But have you ever thought of serving them to your Mother for lunch? Great British Chefs have a wonderful dish of edible tulips by Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon. Who better than ex-florist & young Mum, Urvashi Roe aka @BotanicalBaker to have a try at making them? Let's see how she did.
Photography and blog post by Urvashi Roe
Flowers are at the top of the gift list for Mother’s Day this coming weekend. Fresh bouquets, pot plant arrangements and gift sized trees have overtaken the High Street in preparation. They are all very lovely but if you fancy treating your Mum to something completely different this Sunday how about serving up a plate of flowers?
As an ex-florist and a keen cook, I have always used flowers to decorate cakes and desserts. Visually they can make a plain white wedding cake look spectacular or an everyday cake really stand out and look special.
Urvashi's Orange Polenta Cake
I had never really thought about whether they were edible or not until I was on The Great British Bake Off and Mary Berry insisted that “everything on the plate must be edible”.
I discovered that there are actually many varieties of flowers that are completely edible and have the sweet taste that you’d expect. Roses, pansies, jasmine and violas fall into this category.
Elderflower and Honeycomb Tarts by Urvashi Roe
Others are most definitely savoury. You may have seen Nasturtiums and Borage in salads or come across stuffed Courgette Flowers? Tulips are also part of this group and so when I saw a recipe by Pascal Aussignac on Great British Chefs website entitled Primavera Tulips I had to try it out. Here's a video of Pascal going to the flower market and making the dish.
First I prepared the tulips by washing them thoroughly and taking out the parts protected by the petals.
I then made the filling of peas, mushrooms, spring onions, sugar snaps, dill, tapioca and parmesan. I’ve never cooked a savoury dish using tapioca before but it worked really well. It also didn’t take as long as I thought I would with all the fine chopping involved!
Stuffing the tulips was a bit fiddly as mine had a lot of petals so I found piping it in with a 1cm nozzle very helpful. I also found shaping the pea puree into leaves really tricky. I would have preferred to use dill sprigs but I’m really glad I persevered because the final plate looked amazing!
It tasted pretty awesome too. I was really surprised at the onion undertones of the petals and the filling would not have been the same without the tapioca. The stems tasted just like baby leeks and the pea puree added a little sweetness to the whole dish. Every single thing on the plate was edible so Mary Berry would have been happy too!
If you’d like to have a go at this pretty plate of flowers here are my top tips:
Try to buy organic tulips or use ones growing in your garden as these obviously have less fertilisers on them.
Use really brightly coloured tulips like red or deep pink because you’ll lose some colour with the steaming. My tulips were bright red but as you can see the cooked petals are purple.
Leave your tulips to wilt so the stems fit nicely into your steamer. Tulip stems suck water up really fast and this is why they stand annoyingly upright when you want them to have that floppy magazine effect. Leave them out of water for about 30 minutes and the stems will perfect. Incidentally to keep the floppy effect in a vase just top up with no more than an inch of water every day.
Make sure you take all the inner parts out of the flower as some are poisonous. I chopped the large bits with a pair of scissors and then took a paring knife to shave off the rest.
Make the filling and pea purée the day before because then this perfect, pretty plate of flowers will take just 5 minutes to serve up.
Photography and blog post by Urvashi Roe
Pascal's Primavera Tulips are part of Great British Chefs special Mother's Day Collection of lovely recipes you can serve for Mothering Sunday. Do you agree with Mary Berry and believe that everything on a plate should be edible, or can flowers just be used for decoration? Have you ever tried cooking flowers before? Which other flowers would make an ideal part of a meal? We're discussing this over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.