The Edible Flower's first cookbook is inspired by the seasonal produce they grow in their kitchen garden and the wild food they forage
Organic gardener Jo Facer and Ballymaloe-trained head chef Erin Bunting run the Edible Flower, a farm-to-fork supper club, organic smallholding and fledgling cooking and growing school on a seven-acre smallholding in rural Northern Ireland.
Their first cookbook is inspired by the seasonal produce they grow in their kitchen garden and the wild food they forage from their local shores and hedgerows, and aims to prove that edible flowers are not just decorative, but a versatile ingredient which can bring a unique flavour and seasonality to dishes.
Illustrated with over 200 photographs, the colourful hardback features more than 50 recipes for small plates, mains, desserts, baking, snacks and drinks, and is split into sections for each flower, from borage and carnation to English lavender and wild garlic.
The recipes are more accessible than you might imagine. A pickled kohlrabi, cucumber and vibrant blue borage salad has "a cooling sweetness" that is "amazing with curries, while the acidity cuts through the richness of slow-roasted meats", advises the recipe, adding that it's just as delicious "loaded into a sandwich or pitta with leftovers the following day".
Courgette flower tacos have a long list of ingredients and elements, but simply involve chopping and assembly and can be prepared in advance. Slow-roast lamb is paired with lavender for "a clean, aromatic flavour", while the comfort-food classic bread and butter pudding is given a sophisticated twist with an almondy hawthorn custard, apricots and dark chocolate.
There are more elaborate recipes, too. A showstopping edible flower cake with sweet geranium, blackcurrant and vanilla is special enough for a celebration "or even a wedding cake", but requires advance planning as the flowers take a couple of weeks to press.
From gardening tips to helpful how-to guides, The Edible Flower hopes to make this largely untapped culinary delight more accessible. More than just a cookbook,it is rather an inspiration for a more sustainable way of living.
The Edible Flower: A Modern Guide to Growing, Cooking and Eating Edible Flowers By Erin Buntin and Jo Facer (Laurence King Publishing, £30)