Lemon, Lavender and Primrose Tart

Following on from my previous post in which I pondered how to use primroses in the kitchen, here’s the result: Lemon, Lavender and Primrose Tart. Yes, you heard right. Lavender, even in March. How? Well, some of you may recall, back in August of last year, I made Lavender Sugar by adding lavender to a jar of sugar so that in the winter months I could add a floral fragrance to cakes and bakes. I then forgot all about it – until now! The lavender sugar was added to a simple lemon tart which I then topped with some crystallised primroses from the garden to create a fabulously floral confection. It’s a veritable posy of a pudding – perfect for Easter!




For the pastry

250g plain flour
70g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks

For the filling

5 eggs
120g lavender sugar
150ml double cream
Juice of 2-3 lemons (approx. 100ml)
2 tbsp lemon zest

For the decoration

A few primrose flowers
1 egg white (use the white left over from the yolks used in the pastry)
Handful of caster sugar


Make the pastry by mixing together the flour and the icing sugar in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub together until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg yolks and mix together, adding a drop of water if the mixture is too dry. Roll into a ball, cover in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 30 mins.

Crystallised Primroses

While the pastry is chilling, make the crystallised flowers. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until frothy and carefully paint the egg white onto both sides of the flowers with a paintbrush. Lay the flowers on a piece of baking parchment and sprinkle with sugar (both sides) until evenly covered. Allow to dry.

Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a £1 coin. Lift into a 23cm flan tin. Press down gently and trim off any excess pastry. Prick the base with a fork and pop back in the fridge for another 30 mins.

Meanwhile, make the tart filling by beating together the eggs, lavender sugar, cream and lemon juice. Sieve the mixture and then stir in the lemon zest.

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan. Line the tart with foil/baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10 mins. Discard the beans and bake for a further 20 minutes, uncovered.

Once the pastry is browned, remove from oven and carefully pour in the lemon mixture. Cook for a further 30-35 minutes.

Leave to cool before decorating with the crystallised flowers.

(Click here for a print-friendly version.)



Chit Happens

The Easter Bunny may be out doing the rounds this weekend, but the only thing I was handing out on the plot was my chitted potatoes. In recent years, there’s been a change in me that only fully accepts that it’s spring once I’ve planted my potatoes. Doesn’t matter how big the chocolate egg might be, my internal calendar has synchronised with those starchy gems, and until they’re lying in their warm little beds, I can’t fully embrace the new season.trough

Last year, I had great success with ‘Charlotte’, ‘Maris Piper’ and ‘Duke of York’, so this year I want to try three new varieties: ‘Melody’, Kestrel’ and ‘British Queen’. So after several weeks of chitting (I do like that word, chitting), they were ready to take up residence in their muddy troughs.

Creating those regimental troughs always brings me immense satisfaction, ridiculous as it sounds. I feel very concious that I am a gardener at that moment, doing what a gardener should be doing. Maybe it’s the physical labour, maybe it’s the sense of creating, or maybe it’s that hopeful feeling you get when you set those wrinkled tubers into the soil, willing them to produce a plentiful bounty in months to come. Whatever the reason, it’s something a gardener should relish. I mean, what can make you feel more centred than bringing life into the world that will not only nourish the soil but also the people who grew it!nice trough

As 21st century technology tries to remove us further from our natural instincts, I’m all too aware that people who garden are becoming a minority species. We’re almost regarded as ‘weird’ for not wanting to spend our Bank Holidays in the world of beige shopping precincts. As the bargain-hunting Walking Dead shuffle en masse to buy their tat from Primark, us earthy souls head for the fields, the plots, the garden in search of life. To try and to fail, to sow and harvest. We are the do-ers, we are the living. We may look like the others, dress like them, even talk like them. But we are not them. Look closer, closer still, there is something there that’s sets us apart from them, something that only us gardeners share: the dirt under our fingernails. It’s our badge of honour.

So however you spend this Easter I hope it was rewarding, peaceful and it gave you the opportunity to get your hands dirty. Potato

Happy Easter! AdeSignature

A Moment to Savour

Easter is upon us, and what a great time to go to the allotment.  Whether you’re religious or not, I always regard Easter with great fondness.  It’s the official nod from Mother Nature that ‘the game’s afoot’ and springtime is here.  So with high hopes, this morning I headed off to the plot with the aim of getting a lot done.


However, with the rain pouring and not a soul in sight, it was the perfect time to put the kettle on, eat a slice (or two) of Easter simnel cake and just enjoy ‘being’.


Sitting in your shed doorway watching and listening to Nature going about her business is the best therapy for anyone.  It soothes the soul and brings warmth to the coldest of hearts.

So Happy Easter one and all!  And if anyone comes across the Easter Bunny, can you tell him I’m still waiting for my chocolate egg.