Chelsea Flower Show opens its doors next week (May 21st-25th) so we thought we would celebrate its centenary with a floral themed Foodie Friday. For one hundred years the Chelsea Flower Show has enjoyed Royal patronage and this year will be no different.  Prince Harry has collaborated on a show garden for his charity Sentebale which is set to be a “forget-me-not” garden using flowers native to Lesotho, where his charity supports children with HIV.

 

Gnome hard feelings- the ban on gnomes has been lifted!

 

 

After a century in the wilderness, the Royal Horticultural Society has finally lifted its ban on gnomes. Officials had previously come under fire for branding the somewhat kitsch gnomes as tacky. Gnomes have not been alone in this ban, with balloons and bunting also banned. The RHS has fully embraced the gnome this year auctioning off gnomes decorated by celebrities for charity. Campaigners against the discrimination of gnomes can’t get too excited though, as the ban will be reinstated next year.

 

Chef Tom Aikens hosts lunch with flower arranging package

 

 

To mark the arrival of the Chelsea Flower Show, chef Tom Aikens has teamed up with London florist Wild at Heart to host a specially developed lunch menu where guests are also invited to try their hand at flower arranging.

Hosted at his Chelsea based restaurant, groups of up to eight people can experience the Lunch In Bloom package which includes a 3 course specially crafted lunch menu put together by the Michelin- starred chef, alongside a two -hour arranging session, where guests can create their own bouquet under the guidance of the Wild at Heart team.

The package costs £120 and includes lunch, the class, a bouquet to take home and a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne.

Booking is essential and can be made by emailing: info@tomaikens.co.uk

 

Lima restaurant develops a Chelsea Flower Show inspired menu

 

 

Inspired by all things floral, Lima has devised a specially created menu in keeping with the annual event. The delicate menu uses the finest seasonal produce to create Peruvian dishes with a flowery twist. Dishes include mushroom ceviche charapita with aji sweet potato; orange and pisco lobster salad; steamed fillet of halibut and a perfectly tender slow-cooked lamb rump.  Guests can either choose from a three course menu for £60 which includes a Chelsea Cocktail of melon and pink Champagne or dinner from from the a la carte menu.

 

Our pick of London’s flower markets

If all this floral talk has inspired those of you with green fingers to get involved and try your hand in the garden, we’ve picked out London’s top two flower markets which should help you to get started.

Columbia Road flower market

 

 

Each Sunday morning, the road which runs through Tower Hamlets in London, comes alive with a rainbow of colours and sweet aromas released by market stalls loaded with beautiful flowers and plants. Complete with 52 market stalls, each selling mainly locally-grown plants, trees and shrubs from Essex, the Columbia Rd flower market (close to Old Street tube station) runs from 8am until 2pm .

 

New Covent Garden Flower Market

 

 

52 weary-eyed stall holders set up shop in the middle of the night to target dedicated florists before their shops’ open! The good thing about New Covent Garden Flower Market for you is that the flowers and plants on offer are available at wholesale prices. Open from 3am until 11am during the week, and 4am until 10am on Saturdays, this popular market, based closed to Vauxhall station, sells a beautiful variety of flowers, plants and foliage both from the UK and abroad.

The temperature is carefully controlled and set to 12 degrees, so make sure you wrap up if you’re planning a visit!

 

Seasonal recipe, Rose panna cotta with damson and lavender Viennese shortbread, Frances Atkins

Aside from Chelsea inspired menus, the use of flowers in food is an ever increasing trend, and something chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi have been advocating for a while. Here is a recipe that got us all at Sauce salivating.

 

 

Ingredients:

For the Rose panna cotta:

570ml of semi skimmed milk

285ml of single cream

2 tbsp of sugar

4 1/2 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water

2 tsp of rosewater

 

For the Viennese shortbread:

170g of plain flour

55g of cornflour

55g of icing sugar

220g of butter

1 vanilla pod, split and scraped

1 tsp of lavender flowers, extra to garnish

damson jam

100ml of whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

 

Method:

For the panna cotta, bring the cream and milk to the boil, remove from the heat and add the sugar a rose water. Whisk for a minute to dissolve the sugar, before adding the softened gelatin. Pour into 6 moulds and place in the refrigerator to set

Pre-heat the oven to 175˚C/gas mark 3. To start the shortbread, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift in both the plain flour and corn flour until just combined. Put the mix into a piping bag and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes

Remove the piping bag and allow the mix to soften slightly before piping 8cm lines of the mix onto a lined baking tray. Refrigerate for a further 10 min to set. Bake in the oven at for approx. 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Once cooled, layer with damson jam and cream

To plate, submerge 2/3 of the panna cotta moulds 1 by 1 into very hot water. This will help to remove them from the mould to the plate. Place the Viennese shortbread around the pudding with a small sprinkle of the lavender flowers

 

By Laura Henderson and Lauren Hill