Lavender granita, yogurt jelly.

We use a lot of baby herbs and flowers at work. The flowers are tiny little bright coloured buds shipped all the way from Melbourne. Some are even from the Pastry Chef’s garden.

Baby sorrel, amaranth, lambs tongue, marigolds, viola, violets, lavender, rose.

Beautiful feminine edifices of nature that thick, clumsy and scarred hands occasionally struggle to handle. It seems almost contradictory that such a hot, sweaty and harsh environment can produce poetry on a plate. As if a raging coal factory could weave the finest silk from it’s fiery depths. There’s a raw fish dish for example, that has a different baby leaf on each piece of diced tomato. On a different dish, capers are arranged across the plate in what appears to be a study in controlled chaos. It’s intensely beautiful, because it appears to be so of-the-moment, even when each step is planned with precision. As for the desserts, what can I say. I’m inspired every day I work with the Pastry Chef.

I’ve been thinking a lot about colours lately, and flavour pairings. I was always a bit of a rough and tumble kid, growing up, and I think it shows a little in the food I make as well. Gradually, I hope I’m learning to embrace the prettier side of things. Flowers, are a good place to start. 🙂

Lavender, I’ve been told, doesn’t keep well. At a bistro I worked at several years ago, we stored the dried buds sealed and well chilled. Their taste alters over time, and with that in mind, I thought to make good use of the lavender I had bought recently, while it was still in its prime.

A lavender flavoured granita seemed like a good idea. It’s something I have not tried making before, and the delicate pink colour that results from infusing the lavender in the liquid really has to be seen to be believed! The recipe comes from one of my favourite books, by Janni Kyritsis.

Lavender granita, served with a light yogurt jelly, is my contribution to Mike’s Frozen Desserts event. You can make almost anything into a granita, even beer. If granita isn’t really your thing, you can also use lavender to make this or this.

Lavender granita :
(from Wild Weed Pie, by Janni Kyritsis)

1/2 bunch fresh French lavender (yielding 1/2 packed cup flowers)*
1 litre water
250g castor sugar
100ml strained lemon juice

Combine flowers with half the water and bring to the boil. Set aside until lukewarm. Strain, reserving liquid and squeezing flowers well to remove as much liquid as possible. Add sugar to strained liquid and stir well to dissolve, then add remaining water and lemon juice. Pour into a shallow metal tray and place in the freezer. When it has just started to freeze (it will take a few hours to freeze completely, depending on the freezer), scrape with a fork to create granita flakes and return to freezer. Repeat scraping a few more times during freezing and again just before serving.

*I used 10g dried lavender instead.


  1. linda said,

    June 25, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

    I can’t believe the colour of the granita, I thought you added colouring…very pretty! This desserts looks very pretty, I love the combination of colours.

  2. Y said,

    June 25, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

    Hi Linda! No, no added colouring at all. I couldn’t believe the colour either!

  3. Helen said,

    June 25, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

    Hi Y – I ‘m a massive fan of cooking with lavender myself. This is a beautiful looking granita and I love the yoghurt idea.

  4. pea & pear said,

    June 25, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

    oh yum, that looks so fresh and delicious. I am very curious as to where you work so that I can enjoy some of your finery… but I won’t invade your privacy by asking. I may how ever steal the yoghurt jelly idea it look so great 🙂

  5. Y said,

    June 25, 2008 @ 10:15 pm

    Hi Helen: I’ve recently been really getting into the whole lavender thing too. I got a small tub of french lavender to play with and am challenging myself to use it a different way each time.

  6. Rosa said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 4:04 am

    So beautiful looking! A wonderful combination! Refreshing and deliciozus!



  7. Nate said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 4:17 am

    Wow, lavender granita! Seems like the perfect early summer dessert. I wish I could smell it cooking.

  8. Zoë François said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 4:39 am

    Gorgeous and such a wonderful flavor combination!

  9. michelle @ TNS said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 6:10 am

    the color of that granita is gorgeous!

    i’m making beer grantia tonight with a framboise lambic, yum!

  10. Madeline said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 6:33 am

    Wow, that is so gorgeous! I just love the color and it sounds delicious.

  11. Hedonistin said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 7:56 am

    That looks beautiful!

  12. Lorraine E said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 8:49 am

    That pic looks lovely. I’ve made Lavender cupcakes (Nigella’s Trust cupcakes) and they were really lovely and have kept a container of lavender sugar in the cupboard ever since. Must get around to using it again!

  13. pea & pear said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 8:50 am

    Heehehehehe. You must have a little chuckle everytime you read one of my posts with an endorsement of that particular restaurant. When you mentioned the pastry chef I knew this was where but I just had to be certain….. Lucky you!!!!

  14. belle said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 9:37 am

    I’m glad you suggested dried lavender as fresh French lavender is harder to find! And after trying lavender sables, cookies and ice cream, granita will definitely be next on my list. Thanks.

  15. courtney said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 9:40 am

    Really beautiful dessert here. Good to know that about lavander. I have yet ti use it in anything.

  16. arfi said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 11:49 am

    my, do you need to sit in front of the fire to eat it? it’s miserable weather we’ve got here. i’m very curious about lavender. i grow them but i don’t know if they’re the variety of edible version, though. what kind of lavender it is actually edible? i’ve got french lavender. gorgeous photo, Y!

  17. grace said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

    “A lavender flavoured granita seemed like a good idea.”

    amen to that statement! what a gorgeous creation, and surely tasty to boot!

  18. Y said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

    Arfi: The weather here has improved somewhat… at least it hasn’t rained in a couple of days! Phew! I’ve wondered about the different types of lavender myself. So far I’ve stuck to using the dried culinary lavender, but I think there are only specific types of fresh lavender that are suitable to cook or bake with (some are too harsh in flavour, and some are actually a bit toxic to the body..?).

  19. Aran said,

    June 26, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

    that is just so lovely!

  20. Cakelaw said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    This dessert is just beautiful – a visual stunner.

  21. Christie @ fig&cherry said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

    LOVE the flavour combinations – and the colours? Well, I’m speechless (for once!). A mighty effort, gorgeous.

  22. cathy x. said,

    June 28, 2008 @ 1:12 am

    hmm.. toxic you say? well.. as long as i’m cooking for OTHER people 😛
    this is such a cool idea. we still have two little jars of dried lavender thingos sitting on the shelf from last year when we made lavender ice cream that used to go with peach and cava granita. i wonder if anyone makes lavender jam like that weird dandelion stuff.. very interesting..
    oh have you used nasturnium flowers before? we have orange ones growing in our yard like weeds. my dad caught me eating one and made a face. they taste like pepper but aside from gay salads i have no idea what to do with them 🙁

  23. Tartelette said,

    June 28, 2008 @ 1:25 am

    Wow!! The colors, the different textures…love it! Grew up in a lavender field (not kidding) and if I don’t smell it everyday, I feel like there is a cloud over the sun…kinda thing…

  24. Vera said,

    June 28, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    It looks truly amazing! And sounds incredibly delicious!

  25. Bonbon Oiseau said,

    June 28, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

    the color of the granita is just beautiful–I love that you use edible flowers. I love edible everything anything(!). So glad to have found your blog! I’ll keep it as a favorite for sure.

  26. giz said,

    June 29, 2008 @ 1:21 am

    How beautiful is that – it looks almost unreal. Gorgeous.

  27. cakebrain said,

    July 2, 2008 @ 5:43 am

    The colours in this picture just POP! I love lavender and grow bunches and bunches of it in my garden. Right now, they’re ready to harvest. I haven’t made anything other than lavender pillows from them, but this looks absolutely amazing!

  28. Christy said,

    July 2, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

    You work at PIER!! You work at PIER with the amazing KATRINA KANETANI!!
    At this point I feel that I must apologise for the outburst, but it must be soo exciting to work with such a renowned chef!! And I almost bought the entire Pier cookbook just because I was entranced by the desserts your pastry chef created!

    Beautiful granita and flowers! I wish I live in a house with a garden full of the most beautiful edible herbs and flowers, and not in a city apartment without even a balcony.. You did a perfect quenelle too!! I always find it hard to take photos before the icy treats melt, but you do it so well! I so love your blog, and will be back a lot and often. And thank you for your comments on mine!

  29. wheneatingawolf said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

    The color in this is fantastic. I haven’t done much work with edible herbs and flowers and this looks like a great place to start. Thanks for the recipe.

  30. Monkee said,

    July 5, 2008 @ 10:26 am

    Thanks for dropping by our blog. We Loveeeee Yours too. We’ve put your link up on our blog because we like to share your work with the rest of the world. We’ll be back!

  31. Jude said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 10:09 am

    Looks like something that could be served at Alinea. Awesome presentation.

  32. Anh said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

    Such a beautiful dish. I can imagine the flavours now! A perfect end to the meal!

  33. Lena said,

    November 14, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

    I live in the city in Melbourne and would like to know where to get dried lavender flowers for baking. Is it available at the Queen Vic Mkt as I live 10 mins away. Thank you.

  34. art said,

    January 24, 2009 @ 5:50 am

    Beatiful! So light and fresh and vibrant looking!

  35. kayce. said,

    January 30, 2009 @ 6:19 am

    y – i am not sure whether you read/respond to comments on older posts or not, but i am particularly interested in the chocolate soil on the plate here ~ it is a technique you use often (textures of choc cupcakes, peanut butter soil on the yule log, etc) and i am curious how you do it. i imagine it is somewhat like streusel in makeup, but it looks unbaked. anyway, i scoured your recipe index and couldn’t find any mention of it’s specifics ~ any luck that you might at least nudge me in the right direction, if not give specific proportions? =)) i promise that if i ever use it, i won’t do so w/ out referencing and linking your blog. pls email me if you have a moment ~ chefkayce (at) gmail (dot) com. thanks so much for your blog! you are amazing and such an inspiration ~ i am a huge fan! almost my entire “favorites” list on foodgawker is made up of your entries, LOL.

  36. Anita said,

    June 24, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

    This is Oh so pretty!! I love your presentation and am intrigued by yogurt jelly

  37. Carolyn Kao said,

    October 13, 2010 @ 6:48 am

    the purple color is gorgeous. what kind of dried lavender do you use? is that the same as lavender sold in the spice bottles? i used those to make buttercream before and didn’t come out purple.

  38. Y said,

    October 14, 2010 @ 7:11 am

    Hi Carolyn! It’d be the same lavender. The colour is due to a reaction with the acid from the lemon juice, I’m guessing.

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