Saturday, April 25, 2009

Heart-of-the-Matter #25: Flowers

Edible Petals, or: Yes, they're edible, petal!

Heart-of-the-Matter is a monthly healthy heart event promoted by Ilva of Lucullian Delights and Michelle of The Accidental Scientist. And even though my BH has a heart condition (5 stents), this is actually the first time that I am participating.

The theme for this month's recipe was 'flowers'. What a splendid idea, I thought: unusual, and also immensely fitting for a spring month like April!
Then, when I started my research - always the best part of a recipe activity for me - and looked at all those delicate petals, the thought of digging my teeth into violets, pansies, marigolds and chrysanthemums made me feel a bit queasy. It seemed almost barbarian - a somewhat strange sentiment for a carnivore, granted. And quickly dismissed when considering candied flowers, hibiscus jelly and lavender infused maple syrup.
But then I found that hay fever and asthma sufferers should not eat flowers at all. I think this warning came from Cathy Wilkinson Barash's book Edible Flowers.

So I decided to make food in the shape of a flower. (Which is probably just as well, as all my previous ideas involved a form of sugar, and my BH has recently also been diagnosed with the early stages of type 2 diabetes.)

The 'big petals' are chicory leaves, which I filled with a bean paste made from kidney beans*. In the middle is a mozzarella ball, topped by a sliver of red cabbage. The swiggle is a thin peeling of courgette, the orange and yellow accents are provided by pepper and sweetcorn respectively.

The middle part is a roasted slice of sweet potato, topped with kiwi. The star/flower in the middle is an orange pepper cut with a pastry cutter. The asparagus was fresh and English, though it did surprise me that it was already in season (it was very thin though, as you can see). The pinkish swiggle on top is a slice of pickled red onion, which I made before Easter (recipe to follow).
As you can see below, I laid the flower out as part of my Wedding (crashers) inspired display. Unfortunately, I've done something stupid to my camera again, so the photographs haven't come out too well.

* Any bean paste recipe will do - I blitzed one can of kidney beans with a little bit of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of cumin seeds. Of course, dried and soaked kidney beans would have been even healthier. I used kidney beans to achieve a pale pink paste - a taramasalata would have done this job better though, the kidney bean paste is more pink marble than powder pink!

Thank you, Ilva, for organisising, and I hope to be back on a regular basis!


Ilva said...

Beautiful, I love that flower!

Zabeena said...

Thank you Ilva! I just wish my photography was better!! I totally love yours!!!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I love your presentation. It's really 'eye candy' in every sense and made from such healthy ingredients! :)

Zabeena said...

Thanks ever so much, Murasaki (gosh, I hope that is your first name)! It's easy to assemble and the 'petals' can be filled with all sorts of mousses/creams.
Thanks for stopping by!

Yasmeen said...

Brilliant work with all healthy ingredients:)