I recently received an email asking whether I would like a parcel containing some wonderful French ingredients from an area of France called Vaucluse en Provence. I hesitated for about half a second before excitedly emailing back saying YES! I was sent a package by The Vaucluse Tourist Board of lovely dried lavender, dried thyme, olive crackers and a tub of thoionade (a tuna/tomato/olive paste).
Vaucluse is paradise for foodies because it's Mediterranean climate provides a wealth of fantastic local produce and a huge range of interesting ingredients such as lavender, honey, olives, garlic, figs, cherries, melons and grapes as well as world famous truffles.
You can find out more information about this gorgeous region of France by visiting the Official Tourism Website of Vaucluse or by visiting their Facebook page.
My mother left us this morning to travel back home to New Zealand so a cheering up tea party was in order. I decided to make some lovely Lavender Shortbread and serve in on some lovely plates I purchased at a charity shop last week. Here's the recipe:
250g softened butter
½ cup caster sugar
1 tsp dried lavender, and extra to garnish
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups plain flour
½ cup cornflour
Cream the butter on it's own for a couple of minutes and then add the sugar. Carry on beating until the butter and sugar mixture is pale/light and creamy, gently beat in the dried lavender and freshly grated lemon zest. Carefully fold in sifted plain flour and cornflour.
Divide the mix in half. Roll each half into 2 logs about 2 inches/5cm in diameter and 7 - 8 inches/16-20cm long. Wrap the logs in cling film and then chill them for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Cut the logs into half inch/1cm-thick slices, or roll out the dough and cut it into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place your slices or rounds on a tray and put a little lavender flower on the top of each one as a garnish. Bake at 160°C for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack whilst you do the dishes and make a cuppa.