I love cookery books, this is no secret, it is also no secret that I have a rather large collection of them, some I have brought and have been disappointed by, some I have brought and cooked loads of recipes from, but I now have a book that I want to cook every single recipe from and that book is Prepped by Vanessa Kimbell.
This cookery book is so wonderfully written, so beautifully photographed and just so inspiring, by just doing a little "Prep" you can have on hand the most delicious syrups and sugars to create the most wonderful dishes. The best part is, that even doing the "Prep" is fun and its so lovely having jars full of gorgeous sugars or bottle's of yummy syrups ready to hand, looking gorgeous in your kitchen, ready to use. They would also make fantastic gifts for foodie friends.
I think one of the things I love most about this book has to be the originality of the recipes, so many books are the same old tired stuff, but this book is so crammed full of new exciting recipes that I just didn't know which one to cook first.
I haven't put this book down since I got it, I read it in bed, I read it as soon as I sit down with a cup of tea and today I made the yummiest Lavender Shortbread. The recipe was simple, easy to follow and turned out exactly like the ones in the photo in the book, you can't ask for more than that can you.
If I could only keep a couple of my cookery books from my collection this would be one of them and if you only ever buy yourself one cookery book this year, make it this one.
Makes 35 Biscuits
200g Lavender Sugar (I luckily had made mine a couple of weeks ago)
750g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 150c /gas mark 2.
Sieve the Lavender from the sugar and tip the spare petals back into the sugar jar (I didn't do this, I left mine in, but thats just down to personal taste & laziness). Cream the sugar with the butter until white and fluffy. This makes the shortbread lovely and light. Add the flour and mix well before turning out onto a work surface, which I floured lightly so the dough didn't stick. If the mix is too crumbly and won't come together, add a teaspoon of water and remix. I measured very carefully and found that the dough was perfect and didn't need any water. Roll out to about 1.5cm and cut the dough into the shapes you require.
Place the shortbread on a baking tray (I also used greaseproof paper just incase they stuck) and bake for 18 - 20 minutes. Be warned: the colour at the end of cooking changes rapidly, so keep a close eye on it.
Place on a wire rack to cool and sprinkle with a little more lavender sugar to serve.
Here is my recipe for Lavender Sugar :
Here is Vanessa's:
1kg caster sugar
8 heaped tablespoons dried culinary lavender
Combine the lavender and sugar in a 1.5 litre airtight jar. There should be space left at the top to allow the jar, when shaken to disperse the lavender evenly.
Over the next two weeks give the jar a little shake from time to time. Ideally, leave the sugar for 6 weeks for maximum strength, but even after 2 weeks there is usually enough flavour to cook with. You can top up this jar twice, then start a fresh one.
Vanessa also suggests making Vanilla or Cardamon Shortbread as an alternative, but you will just have to buy the book to see how to make these!