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Fragrant Fruit Salad
Lea writes OfftheEatenTrack.wordpress.com and is @BakersBunny on Twitter and Instagram

I'm besotted! I've fallen in love with The Secret Herb Garden out at Old Pentland.
Sitting in the glasshouse with rain pitter-pattering on the glass is soothing; the drone of bees bumbling amid the plants and flowers is hypnotic while the fragrance from herbs and flowers ... intoxicating. What isn't there to love about Hamish and Libby's wee oasis? They grow edible flowering plants, half a dozen different scented-leaved geraniums, mojito mint, pineapple sage, caraway thyme (when I caught a whiff of the latter, my mind conjured up scones with feta and crushed thyme leaves) and hundreds of wonderfully eclectic and unusual herbs - I want them all!
Smell is the most powerful sense, it hurtles us back to our past in such an evocative way. Fragrant roses trigger childhood memories of planting pot marigolds and pansies with my dad, a rambling rose cascading over the fence from a neighbouring garden. I didn't know you could eat the petals back then. I know differently now. Sugar flavoured with rosemary, lavender or rose is wonderful in baking. Green nasturtiums seeds can be pickled like capers, the sweet peppery leaves and blooms make a stunning salad. It's a culinary resource that even the Romans appreciated; Apicus mentioned mallows, roses and violets in The Roman Cook Book. Lavender flavoured and coloured sauces. Not everyone's taste, but I like the idea of a pale purple sauce glazing a chicken breast with a side of regal golden and red nasturtium salad!


Fragrant Fruit Salad
4 Small fragrant melons (cantaloupe and charentais)
Soft fruits, cherries, peaches, apricots - your choice
4 tblspn Dessert wine or fruit or flower liqueur
Caster sugar to taste (optional)
Edible flowers - rose petals, pot marigold, honeysuckle, heartsease, nasturtiums, pansies
What next
Cut the top of the melons and scoop out seeds.
Remove flesh with a melon baller, plop into a large bowl. Smooth the inside of melon with a spoon. Tip melons upside down to drain.
Add chopped, sliced, stoned fruit and sugar to melons, pour over booze. Set aside in the fridge for ½ hour.
Sprinkle over petals and spoon into melon shells.
Hide the fruit with more flowers - sprigs of honeysuckle look pretty.
Serve slightly chilled.

What else is in my basket?
Lavender, nasturtiums, strawberries, greengages, apricots fennel, courgettes, rocket, French beans, lamb, sea trout, crab.
www.secretherbgarden.co.uk
Lea writes OfftheEatenTrack.wordpress.com and is @BakersBunny on Twitter and Instagram

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