flowers from my garden

flowers from my garden home-grown organic edible

I started my first garden when I was four and dedicated it entirely to my then favourite flower, the Sweet William. I loved their little zig zag- edged petals, as though fairies had been at work with pinking shears. I would lay on my tummy admiring my diminutive, colourful world, like Gulliver in Lilliput, trying to decide which was my favourite.

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My love of flowers hasn’t diminished nor has my habit of growing them and using them in my cooking. I grew up in the northern hemisphere and my summer as a child was oft spent gathering flowers and fruits from the hedgerows and the garden to brighten a tea cake or to make a summer cordial. Today, my flowers jostle with vegetables, herbs and fruit trees in my handkerchief–sized garden. They patiently wait for me each morning to do my rounds, like a doctor checking the chart at the foot of the hospital bed, dead-heading spent flowers, examining new shoots for unwanted pests and nodding with approval at new buds that have unfurled seemingly overnight.

naked cake sponge layered organic berries edible flowers

In my cake business, I am known equally for my handmade sugar flowers on couture wedding cakes as my freshly-picked petals on a layered sponge. With trug in hand, I harvest the flowers that I need for the day at an early hour when they are at their fragrant best. Besides, the sun makes them sleepy. Some I will paint with egg white and dust with fine sugar ‘til they twinkle like a Mothers Day card, others I will simply scatter over a cake, allowing them to fall where they will. The flowers are edible, of course, organically grown and completely oblivious to the world of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

edible flowers homegrown organic homemade chocolate and raspberry gillianbellcake.com.au

My cakes are made from organic and local, seasonal produce and I love to bring the romance of the kitchen garden into my baking. When I meet with couples to plan their wedding cake, I like to offer them flavour profiles to match the season and to mark the specialness of the occasion. Will it be the musky notes of a fig and violet cake when figs are at their best in March, or strawberries and elderflower (our strawberry season in Queensland happily coincides with Wimbledon), or perhaps summer raspberries and rose, peach and lemon verbena, chocolate and apricots, or lavender and lemon? Quite often, a couple will choose a cake that will look best simply dressed with fresh flowers and I am happy to supply them from my own garden or source them from other local, organic growers.

Dark chocolate & cherry

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