The creative use of flowers and herbs in cookery was a feature of Roman banquets. They were also popular (and still are) in medicines and Chinese and Indian recipes, and plates gaily decorated with flowers were particularly prevalent during Queen Victoria’s reign.

 It is important that all the flowers and herbs you serve are pesticide free. They should also be allergy-free, non-toxic and preferably organically grown. Check a good garden reference book or a reliable web site for information on any plants you might have doubts about. Some varieties of the same species may not be edible so therefore it is best to reference them by their botanical name. 

 Nasturtiums flowers and leaves (tropaeolum majus and minus), pansies (tropaeolum majus and minus), borage flowers (borago officinallis), calendula (calendula officinalis), marigolds (tagetes patula), impatiens (impatiens walleriana) and cornflowers(centuarea cyanus), add petal pizzazz to salads, desserts and some bakes 

 Herb flowers include: basil (use sparingly), coriander, chives (petals or florets only as the whole flower is overpowering) and mint. Edible vegetable flowers include: courgettes, pumpkins and runner beans (only phaseolus coccineus).



Rinse and gently pat dry the flowers and herbs before garnishing the chicken.

 2 large skinned and boned chicken breasts
4 tablespoons each: ricotta cheese, ground hazelnuts
2 tablespoons chopped French tarragon leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 long rashers streaky bacon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
Garnishes: sprigs of French tarragon and oregano, violas, cornflowers, pansy petals, marigold petals, baby beetroot leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

 Halve each chicken breast lengthwise. Cut a pocket in the side of each. Combine the ricotta, hazelnuts, tarragon, salt and pepper. Stuff into the pockets. Starting at one end and ending at the other, wrap a bacon rasher around each breast. Secure with a cocktail stick, if preferred.

 Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Gently sauté the breasts on all sides until lightly coloured. Cover and place in the oven for about 12 minutes, until cooked. 

 Remove to a warm platter and cover. Add the wine to the pan and bring to the boil.

 Slice the chicken breasts and place on serving plates. Spoon the wine over the chicken. Garnish the plates with the herbs and flowers. Serves 4.


I added some sliced fresh mozzarella to this salad and served it as a light meal with crusty bread.

 Basil dressing: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
15g basil leaves, torn
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salad: 1-2 cups baby salad leaves, washed
8 each: small nasturtium leaves, basil leaves, washed
1 cup each: trimmed mung bean sprouts, cooked peas
assorted edible flowers (eg violas, cornflowers, dianthus), rinsed and patted dry 

 Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a small blender and mix until smooth. Place aside

 Carefully wash all the salad ingredients. Gently pat dry.

 Loosely arrange the salad ingredients on serving plates. Drizzle with the dressing just before serving. Serves 4 as a side salad.


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