Once the blue flowers of the borage appear, followed closely by the electric orange and yellow flowers of the nasturtium I know summer is in full swing.
Borage is a edible plant and both its flowers and leaves are enjoyed throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. The flowers are traditionally used in Pimms drinks as it has a ‘cucumber’ taste which can be substituted with fresh cucumber and mint. The leaves are commonly used in Germany for making a green sauce. In Liguria, the northern region of Italy, it's used to fill raviolis. Borage is also known for its medicinal and cosmetic uses.
I have a bit of everything in my garden and the main aim is to have a large percentage of plants that are edible or have edible fruits. I planted the borage and nastirtium into pots to liven the patio up and to disguise the very ordinary wooden panel fence.
This dish is made up of two elements, the recipe is mainly about the pickled carrots and the use of the borage flowers and not so much about the gravadlax, so I would not be offended at the slightest if you substituted the gravadlax with smoked salmon.
I’m a pickling and jam making fan, so I pop anything into a jar which is good for me to keep. These pickled carrots are great, the chillies provide a bite, which means it’s spicy but nice. It keeps for a long time and comes in ever so handy when you are short of time and need to rustle up an amazing lunch in minutes. I even used the pickled carrots to spice up a stir fry which is unusual but it adds that absolute unexpected and exciting element to the dish.
Pickled Summer Carrots
- 200g carrots, peeled
- 1 large red chilli, deseeded and julienned
- 1 star anise
- 1 clove of garlic, lightly crushed with the back of a knife
- 1tsp black mustard seeds
- 1tbs grated fresh ginger
- 2tbs soy sauce
- 100ml orange juice
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g white wine vinegar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
With a mandolin slice the peeled carrots on an angle about 2mm thick and lightly sprinkle with salt, set aside for 1 hour.
Place the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan, dissolve the sugar over low heat, turn the heat up and cook the syrup for 10 minutes.
Wash the carrots under cold running water to remove the salt and leave to drain.
Add the carrots to the boiling syrup; bring back to the boil for 2 minutes.
Let the carrots cool for a few minutes then transfer to sterilized containers.
Either use immediately or let the pickled carrots mature for one week before using.
Fills three 250ml preserving jars.
- 240g salmon gravadlax
- 4tbs of the drained pickled carrots + 1 tsp of the pickling liquid
- 1tbs olive oil
- few borage flowers and baby salad leaves
Choose 4 starter-size serving plates, refrigerate them for 20 minutes before serving. The chilled plates will keep the salmon cool on a hot day.
Divide the salmon between the 4 plates, laying it flat to cover the base of the plate. Arrange the drained pickled carrots, borage flowers and baby salad leaves. Drizzle with the pickling liquid and olive oil and serve.
Food and cooking is in my blood and it’s my life. With a successful career as a professional chef spanning over 15 years, I’ve had the privilege to work at Michelin starred restaurants and explore the world of contract catering. For the past three years I’ve been working with a leading food manufacturer as a product development chef.
By allowing myself to explore all corners of the food industry, I’m armed with invaluable knowledge and first-hand experience. I therefore currently offer my expertise on a consultancy basis and host various cooking demonstrations.
www.britishlarder.co.uk and www.britishlardersuffolk.co.uk