ISSUE 22, July 2007
Editorial
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Grand Master : Address of the Pro Grand Master : Report of the Board of General Purposes
Historic: Architect to a King
Young Masons: Value of a warm welcome
Faith and Freemasonry: The twin supports
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro 1st Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
The Grand Secretary: Notes
   Travel: In the footsteps of the pharaohs
Inventor: Voice of the people
Human Rights Court Judgement: Landmark victory for Masons
International Conference: Masonic history unveiled
The Grand Chancellor: Special overseas role
Specialist Lodge: Prior Rahere and his legacy
Public Service: Serving the famous
Education: Events : Importance of the cable tow
Lbrary & Museum: Fraternal art
Masonic Charities: RMTGB : Grand Charity : RMBI : NMSF
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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flower buds look beautiful in the garden but they can also stimulate the taste buds
    Flowers in a dining room are often used to decorate the table. Now that summer is here, it is likely that some of the flowers growing in your garden, currently there to make the place look pretty, are also edible. In other words, you can use them on your plate to make a dish look more attractive and, with some, add flavour and/or fragrance.
    Calendula (pot marigolds), with their yellow petals, add colour to salads and can also be used, like saffron, as a colourant in cakes, rice, omelettes and butter. However, it is worth noting that you will be introducing a tangy taste to the food.
    Nasturtium, both the leaves and the petals, with a range of colours from pale lemon through to a vibrant scarlet will not only add colour, but also a peppery taste to the meal.
    The buds can also be pickled and used like capers. The petals of roses (old species), hemerocallis (day lilies), pinks, carnations, primroses and violas are all edible and can be used for decoration.
    Some, such as primroses, do have a sweet honey flavour, so it is important to not only make sure that the colour compliments the food, but that it also goes with whatever you are serving. Violas look particularly attractive whole, but can also be frozen in ice cubes, as can borage, with its blue and white star flowers to add interest to your drinks.
    The flowers of the latter, which have a sweet flavour, can also be mixed with darkcoloured leaves to liven up salads, although they need to be added after the dressing or they will discolour.
    Flowers wilt quickly, particularly in the heat, so it is essential to pick them early in the morning when it is still cool, particularly if the weather is likely to be quite warm.
    Use scissors, and take the whole of the flower head.
    Even when preparing them, it is important that this is done in a cool environment. If you bring them into a steamy kitchen, they are unlikely to make it to the plate. Spread the flowers on a paper towel and remove the petals as, in the majority of cases, the flower head is too tough to eat. Place the petals in a plastic bag, allowing some air so that the petals do not get crushed, and seal.
    They can be kept in this way in the refrigerator for several hours until needed.
    Washing the flowers is likely to damage them, although if any of them have started to wilt, a bowl of cold water will act as a reviver.
    Flowers make an excellent edible decoration for biscuits and cakes. Primroses, violets, sweet rocket, roses, honeysuckle and pinks, can all be crystallised by being dipped in beaten egg white, dusted with caster sugar and allowed to dry.
    In this manner, the flowers can last for up to a week. If they need to be kept longer, this can be done with a solution of gum arabic mixed with rosewater, followed by a coating of caster sugar, and then allowed to dry. By this method, they can be kept for several months in an airtight container.
    Also, do not forget that flowers can be used to flavour foods such as vinegars, jams, infusions and desserts. Bon appetit!


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