how to freeze flowers

How to freeze flowersI like freezing the small edible flowers – anchusas, borage, pansies and violas – in ice or olive oil cubes.

Make up different shapes, with some stars as well as rectangles. I know it's going for the mainstream pretty, but they look marvellous floating in gazpacho or a cold cucumber soup. The olive oil turns cloudy when it's frozen, but in the bowl it gradually melts, leaving a good swirl of oil and a scatter of petals near the surface.

More flamboyant is a flower-studded ice bowl. Find a pair of bowls nearly the same size, so one can sit easily inside the other. Fill the larger bowl about a third full of water and then lower the smaller one in, making sure that the water rises right up the sides. Drop in your flowers and edible, tasty leaves of herbs like lemon verbena and mint, then pop the whole thing in the freezer. After a couple of hours, take the bowl out and, with a chopstick, push any of the flowers that have collected at the surface back down again to the base of the bowl, and then put it back in the freezer.

To release the bowl from its mould, put it in a sink of hot water and put some more hot water into the top bowl. They'll loosen in about five minutes. If the surface is frosted, swish the whole thing quickly in a bowl of hot water and both surfaces will be left sparkly and smooth. Fill it with globes of ice cream or sliced fruit. Once you've eaten everything, wash out the bowl with warm water and put it back in the freezer. I've sometimes kept mine going for months.