Lavender has been used as a culinary flavouring for several centuries, although it is probably closer to a herb than a spice. The French are known for their lavender syrup, made using extract of lavender, and lavender flowers can be candied or crystallised and used as decorations on cakes. For most recipes, use lavender sugar, which is caster sugar mixed with dried culinary lavender buds. Scones can be made using the usual recipe, but add a little lavender sugar. Make a lavender cake similar to a lemon drizzle by adding some lavender sugar to the recipe and to the syrup. Finally, pour over glacé icing that contains some dried lavender buds, or decorate the iced cake with crystallised lavender.
Why not try adding some lavender to a chocolate cake recipe, as it goes very well with chocolate. Also, add a little lavender sugar to petticoat tails and sprinkle the top with a little more when it comes out of the oven.
You could also try making individual shortbread biscuits substituting a third of the flour with ground rice and a quarter of the sugar with lavender sugar. A word of warning: a little goes a long way and the effect and taste is lovely, but too much and it will be too perfumed and overpowering.
Fiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible, from Leiths School of Food and Wine