Tag Archives: Rose

365 Frankendael day 16

It’s been a busy day as I went with my little girl to the Cryptoforest foraging expedition in Sloterdijk. We met some great people and plants there!

So today’s entry for 365 is mainly photos…

First up, Forget me not – yes it’s edible! I need to do more research but here’s a link to get your mouth watering if edible flowers interest you.

Next is highly toxic Taxus baccata, Yew tree; The plant symbol of death and yet giver of life to many with terminal cancer. Equally contradictory, it’s deadly seeds are surrounded by the most delicious fruit I have ever encountered. They are truely bewitching.

Above is Horsetail, looking great at the moment. It makes a great tonic tea for weak nails because it is high in the mineral silica.

Here’s a snail getting acquainted with a rose bush. It’s a good time to seek out your neighbour roses, ready for the flowering season.

Wild rose

Rose petal butter – 3 methods

Recently, I was interviewed for a Time Out article about city foraging. As the journalist and I discussed the merits and perils of city foraging, I mentioned how underused roses are. Very soon Amsterdam should be dripping with fragrant blooming roses. Most petals simply tumble to the ground and at times make a soggy rotting mess on pavements. I urge you to find roses in healthy locations, ask the owners if they would mind you harvesting very sparingly and get ready for lots of rose tinted recipes!

Many Roses will bloom by mid May and the season will hopefully last right throughout the summer months. Our rooftop Rambling Rector is not in good shape, following the late cold weather, so I’m on the hunt for local neglected roses.

Rose petal butter
Here are 3 methods, all make a fragrant, eye catching and somewhat romantic butter. The first method are very simple, the third method is traditional but well worth the extra effort.

Please note:
Roses from a florist are not to be eaten as they will surely have been sprayed with chemicals. Likewise, roses from sprayed gardens must be avoided, as should those from unknown, unclean or suspect sources or those with no scent. If you gather petals in the morning, just after the dew has evaporated, you will have petals of a higher oil content and these will make the best butter.

Method 1. Simply chop, or tear, upto a cup full of fragrant rose petals and mix throughout a block of softened butter. It can be mixed until the butter becomes creamy. Shape the butter – petal mix as you wish before refrigerating for about 2 hours prior to use. and leave in refridgerator for two hours, prior to use.

Method 2. Allow a block of butter to soften so that you can shape it as desired. Cover it with lots of petals and place it in a glass container. It should ideally be completely drowned in petals, beneath it, all around it – really packed in petals. Leave the container for a good 24 hours, to allow the fragrance to penetrate the butter. To use, remove the butter from most or all of the petals, use petals as mentioned in 3 below and refrigerate your butter if you wish.

Method 3. Over the bottom of a glass jar, spread a layer of softened butter then cover it with a layer of washed and blotted-dry whole rose petals. Place a cut to size sheet of baking parchment over the petal layer and cover that with another layer of butter and a subsequent layer of rose petals. Make several layers in this way before sealing. Store for several days, at room temperature or in a refrigerator. Finally, separate the paper, petals and butter. Reuse or recycle the paper, shape the butter as desired, set the petals aside to use a garnish or sandwich filling. Butter and petal quantities, required for this method, depend upon how much you would like to make or have access to.

Rose butter is versatile, you may like to try it on sandwiches, hot breads, crumpets or cakes.

I posted a Rose cupcakes recipe last year, more rose recipes to follow over the coming months.

(There are no photos for this posting as I didn’t take a photo, the last time I made rose butter. When the rose season arrives, I’ll add a few.)

Rose Petal Cup Cakes

In Amsterdam, Roses are currently in full bloom. They seem to thrive in the sandy soil and climate.  In my neighbourhood it seems that every other house has a rose or two, scrambling up the front wall, with roots often anchored in the tiniest of spaces. I am happy to have a Rambling Rector, growing in a roof terrace pot. It looks lovely against the chimney stack and produces a mass of tiny, white, fragrant blooms through May and June.

Even in windy weather it’s easy to catch the powerful scent of some of these city roses whilst walking along Amsterdam streets. It never fails to lift my spirits and is renowned as a tonic for the heart. As I see rose petals blowing around pavements on windy days I wish that more people knew how delicious and useful they are.

The simplest way to use them is raw, in salads or sandwiches.  Any scented (clean and pesticide free) rose petals will add velvety beauty to both. They have a pleasant, fragrant and astringent taste and can be used in a variety of foods.  At present my favourites are Rose Petal Cup Cakes and Rose Petal Butter.  More on the butter another time, for now here is the recipe for Rose Petal Cup Cakes – heavily inspired by a lovely baking blog called The Pink Whisk.

Rose Petal Cup Cakes (makes 12)

For the cakes
150g butter (that’s half a standard block)
140g caster sugar (that’s a lot – I’m working on a sugar free version)
100g self raising flour
50g plain (all purpose) flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoons Rose water
6 large pieces of Turkish delight (or dried apricots / crystallised ginger etc)

For the topping
Rosehip (NL: Rozenbottel) conserve
(such as the delicious, organic, sugar-free Fiordifrutta from Rigoni di Asiago)
Rose petals and stamens (scented, clean, pesticide free)

Preheat oven to 180 C and put paper cases into a 12 cupcake baking tray.
Cut the dried fruit or Turkish delight into twelve pieces.
Into each paper case add one piece of fruit or Turkish delight.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
Add eggs, flour and rosewater, mixing well until a smooth consistency is achieved (I use a handheld mixer for this but a spoon and elbow grease will do equally well).
Half fill the paper cases with cake mixture.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a clean knife, inserted into a cake, comes out clean.
Remove cupcakes from the baking tray and allow to cool completely on a rack.
When you are ready to serve the cakes, smear the top of each with a little Rosehip conserve and sprinkle with whole or torn Rose petals and a few stamens.

Flower Fritters

You may already know about Elderflower fritters, even if you have never tried one. Did you realise that many other herb flowers can be used to make even more delicious fritters?  Today I have been on the roof and in the park looking for suitable flowers and I was not disappointed.  I gathered Lady’s mantle, Yarrow and Chive flowers from the roof and plucked Rose petals from pollinated wild Dog Rose flowers in the park. I also gathered a few Honeysuckle blooms and of course a handful of frothy Elderflower heads.

I must say that I think it a waste to make some flowers into fritters, some taste so wonderful, untouched in salads or deserts that I don’t think they need be tampered with.  Others are a little bit messy and these are the ones I suggest you try in fritters.  Elderflower and for instance, is rather an unusual mouthful in it’s raw form and Yarrow flowers are just too strong for my palate.  Turned into fritters they become something quite different; Dandelion flowers resemble artichokes, Rose petals take on a slightly meaty texture, Yarrow becomes a savoury delight and Chives become mini onion baghees.

Here is my recipe for flower fritters, many others are available, often including beer, liquor, sugar and so on.  Mine simply uses my Yorkshire Gran’s batter recipe (it makes the best Yorkshire puddings in the world by the way). It does not contain any sweetening or seasoning so you can add a little whatever you wish to the basic recipe.  I do encourage you however to try a flower in the basic batter alone, at least once.  This will allow you to appreciate the true flavour of that flower.  Perhaps have some yoghurt and honey to hand for dipping.

Here are a few suggestions:
(Please follow the foraging rules and remember that some beautiful flowers are highly poisonous)

Dandelion Fritters – I suggest that you simply wash the flowers (with a little stalk still attached), dip them into a little flour (I prefer Chickpea flour), shake off the excess and then fry gently in a little Olive oil.
Elderflower – the sweet classic. Perhaps use a splash of rosewater and a teaspoon of sugar in the batter
Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust tree, False acacia) – I have not tried this, many American’s seem to like it.  Don’t confuse with poisonous Laburnum!
Rose petals or Rose flowers – slightly astringent and fragrant. Wild and cultivated Roses are edible.
Ladies mantle – Much of the bitterness is lost in cooking
Mint – Dip sprigs of young mint in the batter. Great with chocolate sauce.
Mallow – Petals or whole flowers with a little stalk attached
Onion flowers on short stalks
Chive flowers on short stalks
Lime tree blossom
Yarrow – Strongly savoury
And many many more!

Basic batter recipe:
(Courtesy of Edith Shore)

  1. Break one egg into 3 tablespoons of plain flour.
  2. Mix the egg and flour thoroughly, using a fork.
  3. Add three tablespoons of milk (one tbsp at a time) whilst mixing with a metal spoon.
  4. Ensure everything is well combined.
  5. Beating well with the fork.
  6. Add a tiny drop of water.
  7. Whisk up well.  You should now see plenty of trapped air bubbles in a smooth mixture.
  8. Cover and set aside to rest in fridge, for at least half an hour and preferably overnight.
  9. Just before using, whisk up again with the whisk or fork.

The dipping and frying process is very easy:
Simply dip one flower at a time into the batter.
Place in a small frying pan which contains about 1/2 cm of medium-hot Olive oil and or butter.
Several flowers can be cooked at once.
Keep a good eye on the pan and budge the fritters around a little with a wooden spoon.
When they are golden brown they should be cooked through and ready to serve with a little of your preference – honey, sugar, cream, yoghurt, chocolate sauce…