Sweet, floral delicacies
The flowers of roses, lavender, lilac and sweet violets lend themselves to confectionary treats.
Once you’ve made your own marshmallow sweets, you won’t want to go back to the shop-bought ones. Flavour it with homemade rose, lavender or sweet violet water for an exceptional flavour.
VANILLA & ROSEWATER MARSHMALLOWS
Jane Wrigglesworth's fragrant marshmallows are melt-inyour-mouth delicious. Use a 20 x 30cm lamington tray. Ingredients • 2 tablespoons powdered gelatin • 380ml water • 500g granulated sugar • 1 tablespoon liquid glucose • 2 egg whites • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 3 tablespoons rosewater • cup cornflour • cup icing sugar Method: In a small bowl, soften gelatin in 190ml water. In a medium saucepan, gently heat remaining 190ml water with sugar and liquid glucose, stirring until sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase heat and boil without stirring until the syrup reaches 121°C on a candy thermometer (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved.
In a standing mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour in the hot syrup. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until cool, about 10 minutes. Beat in vanilla and rosewater.
Line tray with baking paper. Spray lightly with oil and dust with a mix of 1 tablespoon cornflour and 1 tablespoon icing sugar. Spread marshmallow into tray. Let set (2-4 hours). Cut into squares with wet knife. Roll squares in remaining icing sugar and cornflour mix to coat.
MAKE YOUR OWN ROSEWATER
Rosewater is essentially the leftover distillate from rose petals and water. You can make your own rosewater with this basic steam method. Or try using lavender flowers instead to make lavender water.
You need: • 8-10 cups spray-free, heavily scented rose petals • Water • Ice • Large saucepan or stockpot with a domed lid • 2 heavy heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowls (they need to be heavy so that they don't move around in the water – you can replace one with a brick. See below).
Method: Place one of the glass bowls upside down on the bottom of the saucepan. If you don't think it will be heavy enough so as not to move around, use a brick instead.
Place the other bowl on top of the first bowl, right side up. Sprinkle the rose petals onto the bottom of the saucepan. Fill the saucepan with water so that it just covers the petals. Place the lid on the saucepan upside down (this is where a domed lid comes in handy), turn on the heat and bring water to the boil.
Reduce to a simmer, then fill the inverted lid with ice cubes. As the steam from the boiling water hits the cold lid, it condenses, flows down to the centre of the lid and drips into the bowl. That's your perfumed rosewater.
Check the bowl every 10-15 minutes. You should end up with 1-2 cups of water that smells deliciously rosy. If you leave it on the stove too long, the scent will eventually become diluted. The distilling process should take around 20-30 minutes. Allow the rosewater to cool before bottling. This should not be kept for too long.
Rosewater can also be used in cosmetics. It helps to hydrate, revitalise and moisturise skin.
Use lavender from your own garden to transform plain old honey into a fancy, flavourful treat.
Ingredients: • 2 dozen fresh lavender blossoms or 1 tablespoon dried flowers
• 1 cup honey
Method: Stir honey and lavender together over low heat. Remove, cover and leave at room temperature for a day. Warm again until it is liquid enough to pour through a sieve into a jar.
ELDERFLOWER & ROSE CORDIAL Makes 800ml
Use to drizzle over desserts, or dilute with water for a refreshing drink.
Ingredients: • 2 unwaxed lemons • 100g elderflower heads (about 12 heads) • 1 small red rose, petals picked • 325g caster sugar • 125ml lemon juice (3-4 lemons) Method: Peel zest from lemons in long strips. Put elderflowers into a large bowl with lemon peel and rose petals. Pour over 500ml of boiling water and press down petals, making sure they’re submerged. Leave to cool, then cover bowl and leave to infuse for about 36 hours.
Strain into a medium saucepan, pressing the flowers with the back of a spoon to release all the liquid. Discard flowers. Add sugar and lemon juice, turn the heat to high and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is starting to simmer. Take off the heat, leave to cool, then pour into a sterilised bottle. Seal and store in the fridge for up to a month.