A week or so ago, I was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the Westcliff on Sea Women’s Institute – and sadly today I realised that they were coming to the end of their gorgeous life.
Back in the ‘better off’ days, I used to use rose water in my cooking, so tonight I fished out the two roses from the bouquet, and decided to make my own.
For those that don’t know, rose water can be used in cooking, both in cakes and sweets, and in Moroccan cooking to make a Harissa paste, or to flavour tagines. It’s also a fantastic toner to use on your face, and was very popular in Victorian times.
Water (2 mugs of water per head of rose petals)
Pick the petals from the roses and place in a ceramic saucepan. According to the wisdom of an old copy of Readers Digest, a metal saucepan will taint the flavour of the delicate roses. I wasn’t taking any chances! If you don’t have a ceramic saucepan (mine was rescued from my Grandads guest house when he passed away last year), then a ceramic or glass bowl perched on top of metal saucepan of boiling water will do the same job.
Add half the water to the pan or bowl, cover with a lid, plate or tin foil, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until the petals are translucent and mushy.
Strain to remove the petals, and dilute with the remaining water.
If using as a face toner, dilute again with one part water to one part rose water before storing, and shake gently before use.
I’ve kept a tiny amount for cooking (smaller jar, in the fridge door) and the large jar for my tired face (now living in the bathroom cabinet – the jar, not my face…)
Not bad for a freebie! Now to persuade Mrs J to buy me some roses, so I can make some Christmas presents… And to identify the rest of the bouquet and see what I can do with it… Any clues?
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack