There’s a wonderful feeling of abundance in gardens in early June as the plants burst into flower and everywhere looks green and verdant. Unfortunately, our current garden has no flowers as it’s no more than a rough bit of grass littered with old farm machinery and an expanse of sterile gravel.
We have vague plans for the garden but decided that rather than rush into it, we’re spending a few months taking stock of the space, moving chairs around to find the best places to sit and working out path routes and sight lines. While it’s been rather enjoyable not to spend time weeding, cutting back and dealing with the latest outbreak of disease or insect infestation, it’s made me realise how much I enjoy pretty, sweet smelling flowers and a productive vegetable garden.
Most of all, I enjoy roses at this time of year, especially my favourite The Generous Gardener that, despite being planted in little more than hoggin (gravel, sand and clay) in my previous garden, climbed vigorously over a rose arch and continues to flower profusely.
I enjoy this rose not just for the look of the pale pink and blowsy flowers but for their delicious fragrance whether smelt as you pass by outside or filling a room inside. Perhaps best of all, I love using rose petals for food and drinks. I can’t stand lavender in food as it reminds me too much of soap, but roses are another matter. Hand me a box of Rose and Violet Cream chocolates and I’m happy. Slamseys Rose Gin? One of my favourite of Beth’s flavours. A jar of rose petal jam? The perfect topping to a fresh scone.
This weekend, I nipped next door to snip off a rose from the arch, along with some petals from a rugosa rose to make this subtly flavoured Rose Petal Posset. The lemon juice gives a little sharpness to the dessert and brings out the pinkness and flavour of the rose petals. If you’re worried about this tasting too floral (though it doesn’t) add the zest of the lemon to make a Rose & Lemon Posset.
Use any unsprayed scented rose petals and shake the insects from the blooms before you start.
Try it. How can you go wrong with sugar, cream and rose petals?
ROSE PETAL POSSET
2 rose heads
300ml double cream
50g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Snip the petals from the rose heads into a saucepan. Add the cream and sugar and heat gently to boiling point.
Simmer fairly robustly (more than for stock but less than the rolling boil for jam) for 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Leave to stand for ten minutes, which will help the flavour of the rose petals infuse the cream. Letting the cream cool a little should also lessen the chance of cracking your glass.
Strain the cream into four small glasses (you can stretch this to five) and chill for at least four hours.