Friday, 12 August 2011

Rose Sugar and other things.......

I'm currently losing about 3 hours a day, as I take time to visit my mother in hospital. This is time that I would normally spend cooking or gardening. Consequently, the garden is over-run with weeds - although we have found time to harvest most of the vegetables that are ready to eat - and our meals are basic, to say the least. I'm not sure if things will improve much when mother is out of hospital, as I can't judge yet how much care she will need.

I have been baking a little, but it's old favourites rather than new recipes - I just don't have time to look for anything new! I've made the mayonnaise-based brownies and Dan Lepard's Marmalade Flapjacks and I've been thinking about this month's We Should Cocoa challenge - to use roses in conjunction with chocolate.

I'm not very inspired by this challenge - I'm certainly not going to spend over £4 on 4 tablespoons of rose water, which probably won't get used again once a few drops are taken out, and any other rose-based products are even less readily available or more expensive, when the postage costs of online buying are factored in! However, I do (or did) intend to attempt the challenge, and to this end, I've been trying to make rose sugar. I've had two attempts so far and neither seem very promising.

Both attempts were made the same way - rub the petals of one large, just opened, rose (either fresh or dried for two days) with 100g of caster sugar and store in a closed container. The sugar made with dried flowers (on the right in the photo) looks good, as it has flecks of dark pink petals throughout, but it smells awful - nothing like roses! The sugar made using fresh rose petals (in the left container) still smells like roses, but the petals have lost their colour and gone a nasty yellowy-brown colour! The sugar is also damp and lumpy, so I can't even sieve out the manky petals with the sugar like this.

I'm not sure what to do next - any suggestions? I'm inclined to use the sugar made with fresh petals and hope the smell survives the cooking process, as neither sugars seem to have taken on any additional flavour from the rose petals!  Perhaps I could sieve out the dry petals from the other sugar and hope the colour of those survives cooking too! But first I have to find time to make something!

13 comments:

Chele said...

Oh now that's a tough one. How about blitzing the sugar and petals in a food processor and then maybe roasting the whole lot in a low oven to help reduce the moisture content. No idea if this will work or not, just thinking out loud!

C said...

I don't think I can help with the rose issue, but sending thoughts and good wishes to the whole family, it must be a tricky time.

I wonder if you bought rosewater if you could use it up in middle eastern style recipes, or couscous etc, or are these not appreciated by the family?

Suelle said...

Thanks for the suggestions, both of you. I hadn't thought of rosewater in savoury dishes although I do buy Ras el Hanout with rose buds in!

Baking Addict said...

Sorry to hear about your mum. I hope she gets better soon. I like the look of the dried rose petal sugar. Perhaps you could bake a vanilla cake with the rose sugar and crystallize some rose petals for deco?

celia said...

Suelle, I'm sorry your mum is unwell, but I hope she's on the mend soon... xxx

Foodycat said...

I can post you a couple of tbs of rosewater if you like?

I spritz it on my face as well as using it in most fruit-based dishes. It is amazing with rhubarb and strawberry.

Suelle said...

Thanks for the offer, Foodycat, but now that I'm getting more suggestions for using it, it's probably worth buying my own rosewater! It wasn't the initial expense that was putting me off, but wasting the rest of it after one baking session!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Wish I could help with the rose sugar, but when I tried making it once I had the same sort of problems as you.
By the way, I came across a Lebanese-owned grocery shop not long ago and the rosewater is much cheaper there than in a supermarket.
Sorry to hear about your mother - I hope everything works out for you.

Suelle said...

Oh Phil - things would be much different if I lived in a city, rather than 15 miles from anything other than bog standard shops! LOL!

Thanks for all your best wishes - mother has reached the stage in her life when the rigours of old age are taking over her life. There's no cure for that, although the hospital have patched her up for the moment.

Foodycat said...

It's useful stuff to keep and it doesn't seem to go off - do buy a bottle!

Glad the hospital has patched her up, even if it is just for the moment.

hungryhinny said...

I don't know what sort of shops you have near you but I managed to pick up some rose essence for £1.50 from a health food shop...

I've used some of that to make a raspberry and rose jam which has turned out pretty well! (Which will be used for the We Should Cocoa challenge I should add...)

Good luck whatever you decide to do!

Choclette said...

Sorry to hear about you're mother, it sounds like a tough time. also sorry to hear you're having difficulties with this month's challenge. I don't think I have anything to offer that others haven't already suggested, but you could always crystallise some rose petals and use for decoration.

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