Dried Rose Extravaganza! Well, Two Recipes. Sort of.

Feb 14 at 12:43am
“Rose is sent to earth by the gardeners of paradise for empowering the mind, the eye and the spirit.” Rumi This is the time of the year  I begin to release my stingy hold over my stores of dried roses.  I know as the shimmering vibrant green of first growth spreads across the landscape — that new season of fresh blooms is just around the corner! I’ve got quite the stash, wild roses, rugosa roses (whose vibrant pinky purple hue give these dishes their colour) and peachy scented yellow roses to name a few.

And so I begin to allow myself to enjoy their enchanting presence more liberally in teas, in cooking and in treats. But for Valentines Day I decided to ceremonially crack open my stores and create a fragrant rosy dessert that would embody her sensual, loving, nurturing and magical nature.

So I made two Valentines treats, Coco-Rose Balls (basically dried coconut, dried rose petals and honey) which were very rosy and pretty and then the pièce de résistance Rose-Honey Rice Pudding.  Fragrant, creamy and so very nurturing, this is sensualized comfort food at it’s best.

Rose’s legendary scent contains chemical compounds that release “feel good” endorphins while reducing cortisol and blood pressure, causing the brain to enter the deep calm, dreamy states. Long praised for its anti-anxiety and antidepressant qualities rose has been used across the world to soothe stress, raise the spirits, heal broken hearts, and of course, as an aphrodisiac.

Ruled by the planet Venus, rose was sacred to Goddesses everywhere. For Isis, she symbolized the secrets of regeneration and immortality.  In India, Lakshmi goddess of beauty and prosperity, was said to have been created with rose petals. Hecate goddess of witchcraft,wore a crown of roses and in Rome the temples of Aphrodite were piled high with roses and floors strewn with petals.

She is also a gentle healer, a cooling anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants soothing to irritated skin and good for achy bones, creaky joints and arthritic conditions. Pliny the Elder, the Roman natural philosopher  described 32 different medicinal uses for the rose and physicians in ancient Persia, India and China used the rose medicinally as well.

And because these rosy Valentine treats have the dried petals blended right in, it makes them both deliriously romantic and good for you! To begin you’ll need to find some dried rose petals- if you don’t have any handy they can usually be purchased through your local herb store. These you’ll grind up in a coffee grinder and use a base for both desserts.

Now because this my «gathering diary» and not a gather blog post, I’m not going to be able to provide a finished recipe (that requires time for resting!) This is where I experiment and let you see what I’m working on in the kitchen — plus I just made these yesterday! So you’ll have to improvise on your own, but I’ll give some basic direction.

Rose Sugar

You’ll take about 2 cup of petals and whir them up in a coffee grinder until they form a fine powder. You’ll add this rose powder right into the balls and the rice pudding, and you’ll also mix it with regular granulated sugar for a sparkling rose sugar topping.

Coconut-Rose Balls

For the Coconut Balls I started with blending up my dried rose petals and dried coconut up in the coffee grinder. For a cup of dried coconut I used about 3/4 cup of petals. I did a few batches and soon I had enough for a dozen balls.  I took this put in a blow and mixed with honey, dash of cardamom, splash of rosewater ( I used my rose tincture) and pinch of salt.

It turned out pretty purple but as I added to the honey it turned more pinky again. So add enough honey to make it easy to form into balls — watch out too much will make it sticky & unworkable! Then I rolled liberally in my rose sugar. Pretty easy. If I made them again I would take some time to infuse the petals in warm honey as well.

Rose Honey Rice Pudding

This was my favourite, the combination of rose, cream and fragrant rice was unbelievably rich and delicious. I started again with whirring up my rose petals in the coffee grinder. I made about a cup of dried rose powder. I cooked my brown short grain rice (about 3 cups) first, and then while still warm, tossed in 1/2 cup of ground petals, gave a stir and let sit for an hour. I took the other half of the rose petals and added to cup of honey and warmed on the stove (lowest heat).

After an hour I combined both the warmed honey and the rice in a bowl. I then whisked together three eggs and a cup of cream, and then poured into my rice mixture in a greased baking dish. This I baked in the oven for about 35 minutes at 350.  Once completely cool I turned over and released from my cooking pan into a kind of a «cake» that I again liberally covered in rose sugar. This I served up with warm cream. And I truly, truly, think it says I love you.

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Gather Victoria
is creating Wild & Ancestral Food, Magical Cookery & Seasonal Celebration
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A Gathering Diary
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I’m out foraging and cooking with wild foods almost everyday, but there just isn’t enough time to write recipes for everything I find or experiment with in the kitchen. By pledging this amount,  you’ll see the wide variety of plants and recipes that never make it to the Gather website. In my personal gathering diary I keep photos of the many plants I come across, as well as notes and recipe ideas, some of which make it to the blog -some not. After all not everything works out!

So by sharing my diary I hope to give Patrons a better idea of the wide variety of delicious edibles and healing herbs on offer each season, as well as tips for how prepare, preserve, cook and make medicine with them. Hopefully it will inspire you to experiment along with me! I’ll also take you behind the scenes as we prep for Gathers seasonal events, and share some of my thoughts, inspiration and the research behind the foods and feasts we present.

Advance Pages from Gather E-Cookbooks & Free Digital Access
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This year I want to begin work on two e-cookbooks to be delivered in seasonal quarterly editions (Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter.)

The first, «Celebrating The Herstory of Food: A Seasonal Almanac of Magical Recipes» takes a culinary pilgrimage through the Great Wheel of the Year, weaving plant lore & food history together into magical recipes, menus and celebrations for each season.

The second, «Wild Condiments: Preserving Nature’s Bounty for Health, Healing & Culinary Delight» explores how to wildcraft and prepare seasonal relishes, ketchups, chutneys, pestos, pickles, salsa, antipasto, jellies and sauces.  Those that donate $5.00 a month will receive advance book pages from these e-cookbooks and free digital access to all the e-cookbooks in full, as they are completed.

More details coming soon!

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In the new year I plant to create a series of «how to» video workshops that will cover everything from ethical and sustainable harvesting to cooking with wild edibles, to merging the healing arts of herbs and yoga.

In these videos you’ll learn how to make some of Gather’s most popular dishes like Wildcrafted Herb Cheese, Venus Vinegar, and Woodland Tonic Syrup, plus you’ll discover how to create calming Chakra Balancing Teas and energy boosting treats. And much more besides!  Patrons at this level will receive free access to all the workshop videos as they are created.

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Woodland Tonic Syrup is Gather’s most popularly requested item for purchase — but we don’t sell products! However for our Patrons I will lovingly make and send out Gather’s most beloved Tonic Syrups made from seasonal & medicinal herbs, blossoms, berries, roots etc.  Once our baseline funding goal is met, these syrups will be delivered four times a year (spring, summer, fall winter).

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Once our baseline funding goal is met, those that donate $75.00 or more monthly will receive a seasonal selection of Gather’s wildcrafted magical goodies. This might include a tonic syrup, a tea, vinegars, herbal finishing salts, tinctures, oils etc). In great gratitude, these small batch, handcrafted items will be delivered to you four times a year, spring, summer, fall & winter!

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