Tag Archives: Edible Flowers

Retro Food For Modern Times: A Retro Rosy Rosé Punch

I had a strange week this week which was topped off by an amazing punch inspired by Mary Meredith’s Good Cooking For Everyone.

Her Rosé Wine Cup is by far the prettiest picture in Good Cooking For Everyone.  Here is my version:

Retro Rose Punch

Retro Rosy Rose Punch

This was lovely – light, refreshing and delicious.

It was a gorgeous pale blush colour and looked and tasted like summer in a glass! And, it had the most amazing rose scent!

But first, here is a brief summary of my week.

#1 Surprise!

The surprise in Mary Meredith’s Apricot Meringue Surprise is macaroni. Yecchhh!

Apricot Meringue Surprise 001

I like to think she got confused.  I think she meant to make mac and cheese and apricot meringue pie but had a few too many swigs of the cooking sherry.  And you know when you’re a bit tipsy and feeling no pain?  “Leave it in, it’ll be alright…”

#2 World Gone Mad

Dear Beauty Parlour

No, I do not want to tweet or post on Facebook the appointment I just made with you.

No one else is remotely interested in my beauty treatments. I’m only barely interested myself.  Please find some other way of advertising your services…I suggest you try advertising.

Rosy Rose Punch 2

Rosy Rose Punch 2

#3 Pity The Apricot

Mary Meredith continues to use apricots in bizarre ways.  If the macaroni meringue surprise wasn’t enough, look at her salad platter.

You may think, given her fondness for them (as previously discussed here) that the items on the platter between the apricots are grilled bananas.  It would possibly be an improvement if they were.  Those babies?  Kippers

Yes, kippers.  As in smoked herrings that will make your house reek for a week if you ever cook them.   And if that combination wasn’t had enough on its own, you could smear your kipper and apricot delight with some apricot jam mayo.

Apricots, what did you do to Mary Meredith to make her hate you so?

Salad Platter à la Mary Meredith

Salad Platter à la Mary Meredith

#4 The Place Beyond The Bus Stop

Dear State Government

If you truly want to reduce the road toll, you might want to reconsider allowing people to put posters like this on bus stops without warning local residents. It’s nigh on impossible to keep your eyes focussed on the road ahead with this looming up on your left. (Believe me, I have tested this many, many times over the last few days and I’m pretty sure it can’t be done.)

P.S.  I am by no means suggesting you remove the poster.  A strategically placed traffic light would suffice.  One that stays red for a while.

Traffic Hazard

Local Traffic Hazard 😉

#5 I’m on a mission

A search of my cupboards revealed I don’t own a punch bowl.   Look out Ebay, I’m coming for you!

Here is Mary Meredith’s version of the Rosé Wine Cup.  So pretty!

Rosé Wine Cup by Mary Meredith

Rosé Wine Cup by Mary Meredith

#6 Bubbles

We celebrated my new job with some lovely bubbles.

Good thing really, to fill my time I’d started writing crackpot letters to local businesses.

#7 Rose Petal Ice Cubes: Trickier Than You Would Think

One of the things that made the Rosé Wine Cup recipe so appealing to me was the rose petal ice cubes.  However, there were no instructions on how to make them.

I tried to make these three times.

The first time I used rose petals from my garden but they were too big to fit into my teeny ice-cube trays.

I then stole commandeered some smaller roses from my neighbour…I don’t think he’ll miss them….

Neighbour's roses

The problem, even with the smaller petals, is that rose petals float.

You may think these photos look lovely and serene.  The reality was me poking petals back into the water shrieking “Sink, you utter bastards, damn you sink” at them.

Rose Petals For Icecubes

Rose Petals for ice-cubes

DSC02271

The only way I found to do it was to put the rose petals into the ice-cube trays and fill half way with water. Once that was frozen and the floaty little fuckers were anchored in a block of ice, I could then fill to completely cover them.

Who knew ice-cubes could be so tricky?

I used boiling water to fill my ice-cube trays and some of the colour leached from the already pale petals.  I would probably use a darker coloured petal next time to have more contrast. Or just not use boiling water!  Bu then again, maybe the hot water released the oils that gave this the glorious scent….

Rose Petal Icecubes

Rose Petal Icecubes

#8 The Devil Was Missing Some Details

I was very much looking forward to sipping my punch whilst nibbling on some Devilled Chestnuts, recipe courtesy of Mary Meredith’s Good Cooking For Everyone.

I was totally disappointed with these.  Even though they looked super cute both in the teeny cases and stabbed onto brightly coloured cocktail sticks the recipe didn’t work.  I might experiment a bit and redo them but in the meantime here is a picture of how fun they looked!  The big petalled rose is from my garden.

Devilled Chestnuts

Devilled Chestnuts

#9 The Retro Rosy Rosé Punch

I did not follow the recipe for the Rosé Wine Cup as per the recipe exactly.  I was a sickly child and Cherry Brandy reminds me of the vile cough medicine I was constantly given.  Proust had Madeleines.  My overwhelming scent memory from childhood is Brondecon.

We’d also recently bought a bargain case of some French Passionfruit Lemonade and given that we have bottles of it lying around, I used that instead of plain lemonade.

I used a cheap and cheerful cleanskin rosé and cassis to replace the Cherry Brandy.

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Retro Rosy Rosé Punch 2

Retro Rosy Rosé Punch 2

Rose Wine cup recipe 001

This was really lovely and something I will definitely make again, it was also light on alcohol so something you could drink all afternoon without getting too messy.

I’m going to spend the week hanging out at the bus stop, have a great one, wherever you spend yours!

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Retro Food For Modern Times: The Floral Foraged Feast

What we’re going to do right here is go back, way back, back into time…

Today we are leaving behind those heady patchouli scented days of the ’70’s to take a step back to some really retro food and talk about my experience as a food forager! Food foraging has been around for as long as people have been around and basically involves making lots of deliciousness out of stuff that is growing wild around you…well, that’s my definition…if you want to get more technical, try google!   When most people think about foraging, they probably imagine it being done in the country however urban foraging is becoming increasingly popular.

Part of my birthday resolutions this year was to do something new each month –  which is why a few Sundays ago, I found myself sipping a Cleavers smoothie with a group of strangers.  I was taking part in an Edible Weeds Walk run by Very Edible Gardens (www.VeryEdibleGardens.com).  The smoothie was really good and set the tone for what was a very pleasant and informative few hours.  During that time we were taught to identify a number of so-called weeds and learned how these could be used both as medicine and as food.

The setting was amazing, an urban farm, virtually under the domes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Brunswick. And  a glorious day to boot….one of the first real signs that Spring was on its way.

It was also just a short stroll away from the CERES environmental park and the Merri Creek Bike Track.

Mind, you, the setting did have some drawbacks, on my way back to my car, I was quite happily strolling along, enjoying the lovely view, the sunshine and my solitude, when I came across this sign, and suddenly the fact that I was alone in this large  parkland became a little bit frightening!

However, I made it home safely and was able to use my new-found knowledge to make this lovely floral foraged salad!  For my salad I used:

Angled Onion – stalks and flowers:

There are literally thousands of these plants growing by our local creek and whilst I had previously noticed the strong smell of onions around them, I had no idea they were edible. They have an onion flavour, much like chives.

Wild Brassica – leaves and flowers:

This too is prolific in my local area. The leaves taste like supercharged cabbage It can give you that nose tickle you get when you eat mustard.  The flowers are much milder and added some colour to the salad.

Nasturtium – leaves and flowers

These were growing in my garden but the flowers are pretty and added some colour.  The leaves have a peppery flavour.  Since then, I have seen nasturtiums growing in the wild so this wasn’t too cheaty!

Dandelion leaves. 

These are quite bitter.  Adam,  our guide on the walk, said that even if you do not like these the first time you have them, to persevere with them as the taste really does grow on you.  Also, the bitterness is very cleansing.  I didn’t mind them in my salad but I was light handed, not only due to Adam’s caution but also because the park I was foraging in had just been mown and the leaves were not that easy to come by! 

Along with these foraged ingredients, to make my salad, I added some lettuce and some avocado, some thinly sliced radish and a few cherry tomatoes.  I also made a very simple lemon and oil dressing as I really wanted to be able to taste the different leaves and flowers.  Here are the ingredients:

This was a very tasty salad which, I will definitely be making again.  I think I was right to err on the side of caution with the dandelion leaves.  I chopped these up quite finely so whilst there was a slight underlying bitterness in some bites it was certainly not unpleasant and added a depth to the salad.  How pretty and fresh does this look?  I also took advantage of one of first really warm days and ate this outside….Voila!

The foraging itself was great fun, I really enjoyed walking through the park and identifying and choosing the weeds for my salad.  There is also something incredibly gratifying about picking and eating your own produce, whether you have grown it or foraged it.  In fact, foraging is a little bit more fun because it feels like you’re doing something a little bit naughty!

But really, cooking with things I have grown (or foraged) makes me feel connected to the earth and the environment in a way that shop brought produce can never do. Who knew I was such a hippy?  And now for my inner risk manager – if this post inspires you to commence your own adventures in foraging, I would really suggest doing a group exercise like I did – not all plants are good for you and many can actually cause you harm.  Having advice from a knowledgeable person like Adam could be the difference between a totally fun and enriching experience and one that leaves you very ill indeed!

Sorry Oscar, none left for you!

Adam, who lead our walk, has also written a  fab book:

This can be purchased at the following

http://www.eatthatweed.com/edible-weeds-book/

There are a number of other books and other resources on foraging you could use as well.  Here is a link to an article from Gourmet Traveller but most libraries and book shops will have something on the topic plus there is an abundance of info on the internet.

http://gourmettraveller.com.au/how-to-forage.html

I will be experimenting with more foraged finds over the next few months. I would like to try a cooked option next.  I don’t think the ngled onions will be in season much longer so before they disappear I’m thinking a stir fry with some of the wild brassica, some  chilli, ginger and garlic may be in order.  This would be delicious as a side dish or tossed through some noodles as a lovely vegetarian main meal.

In the meantime if you make something lovely out of  foraged foods, please let me know and….enjoy!