Last of the Summer Roses

The roses in the garden are reaching the end of flowering with more dead heads than flowers and green rosehips forming. They’ve lasted well this year, but along with most of the flowers in the garden, they’re past their best for this summer.

rose petals

Each year there’s a bit of a battle between Beth and I to see who can pick the roses first.

I use a few petals to make Rose Petal Jam, flavour milk jellies and syllabubs or to make a pink hued lemon squash . This year, my favourite use for rose petals has been in a Turkish Delight Posset, so called only because I associate rose flavour with Turkish Delight. Possets are incredibly easy to make and delicious to eat though being little more than cream and sugar aren’t an everyday pudding. Unfortunately.Slamseys Rose Gin

Meanwhile, Beth picks buckets of rose petals for her Rose Gin. If you follow Slamseys on Instagram, you may have noticed we have regular gin tastings when we try cocktails, taste new flavours or re-evaluate the existing range. Last week, we sampled the first 2016 batches of Rose Gin and Elderflower Gin, concluding  that while equal measures of Rose Gin and Elderflower Gin, shaken with ice and a good squeeze of lime juice makes a delightfully floral drink, Elderflower Delight is hard to beat on a sunny evening.

skyfall wheat

As the garden tips from midsummer abundance to straggly plants and seedheads, we wait for the wheat and barley to ripen on the farm. Every day, the weather forecast is listened to on the radio, watched on television and then checked on the internet in the hope that one of them will predict dry sunny days. Ears of wheat are rubbed between hands, the chaff blown away from cupped palms and the grains bitten to see if they’ve hardened. The harvest contractors are consulted to check where we are on their schedule and anticipation builds that harvest might soon start. Maybe just a few days to wait. Then a night of rain sets everything back and the routine starts again.

Yesterday, Bill took the moisture meter down from the shelf, which is always a sign that harvest is very imminent and after testing some barley, declared it should be ready at the beginning of next week. However, the only way into these fields is through an old farmyard that the owner has developed into a range of smart offices and negotiating first an enormous combine through the tightly packed car park and then a succession of tractors and trailers is rather tricky. As a consequence, these fields are only harvested at the weekend, when the car park is deserted, and so Bill has to decide whether to harvest on Sunday when the barley may not be quite ready or wait until the following weekend, when yield and quality may have fallen or the contractor may not be available or it might rain.

Decisions, decisions.

Elderflower Delight

Oh, sod it. Pass the gin.

 

Turkish Delight Posset

This is a rich dessert that will serve four, though I often put it into shot glasses accompanied by a shortbread type biscuit, in which case it will easily stretch to six.

300 ml double cream
50g caster sugar
Rose petals
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Elderflower Gin*

Snip the rose petals from the flowers leaving behind the tough base of each petal. I use one or two roses depending on their size and how scented they are, so use your own judgement on how subtle you want the taste to be.

Put the cream, sugar and rose petals into a pan, stirring to dissolve the sugar and bring slowly to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes and then remove from the heat. Whisk in the lemon juice and elderflower gin, strain into a jug and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Pour into small glasses or dishes and chill for at least four hours.

 

*Replace with Elderflower Cordial for a non-alcoholic version

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Last of the Summer Roses

    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Well, it is the last of the summer roses BUT it’s the first tomatoes and runner beans in the garden and I never really think that summer has started properly until we start harvest. Gin of course at any time.

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  1. kaydeerouge says:

    How very tiresome that you can only access your fields at weekends – what a good thing you have some delicious reviving drinks to help with all that stress! btw our fields in very north Northumberland have only just turned gold – you’re a long way ahead of us. Hope the harvesting all goes well, and enjoy the drinks!

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      If a combine drove in a straight line from south to north, I wonder how wide a strip it would have to cut to always be cutting ripe wheat. I’ve heard of people walking south to north in spring so that they walk for weeks with primroses just coming into flower.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Similar ingredients, but the cream for the posset is heated so that when the lemon juice is added, it forms a ‘set’ dish rather than the billowy whippedness (is that a word?) of a syllabub.

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  2. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    Such pretty roses Anne. I love the photo of the wheat, a great perspective, this could easily be in Australia. How unusual that your crop is only accessible through a developed car park and offices, that is incredible. Farming is full of decisions on both sides of the world. Rain, contractors and timing are universal I think! Happy harvesting.

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