More Rose Petal Jam.
Hobart’s late spring, early summer is awash with suburban roses, which, when they’re hanging over fences into the public domain, are just begging to be picked.
On a recent scrumping expedition with the grand kids, we found a good stash of rose petals and soon filled our foraging bag.
Rose Petal Jam (and Rock Eating Bears) was a previous post, inspired by Beata Zatorska’s lovely book of the same name. Only her recipe was one based on crushing the rose petals, rather than making them into a jelly which I had done.So for the previous recipe, these luscious looking petals were carefully hand plucked with great concentration to ensure there were no bugs! Quality control at its best…..However, it wasn’t the domesticated rose variety of the Hobart ‘burbs that Brunyfire was after this year, but the wild Dog Rose that has been out in full bloom around the wilder parts of Bruny Island.It’s always best to harvest the petals in the early morning in dry conditions, remembering to leave some to develop into rose hips for later collection (eg. rose hip syrup).This particular rose petal jam recipe is somewhat international in its flavour. The recipe for example is Polish, the ingredients are from Tasmania’s Bruny Island’s wild dog roses and the mortar and pestle is Danish. Just another reinforcement that food and culture are universal inspired by a sense of place, family and fire (in my case).
The recipe is simple – fresh rose petals and sugar! So starting with the salt glazed mortar and pestle that I used to crush the petals and sugar together…………a simple and effective piece of design by Danish potter, Anne Mette Hjortshøj.
Anne Mette is a potter based on the Danish island of Bornholm, and I had the pleasure of meeting her and seeing her work way back in 2007. Much of Anne Mette’s work is functional – she has made numerous drinking beakers, teapots and my favourite – pots to cook with on a hot plate. The mortar and pestle that I purchased from her Bornholm studio, I believe, has been influenced by the cultural cooking traditions of 17th century Bornholm country life.
In this case, the making of mustard.
Many households used to make their own condiments. Mustard was made from whole black or yellow mustard seeds to make up large batches by placing the seeds in a big earthenware bowl along with a cannonball. I had seen one of these in the flesh at Melstedgård, Bornholm’s Farming Museum, which is situated 3 kilometres west of Svaneke on Bornholm. Built in 1801, the half-timbered farmhouse now serves as the centre of a farming museum. To make the mustard, the earthenware bowl would be placed on somebody’s lap, and the mustard seeds crushed by moving the thighs to make the ball roll around the bowl and crush the seeds, leaving the hands free to do other work.
Once the seeds were finely crushed, the ball would be removed and the mustard mixed with water, oil, vinegar, honey or cream depending on the required taste and texture.
My Anne Mette mortar (or bowl) and the elliptically shaped ‘cannonball’ pestle are too small to roll around on the lap and, on Anne Mette’s admission, any seeds you do attempt to crush tend to shoot out of the mortar as it is a little too small for the traditional mustard seeds – themselves like mini cannonballs that have a tendency to ricochet around the kitchen at the first attempt at crushing.
But it was perfect for the gentle rotational grinding needed to crush the rose petals and combine them with castor sugar…….…….until the juice from the petals mixed with the sugar made a candied paste….. ……which was then stored in a sterilized jar and can be stored in the fridge for up to two years according to Zatorska. In her book, Beata Zatorska recommends using the ‘jam’ in the Polish version of deep fried doughnuts or pączki (POHNCH-kee) but my preference will be to try them in a Danish dish that we had tried at a local farmer’s market in Bornholm.
Whilst not a doughnut, the Æbleskiver is actually a traditional Danish spherical pancake that is cooked in a multi-domed pan that has an interesting story.
An experiment waiting to happen……….