“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 a 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.
I made two Valentines treats, Coco-Rose Balls (basically dried coconut, dried rose petals and honey) which were very rosy and pretty. But the pièce de résistance was 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 all 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.
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 testing!) 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…