A couple of weeks ago I got together with my friends Susan and Janice and Janice brought along the most heavenly combination of foods – crackers, creamy soft-ripened cheese and a cherry spread from Bon Maman. Each of these simple foods was delicious in its own right, but together they were some kind of wonderful.
This spurred me on to find my copy of Edible Flowers, an enchanting little 1980s book from the UK by Claire Clifton with illustrations by Glynn Boyd Harte. I discovered the book in a blog post about Glynn Boyd Harte on the Bible of British Taste blog. When I decided to seek out a copy of the book I was not sold on edible flowers (except for candied violets and roses that I’ve used for decorating cakes or dropping into sparkling wine), but the illustrations struck a chord with me.
There was one recipe, however, that I knew I had to try – the cherry and rose conserve. It looked so easy and seemed like such a good idea.
And I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint. What fun to add some sliced Mr. Lincoln roses to the pot! They were a bit chewy when I tasted early on, but by the time it all cooked down that wasn’t a problem at all. Claire Clifton does note in her book that you should not use flowers that have been sprayed or those that have been exposed to loads of exhaust from passing traffic. You might also keep an eye out for bugs.
What I can tell you about the flavor is that the cherries and roses go so well together that it’s hard to know where one leaves off and the other begins. The texture was perfect. I cut the following recipe (shown in a photo from the book) in half as I just wanted a little jar all to myself. It would be fun to serve the conserve with the cheese and crackers for dessert after a light meal. And maybe with the added option of a chocolate loaf cake or chocolate shortbread. What makes this a conserve? I have no idea, but whatever you call it, it’s delicious.
Now I’ve found more recipes that I want to try from this book, so it may not be the last time you hear about it from me.
In the meantime, I’ve got good news for Anglophiles on the television front. Acorn TV is streaming Delicious with Dawn French. I’ve never seen her in anything but comedy before. It’s no Doc Martin, but it’s Dawn French and certainly watchable with beautiful scenery and food, although I wish there had been more food.
And Netflix is streaming both Grand Designs (modern and ambitious home builds – not the kinds of things you see in the US and with a likeable host) and Escape to the Country to you know, vicariously fulfill your dream of running off to the English countryside. More British TV please – enjoy!