Pickled rose petals and see you next year!

Pickled rose petals with roasted veg and labne

This may just be the prettiest salad you’ll ever make. A big call I know, but think about it; pickled rose petals, blush baby beets and creamy white labne all artfully but seemingly carelessly thrown across a gorgeous platter? It doesn’t get much more appealing than that. Or not in my book at least. We made this at our most recent Local is Lovely workshop and it was all Aran of Cannelle et Vanille’s idea and styling. Gee she’s clever that one. And just while we’re on workshops, there are only four remaining spots for our March one with Marta Greber, Simone Hawlisch and Luisa Brimble and more available for the two remaining dates of 2016 so why not treat yourself to an extra special Christmas present and grab a spot.

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And as this posts’ title suggests, this is also my last post for the year. Local is Lovely will be back in early January with a vengeance, and the year ahead holds some pretty exciting news, workshops and story ideas so please drop back in soon. In the meantime, wishing you all and your families a very happy, calm and safe Christmas. Sophiex

pickled petals

Pickled rose petal, beetroot and labne salad

Serve this light little wonder next to your roast turkey this Friday or perhaps with some nice warm crusty bread and a few slices of ham on boxing day or thereafter.

When planning this workshop, Aran suggested we do a scene with pickled rose petals and I was instantly in love with the idea. In equal parts because, come on, pickled rose petals sounds like food photography heaven doesn’t it?! And because the garden at Kimbri, where we hold our workshops, was that week absolutely dripping in beautiful roses. She directed me to the queen of good concepts, Martha Stewart, whose recipe we took as inspiration and closely based ours upon and this is where we took it. Serves 4-6 as part of a larger meal. Oh, and if making the labne below, remember to start it 24 hours before serving. But if you forget, honestly don’t worry, a nice thick Greek-style yogurt would still be really great here too.

For the rose petals

2 cups of fragrant, unsprayed rose petals
1 cup white-wine vinegar
5 tbsp orange blossom honey (or other fragrant variety)
2 tsp sea salt

Place the petals in a large bowl and cover with water. Then drain and place on paper towel to dry a little. Combine the vinegar, honey and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and cool for five minutes before pouring over the petals.

Serve warm or cool. These don’t keep for long, the petals loose their colour and fragrance fairly quickly so this is best the day it’s made.

For the roast beetroot salad

We were so lucky at this workshop to have some absolutely beautiful produce to cook with and share, and this salad really highlights that I think – the beetroot, purplette onions and baby carrots were sourced from two local organic growers Epicurean Harvest and First Farm Organics and were jam-packed with flavour and colour. If you can find a gorgeous selection of baby beetroot and other veg then use them for this recipe, and it will really sing. But it will still be really delicious with regular-sized beetroot, carrots and red onions etc. And as always when cooking with stellar raw ingredients, just keep it very simple, just trimming and washing each veg then drizzling with olive oil (from the farm of course!) and sprinkling with sea salt and black pepper before roasting just for 20 minutes or so (we wanted them to stay crunchy).

For the labne

1kg natural ‘Greek’ style yogurt
1 tsp sea salt

Combine the yogurt and salt in a large bowl then transfer to a piece of muslin folded over twice. Tie the corners together and hang over the sink or a bowl and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours depending on how soft you want your labne (the longer you leave it the firmer it will become). Spoon the labne into a bowl and keep in the fridge until needed.

For the dukkah

I use dukkah all the time at home and in the farm kitchen; we have it sprinkled over salads as with this one, served with olive oil and bread, as an added bonus to a bowl of homemade hummus or even just to jazz up a piece of fish or red meat after it’s hit the barbecue. I love having a jar or two of it handy and it lasts for ages so if making it, please consider doubling the recipe for future reachability! Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2/3 cup hazlenuts, toasted (or a mixture of almonds and pistachios)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine the spices in a dry frying pan on medium heat and toast until popping and fragrant. Transfer to a food processor, add the hazlenuts and blitz until you have a rough rubble (you don’t want it too be finely ground), now toast the sesame seeds and poppy seeds, add these to the nut and spice mixture, stir in the salt and pepper and once cool transfer to a jar and seal.

To assemble

So easy…just spread labne across a big platter, top with the hot roasted vegetables and then sprinkle with the rose petals and dukkah.


pickled roses

The location for our workshops, Kimbri Farm, is also home to my parents and their incredible garden, which, every Spring and summer throws the most wonderful bounty of roses and this is what inspired the dish above.

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Workshop co-host Aran doing her thing in the studio. And she does it so well!

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