So we all know roses are the flower commonly associated with love. I have also written about their benefits for our skin and they feature (in some way, shape or guise) in a lot of my natural skincare products for sensitive skin.
They are also used in cooking – mostly associated with recipes for sweet things. Probably most famously in Turkish Delight, or used as cake decorations and as a flavouring for jams – rhubarb and rose jam is delicious.
For savoury it is less well known but it makes a really great addition to North African Harissa. You can buy jars of harissa – some with rose and some without but making up a batch is quick and easy and super tasty. Plus it is so versatile, as you can use it as a marinade for halloumi, fish or chicken.
My favourite local café, PWNC in Newport Pembrokeshire make a mean harissa and pairs it with avocado for a sandwich with added oomph. You can also use it as a condiment to serve with earthy flavours – from confit mushrooms, to roasted root veg – it adds so much depth.
Here's my recipe for a rose petal harissa – trust me, the roses add a delicious fragrance without feeling like you’re eating pot pouris.
Rose Harissa – makes 1 jar (you can easily multiply this amount to make more jars)
1 dried chipotle chilli
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon carraway seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves
100g piquillo peppers (or roasted red peppers)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried rose petals
zest of 1 lemon
Large pinch of salt
Soak the chipotle chilli in hot water until soft, removing the seeds. Toast the chilli flakes and seeds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes to release the aromas. Grind in a pestle and mortar together with the garlic cloves. Tip into a small blender or food processor and add the piquillo peppers, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, olive oil, rose petals, lemon and salt and blend to a paste.
Serve with roasted vegetables, slow cooked mushrooms or griddled halloumi. You can also rub the harissa over a chicken before roasting it - delicious!