Tagged: weddings

Jul 08

Crystallised rose petals


Everything’s coming up roses just now, so let me show you something magical to try with roses from your garden. Yes, more thrifty edible flowers! I’ll get back to textiles again soon, honestly, but you have to make hay when the sun shines.

I worked on Claire Kelsey‘s ice cream book Melt last year (more of that to come in another post) ensuring that all the recipes were put through their paces. My task was to assign them to a happy band of volunteer testers and collate feedback. Some recipes were harder to place than others, perhaps because they seemed time-consuming and/or fiddly, required expensive/hard-to-find ingredients, or the testers just didn’t fancy them.

In the time-consuming/fiddly group was a recipe for Raspberry and Rose Pavlova which involved making a meringue nest, and crystallising some rose petals. Time-pressed testers spotted a time-sink and declined, so I tried it myself. We were well into autumn, but I still had some late-blooming roses in the garden. I found a couple with good fragrance. If you’re trying this at home, just be wary of using roses which have been sprayed with anything noxious, or are growing close to a main road.

Garden roses

The process really wasn’t so hard, or that time-consuming. All I had to do was detach the petals from the roses…

Red and white rose petals

…dip them in lightly beaten egg white, then into caster sugar, then lay them on an oven tray lined with baking parchment…


…and bake them in a very low oven for less than an hour before allowing them to cool completely.


It was really surprising to see those bright orangey-red petals turn a deep rose in the oven — not what I expected at all.  Mine tasted of rose too and the final frozen pavlova won over my family completely. Crystallised roses will keep for about 3 months too if you pop them in an airtight tin, separating the layers with greaseproof paper or baking parchment. You can use them to decorate cakes, desserts and confectionary, or (might I humbly suggest) nibble them decadently during a long soak in the bath. Because you’re worth it.

I tested a handful of recipes but this frozen pavlova was definitely the crowd-pleaser of the bunch. It didn’t hang around long.


We all agreed that it would make the perfect summer wedding dessert; the final dish, topped with crystallized rose petals and ice-frosted raspberries was quite spectacular to look at: as if Titania herself had sprinkled it with fairy dust. And, best of all, it was heavenly to eat.


Melt by Claire Kelsey is published by Simon & Schuster, RRP £18. It may also be available in your local supermarket.


Jun 01

21 years on

My homemade wedding dress


This rumpled specimen is my homemade wedding dress, precisely 21 years on. It has been squashed in at the back of the wardrobe.

I made it myself, inexpensively. Very inexpensively: the entire cost was somewhere around £30. I picked a fabric I liked the feel of which was downproof cambric, a utility textile designed to encase duvets and pillows. It had an oystery-pink glow and made a satisfying crinkle when it moved (as if making the right noise when you move is of importance to a bride).

But it was hell to sew, and the clue should have been in the name. Because if it won’t let feathers through, needles and pins won’t be easy either. It must have been sewn on Josephine, and if she’d been able to speak the air would have turned blue.

I remember that the choice of patterns at the time felt really limited. I was looking for something simple and understated and this was the best I could find. We’re talking pre-internet, of course. I  didn’t particularly want those princessy details: a bodice that shape or pointy sleeves (which I should have lengthened in any case) but I didn’t have the skills or confidence to draft my own pattern. And, of course, I didn’t make a toile.

Nevermind. It did the job. And I am still married to the man in the Liberty Tana Lawn tie.


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