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March 8, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 2:39 am

It seems I have finally found a little bit of time to post this week. Well, actually, I haven’t as such. I’m still supposed to be writing thesis but I have got to the stage where I’m just far too hungry to concentrate on anything challenging, so i might as well give up until I get the opportunity to eat which, if I’m lucky will be in an hour.

So this week’s enormous workload means that my cooking has also been fairly limited. There’s been a restaurant visit, a take away, a pheasant sausage linguine thing (which I’ll write up if I get the chance) and this rather strange invention of mine.

rose lamb

I was rooting through my cupboards at the weekend when I came across a jar of rose-petal jam, which I had bought ages ago to use with game. It got me thinking about an idea I had been meaning to try for a while.

I have made this lavender roasted lamb a few times and the success of it made me want to try out a different culinary flowers. Rose was the most obvious to go for next. I already had  rosewater and the jam so the only thing I had left to try out was dried rose petals.

Luckily for me, I live reasonably close to a bunch of Iranian shops where I could find some dried Damascus rose petals. Apparently spice specialist stores will stock them too, although I’ve never seen them anywhere else.  Dried rose petals are used in Middle Eastern cooking as a spice and are most commonly used in the powdered spice mixture Ras al Hanout.

My plan was to make a dry spice rub out of the just the petals for a half lamb leg, pour over a rose jam and lemon ‘glaze’ and roast it.

rose petals

The rose petals certainly looked weird, but the smell was gorgeous when I was grinding them up. I used about one and a half heaped tablespoons of petals and ground them into a fine powder. Then I made little slits all over the leg, put a sliver of ginger into each one and rubbed the rose powder over it. The glaze was made simply by diluting rose petal jam with rose-water  and adding the grated zest of about half a lemon.

While that was all roasting in the oven I made some saffron roasted potatoes. These were suprisingly good for roast tatties without goose fat, and were also quite easy to make. I boiled a pinch of ground saffron in enough salted water to cover the potatoes for a few minutes, then added the potatoes and brought the pan back to the boil. After five minutes, I drained them and gave them a good shake to fluff them up, put them in a roasting pan and coated them in olive oil, to which i had added another pinch of ground saffron stamens. After 40 minutes roasting they came out beautifully golden.

saffron roasties

Finally, I made a sauce of more rosewater, more jam, lamb stock, rosemary and beaujolais. I deliberately chose beaujolais because of the strawberry flavour of the gamay grape. A rose-strawberry flavour sounded great to me! I ended up simmering the stock with a sprig of rosemary for about five minutes, then adding rose water and the jam and reducing it. The beaujolais went in right at the end so it retained its strawberry flavour.

This really worked amazingly. In fact, this is the kind of meal I’d want to work on so I could make it my signature dish. The flavour of rose is lovely with lamb and the subtle strawberry and ginger was delicious. The lemon imparted a good aroma without getting in the way of the other flavours and the saffron potatoes were a perfect delicately flavoured accompaniment. I accompanied the meal with some sauteéd courgette strips tossed in butter with a tiny bit of chopped mint. Actually pretty near perfect, even if i do say so myself. :D


The best thing about this is I’ve found a new garnish ad it is PINK! \o/

I’ve decided to make this an entry for Weekend Herb Blogging (the brainchild of Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen), since rose features so massively in this dish.  This week the event is being hosted by Anna at Morsels and Musings.


  1. Ros, it looks so pretty! The pink of the lamb matches the petals, nicely co-ordinated! For people who don’t live near a shop that sell the rose petals, Seasoned Pioneers have just started stocking them (probably quite a bit more expensive than your huge bag of them though!!). Everyone seems to be cooking lamb at the moment (Kathryn did Daube last night) so I am definitely cooking it at the weekend!

    Comment by Freya — March 8, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  2. Wow! What an unusual combination!! :) I’d never seen dried rose petals used in cooking before!! Rose water on the other hand… love it. So subtle :)

    That lamb looks perfectly cooked. Yum.

    Comment by Lea — March 8, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  3. Ros - your view of cooking is as close to mine as I’ve ever seen in anybody on the web. You work with a knowledge of the basic processes and a naturally gifted palate and then try things out. It doesn’t always work - not when I do it anyway - but it’s such a great way to cook and I think it’s the only real way to cook. I don’t want to criticise , but there are some recipe blogs out there that might as well be written by very smart robots.

    Damask rose as it is usually known in this country is a much under-used spice that I’ve written up in my spice archive (which is very much behind because I’m struggling to find time to get it completed). It has both sweet and savoury applications and I’m sure I will be using it when I start my own restaurant.

    Maybe we’ll work together one day!

    Comment by Trig — March 8, 2007 @ 10:20 pm

  4. what a wonderful idea. i love combining sweet floral flavours with meat. i recently tried a nutty, chicken pastry smothered in rosewater and that was wonderful. i can just imagine how good your lamb dish is!

    Comment by Anna — March 9, 2007 @ 12:19 am

  5. Hi … thanks for the link ..
    This is FABULOUS - and I love the idea of lamb with lavender, too … next time I’m in London, I’ll look in an Iranian shop for the rose petals (in the summer, there’ll be plenty in my garden!) - I’ve been wanting to go to an Iranian or Turkish shop ever since I read in a book by Claudia Roden that you can get quinces all year round in a Turkish shop, and they are also terrific with lamb


    Comment by Joanna — March 10, 2007 @ 11:27 am

  6. These petals look great. The colours are wonderful. In our turkish shop they aren´t selling them :( ( So I wait for a while. Then there´s a lot of them in my garden. :) )

    Comment by Helene — March 12, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

  7. Great entry. It sound great, and the photo looks just delicious. (And we rarely get entries that use flowers, so that’s extra fun.)

    Comment by Kalyn — March 13, 2007 @ 12:48 am

  8. Freya: Thanks! I can’t resist a pink garnish. Those petals cost about £1.50 for the bag, so they were pretty cheap considering how long they’re likely to last.

    Lea: Wouldn’t life be boring without unusual combinations for food? This is the great thing about living in London. There’s ingredients from loads of different cuisines which means lots of opportunity for experimenting with fusion dishes.

    Trig: Like you (I think), experimentation in cooking and the new discoveries are what makes cooking enjoyable for me. However I don’t think we hould knock the blogs that take a more traditional approach. It may not be what we pesonally are interested in but loads of people just aren’t adventurous about their food and it makes sense that there should be blogs that write for that audience. As for working together, I would happily collaborate on a recipebook one day ;) .

    Anna, thanks very much for hosting this week. Your round up was great. That pastry sounds very nice. It sounds like it might have been a variant on bastilla.

    Joanna: Do let us know if you manage to succesfully dry out some rose petals. I don’t know if the species makes much difference but the ones in shops always seem to be these damascus petals.

    Helene: Thanks for stopping by the site. I will look at yours later tonight. I must admit I’m very lucky to live in a city where I can just jump on a tube and go to Iranian, Japanese, Trinidadian, Ethiopian, Sri lankan…. the list goes on…. shops and get these ingredients. It is a shame your Turkish store did not have the petals but hopefully you will have success making your own in the summer.

    Kalyn: I’ll have to do lavender for a future entry then! Flowers in cooking are a much under used thing.

    Comment by ros — March 13, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

  9. Hi Ros,

    Just after reading this i saw a ‘luxury crisp’ cereal in asda *hangs head in shame* consisting of freeze dried berries, cereal clusters, and…. dried rose petals! I bought it to try out that rose petal flavour - it was pretty good, and i’m not usually one for perfumy type flavours. When can i come round to try the lamb?

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — March 15, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  10. Schmoof, if there was any lamb left you would be most welcome to try some but it has all been eaten! No doubt I’ll find an excuse to try to improve on this recipe soon though.

    We missed you at Borough on Saturday. :( Is your back any better now?

    Comment by ros — March 15, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  11. Yeah, stoopid flu! I can breathe now, but everytime i cough (which is frequently), laugh (more so) or burp (well…) my right shoulder hurts, which puzzles me greatly. I’m all brok-up! Next time there’s a meet i’ll definitely be there.

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — March 16, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  12. this recipe would be perfect for the WTSIM…easter basket event i am hosting next week - spring lamb with lavender sounds like the perfect contribution - can i tempt you?

    Comment by johanna — March 25, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

  13. Actually Johanna, I was trying to think up an entry for WTSIM this month but wasgetting a little bit stuck. Do you mean I should enter this post? I havea feeling it might be against the rules for WHB but I’ll check.

    Comment by ros — March 26, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

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