I naively hoped we were waving a final farewell to winter on that perfect spring day we were treated to last Wednesday, where all my worries seemed to float away as I sat by the river in the sunshine and returned home with a smattering of early freckles across my cheeks and nose. The river sparkled in blue, the blossom hung heavy in the trees in large pom pom clusters ranging from watercolour candy pink, and pretty palest yellow butterflies flitted along the river path.
It was with great delight that I flung open the kitchen window on a similarly beautiful morning a few days later to let the warm spring breeze float in before busying myself in the kitchen to create the treats for today's blog post. Alas, by the time it came to photograph a day later (note drying time in recipe below) I was rudely disrupted by howling winds and torrential downpour and had to reluctantly move everything indoors, dipping in and out of the rain to pick branches of blossom before the wind bashed them into oblivion. A very British springtime indeed.
It has been a wonderful week taking bespoke orders for the Mum's of Buckinghamshire, penning handwritten notes of thanks and choosing which seasonal blooms to gather and wrap in time for Sunday. Before I become utterly buried in blooms in the lead up, I wanted to share a simple recipe for sweet gift that might be a lovely little extra for your cherished mum. I think food and flowers are intrinsically linked, and no family celebration or feast is ever complete with a jug of unruly blooms or a cluster of bud vases down the middle of the table. Wrapped beautifully and presented after lunch, these floral creams could make a lovely partner to a cup of tea or a treat to nibble later on in the evening when the good television is on. As I am sure I have mentioned before, I tend to add a floral note to most things I create but feel free to swap the rose with peppermint or lemon extract if you think your mum would prefer...
Rose Creams... makes about 35-40
(Adapted from Country Living Magazine)
450g icing sugar, sifted
A few drops of rose extract
2 medium egg whites
Rose or pale pink food colouring or paste
Freeze dried raspberry pieces or crystallised rose petals
1. Put the icing sugar in a bowl with a few drops of the extract - don't add too much as the flavour will be too strong (you can add more later if necessary)
2. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add about two-thirds to the icing sugar and, using a fork, work in thoroughly. Be patient and don't be tempted to add all of the egg white - it will come together within a minute or so. Once the mixture looks like large flakes, add a few dabs of food colouring using the end of a cocktail stick - again, not too much initially as the colour will be strong and you can always add more. Bring together with your hands and knead until smooth and the colour is even - it should be very stiff.
3. Roll out to a thickness of 5-7mm and cut out circles using a 3-4cm cutter or whatever you have to hand. Re-knead and re-roll the cuttings.
4. Whilst the creams are still tacky, press in a few raspberry or rose pieces. Leave to dry for 24 hours on baking parchment set on a wire rack in a cool place.
5. If your Mother is a chocolate fiend (like mine) then it might be nice to dip a few of the creams in melted chocolate and sprinkle them with raspberry or rose pieces whilst the chocolate cools.
I have to confess that a hearty portion of the rose creams were devoured mid shoot, and a few more enjoyed afterwards with a steaming cup of tea perched on the windowsill as I watched the wind whip up a frenzy of blossom petals outside. I saved a few for my mum, I promise...
Whatever your plans this Mothering Sunday, I hope you have a very lovely one.