My friend Stephanie, who lives in the mist belt of Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal, has created a beautiful garden out of virgin land in little over a year. In amongst the indigenous planting, and an ambitious raised vege garden that keeps both her family and the thieving vervet monkeys fed, she has taken to growing scented roses. (I'd like to think that's in part down to my taking her some highly scented homegrown rose bunches from Nthaba Moya when I visited while in SA, but I think that's wishful thinking.) She keeps me in photos of her flowers weekly - so much so that I've just made a folder inside my Friday Flowers folder named after her. You'll have seen some on various Friday flowers before*.
Steph's green fingers means that sometimes she has so many roses she doesn't know what to do with them all...
Place petals from 4 unsprayed / organically grown roses,
250g caster sugar and 300ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes.
Use a spoon to remove any scum that rises to the surface (gross! but this is an English recipe and I guess it's 'cos our water is so hard? beats me. I don't write it, I just copied it.)
Cool, and stir in 1tsp of rosewater.
Set aside to cool, then transfer to sealable glass jar or bottle & chill until needed.
To serve, add 2tbsp to a glass of bubbles (champagne, or better on the budget: prosecco or cava), or dilute 1 part rose syrup to 5 parts chilled sparkling water.
Can also be added to vodka & soda, or gin & tonic (pity about the breast-feeding!)
Makes about 500ml of syrup, and will keep in fridge for up to 4 months.
So, by my calculations, Steph can probably make 5 tons of this a week.
If you're her real-life friend too, I guess I just ruined the surprise of your birthday & Christmas presents! Whoops!