Archives for posts with tag: love songs


Rose petals are all over internet recipes these days! I wonder if you have noticed this too.  Sprinkled on cakes and infused in creams and mixed with dried orange peel in harissa in all sorts of spicy North African-inspired dishes.


Because roses are associated with romantic love, they’re an iconic Valentine’s Day flower.  There is in the perfume of roses something so love-ly indeed.  A few years ago, during a very low ebb, a friend who is a herbalist gave me a gift: a tincture of rose to spray on myself as a kind of self-love potion.  “A hug in a bottle,” she called it.  It worked.  That’s what a lot of us need: self-love potions.

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The Bramble and The Rose

I was picking rose-hips in the car-park of the church next door, and there were some blackberries too, and of course, what should I do but sing The Bramble and the Rose, a song I really loved for so many years…

I am hoping to make something very easy and full of Vitamin C– a rosehip syrup, the easy way. Chris of Ipso-Phyto told me this — simply layer the ripe rosehips in sugar, and wait several months (score them if they are not ripe) — the sugar draws out the goodness. Then you don’t have to mess with the boiling and the hairs — this is my first time doing anything with rose hips. Hooray for knowing nothing because then there is so much to learn!

(just had a teeny peek and realize that lots of people recommend waiting until after the first frost to harvest rose hips– I guess the frost breaks down the hard shellish-membrane? I will think of this as a Raw-rose syrup… 🙂 Anyway, always good to learn by experiment and even error…

I often have mixed feelings about using (especially white, heavily processed) sugar (stay tuned for a post on jam-making) but alas, it has fantastic uses for preserving, in moderation. I just couldn’t get the motivation to do anything time-consuming with the rosehips so am trying this… Writing here, I’m wondering if there are great old WW2 type instructionals to pursue…

Check out Chris’s website.




Postscript the following April — here’s a piece I wrote that describes how I used this syrup and a verdict on the easy method– good, but next time will try  the post-frost boiling method….



A Love Song to Leo Dried Peas

(Rhythmic background singers quietly rapping Pease Porridge hot/ Pease Porridge cold/ Pease Porridge in a pot/ Nine days old) (Repeat until end of song.)

I love you Leo Dried Peas for being in a beautiful box and no one thinking to redesign you for decades…

I love you Leo Dried Peas for making it easy to misread “Steeping Tablet*” for “Sleeping Tablet” and having a lion there, who feels incongruous with the humble pea except in reference to the name “Leo.”

I love you Leo Dried Peas for making mushy peas and pea soup and pea hummus.**

I love you Leo Dried Peas to plant on the kitchen window sill and have pea shoots for salads and stir fries in the winter (see photo below)

I love you Leo Dried Peas for letting me cultivate you a little bigger to have large leaves to cook as greens

I love you Leo Dried Peas for growing for us, in our garden, finally, in the middle of September, after a series of abandoned experiments, three Proper Pea Pods, each with two fresh peas.

I love you Leo Dried Peas, love you love you love you Leo Dried Peas, a love that if it dies will regenerate as is the nature of the cycle of a plant from seed to plant to pod to seed…

I love you Leo Dried Peas for being 65pence for 250 grams of said seed, really, and available at my local greengrocers as well as at the Co-op.

And I love you Leo Dried Peas, I guess you could even be a leguminous nitrogen-fixing green-manure to help improve the situation in my raised beds–***

Leo Dried Peas, if you please….


*a bicarbonate of soda tablet to soften the pea-walls during soaking

**pureed, lemony, garlicky and add dillweed if possible

***comments from experienced gardeners welcome

Sprouting the peas-- a great nibble for a passerby, and soon to grow into a proper pea-shoot

Sprouting the peas: a great nibble for a passer-by, and soon to grow into a proper pea-shoot.

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