mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Archive for the ‘Edible Flowers’ Category

Blooming Bright

In Birds and Bees, Edible Flowers, From the Garden on June 6, 2008 at 12:22 pm

calendula

Modern Western medicine has changed our lives with its clinical approach to diagnosis and treatment of disease. Along the way it became the mainstream approach with older systems getting the tag of alternative medicine. Of course, there are reasons to encourage and protect this mindset.

Practitioners of Western medicine, while finally admitting to the efficacy of meditation and yoga in keeping ailments such as hypertension (and many others) in check, find it difficult to explain how with their empirical scientific methods. Yoga, or homoeopathy also have no negative side-effects. Unlike much of modern medicine. (And you must check out this definition for homoeopathy! Seriously!)

Naturally, the winners of the no-side-effects approach are patients – not drug companies, not insurance companies. Patients find it hard to finance such ‘alternative’ treatments in the current arrangement between medical practice-drug companies-insurance agencies.

nasturtium yellowBri, a fellow food blogger, would like to do just that – explore other “alternative treatments” to fight breast cancer. She has been looking at various options in addition to chemotherapy. Her health insurance, unfortunately, does not cover holistic alternatives which she would like to try. She is going through intensive chemo and other treatments and needs to focus single-mindedly on healing and finding what treatment works best for her.

Jugalbandi, with the June edition of Click, has organised a fundraiser to help Bri finance one year of such treatment that is not covered by her insurance. The theme for the month is Yellow, a colour that has come to be associated with the fight for cancer.

The deadline for participating in Click is June 30, while the fundraiser will continue till July 15, 2008. Details on how to participate and contribute here.

The beautiful flower at the top is Calendula, a popular annual in our winter gardens here. Of course, it is edible! You can use the petals in soups, scrambled egg, or make your own healing balm! And it is my entry for this special edition of Click!

Update, June 16: Flowers, even edible ones, were inadmissible!  The Khandvi picture at the bottom is the Click entry!

fruit sellers
Some more yellow for you.

khandvi

(You want to know how to make this delicious nutritious almost-fat-free snack? Here’s the recipe! 😀 )

Moongre ki Subzi (Radish Pods)

In Edible Flowers, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Rajasthani, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

radish blooms

I seem to gravitate towards strong tasting vegetables – the pungent and very-brassica smells and tastes my husband likes to categorise as oogra. Nothing brings out the link between all the diverse members of the brassica family (such as broccoli, kohlrabi, haak, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, mustard, kale, and collard) like their flowers and seeds. All of them have the characteristic four-petal blooms (thus the name crusiferae – from ‘cross’ – for this group of plants, also collectively called the mustard family) and the brown-to-black oval-spherical seeds borne in tapering bean-like seedpods (a silique). Maybe now Nabeela will see why I first identified the mustard pods in her quiz as radish pods. The flowers vary in colour from white or cream to lavender or yellow, and are all edible! Read the rest of this entry »

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose!

In Birds and Bees, Desserts, Edible Flowers, Low Fat, Preserves, Tea Party, Under 30 min! on May 18, 2007 at 10:41 pm

rose

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” spake the great Bard, though he may not 🙂 have been alluding to the flower at all. And there are many magnificent rose hybrids today that are a lot of show, but hardly any legendary fragrance.

R is for Rosa. The Indian desi Gulab or musk rose (Rosa moschata), a very fragrant rose variety, is closely related to the Damascus rose (Rosa damascena) that originated in Persia. It produces small flowers (2 to 3 inch across) with red or pink petals. The petals retain their delicate fragrance long after drying, which makes them an ideal ingredient for potpourris. The desi gulab is grown on a large scale for the ayurveda and cosmetic industries.

Rose oil is an essential ingredient in itr, oil-based Indian perfumes. Rose water is used in the preparation of many Indian and middle-eastern dishes. A hint of fresh roses is what makes the rasgulla taste so refreshing. Gulab ark (rose extract) is also a key ingredient in Hamdard’s ever-popular summer drink Rooh Afza. Milk shakes made with Rooh Afza are part of my childhood memories – what a deliciously pretty pink that milk shake is!

Gulab, along with the fragrant mogra (Jasminum sambac), is (was?) the flower of choice, to decorate a newly-wed couple’s room (a bed of roses?). Some of the rose petals strewn on our bed got into the gaps of the mattresses and delicately perfumed the bed for months!

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Rose Hip Tea

In Drinks, Edible Flowers, Tea Party on October 11, 2006 at 9:21 pm

tea

Going back to those rose hips

Most of us grow roses for the beautiful flowers. And those of us who have little interest in things wild may not even know that there is more to the wild rose than its fragrant flowers. A rambling shrub rose still looks beautiful when its flowers fade. The stunning brilliance of its fruit, the rose hips, is as arresting.

rose hips

And the beauty of the rose is not skin deep either. We are all familiar with the culinary, medicinal, as well as cosmetic uses of the rose extract. There’s still more. The rose hip is one of the best sources of natural Vitamin C! Apparently, it has 20 times the vitamin C of most citrus fruits. It also has vitamins A, D and K, in addition to antioxidant flavonoids.

During Word War II when Britain faced a shortage of citrus fruits, rose hip syrup made with wild rose hips collected from hedge rows became an important supplement. In the days before the vitamin C pills, rose hips were also part of standard sailors’ rations.

All these qualities makes the pretty rose hips good candidates for a wonderful cup of tea!

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Hibiscus Red September…Hic

In Drinks, Edible Flowers on September 19, 2006 at 10:00 pm

hibiscus drink

If you are meeting up with old friends partying late into the night is inevitable. Before the gang returned to their respective permanent addas in Maharashtra, we did some partying here in Delhi. A lot was cooked but only a little was photographed. I was too rushed at times, and the fact that my ‘food photography’ was the source of some amusement to the lot was not lost on me. All in good humor, of course.

It may seem to some, who don’t live to eat, that tender ginger, giant cucumbers, and cups of tea, are not the best subjects for photography. Obviously they have forgotten all the art appreciation classes we had as undergraduates students of architecture. Food and drink are very suitable still-life subjects. Thank you.

Were they appreciative of the quirky concoctions I had in store for them though!

MxMo Quirky enough for Paul’s Mixology Mondays being hosted this time by Meeta at What’s For Lunch Honey. And I am going to call it:

Red September

30ml Hibiscus syrup
60ml Vodka
15ml lemon/lime juice
lots’a ice cubes

Shake everything and pour into glasses. Cheers.

Now, where are you going to get the Hibiscus syrup? Make your own, where else!

Just step out of the front door this morning and gather a dozen or so fleshy dewy Hibiscus blossoms (before the old ladies get to them) which you have never sprayed with pesticides (like the rest of your garden). Rinse them out (no need for this if you stay away from polluted cities). Trim and use only the petals. Squeeze the juice of one big lemon and toss.

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