As far as I am concerned, roses in food are the epitome of gorgeous. If you want to make this jam more rosy, add a few drops of rose water, and if you have any petals left over you can always scatter them in your bath. This jam is quite runny and has a beautiful colour — it would be wonderful dribbled over a not-too-sweet ice cream or served with a blob of crème fraiche. If you can manage it, make the jam with the first of the watermelons and the last of the roses. If you prefer your jam thicker, cook half a chopped apple with the watermelon. You may need more or less sugar, depending on the sweetness of your watermelon. The buttermilk pudding would also be lovely served with some other fruit — perhaps syrupy poached quinces or a mixed berry salad. I like to use smooth pudding saucepans here, but you can use any ramekins you like. You can even serve the pudding in its ramekin with a little bowl of jam on the side.
To make the jam, put the watermelon in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Halve the lemon and cut 3 thin slices from one half. Cut these slices into
Pour the sugary fruit into a heavy-based saucepan suitable for making jam and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon so that it doesn’t stick. Ten minutes or so before you think it will be ready, remove half of the jam to a blender (making sure there are no lemon pieces included because those are nice left whole) and leave the rest of the jam to continue cooking. Purée this half and return it to the pan. (A few bits of watermelon and lemon give the jam a nice texture.)
To test if your jam is ready, spoon a little onto a plate and tilt it. It should slide down with resistance rather than just running down. If necessary, cook for longer. Add the rose petals and pour into a suitable sterilised jar, using a wide-necked funnel if necessary. Seal the jar tightly and turn over. Leave it to cool completely before turning the jar upright and storing in a cool place. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator and use up fairly quickly.
To make the puddings, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl with enough cold water to cover them (you can snap the leaves of gelatine). If using powder, put
Put the cream, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat. Thoroughly squeeze out the softened gelatine leaves with your hands until they are like a ball of jelly. Add the gelatine leaves or the spongy gelatine to the warm cream and stir to dissolve it. Leave the mixture to cool, stirring from time to time to ensure the gelatine dissolves evenly. When completely cooled, stir in the buttermilk and strain through a sieve to remove any lumps of gelatine. Ladle into four
To serve, gently loosen around the sides of the puddings with your fingers or the back of a teaspoon. Dip the bottoms of the ramekins in a little hot water for a couple of seconds (no longer, or you’ll end up with soup) and turn them out. Or, simply scoop out with a large spoon and pour some jam over the top before serving.
© 2004 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.