This book was a real find in a well-known remainder bookshop. It is still available on Amazon but I urge you to check out The Works first as it is there at a much reduced price.
Not only is it full of fabulous recipes but it is beautifully presented and would make a truly wonderful gift to any foodie. It is a cloth-bound hardback with exquisite photos and a ribbon bookmark. Set out in seasons, Ghillie presents a recipe for a preserve and then suggests at least one way to use it with another recipe following. This is such sensible advice and so helpful as frequently I have found myself enthusiastically making a batch of something obscure and then wondering what on earth I am going to do with it.
It was from this book that I got the idea for making the Bloody Mary Kit for my friend’s daughter. Then there was Raspberrycello, from our own raspberries, and most recently there has been Sweet Thai Chilli Paste which made a tasty coating for some chicken. I have also made Ghillie’s Strawberry and Rose Petal Syrup and testify to its deliciousness. The recipe suggestion following this is Billowy Meringues with Rippled Strawberry and Rose Filling but so far I have just used it on humble vanilla ice cream. As a taster, I’ll leave you with the syrup recipe:
Strawberry and Rose Petal Syrup
Makes 1 litre
Keeps for up to a year
juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp rose water
450g jam sugar per 600ml juice
handful of rose petals
Put the strawberries into a pan with 350ml water and the lemon juice and simmer over a medium heat until the strawberries have collapsed and softened. Mash using a potato masher, then transfer to a jelly bag and strain.
Measure the liquid and pour into a large pan. Add the rose-water and 450g sugar for every 600ml of liquid and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.
The next stage is a tricky one to give exact timings for as it depends entirely on the strawberries you are using and how ripe they are. I have found, after various testings, that the easiest method is to bring the liquid to a rolling boil, then continue to boil for a further 5 mins. Remove from the heat and pour a little of the syrup onto a cold saucer. After 30 seconds in the fridge, it should feel thicker and look like a syrup, but should not wrinkle when you run your finger through it. If it is still too watery, heat it up again and boil for a few more minutes and then retest in the same way. It’s best to be cautious: you want the end result to be a thickened but pourable syrup, so it must not reach setting point. Once the syrup has reached the right consistency, remove the pan from the heat and cool for 10 mins.
Put 4-5 rose petals in the bottom of each of your warm, but not boiling hot, sterilised jars bottles and pour in the warm syrup. Seal and cool completely.