Roses aren’t just for romance; they’re great for flavour too

Couscous has a very neutral flavour which means it’s a great vehicle for bolder flavours

Roses are red, violets are blue; roses are edible, and violets are too. We don’t often think about eating flowers any more. Though I would not try to eat the roses you receive for Valentine’s as most have no smell or taste, unfortunately. Believe me, I’ve tried to eat them. All the rose family is edible, but you really have to find the right roses if you’re going to eat them.

For most of us, this means purchasing dried roses. The season for roses is a long way out, so I do wonder where all our Valentine roses hail from. Should we not think a little more local when it comes to flowers?

Dried roses have plenty of culinary application. Add a handful to a block of soft butter to make a rose butter. Pan fry some scallops in oil and finish with a spoon of rose butter, basting them to reveal a beautiful floral flavour.

You can buy edible dried rose petals online from lots of sources, including Drink Botanicals Ireland.


How to make couscous with rose petals and spices

For some of us, couscous is a bland and boring food, but in truth it’s how you flavour it which determines its taste. Couscous has a very neutral flavour which means it’s a great vehicle for other, bolder flavours. A great way of getting more flavour into your couscous is to add dried spices or dried flowers into the couscous before cooking. I usually mix dried spices, such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon and ras el hanout into the dried couscous. Then I add a small handful of dried roses and give it a mix. You can keep this in a jar in the cupboard indefinitely.

As couscous is already par-cooked, you only need to add boiling water to it to make it edible. Of course, a saffron stock would make a much more flavoursome dish. Add a chopped onion, leek, carrot, celery stalk, a handful of parsley and a lemon to a pot. Cover with water. Simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and add saffron. It’s that easy. Measure your couscous and add the same quantity of boiling stock. Cover and leave to rest. Serve with some goat’s yoghurt.