This weekend I spent a lot of time hanging out in my garden, chilling out with my guinea pigs, weeding the borders and checking out how my crops were coming along. I decided to make some rose petal biscuits to celebrate midsummer, and thought that crystallised rose petals would make a lovely decoration. If you’re an organic gardener, they are really easy to rustle up. All you need is a rose, some greaseproof paper, an egg, a paint brush and some caster sugar.
Pick your rose, and gently pull off the petals, abandoning any that are torn or spotted.
Gently paint each petal with some lightly beaten egg white, I add a tablespoon of water to my egg whites for a thinner and a finer glaze.
Gently sprinkle caster sugar all over the rose petal, shake off the excess and then lay on a sheet of greaseproof paper to dry for a few hours.
According to tradition, St Valentine’s is the day that birds choose their mates, so I’ve decided to show my feathery friends some love on their special day by making them some Valentine’s bird cakes.
I always make bird cakes for the birds in my garden using the RSPB’s guidelines for feeding garden birds (they have some helpful hints for an easy bird cake to make with children here) but have found that smaller birds are getting pushed out by the larger ground feeding birds who’ve managed to monopolize the bird table so wanted to make something the little birds could snack on that the big birds couldn’t reach. These hanging love heart fat balls (nice!) couldn’t be easier.
Melt lard in a pan and stir in birdseed, oats and cheese.
Press into moulds and pour a little melted lard on top to help them keep their shape before poking a plastic drinking straw through any you plan to hang.
Using the drinking straw to guide you, push some twine through the fat ball and tie securely when the fat has set.
String from a convenient tree and sit back and watch your birds, remembering to change the food frequently to prevent it going bad.