“ Brand: Steenbergs / Type: Edible rose petals „
Recently I have been making some of my own home baked granola as part of my campaign to lower my sugar intake. Many of the commercial breakfast granolas on the market can be quite high in fat and sugar, so this affords me the opportunity to cut that down, and also to make some rather unusual and different cereals. I have also discovered how easy this is, and so at the end of this review I will share my recipe with you, in case you fancy making a home baked cereal with a difference!
In my quest to make these cereals I had been searching for some unusual ingredients. I had already been introduced to a company called Steenbergs, when I spotted some of their spices on a wholefoods website I use regularly. Based in North Yorkshire this is a family-run business that specialises in organic spices and cooking ingredients, and they offer a mail order service which actually also encompasses a wide range of wholefoods as well. Although they do supply other wholefood companies I have found the best selection of the more unusual ingredients to be on their website (www.steenbergs.co.uk) where delivery is free if you spend over £25. As they do stock other wholefoods it is easy to make up the order to this free delivery threshold.
As I always try, wherever possible, to look at ethical considerations when I purchase items, this company really attracted me as they seek to supply fair trade products as well as stocking mainly organic products.
The company is in its ninth year of trading and being able to support a small enterprise is something I value. Having said that, the company has now moved several times into larger premises which is, I think, testament to their success in this market.
The product I am reviewing is the Steenbergs Indian Edible Rose Petals. The rose petals are available in organic and non-organic, but the organic are currently out of stock due to supply difficulties, so I purchased the non-organic on this occasion. It is, however, my intention to purchase the organic petals going forwards, however currently these are scarce so I may have some time to wait.
As with all the Steenberg spices these are presented in an attractive screw top jar with a sturdy white lid. I really love the packaging for all my spices I buy from Steenbergs as they are so well presented and easy to use. The rose petals retail for £2.15 for 7g. This sounds expensive but they are feather light, and you don't need many to create something really special!
Produced in India these petals can be used for making jam, in Moroccan cookery, and you can also add them to salads, and even to rice or couscous. Of course cup cakes are now growing so popular, and these would make a really good decoration to put on the top.
When you open the jar you can smell the rose fragrance, and the colours of the flowers are vibrant having retained their intense pink. They look really pretty and I knew exactly what I was going to do with them which was to make my granola. Having followed some recipes for various granolas I knew it was time to branch out and be creative, so I made this -
Rose petal and Lavender Granola
First of all you will need a baking tray - a small to medium will suffice, and then you will need to purchase the following ingredients. I don't measure because I have found that quantities for this don't matter too much, as each batch then has a slightly different flavour and texture.
Golden Flax Seeds
Agave Nectar (from health food store)
Lavender flowers (any good spice selection in supermarkets has these)
Your choice of nuts - I like pecans and almonds especially, but any nuts will do or you can leave them out.
Pour some grapeseed oil and some agave nectar onto the base of the tin and add a couple of handfuls of oats and a small handful of flax seeds. As a guide I would say be sparse with the oil and agave as you can add more later if it needs it. You are only trying to coat the ingredients. Then add a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, the latter gives the granola a beautiful green tinge, which goes beautifully with the rose petals you add later. If you are adding the nuts chop into pieces and add. Sprinkle rose water over the mixture, and a few pinches of lavender flowers - don't add too many lavender flowers as you don't want this to drown the taste of the rose water.
Now put the tray into an oven which is at 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3.
The most important aspect of making this cereal is that you must open the oven door and keep stirring it every 5 minutes, as the outside will cook first and can burn. If it looks like it is browning too much turn your oven down. What you are looking for is a golden shade. I have found this will take 20-25 minutes.
Then you take it out and let it cool for a few minutes before adding a handful of rose petals. The finished granola is so beautiful - it has shades of green from the pumpkin seeds, and red from the rose petals, and has an aroma of freshly picked summer roses with a hint of French lavender.
The first time I made this I could see my husband was a little sceptical thinking that maybe this was rather feminine. However he now says it is his favourite granola that I have made so far!
It is really important that you don't add the rose petals before you cook the granola, as they will catch, burn, and lose their flavour. This is also true if you make other granolas and want to add dried fruit or sour cherries, they're better added after cooking.
The finished granola is also kind to your teeth, as it doesn't form hard clusters as some commercial brands do.
Having now made this with the rose petals I have some more Steenbergs flower petals waiting in my cupboard for my next granola recipe - cornflowers, marigolds, peonies, orange blossom, larkspur and jasmine! They also do a rose sugar which is divine when sprinkled onto pancakes. Yesterday I made a cornflower granola with pecan nuts and vanilla.
In comparison with commercial granolas this rose petal version works out very competitively price-wise, but certainly offers something rather different. I have found endless uses for these rose petals which are divine sprinkled on vanilla ice-cream as is the granola I made too!
Delivery is, as I said, free from Steenbergs if you spend over £25, and in my experience arrives very well packed within 7 days. The website is secure with an excellent design too, and it runs very quickly. You can view all the products on there including the rose petals.
With Mother's Day coming up I think I might treat mum to some of this home made granola and maybe a pot of the rose petals which would look lovely just sprinkled on a dish on the dressing table and used as pot pourri dressed with rose oil.
There are so many uses for these rose petals, and the beauty is you can create something which you just can't purchase ready made!