Category Archives: Rose Desserts Book

My first book signing.

My first author signing happened at the end of June!

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The Barnes & Noble community relations manager Diane was extraordinarily helpful. Originally advertised as a demonstration and tasting, the challenge was to do this presentation after the Barnes & Noble regional manager nixed any food being offered. So I placed some cotton balls soaked in different rose waters in squeeze bottles so people could smell the difference between commercial and home made rosewaters. It surprised all how lovely the homemade rosewaters were compared to the commercial ones. It stemmed their hesitation about using rosewater as an ingredient. The reason for the almost too strong scent of commercial rosewater is the result of using multiple roses in their creation. Too many scents causes an overload and the scent is soap-like. That’s the reason I recommend a very sparing use of commercial rosewater as an ingredient.

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Those in attendance were quite surprised at the difference between commercial and homemade rosewater. After smelling the different containers, one woman had to buy the book since she said that “Now I can enjoy my roses long after they would have wilted.” A gentleman saw the photo of the rose ice cream and asked if it was in the book. I told him it was. Nudging his wife, he insisted on buying the book to try his hand at rose ice cream making. Of course the fact that it was a truly scorching hot day may have had some influence! The gathering was not a large one, but all who came bought at least one book and a woman wandered in at the end, asked about the rosewater and she too bought a copy!

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I would like to thank Diane and the Valencia Barnes & Noble for their hospitality and preparation. They really made this first time author feel welcome!

It was a wonderful first book signing!

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Author signed first edition!

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My book has arrived!

What a surprise to come home on Wednesday to find a box of MY books on our doorstep.

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After months of testing, and many taster’s opinions, the book is a reality! Though titled “Delicious Rose-Favored Desserts“, not all the recipes taste of rosewater. Many taste of orange, lemon, even apple, but all have rosewater or rose petals in the receipt (recipe). The addition of rosewater or petals adds another dimension to a receipt; a mysterious quality that enhances flavors.

Going back to the beginning, this book came about due to two occurrences; the first where being  a volunteer at The Huntington Library and Gardens (encouraged by Clair Martin, at the time the curator of roses) allowed me the opportunity to experiment in making rosewater with over 2,000 available roses, and the second being a fifth grader asking me what the rich people ate in the 18th century. My dear friend, Myriam Hu, whose knowledge of roses was invaluable, helped me gather and test roses for rosewater. Later she aided me in my baking experiments. Jim Folsom, Director of the Botanical Gardens, encouraged me to do research in the Botanic library, which, along with quite a number of 18th century original cookbooks and reprints I’ve collected, gave me the impetus to try my hand at baking with rosewater.

Testing was fun! Interpreting terms and instructions….”some spices (which?),  penny loaf, to searce, or a slow oven”.  Jennie Dobyns, of  Dobyns and Martin, Grocers provided some of the ingredients which were not readily available such as blades of mace, and gum arabic. DSC01175Jennie rushed them to me to make sure I would have them when needed. Then there was my right hand and assistant, Stephanie Deal Nacionales. She was there working with me, even when she was pregnant and couldn’t stand the smell of eggs. She and her husband Jonathan were my first line of taste testers.

Thanks to my dear  friend Honey Berman, who believed in my book, talked about it, and introduced me to someone who introduced me to my agent, who sold the book. This all happened in one year. And now, a heartfelt thank you to all who were there for me. I hope all who buy my book will be rewarded in finding new and unique recipes to tempt the palate and tickle your fancy.

Enjoy!

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To the printer it goes!

My book, now titled Delicious Rose Flavored Desserts has been sent to the printer.

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For months we baked and photographed over 60 recipes which all had roses or rosewater as an ingredient, sourced from period authors such as Hannah Glasse, Elizabeth Raffald, Elizabeth Moxon, John Farley, Eliza Smith, Amelia Simmons, Sarah Harrison, and private manuscripts. Below are some of the recipe photos that did not make it into the book…….


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Shrewsbury Cakes

The small cakes are plated on a Hartley & Green pierced creamware dish. Accompanying this is an original 18th century cut and etched crystal decanter and two Georgian period small etched lead crystal glasses.

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Raspberry Cream

The cream is in an original 18th century cut crystal sweetmeat dish, with four 18th century jelly glasses. The five silver dessert spoons are from silversmith Hester Bateman; all set on a reproduction mahogany tray.

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German Puffs

These petite and tasty 18th Century version of doughnut holes are in an original 18th century pierced creamware dish, with an original hallmarked 18th century sterling silver tong for serving. The smaller 18th century English china saucer or dish holds a Georgian sterling silver nutmeg grater and small sterling silver spoon. On the saucer are two nutmegs and a grated portion of one of the nutmegs.

Just an aside… these were sooo good that none of the puffs made it to my taste testers!!