Titania and Oberon, the Fairy Lovers unite, and Spring blossoms with their passion.
They appear from nowhere, stepping out of the mist along the water’s edge… Wings slightly tattered she stood on the shore, looking out to the gentle infinity of blue. When she looked at me I saw it in her eyes – reflected. She stood there and focused her gazer slowly upon me. Light radiated from her face, the third eye in her forehead, and her flaming hair. I stood silent , gently absorbing her radiance.
I can only be thankful I was there at that moment. I followed her walking along the beach. I watched as she danced, the two of us alone on the shore as the birds swooped around her, like music. we were connected as if by a psychic thread, a while glowing string that pulled me along as she walked….I followed her further, walking through the places no one walks, abandoned warehouses and a shoreline that skirted the grey city as if sh e were a mermaid who had found both feet and wings..
We walked, her movements connected somehow to my heart with that glowing but invisible string pulling me along, as if I could walk over water. I wondered where she was going, and where she would take me; where she lived and if she would walk gently over top the silvery water of the lake. Nothing seemed real and nothing seemed impossible. She looked as if she had walked out of time, stepping through centuries or decades at will, with her black boots and her wings carrying her. Her black coat was long and old. Trimmed with fur and wide skirted, swirling its heavy skirts in the wind as she moved in her joyous circles, its sleeves covering her hands that flashed white like her face. She could have stepped from any time or place… Medieval England, Victorian Ireland, she could have been the original Strega de Buonaventura, or a salem witch… her beauty was rich – half spirit and half earthling.She walked as a spirit among us, half flesh and half an electric being of light , her cells were oscillating wave lengths filled with rainbows of light. I saw them when I looked into her clear, almost transparent aqua eyes. . The radiance was blinding.
Darkness was falling quickly. The moon was in perigree, full and about to rise. She was hurrying somewhere, taking me with her.. The lake and city spread before us across the lake. I watched the sun set through the darkness of her silhouetted wings.
Angels appear as messengers, harbingers of change at times when we are most sensitive, when the veils thin and we can see the angels and spirits that walk amongst us … She glowed with light and fire, mirroring the sunset. I watched them both fade as she became a chameleon, her skin slowly merging with the colours in the sky until it turned into darkness, and she disappeared into the early winter night.
Pink roses, azalea, sweet lilacs, bleeding hearts, quince blossoms and pansies sit waiting in a bowl. Washed and picked for sugar coating they await their transformation…they will become sugar coated flowers. Lovingly painting their petals with a brush, I cover the flowers with a special mix of frothy white of egg, a touch of confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice. Some flowers can be dipped into the liquid. I then pour crystal showers of finely ground, almost powdered castor sugar over them in waves until thee petals are covered. I do it again , catching the empty spots until they are all covered , then allow them to dry. The flowers can be gently placed on a sieve or a screen placed over a plate to catch the excess coating that will drip off the petals while drying. More o the fine castor sugar can be poured over the drying blossoms and after sitting overnight they will be dry and sugar coated and sparklingly preserved. The crystal covered flowers make wonderful cake decorations , especially for fancy tortes and cakes made with rose petal jam.
Traditional recipes have been handed down in my family from generations of wonderful cooks whose art was expressed in beautiful embroidery and fine cuisine. .Southern Ukrainian cooking made with love filled my childhood along with the stories told in the process of baking and cooking. Every holiday a feast to be remembered. My mother excelled in the making of cakes and desserts, conscripting me as her sous chef from the age of four when I was considered old enough to start helping in the elaborate preparations of the treasured traditional family cake recipes for special occasions, especially birthdays. Everything was prepared and done by hand and the taste of love was in every amazing mouthful.
Her walnut torte, the traditional Ukrainian cake was my favourite . I would sit grinding mountains of nuts by hand to please my mother and make the cake. No matter how much my small arms hurt, I kept grinding the nuts in a small hand grinder knowing what the ultimate reward would be – the most delicious cake in the entire world. The most special cakes were made with an exquisite jam between the torte layers that my mother made every summer. This was her special ambrosia – confiture of roses. The scent was intoxicating .
We would snip the heads off at their peak of bloom together, cutting them into baskets on the morning after a Full Moon in June when their scent was at its peak. The petals were then plucked off the heads into bowls and cleaned of any caterpillars and leaves.
Old fashioned fragrant deep pink Damask roses are best used for this exquisite delicacy. There are many different ways of making rose jam. One is made raw, allowing the petals to macerate in the sun with sugar crystals and a touch of lemon until it becomes a sticky fragrant paste…my grandmother’s recipe. The other is a silky textured syrupy fragrant jam that is cooked .
Fill a large bowl with cleaned rose petals . Cover them with sugar and the juice of 2 lemons and mix together. Leave to blend their juices overnight, covered with a linen towel. Add half a cup of water with more lemon juice to taste and stir.
Bring 2 cups of water to a slow boil with 1 cup of sugar, some grated lemon rind and 2 tablespoons of agar agar, mixing to dissolve. Add the rose petal blend and slowly simmer for 30 minutes slowly stirring in and adding 3 tablespoons of a light mild raw honey and more lemon juice to maintain the colour of the roses. Take care to not overcook the rose petals or they will lose their colour and tenderness. Ladle the mixture into boiled an sterilized jars and seal tightly. Store the preserves for up to a year, but they are best eaten within 7 months.
This recipe yields 3 medium jars of ambrosial , silky textured rose preserve that has a jelly like syrupy quality fragrant and delicious beyond your wildest taste dreams, like the taste of an unforgettably romantic summer love.
Bleeding hearts, sprigs of sweet scented lilac and Solomon’s seal… The sensuality of flowers is hypnotic. Their passion enters through our eyes as they fan themselves wide open, asking the birds and the bees for pollination. They exude ethereal love as we gaze upon them, flaunting their naked ephemeral beauty. Bleeding hearts in springtime – wild yet refined like young beauties in the throes of their first love singing songs of longing with elegant grace and poignant sweetness…