July 01, 2013

Coconut Rose Semifreddo and my July giveaway!

How I've gone through my entire life (4 months of which were spent in Italy for crying out loud) without ever tasting a semifreddo, I do not know. What I do know is that now that I've experienced it, there's no going back. And as someone who doesn't own an ice cream maker, the fact that all you need to make one is a whisk and a saucepan means there are going to be a lot of semifreddos in my life from now on. Oh yes.

But before we get to the roses and the semifreddo, some housekeeping. I have a lucky winner for my June giveaway and her name is Lacey Organ. Congratulations Lacey! Enjoy your beautiful Madder Root organic linen produce bags! Please contact me so we can get you your gift. Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, I thoroughly enjoyed reading all your responses. And thank you Madder Root for such a lovely giveaway! 

This month's giveaway is sponsored by Quirk Books. It's a wonderful new cookbook, hot off the presses, called Cooking With Flowers by Miche Bacher

This precious book is pure 100% delight. It will transport you to the magical world of flowers and the myriad ways you can cook with them. When I received my copy in the mail, I had to drop everything I was doing and I kind of went into this floral trance, completely lost in its pages. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me why you'd like to win this book. The contest is open to residents of the US, Canada, and the UK. I'll announce the winner on August 1st.

Here are some of the recipes that I am dying to try: Oven-Baked Doughnuts with Lilac Cream Filling, Dandelion Fritters, Elderflower Marshmallows... and every single other recipe in the book! At the back of the book, Miche Bacher shows you how to make your own flower syrups, flower sugars, flower vinegars, etc...  so the sky's the limit and you can dream up your own fabulous recipes with your favourite edible flowers. Learning how easy it is to make flower syrups inspired me to make this rose petal and coconut semifreddo.

First thing, you need flowers. So my sister helped me pick some wild roses.

And then I also wanted some more vibrant-coloured roses, so my neighbour kindly allowed me to pick some from her garden. These ones were incredibly fragrant and have the softest petals. Smelling one is like sticking your nose into a little corner of paradise for a few delicious moments.

You can use any variety of roses to make a syrup, just be sure they have not been sprayed with any chemicals. Roses from the florists are generally treated with harmful chemicals so I would steer away from those.

To begin this recipe, I made a rose simple syrup. You simply boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar together. Once it's boiling, you remove it from the heat and pour it over 2 cups of the freshest most fragrant rose petals you can find (use only the petals). Cover and let this rest for about 12 hours before straining out the petals. That's a basic rose syrup, see? So easy! 

The rest of the recipe is all below.


1 1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream (35%)
1/4 cup rose syrup (see above)
1 cup fresh chemical-free rose petals
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup coconut cream (skim the top of a 13.5 oz / 400 ml can of full-fat coconut milk)
3/4 cup unsulfured, unsweetened coconut

Crispy topping (optional)
1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios
1/2 cup unsulfured, unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey

Line an 8 x 4 inch (1 litre) loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides. (I cut 2 strips according the length and width of the pan and then criss-crossed them over each other, to avoid crumpling the paper). 

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized metal bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water. Keep whisking constantly until the yolks turn pale yellow ribbony (this can take about 4 minutes). Transfer bowl to sit on top of a larger pan filled with ice cold water and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very thick and cooled down. Separate this mixture equally, placing half into another large bowl.

Whip the cream until peaks form. Add one third of the whipped cream to one of the bowls containing half of the egg mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add the remaining whipped cream and the rose syrup and fold gently. Add half of the fresh roses and fold in very gently. Put this aside. 

Remove the cream that rises to the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk. From a 13.5 oz / 400 ml can, you should be able to get 1 full cup of thick cream. Whip this until thick. Gradually incorporate it into the second half of the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the 3/4 cup dried coconut and mix well.

Pour the rose cream mixture into the loaf pan. Then scatter the remaining half of the rose petals on top of this. Pour the coconut cream mixture on top of the roses. Freeze this for 6 hours. 

If you wish to make a crispy topping for your semifreddo, in a large skillet, melt the 2 tbsp. butter and add the coconut and pistachios. Brown them in the butter until golden, then mix in the honey. Remove from heat and let this cool. Add this topping to the top of your frozen semifreddo and press it down well. Return to freezer for another hour or two. (Note: I struggled a bit with my topping because I did not freeze the semifreddo first so I couldn't press it down. As you can see from the photos, it was quite crumbly... I believe freezing the semifreddo first will remedy the problem.)

To serve your semifreddo, quickly dip your loaf pan in hot water and invert onto a serving platter. Dip a knife in hot water and wipe dry to slice the semifreddo. Enjoy!


  1. I would like the COOKING WITH FLOWERS book because I absolutely love flowers and would love to know how to use the wildflowers growing on my land. I am a community food mentor as well as a member of SLOW FOOD COCAGNE ACADIE and would use these recipes to share with members of my community as well as create a COOKING WITH FLOWERS workshop.

  2. I would share the knowledge of this book with the customers at our farmer's market stall. I am a mini scale farmer in Nova Scotia always looking for ways to expand what we are selling and how to use what we offer to people.

  3. Oh how pretty! I just read a fiction book called garden spells - in it the woman cooks with flowers and herbs from her garden that is magical. After I finished it I've been dying to try new recipes with flowers and herbs from my own garden. Now if it was only magical :) This book looks like just what I need to get started!

  4. As a baker and chocolatier who is also a novice gardener, I'd love this book to help me understand what flowers are edible so I can plan a garden that provides a bounty for the kitchen. This looks perfect!

  5. I'd like this book because I have a garden full of flowers! Usually I use flowers essential oils in my recipes... but I'd like to try new tasty recipes using my own flowers and enjoy the real flavours of the nature around me :)

  6. The semifreddo looks tasty! I would like to win this book to gift to my sister-in-law. She has tried a few edible flower creations this spring and I would like to give her more inspirational recipes.

  7. I have always been curious on how to add flowers to my dishes and deserts.

  8. The book looks exquisite. I have a little herb garden with several edible flowers, it would be lovely to have new ideas for them. The vignettes are great,like a tiny mental vacation.I'm so glad I found you through PBS.

  9. I have never cooked with flowers. This would be a fascinating book to help me get recipes and ideas of how to.

  10. I would love to have this book! Years and years ago I had a dream that heaven was a New England farmhouse surrounded by lilacs and filled with the smell of fresh-baked bread. It was a strange dream, given my agnostic approach to ideas like "heaven"...but I'm positive that if such a place exists one most certainly breakfasts on oven baked doughnuts with lilac cream!

  11. Ever since volunteering at Love Apple Farms, and starting off the morning by picking flowers all around the property, I've been in love with edible flowers. Throughout the night as we sprinkled each plate with various flowers- nasturtium, blue borage, chrysthanthemum- i fell deeper and deeper. And as we stood around eating family meal, those around me realized that i was picking out all the flower petals from the salad, I knew I was obsessed. I must have this book! I think it already has my name on it ;)

  12. How stunning! I would love to win this cookbook. After our small destination wedding we'll be doing two at home receptions (very casual...) in both of our hometowns. I'd love to make some cakes with flowers for them!!

  13. What a beautiful post! I love cooking with flowers and have just made a lilac jelly from this book (which I just bought!) and a honeysuckle sorbet! This is a recipe I must try. I have many edible flower recipes on my site, too! Wish you had a subscribe by mail option so I could get your posts in my e-mail.
    Great idea for Garlic Scapes, too. Mine are almost ready - I was going to ferment them... I think I will give that a go. I don't have so many!

    1. Hi Valerie! Thanks for stopping by, I'm glad you share the love of cooking of with flowers :-) I do have a subscribe by email link, it is on the right sidebar, just below the Saveur Award banner. Kind of tucked away, maybe I'll make it more prominent!

  14. Oh I've been in a flower daze as well lately. Growing chamomile, borage, nasturtiums, lavender, roses, and calendula to use in herbal and culinary purposes is so satisfying to me. I love cookbooks and look at them daily for inspiration. The most beautiful cakes I've seen are covered with edible flowers with a white icing, so striking. Thanks for you're beautiful post!

  15. I'd like to win because I haven't experimented much with using flowers! Your recipe looks amazing!

  16. Would LOVE to have this book! We were just talking about using rose petals in food the other day in David Austin Rose Lover's group on facebook...but nothing as lovely as this! Was searching for Semifreddo recipes today and so surprised to see this. :)

  17. My mother adores the fragrance of lavender and finds it very calming, and I would love this book to prepare some lavender infused recipes for her!

  18. I am amazed at the versatility of flowers!
    Decorate your table, wear them in your hair, distill into perfumes, steep into tea, lure bees to pollinate your garden...
    and now I learn flowers can be FATTENING as a semifreddo!? I'm IN!!
    Please send me Cooking with Flowers! I just joined a new gym... I can take it!

  19. Lovely post, recipe and giveaway.....I'm in the wrong country to enter :-(

  20. I've always been a little afraid to use flowers in cooking because I wasn't sure what to do with them. This book would really solve that problem.

  21. From the time I was a little girl picking wildflowers for my dollies tea, I have been completely captivated by flowers . They feed and nourish my soul. They inspire me to create visually and edibley. Perhaps that is one and the same! A simple salad with lovely blue borage flowers encircling yellow and orange nasturtiums with tiny flecks of wood sorrel and even little mustard flowers becomes an elegant main dish. There are so many flowers growing in my unkempt lawn and just beyond in the untamed lot. A palette of that needs a simple canvas of porcelain or pottery. A cookbook of edible flowers would be a delight.

  22. I've been studying botany, wildcrafting, and bioregional herbalism for the past 5 years and I'm completely obsessed with using flowers to create unique recipes. This book would be such an inspiration! Thank you much. Looooove your blog.

  23. jennylomasATymailDOTcom16 July 2013 at 03:17

    I would love to win a copy of your book! I am chef at a wonderful rural cafe/restaurant in New Zealand, and we love using as much produce as we can fresh from the gardens. I have a passion for cooking with herbs and flowers - one of my earliest inspiring cook books was the classic Scented Kitchen by Francis Bissell, and I would love to expand and update my repertoire, and to share the passion with all our guests! :-)

  24. My mom was a teacher and so each summer we had long vacations. We would go to our family cottage and spent the summer there with no TV but the lake, the sun, the woods.

    My mother would mostly let us play outside and come back for lunch and dinner, but she also would sometimes give us "missions". For example, to come back with a flower bouquet in which we know the name of all the flowers (helped by her and the books). One time, we made liquor for the adults from 5 different kinds of berries. We made cornbread muffin with cattail.

    I remember also the time where the roses were blooming, we tried rose jelly.

    To win this book would take me back to going outside in summer to explore and try new things.

  25. I would like this book because I will never forget a party I attended and the salad was all edible flowers. It was the most beautiful salad I've ever seen. It was very tasty also. I belong to a CSA and we receive edible flowers in our baskets. I would enjoy some new ideas.

  26. Dzięki Tobie odkryłam znakomite przepisy i te książkę :)
    Coś wspaniałego!

  27. I would love this book because it reminds me of my childhood and my artistic upbringing. My mother is very creative and my father was a successful musician. We lived in the country and grew alot of our own food. My mother always added flowers to salads, desserts and virtually everything when they were in season. Once, we even made dandelion wine. We would draw or paint and she would cook and then we would help her set the table and make things pretty.
    My mother doesn't cook much anymore, now that my dad is no longer with us. I would love to surprise her with these new recipes to bring back some beautiful mutual memories of when we were all still together and perhaps even rekindle her creative spirit.

  28. I think I would just melt into the photos in this book. There's nothing I love more than food and flowers!

  29. i love trying new textures, and experimenting with food. I ve done some candied flowers but not incorporated them in food. i would love to have this book the recipes look fabulous. Also flowers are so seasonal and versatile like vegetables and fruits its a great learning tool.

  30. I'd love to win this book, because I'm moving into my first home in August, and can't wait to try out all kinds of interesting recipes in my new home! I'm sure it'll give me lots of inspiration!

    By the way, I just found your blog through PBS and I am extremely impressed, great job!


  31. I would love this book to add pizzazz to my edible weed cookery lol
    Also I love your blog and the artwork and pictures that goes with it, simply fabulous! Great work :)

  32. My first hook into cooking with flowers was a mysteriously flavored scone I had in a small cafe atop the Hill of Tara. This was my first trip to Ireland, a dream long coming. Tara is such a magical place; the scones were appropriate. Back in Maine I tried everything in deciphering the mysterious flavor, lavender flowers! I would love to have this book, to further my dance with flowers as a cooking ingredient.
    Love your Blog.

  33. My grandmother grew her own roses, and often made rosewater from the petals. I use rosewater in my cooking, but have been looking for a way to incorporate more flower power:) in my actual food. They have some healthy properties, and are just beautiful to look at, as the pictures here show! Bon Appetit and happy cooking!

  34. Cooking with flowers sounds absolutely wonderful! Sign me up! Aube, I love your blog and frequently share your videos and recipes with family and friends. I am an avid supporter of local and organic foods in my community, as well as communities abroad. Thank you for communicating the importance of supporting local farmers and earth-friendly farming practices.

  35. This cookbook looks gorgeous and nearly edible itself. As a lifelong gardener and cook, I would thoroughly enjoy recipes that blend the two. What an irresistible taste of beauty.

  36. Wow what a gorgeous recipe! I have always wanted to cook with flowers.

  37. really enjoyed looking through your blog!!
    Will definitely be back when I need some more of that

  38. Hi! Your semifreddo recipe was nominated as one of the "Best 300 Semifreddo Recipes on the Net". To vote for it, please visit http://easyitalianrecipes.org/dessert-recipes/best-300-italian-semifreddo-recipes-on-the-net-vote-for-your-favorite/ - your recipe is positioned at #182 (random order).

  39. I've never thought of cooking with flowers. It sounds like I'm missing out. How lovely! Would love to win this book. (sandyroo[at]live[dot]com)

    Much love,

  40. I (am a little ashamed to say) only discovered the wide variety of edible flowers when I started community gardening last year. Of course, I knew SOME flowers were edible...but it had not occurred to me so many were. I was so happy to find your Lilac scone recipe (I made the rhubarb curd...delicious!) but it was way past Lilac season so that recipe will definitely have to be made next spring. So, in the spirit of learning about just how much of the wonderful plants around us are not only food for the eyes, but ...well,... food!...I am pretty sure I will buy this book if I do not win it. Have a great day, Aube.

  41. When I was little, I read a story about some kids trying to escape on a tractor from some robbers. Their tractor stalled, but, all of the sudden, the neighborhood weird garden lady popped out of the bushes and crammed sorrel and foxgloves and dandelions and other plants into the tractor. It roared to life, and she saved the day. I still love that story, though I can't remember the author (Margaret Mahy?). Anyway, the idea of the power in flowers has stuck. In recent years, I have been learning more about edibles and how to grow them on balconies and small plots. Hopefully, in a few weeks, I will be moving into a new place with a real yard. My dream is to transform the front lawn into an herb and flower garden and, who knows, maybe become the neighborhood's weird garden lady! I would love to get this book to think about what to plant there and how to use it!
    Alison S.

  42. I'd like to win this book because it's not only a subject I'm interested in learning more about, but the photographs are really engaging. I would dearly love to learn more.

  43. I would love to win this book because I have a yard full of flowers and would really like to learn how to use them in the kitchen! Plus the book looks gorgeous and would be great on the coffee table!