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The awaiting crowds outside Buckingham Palace

The awaiting crowds outside Buckingham Palace

Dear Wild Cooks

Sometimes in life you think about doing something to mark a momentous occasion, and I knew I wanted to be a face in the crowd at the Royal Wedding.. …so off to London I went!

I guess I have always been a “royalist” ever since I was invited to attend Buckingham Palace myself as a Young Achiever. I had a great day at a reception held by HM the Queen and Prince Philip back in 1998, and since then I have always valued what they do.

Last week it was quite a different London to that wet and windy day in the late 90’s when I passed through the gates at Buckingham Palace and went into the Courtyard. I was handed a glass of Champagne by a butler and then lead into the most impressive set of reception rooms to await the arrival of the Royal family.

I think there were about 1,000 guests from all walks of life, David Culthard, All Saints pop group, Zoë Ball and Denise Van Outen to name but a few. It was great to meet charity workers, and young people who had all done well in their chosen careers.

Other chefs included Michael Caines (a judge on this week’s Great British Menu) and Simon Hulstone, a fantastic competition chef.  I remember feeling very privileged to be socialising with such an elite crowd, and a true honour to be recognised by Her Majesty the Queen as working at a place that, I quote “Has an excellent reputation for fine cuisine”.

Quite a different story on Friday 29 April folks but great fun all the same!! We got out the picnic bottle of Champagne and sandwiches to toast the royal couple in Hyde Park along with 200,000 people.

The atmosphere was electric and the crowd was really great fun. We had our union jack hats on and our programmes to sing along!

The two bottles of Champagne went quickly and the weather was quite cool but it was fantastic to see London so busy – I had never seen anything like it before.

We hot footed it around Buckingham Palace in hope of seeing the kiss or rather kisses as it turned out! However the crowd was too big and we could just see the flag waving high over Buckingham Palace. We did get a glimpse of the  fly over of the Lancaster Bomber and the other planes though.

I met some of the royal family in the queue…honestly, you would think they would have let them in first!

Me with Camilla and Prince Harry!

Me with Camilla and Prince Harry!

The night before the wedding we had taken a black cab ride from Kings Cross via Westminster and Buckingham Palace just to see the crowds and see all the journalists. I was surprised to see just how many people had been camping out, no wonder it was impossible to get close to the palace on the big day!

No foraging available that day Wild Cooks, you would not have liked it. Check out the litter in this photo!

A long few days ahead for the cleaners...

A long few days ahead for the cleaners...

However as wild roses are thinking about blossoming shortly it seems an apt recipe for this blog to have a English Rose Ice Cream. As I am sure many will agree, Catherine is an English Rose and that dress was wonderful. I thought about serving it with Pear Williams poached in Rose wine but perhaps that is a stage to far!

A true Brit!

A true Brit!

English Rose Petal Ice Cream

Steph x

Off to put my feet up!!!

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Yes wild cooks take a look at those hips!

They are healthy and glorious fruits that indicate to us that winter is on its way. Why not try this very simple recipe for Rosehip syrup.

Rosehips - watch out for the thorns!

Simply drop a spoon full of rosehip syrup into a mug of boiling water for a healthy dose of antioxidants. These antioxidants are supposed to help Arthritis folks, so it is good stuff and the best of it is – it’s free!

Now, a word of warning from experience…make sure you wear a waterproof type jacket when picking the rosehips. I pulled my black coat to shreds on the rose thorns (slight exaggeration if I am being honest, but you catch my drift!).

Please take care when foraging on a roadside as pesticides may have been applied to crops and fields that are within your foraging range.

You need to be quite a “hardy” to pick these hips, and responsible too, so do not pick all from one plant, make sure you leave half on the tree.

The syrup that you can produce from rosehips is worth the odd occasional scratch from the rose bush, but I can’t emphasize enough that those thorns are piercing wild cooks! 

Roses are such useful plants, and the wild rose petals are delicate beauties, their perfume is so gentle and easy on the nose. The petals look great crystallised or even dried in pot pourri.

Click here to see my recipe for Rosehip syrup.

Steph x

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