Forager’s Indulgence: Rose Ball-Cakes Filled with Wild Cherry Jam

 “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” ― Mick Jagger


The health- and self-conscious people of today pay way too much attention to why is indulgence bad for the body, health, weight and so on… According to McMillan dictionary indulging means  to allow the self to have or do something that causes enjoyment. So why should one stop baking and eating as many cake as they would like to? Looking at the additional meaning of indulgence can answer the question: ” to become involved in something that people do not approve of”…Could the disapproval of others actually be the reason for one to alter their ways of action? I don’t think so! There is a right way to indulge the self, and it does not involve elimination. My late grandfather had battled cancer from when I can remember him, for more than twenty-four years. When people showed interest in his “secret”, he categorically revealed his approach: “Eat a little amount of everything, with keeping to good measure, do and try everything in life whilst respecting the self,the  health and the mind.” So to all health- and self-conscious readers, here is the key: balance!

Therefore, for every little ball cake eaten, run one mile…as two would move the balance out!

Rose Oil

Clean rose petals or herbs (grown without pesticides)

Place a heavy glass ramekin into a deep stockpot. Fill the ramekin 3/4 full with water to weigh it down. Place rose petals or herbs around the exterior of the ramekin in the bottom of the pot and cover with water halfway up the side of the ramekin. Place a shallow bowl on top of the ramekin. Bring the water and rose petals to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. Place a stainless steel bo wl on top of the stockpot (it should be large
enough to seal the pot, but shallow enough so that its bottom is above the top level of the soup bowl). Fill the top bowl with ice. Simmer the mixture 3 to 4 hours, depending on the amount. As the mixture boils, the heat rises and hits the cold bowl, causing it to condense and drip down into the inner bowl. Replace ice as needed, as it melts.


Wild Cherry Jam Making

1 kg wild cherries
1 kg cooking apples
juice of 2 lemons
1.15 litres water
1.25 g sugar
15 g butter

Stone the cherries and place the stones in a large saucepan. Peel, core and thickly slice the cooking apples, then sprinkle the slices with the lemon juice and set them aside. Add the apple trimmings to the pan with the cherry stones and pour in the water. Bring to the boil and cook, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to about one third of its original quantity. This will take about 1 hour. Press the resulting pulp through a fine sieve and return it to the rinsed-out saucepan. Add the prepared cherries and apples and bring the mixture to the boil. Cover the pan and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the fruit is soft. Pour in the sugar and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the jam to a rapid boil and boil hard to setting point. Stir in the butter to disperse any scum and pot the jam into warmed jars. Cover the surfaces with waxed paper discs, waxed sides down, and allow to cool.


Madeira cake
175g/6oz butter, at room temperature
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
250g/9oz self-raising flour
2-3 tbsp milk
1 lemon, zest only
1 teaspoon wild rose oil

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease an 18cm/7in round cake tin, line the base with greaseproof paper and grease the paper. Cream the butter, rose oil and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time,  beating the mixture well between each one and adding a tablespoon of the flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture curdling. Sift the flour and gently fold in, with enough milk to give a mixture that falls slowly from the spoon. Fold in the lemon zest. Spoon the mixture into the prepared bauble tin and lightly level the top. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then turn it out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

“Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, ‘No thank you’ to desert that night. And for what?!” ― Erma Bombeck

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