Pelargonium graveolens

There are many different species of the rose-scented Pelargonium. With the Pelargonium graveolens being my personal favorite, it is the one I most frequently use. Just a mere stroll past a Pelargonium graveolens, and crushing a leaf under your nose can inspire a host of tea-time recipe ideas including iced teas, jellies, scones, cupcakes, ice-cream and much more. Used in the correct way, this delicate fragrance can be carried out into your food. If you simmer the leaves gently in some milk, you will be left with a kind of fragrant milk. NOTE: Be careful not to bring the milk to a boil as this will leave a leafy taste.

Spearmint chocolate cake with rose Pelargonium chocolate-truffle icing

Serves 8

FOR THE CAKE

What you will need:

½ cup of cocoa powder

1¾ cups of flour

1½ cups of sugar

½ cup of oil

1 cup of spearmint tea (simmer spearmint in water for 5 minutes)

2 tbs spearmint, chopped

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs, separated

Method:

Sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the egg whites. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and then carefully fold them into the cake mixture. Pour into a greased cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 40 minutes. Test to see if the cake is ready by gently pricking the cake with a butter knife, and if the knife comes out clean; your cake is ready to come out of the oven.

FOR THE ICING

What you will need:

175 ml of cream

1 slab of milk chocolate, crushed into tiny pieces

A handful of rose-scented Pelargonium leaves and flowers

50 g butter

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

Simmer the leaves, butter and cream over a low heat for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a metal bowl over the crushed chocolate. Add the vanilla essence and beat with a whisk until smooth. Leave the icing to cool. Once it has hardened slightly, ice the cake and decorate it with the Pelargonium flowers.

Pelargonium cake

What is the difference between Geraniums and Pelargoniums? They both come from the same family or Genus called Geraniaceae. An easy way to tell these two species apart is observing them when they are in flower – Geraniums have five petals all of equal size and Pelargoniums have two petals of equal size at the top, and three of a different size below.

How to grow Pelargonium graveolens

Pelargonium graveolens, or more commonly known as ‘rose-scented Pelargonium’, is an easy-to-grow shrub, and grows to a height of one metre. Pelargonium grows naturally from George, through the Eastern Cape, and northern regions, right up to Zimbabwe. It grows best in moist, semi-shaded positions. Pelargoniums flower right through from August to January. The flowers are easily distinguished by their distinct white, pink or mauve-coloured flowers. Pelargonium leaves can be used to make a tea to treat stomach ailments. The tea or crushed leaves are also good for treating symptoms of insomnia.

Copywrite Roushanna Gray and Gael Gray 2016

WEBSITE: www.veldandsea.com

EMAIL: roushanna@hotmail.com

FACEBOK: Veld and Sea

INSTAGRAM: @goodhopegardens

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