A Tussie Mussie is a sweet little bunch of herbs and flowers a Victorian ‘fleurtation’.
For Victorians the language of flowers was a delicate conveyance of their messages of romance. A subtle era where Lovers communicated their ardour and rebuff with nose gays and tussie mussies. On that basis you will likely not find Red Valerian here! ( an accommodating disposition ) I inwardly giggle at the Yellow Carnation ( a flat NO)! A Dog Rose = pleasure and pain ( really?..) Seems my life is Violets,( love and faithfulness), Lavender ( Serenity, grace and calmness ), Roses ( rural happiness ) and a tad Golden marjoram too for that matter (Blushes, Delusion and Illusion) Well for this week anyway. Mothers gave handwritten notebooks to their daughters on the topic and the rest was mental gymnastics.In the pic we have:- Lavender = Serenity, Grace, Calm,Rose, Musk = CharmingRose, Orange =Passion, EnthusiasmLemon Balm = Empathy and SympathyRose, Peach/Coral =AppreciationRose, Pink = Friendship,Grace, AdmirationRose, Lavender = EnchantmentMarjoram = Blushes, Delusion and Illusion
A tussie mussie has significance and remembered fragrance or favour.
For the cheese cake:
Pretend you’re french and walk into a decent patisserie and buy one. Vamp a finest quality one from a good supermarket or make from the recipe that suits your calorie count/budget/dietary needs. Crumb and butter base, a combination of cream cheese and mascarpone. With the addition of sugar, vanilla extract, whipped cream as suits.
To make the syrup:
Infuse fresh washed, fragrant herbs and flowers in 2-3 cups of light stock syrup (20% sugar to 80% water gently heated until the sugar dissolves, cool and store in your refrigerator) and leave to steep over night. The following day discard the herb and floral matter from the now lightly fragranced stock. If unavailable try fresh citrus peel, a sprig of supermarket tarragon, culinary lavender are options as are 1/4 teaspoons of orange blossom and rosewater, sweet or rose wine also work, just choose sweet notes, on the flavour scale, to fragrance your syrup. Simmer once again to reduce to 1 cup by volume and leave to cool, strain to remove any impurities. ( I use a sterile cloth, in a sieve over a 2 pint glass jug ). To serve pour the floral syrup into a pretty jug and serve with the cheese cake.
Crystallised Rose petals:
Choose your roses wisely i.e. free from pesticides, above ‘animal’ height etc. and use richly fragranced blooms if at all possible Egg white and fine caster sugar. Mix the egg white with a little water, 1 dessert spoon per egg white. Hold the petal with tweezers or similar and check carefully for creepy crawlies and discard any ‘cruddy’ petals. Gently paint the petal on both sides with the egg white mixture. Have the superfine or white caster sugar in a saucer and gently dust the damp petal. I use a tea strainer for this to avoid lumps and it just seems easier, and a lighter flay can be achieved. Once each petal is completely coated place on easy leave, greaseproof paper or silpat sheet to air dry for 24 hours. Line a lidded air tight container with soft kitchen paper and store the petals ( which can keep for a year or so ) until required.
Decorate each slice of cheese cake with the rose petals and crushed pistachio nuts, drizzle with the floral pouring syrup. Lastly is you are offered a geranium and ivy combo — seems you’re going to be making shapes on the dance floor ( May I have the pleasure of your hand for the next dance?) Honeysuckle to you all x Bonds of love, generous and devoted affection