Native Rosella, or native sorrel, is an ingredient that many of us are all familiar with. Whilst many of us have seen it decorating the bottom of a champagne flute at special occasions, it has a lot more uses in the kitchen today.
Traditionally the sour buds of the fruit were used to make vibrant red jams or the leaves were used as a spinach substitute in many Greek dishes among the early European settlers. The plant has also long been a part of the indigenous Australians way of life and in 1886 it was documented that Aborigines harvested the young plant and ate the roots, young shoots and leaves as a part of their diet. The Aboriginals would also use the plant for more practical purposes by spinning the fibrous stem into string for everyday use within the tribe.
Today Rosella is readily available and grown around the world where it is commonly found preserved in liquid or frozen. Like the early settlers that came to Australia, I use the fruit to make jams. But I also candy the petals and use them on cheese boards and even make cordial to flavour and colour homemade drinks.
My Rosella Prosecco Jelly is continuing the obsession with pairing this native fruit with effervescent beverages and going one step further by adding a pinch of saffron to provide a delicate floral note that keeps you going back for more.
150g caster sugar
small pinch of saffron
100g rosella flowers
4 gold strength gelatine leaves
To ensure an even distribution of the rosella this process will take some time as you build up the layers of the jelly.
In a non-reactive saucepan bring the prosecco to the boil, add the caster sugar and saffron and stir until the sugar has dissolved and reduce the heat.
Meanwhile bloom the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for five minutes. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and add it to the saucepan of prosecco and stir over gentle heat until the gelatine has completely dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool.
Pour a little of the jelly into the base of your jelly mould and place in the fridge and allow to set slightly.
Once the jelly has set slightly, place a scattering of rosella flowers over the set jelly and cover with a little more jelly to cover. Repeat this process until you have filled the jelly mould.
If the jelly mix sets too much in the saucepan, simply heat over a gentle heat and allow to cool slightly before using in the next layer.
Refrigerate until completely set.
If you cannot source Rosella you can use wild hibiscus flowers from a jar.