There are times when I impulsively purchase interesting food products and only figure out what to do with them well after. I love these tiny roses, the first time that I came across them was at the large outdoor market in Nice, France. I bought them, brought them home, admired them and ground some of them up to use as a finishing flavour in a lamb stew. I recently came across the ones in the above photo at a Chinese grocery store in Toronto and had to buy them for their beauty alone, not to mention that they are a steal at $3.99. I have since learned that they are often in steeped in hot water and made into a floral herbal tea. I have made a walnut baklava flavoured with cardamom and rose water and I am thinking that these roses could be a lovely enhancement to it. I am also curious about experimenting with a rose flavoured macaron and using crumbled petals in the almond meringue cookie. To be continued.
Star anise is another visually interesting spice. It has a distinctive anise or liquorice flavour and is used in many ways including Indian biryani dishes, in the making of Chinese "Five Spice" spicing (along with cloves, cinnamon, fennel and pepper) and with other ingredients for the flavouring in Pho, see below.
Thanks to Michael Kohn for the great photos