When Flowers Wore Shirts! — At Regency Ramble

Last week, I was privileged to be a guest at the Regency Ramble, award-winning romance author Ann Lethbridge’s wonderful Regency blog. Because Ann always has such informative posts, and because I was one of her first invited guests, I wanted to do something very special. Therefore, I wrote an article about the French technique of preparing fruit and later, flowers, en chemise, which featured prominently in my debut novel, Deflowering Daisy.

For those of you who have not yet read the book, there are no spoilers. Whether or not you have already read Daisy’s story, if you would like to have a more complete understanding of this French culinary technique, which the English extended to use on flowers than that which I provided in the Author’s Notes for Deflowering Daisy, you can find my article here: http://regencyramble.blogspot.com/2015/05/guest-author-kathryn-kane-when-flowers.html

I hope you enjoy it!


9 thoughts on “When Flowers Wore Shirts! — At Regency Ramble

  1. Wonderful article! and a skill perhaps that should be taught in my Charity School in the Charity School series… oh boy, the thought of the twins let loose with eggwhite and sugar and Philippa’s pet rat entering the scene…

    • I am glad you liked it! I must admit, your plot bunny sounds more like a recipe for disaster and high comedy than a school lesson! 😉

      There is very little information available on this technique, but from what I learned, it was done in a number of upper and middle class homes. And, though I could find no proof that it was taught in schools for young ladies, there is also no definitive proof that it was not. So, I see no reason why it cannot be taught at your Charity School. Though I do hope the poor rat manages to avoid being done en chemise! You are welcome to post a link here, when the book is published.



      • Many thanks! It hasn’t gone much over 10k words as yet, but it will… the things that go wrong are the joy of writing about schools! it is a romance, and involves a new young teacher and a suddenly appearing father of one of the orphans. He survived the wars to come home… I don’t think Arbuthnot would like being done [i] en chemise [/i]! Philippa has a collection of wounded animals…

        I’ll be publishing the first book in the series as soon as I’ve checked the proof!

        I’ve crystalised violets for storing to use on cakes before now, but that’s a build up of successive layers of sugar, and done with a syrup. I may have to have a go at this so i can write about what can go wrong with conviction.

        • If you do decide to something en chemise you might want to consider using what is known in the States as bar or drink sugar. It is more finely granulated than regular granulated sugar and thus would be closer to the sugar which results when lumps from a sugar loaf are pulverized in a mortar and pestle. Unless you are planning to go all out and pulverize your own sugar from a loaf!


          • I was planning on pulverising Indian sugar which I’m told is as close as you can come to sugar from a sugar loaf; It’s called Jaggery. I have a decent pestle and mortar! however if it’s possible to get that here, i might give it a go. I can use it up in wine, as we are now a sugar free household. Except for lunatic experiments.

            • I looked up Jaggery online and I don’t think you will get the results you want by using it. At least you will not get results accurate to the Regency. The photos I saw are of a brown loaf which indicates it is still carrying a lot of molasses. The references I found specifically stated that only a white sugar loaf should be used. There were multiple grades of sugar loaf available during the Regency, from very white loaves to those that were nearly dark brown.

              Lumps from a white loaf will be more brittle since there is little molasses present, thus they will pulverize more easily and completely. The presence of molasses will make the sugar soft and mushy under a pestle so that you won’t get those tiny sugar “diamonds” which is what gives fruit and flowers en chemise their sparkle.

              I understand there are still a few places where white sugar loaves or cones can be purchased, but I have no idea if there are any in the UK or what the prices might be.



              • It may not be proper jaggery but what is sold locally is small broken lumps of white sugar, very hard … maybe it’s a refined version for export! I have some in my cupboard. I can’t read what it says as most of the description is in sanskrit. If it doesn’t do, I’ll do an internet search for sugar cones…

              • If it is white and hard, it sounds like a good substitute for Regency-era sugar loaf. I just hope you have a strong wrist, as I think it will take a lot of effort to pulverize it fine enough.


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