Cava with rocket flower
Asparagus mimosa, served with chives and sage butter, decorated with violas
Crystallised roses drying
The edible flowers from FirstLeaf in Wales. The flowers came with an explanatory sheet.
The flower and herb butter
Bombay mix, salt and pink peppercorns, flower butter
Smoked aubergine and pea curry and saffron basmati rice
Baby plum tomatoes, red onions pickled in green chilli and red wine vinegar, calendula petals and geranium leaves
Hardeep Singh Koli
I think he's done this before
Rosewater kulfi, crystallised rose petals, violet and lavender shortbread, gold leaf
Paul. A. Young's Indian coriander chocolates.
Where have all the flowers gone? The icebowl melteth.
TV and radio presenter Hardeep Singh Kholi arrived in his Jag on Friday morning, smelling of musk, jasmine...something exotic and touchyfeely.
"You smell great" I say "What is it?"
"Very expensive Tom Ford aftershave"
Just like on TV, Hardeep has a warmth about him and a certain amount of bravery. He has the balls to turn up at a strange woman's house and get stuck into cooking.
"This feels....sexy" he says.
He works quickly and efficiently, all the while juggling constant phone calls from agents, friends, business contacts.
"It's always better to make curry the day before. This way the spices are really infused into the dish"
His curry secret?
"Use whole spices first of all then add ground spices later. You need both to get that authentic flavour".
Hardeep negotiating while cooking a curry
Fry onions and whole spices in vegetable oil. Afterwards add plum tomatoes quartered.
To smoke your aubergines, put them in the oven until the skins are crispy. Then strip off the skins and whizz them up in the food processor. You will end up with the 'caviar' of the aubergine. You add this to your base sauce and leave overnight.
30 minutes before you serve the curry, add frozen petit pois and chopped coriander.
Hardeep also, in double quick time, made a tomato, onion, green chilli and coriander salad as well as a green apple chutney
The tomato salad, almost a salsa, Hardeep described as
"It's more of a room temperature type salad in which the tomatoes meld with the rest of the ingredients."
He marinated the red onions and green chillis in an entire bottle of red wine vinegar which gave it a lovely rosy hue. This was left overnight. Just before service, we garnished this salad with petals from Chrysanthemums and Calendulas, bestowing the final dish with a rich deep saffron and ochre colour scheme, so popular in India.
Green Apple Chutney Recipe
White wine or cider vinegar
Yet more coriander
Granny smith apples
Core the apples, then whizz all the ingredients up in a food processor, leave overnight. It couldn't have been easier or it emerged, tastier. This was served in the rose icebowls. The green complemented the colour of the iced roses perfectly. We decorated with Rose geranium leaves and Borage flowers.
Bombay Mix Recipe:
The authentic version contains 'sev' a mix of gram flour and water pushed through a ricer to make small vermicelli strands which are then deep fried. I omitted the 'sev' not having the equipment. However you can make a very tasty Bombay mix without the 'sev'.
- Fry separately in ghee or vegetable oil, absorbing the excess on kitchen roll, the following ingredients:
- pine nuts
- pumpkin seeds
- green chillis
- curry leaves
- fresh coriander leaves...until they are crispy.
- Then chop up dates, add to the mix with green sultanas, turmeric, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, date sugar, ground coriander, cumin.
- Mix together, season to taste.
Fry coriander, curry leaves, fennel seeds.