Sunday, 24 May 2009

Pink turbans and rose petals

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.

Hardeep 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" 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.
For the green apple chutney, I was asked to get these ingredients:

White wine or cider vinegar

Yet more coriander

Granny smith apples

Green chillies

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.

To make Bombay mix: 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.


  1. Looks wonderful, am most envious of the kulfi and the chocs! :)

  2. Thanks Sara, I see you live local.
    The kulfi is soo easy Kavey. Always a winner.

  3. So pretty!

    And re: 'Rosie's Pop-up' post below... Bloggers are definitely sniffed upon by the meejah ("they're amateurs!" etc) but in several cases they have more knowledge that the current crop of people on mags and papers because it's their passion, not paycheque.

    Also, it's fashion, not food, but Wee Birdy is now working at Time Out and Susie Bubble is at Dazed... Part of your nouveau punk counter-revolution perhaps?

  4. Once again lush looking and inspiring!

  5. Oh my word - that kulfi looks just beautiful.

    Hope to catch up with you soon...X

  6. Thank you everyone.
    Alex, yes things are changing. People are talking out loud about newspapers dying.
    Bloggers/blogging/the internet is the future. I never watch TV. I get my news from the internet.
    At least bloggers don't "phone it in" which has been my experience with some journalists. They do actually get off their arses and investigate.

  7. This has got to be my favourite underground menu so far, I wish I had been there! I am definitely going to try making the aubergine curry.

  8. amazing!! that would have been a massive stroke of luck having Hardeep! Nice one!

  9. This looks AMAZING! I cannot believe you actually made your own Sev - really impressive and what a mission. Hardeep is clearly a legend. I am definitely going to have a go at making that pea and aubergine curry this weekend.

  10. This must have been an amazing evening! I've made kulfi before, so this has inspired me to make some more this year!

  11. Your blog is great - just heard you on Radio 2 with Chris Evans. I'm definitely a Marmite Lover, so had to check you out.

    It's exciting to see an underground movement gaining ground like this ....

    Bright Blessings.

    visit my blog at


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