Rose Inspired Recipes : Rose & Pistachio Lassi

Rose & Pistachio Lassi.jpg

Lassi is a popular Indian yoghurt drink, commonly served with meals and perfect for hot summer days . It’s traditionally made with just sugar but a common variation is making it with mango – which is absolutely yummy. Here, we’ve made it with rose syrup ,pistachio and a little honey which is a nice way to jazz it up if you’re having people over or if you just feel like putting  a little more effort into it. Chill well before serving!

Makes 2 small glasses

Ingredients

300g plain unsweetened yoghurt

3 tsp pistachio granules

6 cardamom pods

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tbsp honey

For the rose syrup :

1 and half tsp rosewater

4 tbsp water

3 tbsp sugar

To garnish:

A few rose petals

1/2 teaspoon pistachio granules

2 cinnamon sticks

Method

Grind the cardamom pods in a mortar , discard the green shells and grind the black seeds into a powder

Make the rose syrup; In a small saucepan, mix the rosewater, water and sugar just until the sugar melts.

Place the yoghurt, rose syrup, pistachio granules, honey, milk & cardamom pods in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Chill in the refrigerator and serve garnished with pistachio granules, rose petals and cinnamon stick as a stirrer. If you need to serve it immediately, pour it over crushed ice. 

x Anu & Suba

Advertisements

Rose inspired recipes: Rose Meringue with Apricot Compote

rosemeringue

Next in the rose series is a dusky rose meringue with a gorgeous golden apricot compote. Meringue is not as difficult to make as it’s sometimes made out to be. The key thing is just allowing it to cool completely before taking it out of the oven, overnight even if you can afford the time.

The rose flavour suits meringue beautifully, mixing in with the sugar to create a really sweet and romantic smell. The apricot compote also means you can skip the cream with this meringue recipe, the compote keeps the dessert from being dry but is also light enough to serve after a heavy meal.

We’ve taken Nigella Lawson’s chocolate meringue recipe and modified it. Why totally re-invent the wheel when there’s already an excellent recipe to draw from!

Serves 8 (larger portions) and 10 (smaller portions)

Prep time: 20-25 minutes Cooking time: 1hr 20 mins  Rest time: At least 3 hrs

Ingredients

Meringue:

6 large egg whites

300 g caster sugar

2 tbsp rose water

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Apricot Compote:

400g apricots

60g caster sugar

150ml water

1 tbsp rose water

Caramelised apricots (for topping):

3 large apricots or 5 small ones, sliced

1 tbsp butter

4 tbsp caster sugar

Splash of orange juice

Method

Turn the oven on to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper. We used a rectangular one as that’s all we had, you can use whatever you have!

Start with the topping first. So, on another baking tray, lay out the apricots you’ve sliced up for the caramelised apricot topping. Put aside for a few minutes. Next, put a pan on medium heat and let it get hot, add the butter and when it melts, add in the sugar and allow it to caramelise. Add the orange juice and stir well. Pour this over the apricots in the tray and toss and then pop in the oven for 8 minutes or until you get a lovely browning on the apricot. Set aside.

For the meringue now, beat the egg whites until they form smooth peaks. Now, add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and keep beating until the mix is stiff and satiny. Now add the rose water, one tablespoon at a time and then the vinegar. Gently scoop up the pillowy mixture and mound it  in a circle onto the baking sheet. Once you’ve piled everything up, smooth the sides and top down. 

Put it in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 150 degrees celsius. Bake for 1 to 1hour and 15 minutes or until the top and edges are properly crisp and dry but when you gently push it, you should feel it’s still soft inside. Turn the oven off and leave the door open for the meringue to cool completely. 

For the compote, put a pot on medium heat. Pour in the water, add the sugar and allow it to dissolve.  Add the chopped up apricots and cook over a gentle heat until it is soft and starts to look like it’s of jam consistency. Add the rosewater and stir it in. If you prefer it chunkier, that’s fine too, just cook for less time, till you get the consistency you want. if you end up with tart apricots, you might want to add more sugar. You can do this after you get the consistency you want, just taste and add accordingly, mix it in well and allow it to dissolve over low heat.

Once you’re ready to serve, carefully peel the meringue off the baking paper and spoon the compote over. Place the caramelised apricots on the top, browned side up and for a bit of a burst of colour, sprinkle some crushed pistachios over it. 

x Anu & Suba

Persian Love Cake

persianlovecake2

Summer is here and roses are blooming everywhere and so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to put the flavour of roses in pretty much everything we are cooking these days. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite rose inspired concoctions, both sweet & savoury, so do drop by if you feel like filling your kitchens with the scent of roses.

The first of our recipes is a Persian Love Cake. The story goes that this magical cake was first made by a Persian woman for a Prince she was in love with. And what’s not to love about this intently moist, sweet, rich almond cake with hints of rosewater, cardamom & lemon. This is hands down my favourite almond cake and a great one  to make for a party because it keeps well, is  yummy and looks impressive but is so easy to make. This recipe is from Yasmin Khan’s The Saffron Tales and I’ve never found the need to change anything  because I love it as it is, but replacing the lemons with oranges , using hazelnuts instead of pistachios or making little Persian love cupcakes (especially for Valentine’s Day) could be nice twists.

persianlovecake1

I’ve made this cake 2 days in advance and it has always tasted better that way. You could take the traditional route and make the lemon icing in this recipe or you could whip up some lemon cream , rose buttercream or even mix store-bought pistachio cream with freshly whipped cream to top this cake. The variations are endless . If you want to make a 2 layer cake like I have here, just remember to double the portions for the lemon icing so you can top each layer.Handle the cake with care when layering, it’s so soft that it cracks easy. 

Serves 8

Ingredients

The Cake

200 g unsalted butter

150 g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

12 cardamom pods

100 g plain flour, sifted

275 g ground almonds

1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon rose water

1 teaspoon baking powder

a generous pinch fine sea salt

The Syrup

2 tablespoon caster sugar

1/2 lemon, Juiced

1/2 tablespoon rose water

The icing

150 g icing sugar

3/4 lemon, Juiced

2 teaspoon cold water

To Decorate

2 teaspoons sliced pistachios or pistachio granules

2 teaspoons dried or fresh rose petals, roses or rosebuds

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 22 cm cake tin and line it with baking parchment.

Grind the whole cardamom pods in a pestle & mortar, discard the green shells and pound the little black seeds until they become a powder. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until just combined , don’t over-beat. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.

Add the cardamom seeds to the mixture. Then add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and rose water.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin , even out the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Check the cake close to the end of the baking time by sticking a fork in the middle. It should come out clean. Place the cake on a  wire rack to cool.

While waiting for the cake to bake, make the syrup. Using a small pan over low heat, combine the caster sugar, rose water and lemon juice and stir until the sugar melts completely. While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick or fork to poke holes all over the top and then drizzle the syrup over the cake,making sure you cover the whole top of the cake.

Let the cake cool completely.

To make the icing combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and a 3-4 teaspoons of cold water  and stir well until the icing is smooth and thick. Make the icing just before you want to use it or it will harden. Spoon the icing over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Decorate with the roses and pistachio.

If you want to make a double layer cake, use a serrated knife or cake slicer to slice the cake. Spoon half the icing over the bottom layer, place the top layer over that with the top (rounded part of the cake) facing down ,

=[then spoon the rest of the icing over that. This video from ZoeBakes will explain how to do that better than I can with words.

x Anu & Suba

The Perfect Picnic : Berries, Lavender & Pimms Jam

I’ve been away for a while, sorry!  I started this blog a year ago, and very soon after posting a few recipes, got the news that we were moving from Edinburgh to London. So all too soon I had to pack my kitchen, put it in storage and embark on the next adventure. I’m pleased to report, that after 8 months of flat-searching, I now have a kitchen again! So, it seemed only appropriate to get back to the blog.

This time though, I’ve teamed up with my lovely sister, Suba. She has just moved to Venice (how could we not take advantage of that!) and loves making delicious wholesome food. We’ve also changed the blog name, so that along with the recipes we come up with, we can share great table-setting ideas, snippets from our wanderings either around markets or around the globe and some of our attempts at crafting .Anyway, welcome, or welcome back! Hope you’ll stay!

x Anu

image

It’s Summer. Okay, so it’s not quite feeling like it just yet in London and Venice but we’re a pair of optimists so we’re getting a head start! Summer immediately conjures up images of plentiful wicker baskets, overflowing with strawberries, sandwiches and scones, set on plaid picnic blankets over sun-drenched green grass. In the spirit of Summer food fantasies, our first theme is picnics. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll share recipes and ideas for how to have a gorgeous picnic – lovely picnic settings, and of course, a few recipes for lovely, luscious things you can pack up in your picnic baskets (think homemade berry, lavender and Pimms Jam to glam up store-bought crumpets or scones, fig, lemon and ricotta Foccacia, amaretti and tahini Cookies, Indian-inspired potato salad , chocolate ganache Cupcakes and lest we forget your furry friends, peanut butter and oat Dog Biscuits).

berrylavenderPimmsjam1

Ingredients

500g mixed berries (I used good quality frozen strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants)

500g of granulated sugar

2 tbsps of dried lavender

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp of Pimms (or  liqueur or brandy if you prefer)

You’ll also need somewhere to store your jam. As this is not a huge quantity, and if you intend to serve it all up in one go for a picnic party then  you could just store it in a clean bowl and wrap it well with cling film. If not, a jam jar, sterilised and covered with wax paper before twisting the cap on will be great.

Method

Start by sterilising the jam jar. Wash it in hot soapy water, wipe it and pop in in a cool oven (about 120 C) for about 20 minutes.

Pour the sugar into the blender and add the lavender. It must be granulated sugar or it will turn to sugar dust in the blender.

berrylavenderPimmsjam2

Pour the berries into a heavy saucepan, add half the lemon juice, the Pimms and the sugar. You can add the Pimms after everything has started to thicken but our picnics inevitably feature kids so we want the alcohol properly cooked and burned off. Cook this over medium heat and stir regularly.

If you have a sugar thermometer, you want the jam to be at 104 c and then you know it’s ready. If you don’t you’ll want to firstly watch for the concoction thickening.I turn up the heat after about 20 minutes of simmering and just keep stirring till the jam thickens. When it starts looking more like jam, you want to put a gob of it on a very cold plate. After a few seconds, push the gob with your finger, if it creases, it’s at setting point. If not, continue boiling and test again.

Once the creasing happens, you can now add the other half of the lemon juice. We add it because strawberries are low pectin fruits, meaning they sometimes don’t set as well as fruits like redcurrants or damson. The lemon juice helps the jam set better. Plus we also like it not too sweet! If you’ve used predominantly redcurrants or damson, you may find you don’t need, or want it.

berrylavenderPimmsjam3

Now you just need to let your berry, lavender and Pimms jam cool and then transfer it into your jar – done!

x Anu & Suba

Lavender & Sea Salt Brownies

IMG_20150323_181028

Rupert and I just came back from a lovely wee holiday in Tuscany. Apart from the few photographs I took, the main bit of evidence I have for this is the weighing scale. Let me tell you friends, four days in the motherland of Pasta, Pecorino and Prosecco is well enough time to do you in. Not to mention, I stopped everywhere there was a pasticceria to buy myself cantucci. I ate this 250g bag of it in one sitting, and left these for Rupert.

IMG_20150401_140640

Anyway! I was very inspired to make some Italian type cookies and cakes, with lots of lovely ground almonds, pistachios and chestnuts. Tuscany is excellent for Necci, chestnut flour pancakes. Recipes normally suggest having them as a dessert, with ricotta, but we had some with boar ragout, which was terrific!

I had lots of ideas pouring in as I poured some strawberry Margarita into myself, while sitting at this beautiful piazza in Sienna. As you can see, I’m looking off into the distance, picturing pistachio marzipans and chestnut flour cakes, surrounded by a halo of beautiful light, depicting all my bright ideas, obvs! I’ll share those just as soon as I’ve had a chance to test them out and make sure I’ve got them just right.

IMG_20150401_141504

Soooo, while I work on some of those ideas, here’s a really chocolatey, chewy brownie recipe I made for my friends a couple of weeks ago. I really liked how well the different flavours mixed – rich and chocolatey with sweet, salty, woody and herbaceous – and I think it turned out so chewy because I got a super tip about putting the brownie straight from the oven into the fridge for a while, from Top with Cinnamon, which is a marvellous recipe blog by Izy Hossack. Okay, so here it is, the recipe for Lavender & Sea Salt Brownies.

IMG_20150323_180105

Makes about 20 mini-brownies/ 12 regular sized ones

2 eggs

4.5 oz / 125g butter

5 oz flour

2 oz cocoa powder

10 oz caster sugar

4 oz good quality dark chocolate

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp dried lavendar flowers and a bit more to sprinkle over brownies

1/3 tsp maldon salt and a bit more to sprinkle over brownies

To make the brownies:

Preheat oven to 180 deg.c.

Line a pan with baking paper. It’s usually recommended that you use a square pan for brownies (about 8″). But mine has gone missing so I used a rectangular baking dish, which was 10″ x 7″, and it turned out fine. 

Start with making the ‘lavender sugar’ – by blitzing the lavender with the sugar and salt in a food processor. 

Then melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Mix well to incorporate both and take it off the heat. You should transfer it to your mixing bowl now. Add one beaten egg at a time, stirring well after each addition and then add the vanilla extract in and give it another proper mix. Set it aside for now.

IMG_20150323_180459

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together and then add the Lavender sugar. Mix to combine them. Add these dry ingredients to the chocolatey mix and stir it all in together so it is combined. You can use a cake mixer or kitchen aid too of course.

Pour the batter into the tin or baking dish and smooth it out as best as you can.Sprinkle some crushed sea salt and crushed lavender flowers sparingly over the batter. Put it in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. 

IMG_20150323_180718

This is the great tip I got from Izy’s blog. Once it has baked, take it out and immediately put it in the freezer. Make room in your freezer beforehand, so you’re not, like me, trying to push your peas and ice cream tubs to the side with one hand while balancing a hot tin of cake with the other. You might also want to put a tea towel down and the tin over it so you don’t singe anything. Leave it in there till the brownie has cooled down completely – the tin should no longer be warm. 

IMG_20150323_181305

Then cut it up as you like it. I wanted mini brownies because I was going to pack them into individual wee bags and tie them up with some string but you can serve them on a plate or straight out of the tin!