Friday, 10 August 2012

Foodie Olympics - what an event!

Working from home during the Olympics
So this post comes to you with the buzz of the Olympics on the screen in the background and Victoria Pendleton has just the won the Women's Sprint Semi-Final time-trials in the velodrome.  If the atmosphere in there is a direct product of my energy multiplied by the number of people it must be electric!  I have to say it has taken me a good week to get into the buzz of it all but feeling the energy of the people on the tube yesterday morning (i needed to focus on something other than the severe lack of oxygen in the confined cabin at 7.45am) made me realise that it's now or never.  So in the last 24 hours I've watched the ladies 1500m heats & actually felt goosebumps as Hannah England & Lisa Dobriskey qualified for a place in the final.  I watched Lawrence Okoye stumble on his first throws & then celebrate victoriously as the third strike lands him a place in tonight's final. I could go on but I guess my point here is that we are in the middle of something very special right now and i'm going to try and savour every last day of it.

Speaking of savouring the moment, I want to report back after Friday's event  where I  was given the opportunity to provide dessert for a pop-up restaurant at the fantastic Global Feast event in Stratford Old Town Hall.  This culinary Olympic event has been coordinated by Latitudinal Cusine & Ms Marmite Lover (aka Kerstin Rogers) who are showcasing world cusine by hosting a variety of cooks during the olympic period.  Each night provides a 4-course meal to foodies looking for some real, authentic cooking from regions outside of the normal domain.  Friday saw Indian meet Pakistan for an elegant banquet of modern cooking based on traditional recipes including the infamous trio of chocolate tarts provided by myself.
Gin and tonics by Williams Gin (we are in the malarial region known as Stratford)
Avocado, dal and curry leaf chutney cups 
Mini chicken, cardamom and black pepper cutlet balls

Eggs with caramelised onions and garam masala

Green chutney chicken biryani
Paneer for vegetarians
Rose petal garam masala lamb chops
Beetroot and cumin raita

Baby aubergine and potato in peanut gravy
Khadi (spicy yoghurt soup)
Pilau rice

Dark chocolate tart infused with chai
Milk chocolate tart infused with chilli and nutmeg
White chocolate tart infused with a sweet fennel blend and pan
Indian shortbread favour

As if the food wasnt enough, you dine at a beautifully crafted map-shaped candlelit table.  Running until Monday where the cuisine finishes in Rio as we hand over the Olympic torch, I cant recommend enough a place at this amazing table.  Book now for remaining tickets.

That just leaves me to say that sadly i wont be at Acklam Village Market this weekend but i'll be back in full force next weekend and look forward to celebrating my own birthday with anyone that wants to come and visit the stall.  If you're looking for reasons to stop by, read this short piece by a fabulous new site called 30ishme.

I hope you have a brilliant weekend whatever you're up to & look forward to updating you next week.  Please let me know what you think of these posts.  If they're dull tell me!  I'd rather write about stuff that you'd like to read so i'm opening up a feedback amnesty for the Pistachio Rose blog & twitter/facebook posts starting now...

Monday, 30 July 2012

Bubble, Bicycles & Bhangra Burgers

What started out as a reasonably quiet week turned into a trio of weekend events!  But that's what keeps it exciting.

Dickens Kedgeree with Clarence Court Eggs
The Bhangra Burger
Friday night saw me seated at Camden Town Brewery's Brewer's Table where I happily brought dessert to the locals who were enjoying their craft beers in the evening sun before the opening ceremony.  I was a very happy neighbour to Bhangra Burger, What the Dickens? and Bare Grillz, all of whom kept the crowd satisfied with hearty spiced burger wraps, heritage kedgeree & rare steak kebabs (in that order).  Unfortunately I didnt get to watch any of the opening ceremony but a quick toilet break just happened to be timed with the queen turning around at the piano & greeting Mr Bond...i-player is still on the to-do list!  A fun night out with a great crowd and stunning beer - it's all about the weiss bier for me!

We returned to Acklam Village (our addition still pending!) this weekend following the hugely successful opening last weekend.  There were a stream of live singers performing soul, funk & sultry blues which kept the bar buzzing all afternoon while the crowds perused the plethora of hot food stalls including Vinn Goute & Queens of Sheeba.  Even with yesterday's freak shower storms, the break in rainfall saw people rushing in to get their foodie fix but the most satisfying feeling was seeing customers return to our stall from the previous week or previous markets, ready to try a different Pistachio Rose dessert or just buy their favourite.

Putney Bridge is waiting....
The first leg on Saturday morning

The third leg of Pistachio Rose presence this weekend was on my home turf for the Putney Olympic Cycle Race.  It was a beautiful sight to walk over the traffic-free bridge in the morning with my boxes and really feel the buzz of excitement in the air.

Putney Riverside with Chez Stephan
I was lucky enough to partner with a local creative who sells fine wine, fine art & fine haircuts!  This weekend saw a showcase of French wine stall which was the perfect compliment to my delicate pastries & new madeleines.  A white chocolate tart with a hint of fennel & anise interspersed with sips of bubbly Burgandy Cremant...heaven!

Finally I am very pleased to be a new guest blogger at Huffington Post and will be writing pieces about general foodie affairs and the community of start ups.  You can find my first entry here

A fantastic opening weekend for the olympics & long may the buzz and sunshine continue!


Pistachio Rose & Cardamom Cake

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Brides-to-be style it with chocolate

I'm back...and with exciting news that Pistachio Rose will be featuring on Sky One this autumn as part of a competition for food-based start-ups!  I was so excited to get the call and filming was so much fun, coming to an end just after the Jubilee weekend.  Now just to sit back & wait for the edited version....not nervous at all, honest.

Samples have been working their way to some London food halls & emails sent to others so it's a case of waiting.  To stop myself from going made until then I'm pleased to say we're going to be at the newly revamped Acklam Village Market over the summer starting this weekend.  They are having a big celebration this weekend to celebrate it's new look with a custom-built bar & live music to put a spin on these summer evenings.  It might be an Indian summer, but summer it is so let's embrace it before it's over!

In other news the Global Feast 2012 kicks off next week on Wednesday 25th July with a champagne reception.  This Olympic culinary event takes place in Stratford Old Town Hall every night of the games & showcases a different world cuisine.  A selection of our beautiful spiced chocolate tarts will form dessert on 3rd August for the India & Pakistan evening.

Finally we are delighted to be supporting a wedding styling event taking place in Chelsea's Beautfort House organised by BLoved Weddings & The Pretty Blog.  Our tarts are in demand and will also be featuring on the well-dressed tables to delight 21 brides-to-be as they learn about how to plan their own wedding in the utmost style.

Wishing you a fabulous weekend, darlings (i dont know where that came from but it seemed appropriate!)

Rekha x

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Once up on a time in Leicester...

tea, chai, namkeen, mithai, cake, crisps, pistachio, rose, baking, boutique, indian, inspired, cakes, pastries, anglo-indian, spices, cardamom, chai, afternoon, tea, british, raj
Pre-lunch snack...

Deep in the rural suburbs of Leicester a real Saturday morning kitchen was taking place, much like it did every week in this typical Indian home.  The smell of fresh chapatis being cooked on the cast iron plate filled the room, aubergine curry was cooling down on the table &  a bowl of freshly mixed mango pulp was glowing in the corner.  Since lunch wasn't going to be ready for another half an hour, we sat down to a snack before our family, if you go for more than 30 mins without eating or drinking something it's a sign of a poor host and nobody wants to run that risk! 
aubergine curry, chapatti, rice, dal, keri no ras, mango, milk, yoghurt, chutney, salad, lunch,pistachio, rose, baking, boutique, indian, inspired, cakes, pastries, anglo-indian, spices, cardamom, chai, afternoon, tea, british, raj
Actual Lunch!
sev, milk, cardamom, spice, warm, indian, dessert, kheer, pistachio, rose, baking, boutique, indian, inspired, cakes, pastries, anglo-indian, spices, cardamom, chai, afternoon, tea, british, raj
Vermicelli Pudding
The rest of the weekend carried on in much the same fashion with warm vermicelli pudding being made in the afternoon - one of my favourites - delicious eaten warm when the cardamom just sneaks through the silky milk but equally good cold for breakfast the next morning like an indulgent creamy yoghurt, if there's any left! 
indian, kitchen, pistachio, rose, baking, boutique, indian, inspired, cakes, pastries, anglo-indian, spices, cardamom, chai, afternoon, tea, british, raj
The Toolkit!
Just being in someone else's kitchen is always an adventure for me, looking in the cupboards to find different pots & bowls that are exciting to unfamiliar eyes. Glancing around my Aunt's kitchen I caught sight of a familiar yet nostalgic scene of items that had just been washed up and were waiting to go away.  They reminded me of the days when my nan used to cook for us and the tools she would use to grind the spices and pastes, stir the dal & lift the hot handle-less saucepans with.  Whilst these items look like they might have been lifted out of a surgeon's tool kit, they are very much the heart of every Indian kitchen, drying here ready for their next meal.

Sweet Pan Masala

On Sunday morning my uncle & I sneaked out early while the others got ready as I wanted to wander indulgently in the Indian grocers.  I was surrounded by 25kg bags of chapati flour, 50L aluminium storage tins & woks big enough to serve 100 servings of rice.  At these prices it was now clear why everyone bought in bulk (apart from needing to fill the oversized containers and meal frequency of every 30 mins) and why everyone had the same stuff.  I managed to find my way to the spices & loved that they were stored in 25L containers with a large scoop, because why would you possibly need less? From cinnamon bark to tea to lentils, they had it all, but i went straight over to the pan masala section for inspiration.  My white chocolate tarts currently use a
traditional sweet fennel, anise & menthol blend my shortbread.  I found some mukhwas ( a stronger version of the fennel blend) from
Mukhwas Shortbread
 Calcutta, so rich in colour and aroma, with whole betel leaves as well as silver foil and I knew I had to buy some.  I also found a pink version of the green mix above which is much lighter in flavour.  24 hours later back in my London kitchen I had created this mukhwas shortbread - a beautifully aromatic crumbly biscuit, delicately infused with warming spices & decorated with a sprinkle of the fennel blend.  Coming to a food festival near you soon!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

New Delicous Discoveries

I want to continue the sharing of my new discoveries this month so here they are...

Duke of Delhi

A brand very much after my own heart - re-creating authentic Indian foods with a subtle British angle.  The Duke brings spiced savoury snacks (aka bombay mix to the masses) and lightens them with aromatic orange, chunks of chocolate or extra nuts for a more refined way to enjoy this every day snack.  Check out his website for the full product range and find out more about the company.

Raman's Chutneys was lucky enough to have the lovely ladies behind Raman's as my neighbours at Hampton Court and their big smiles were the perfect brightener under the rain clouds.  Their relishes are created using Indian spices, British vegetables and modern cooking techniques which give a deep yet fresh tasting chutney.  You can use them as a stir-in sauce, marinade, accompaniment to any meal or one of my favourites - piled on top of mature cheddar in a crusty bread sandwich.  They've also appeared on Hairy Bikers and I would definitely recommend popping along to see them at their next event.

Afia's Samosa Shop the smell of freshly fried samosas and bhajias came wafting down to my Hampton Court Stall, I followed my nose and met the family two doors down all pitching in to Afia's stall.  Her samosa batter was the perfect balance of crisp (outside), soft (inside) and moist (throughout) and the fillings were well spiced.  My favourite was the scotch bonnet spiced vegetable but the chilli chicken was a close second.  She also creates a gluten-free recipe so that everyone can enjoy them!

Heavenly Hendricks Gin
Ok so actually not a discovery but their stand was definitely a fan's haven.  Dressed in tweed, the ambassadors of this delicate spirit presented their apothecary-themed counter with trays of minature drinks, perfect for hard-working exhibitors ;-)  Cool, crisp cucumber acting as the perfect compliment to this delicious drink.  All that was missing was the warming rays of the sun but instead I cooed over their centre piece - this beautiful roll top bath appropriately surrounded by 'medicinal' bottles of gin...

I'd love to know if you've already seen these guys and if so what you think so please do comment as great foodie finds are all about the sharing!