On a walk along the south bank of the Thames I met Rekha Mehr, the Pistachio Rose herself! She had set up a charming little food stand not far from the London Eye, selling her Indian spiced pastries. They are gorgeous little morsels, very French in their origins but delicately and deliciously perfumed with rose, cardamom, chilli, aniseed, ginger, cloves, darjeeling tea. I like nothing more than a fusion of classic culinary techniques infused with unexpected flavors and ingredients.
I took home with me the Mukhwas Shortbread, a heart shaped cookie filled with the aroma of roses and the betel leaf. They were delightfully crumbly and I loved the way the spices tickled my nose while I chewed. Rekha decorates each heart with candied aniseed and fennel – what a clever idea! I’m going to steal that part of it and use those candied spices on other desserts I make.
The other tasty tidbit I had to try was a milk chocolate tart blended with salted caramel, nutmeg and just the faintest hint of chilli. It’s an intriguing mix of rich chocolate, warm nutmeg, salt which intensifies it all and then a final jab of heat on the tongue as it goes down. Sort of like a neat party trick!
Rekha herself has both British and Indian backgrounds and I am so pleased to see her embracing both in such an elegant and creative way. You can find Pistachio Rose’s products at Fortnum & Mason in London now….but check out her website for more information: www.pistachiorose.co.uk Maybe you will find inspiration in her combinations the next time you head into the kitchen. I know I did!
(I give full credit for these two close up photos to her website. I was too greedy to wait to get home and take proper photos of her very pretty products, but I wanted you all to see how fab they were!)