Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging event has given me the impetus to highlight one of my favourite herbs. Lemon rose geranium was introduced to our household late last year, and has chosen to grow into a lush, verdant, and most importantly, robust plant. Given my propensity to be unlucky with certain pot plants, I was thrilled to bits when it continued to grow and do it’s thing on the balcony, with the minimum of fuss and bother.
Not only is it evidently hardy, it also has beautiful purple-pink flowers and incredibly aromatic leaves; the scent of which fills the air like a cloud every time you brush past it. You can use the leaves to make a rose scented sugar or a flavoured syrup that is good mixed into plain yogurt or used to poach fruit. Here, I have infused cream with the chopped leaves and made a thick custard out of it. The custard is then poured into individual cups and chilled. When ready to be served, they’re sprinkled with sugar (here’s where the scented sugar will also come in handy) and passed over with a blowtorch. The result is a lemony brulee with a hint of rose that goes very well with lychees. The original recipe by David Everitt-Matthias calls for lychee sorbet and even popping candy, but having neither, I opted for slivers of fresh lychees.
Rose Geranium Cream :
75ml lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
15g rose geranium leaves, chopped
200ml double cream
4 egg yolks
65g caster sugar
Place the lemon juice, zest and chopped geranium leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Return to the heat, stir in the double cream and bring to the boil again.
Whisk the egg, egg yolks and sugar together until pale. Pour the cream mixture on to the eggs, whisking all the time, then pour back into the saucepan. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (it should register about 84’C on a thermometer). Be careful not to let it boil or it will become scrambled. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve, pushing on the leaves to extract as much flavour as possible. Pour into ramekins or other heatporoof bowls and leave to cool, then chill.