In times where every day is presented as a marketing gimmick to assert people’s value and presence in one’s life, it is the small things that give a real purpose life. Seemingly mundane activities such as enjoying gossip over a cup of tea with friends can lift spirits instantly.
“Cooking with friends and cooking for friends are delightful. My friends and I always have such a ball trying out new recipes,” exclaims Chef Neha Lakhani, Founder and Owner, Patisserie Royale and a leading patisserie consultant.
There are few people who can hope to have their cake and keep it too, and perhaps keep some in the fridge for tomorrow. For Chef Neha Lakhani, all that and much more is part of any other day at work. All she needs to do is put on her chef’s hat and get busy baking! “As a Patisserie Chef I love the pure emotion you feel when the piece de resistance of every meal – a dessert – leaves people totally satiated,” she says.
Neha is known for her distinctive flair and has been awarded for her innovations. Drawing inspiration from her mother’s cooking; recipes collected on her jaunts abroad, and a resolve to bring together global influences, Chef Neha amalgamates everything to create divine works of art at Patisserie Royale, which she started in 2013. An innovator and baker par excellence, Neha’s desserts and bakes have a distinctive French influence. Despite specialising in French pastry, she has her roots deeply attached to her origins. “Every Indian spice adds a special magic to the desserts. For instance, fennel enhances the flavour of any sweet or even savoury it is put into. In addition, fennel has several health benefits as well,” says Neha.
Similarly, Chef Neha adds star anise in the molten lava cake, and her carrot cake is an explosion of the warm flavours of nutmeg, five spice and cinnamon. Have you ever tried chocolates with cardamom? Or white chocolate laddoos with pistachios and rose petals? Chef Neha’s creations will pleasantly surprise you and open a world of flavourful possibilities – something that she has imbibed after rigorous training with the world’s best.
For those who are intimidated with cooking, Chef Neha Lakhani shares the recipe for a yummy tea time snack that is as easy as it is delicious. And the best part – you can make and enjoy with friends as well…
Fennel Cookies Recipe
Preparation time: 15 mins
Baking time: 18-20 mins at 180 degrees Celcius
400 g flour
300 g sugar
300 g butter
175 g hazelnut powder
1.5 g baking soda
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1. Cream butter and sugar well.
2. Add all dry ingredients.
3. Mix using paddle attachment until well incorporated.
4. Add fennel as per your choice.
5. Roll and cut out into the desired shape.
6. Bake 18 to 20 minutes at 180degrees
7. Remove from oven and serve when cooled.
Instead of fennel, these cookies can also be flavoured with star anise, vanilla or chocolate.
Text by Aarti Kapur Singh