The photo above & below is me with my parents, my vast collection of recipes, A travel/foodalogue (I even have restaurant receipts ).
Summer break in the 90s…I am helping my mum in the scorching heat to make potato bhaji sandwiches for our little family picnic later that day. She passes the bread slathered with butter & mint chutney and I load it greedily with the bhaji and cheese. Fast forward 2 hours, we are all happily devouring the treats devilishly under the shade. Joys that simplest of things give us! The thought of these sandwiches brings back those sweet memories and makes me hungry instantly.
For me food just isn’t a source of energy or nourishment, it’s about memories- of times, places, childhood, a holiday, it’s about people and love. That’s why till date, to me, my mum’s potato bhaji sandwiches are the best. Its memories like these that inspire me in my kitchen and act as a starting point for something new. I am not a trained professional and neither do I have culinary degrees, all I am qualified to do is people management. Everything I know today about food was learned either from eating, travelling widely or from watching people cook. Technically I might not know much, but I have a passion- a passion to eat good food and a passion to cook good food! Not everybody is born with knowledge of baking and there is no shame in looking up techniques and learning and neither is everybody blessed to do a pricey Pâtisserie course!
Cooking is pretty much like a puzzle to me. It starts with an ingredient picked up in the local market or delivered by a CSA man and definitely not with what you had in mind when you left home. The excitement builds on as you pick up ingredients; run it through your mind’s archives for recipes. It’s simply an art of combing things in different ways, the more you eat, the more you cook and vice versa. The more you remember things, the more you build up flavours & ingredients and start experimenting. The more you know what works - you create, you invent! You are definitely not going to make perfect macarons with ‘feet’ the very first time. You have to adjust, fine-tune, season, re-season, taste, fiddle, give things a shot & see what happens! Be a risk taker, drawing on memoirs of good things and making some new innovations along the way, giving a family signature dish your personal twist. Most of my versions of a classic recipe are simply the result of fiddling until I ended up with something that satisfies me.I think I have always loved food; it has been a very important part of my life. As a kid, I started my ever expanding collection of food clippings from newspapers and magazines. I remember every weekend was, to me, an experimental weekend. I would jot down a recipe from my vast collection and dish it out with great enthusiasm and wait for the verdict from my former guinea pigs (my 2 adorable sisters A2 & A3). Nothing has changed much now! I have more cookbooks, paper clipping & e-versions as references to try; although I admit, I don’t follow the recipe to the T anymore. I have become more daring, but I still wait with the same excitement to serve to my new guinea pigs (S and my beloved friends)…
Answering the #coldcoffeeclub discussion… Does your waistline determine where you live? The answer is No,it really doesn't matter where I live, I will always be the big fat foodie that I am, today! Kitchen is where my heart is and so as long as the place we live has a decent one, I will cook my heart out & Eat it!
Do read up what everyone else thinks on this topic here: Ilva of Luculliandelights Mona of WiseWords, Simone of Junglefrog, Ishay of Foodandthefabulous, Astrid of Paulchen's FoodBlog, Jamie of Life's A Feast and Jenn of Jenn's Cuisine.
Peony: my all time fav!