From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Sunday, November 8, 2015


And so next Sunday my book that I have been working on for the past two and a half years will actually be a reality.
It's quite a scary thought and also very exciting.. .

To be a published food author ha ha ha
Is something, I never ever thought about..
Maybe I don't think too much .
I'm more of a, do what makes you happy person...

And so I hope that this book brings much happiness to everyone who goes out there and gets it for themselves or for someone they love.

To me this book has been a journey into my past and my present
It has been a long tedious , interesting journey and like a holiday of discovery into my own being through ingredients and simple cooking techniques.

This book is something that transpired between the universe, Arshad being a very fine actor ,me refusing a show I did not feel good about , Ajay Mago my publisher amd Bhutan "The land of happiness"

So I went to Bhutan as Arshad's + 1, because he was invited to be part of a panel discussing films at the Bhutan Literary Fest with the likes of Gulzarar Saab , Sharmila Tagore and other artists of their ilk.
I was never supposed to go , because I was going to be part of an amazing 24 hrs show to raise money for a cause.
But after speaking with them, I was not feeling good about my role in it.
I always feel that when you do something in life work wise, it needs to make a difference to your own being and needs to make you feel a little happier.
But if it is status quo and making you feel not that fantastic about yourself , or you feel like you are being given a raw deal..
Then I'd rather sleep..ha ha ha
Or in this case travel..
I work in weird ways what can I say..

And so I bowed out of that TV show, asked Arshad if I can go to Bhutan with him and left for this beautifully country .

Like they say what is meant to be is meant to be .
I met my publisher Ajay Mago here, and he made me laugh so much , that we ended up friends.
And so, he told me that he had read my blog and would love to do a recipe book with me.
But I did not take him seriously , and thought it was polite conversation.
And so, after a year of trying to figure if he is serious about wanting to publish a food book with me and he trying to figure whether I'm serious or not about going ahead and starting this.
I officially started working on my book .

After Culinary school , I frankly had no set plan whatsoever .
Yup all I wanted to do was cook .
And the impractical romantic (no idea about how to run a business) part of me wanted to open a small Cafe in Versova, Andheri (because that's where I live) ,and I would serve freshly baked bread and have a fixed menu for breakfast , lunch and supper, because I wanted to shut early and go home to hang with my kids.
(Ya I'm filmy that way)

I come up with the most impulsive impractical ideas most of the times.
But I'm willing to work really really hard to see it through.
Hard work has never frightened me ever.

I really feel if you want something in life , you only get luckier at achieving it ,if you work hard.
So I started working on my book.
Only thing is being neither a full fledged Chef nor a writer.
I could not have asked for more trouble.

So I first started with jotting down all the stuff that I already make at home .
Then the food I loved to eat when I travel.
Then the food that I grew up eating in my mums home which is out of this world.
Then all the food I learnt on my own through television shows and books I have read .
My favourites from my blog.
Then the food I make for my kids.
The food I make for Christmas.
Then  a recipe each I learnt from my friends Mini Mathur, Shaheen Abbas, Banita Hamal, Eefa Shroff , Amit Ashar , Sheeba Hussain and one with Special Permission from My Principal Andrew Maxwell at Tante Marie.

After I put all this together.
It was time for me to put it in a book format.
And for the life of me , I could not understand how.
So first I just thought maybe I should do a seasonal menu, then I changed it to a festival menu ,then when nothing made sense I just shut it all  and waited for a flash of brilliance , which never came ha ha ha .

Then I just went down to basics.
I'm not a chef.
I never will claim to be one .
But I'm in love with the process of creating food and feeding people that I love .
(So ya there goes the business venture, since I cannot tell people , I don't like you , please I'm not letting you buy my bread ha ha ha )

And so finally I decided to divide my book into Months .
And dedicated each month to a person, friends or then an occasion or feeling and soon I was in business.
I then got down to making menus and getting my recipes in order.
So I had 7 recipes from my friends, now I could start my book..
All I needed was 65 more of my own favourite recipes..aaah ha ha ha ha
And that was a bloody pain.
And to further throw salt on my wound , I get to know, that most recipe book writers have a team of people , who research ideas, recipes, do trials, tastings and ideate and put a book together.
so I promptly called Ajay and asked him ''Where is my team?" and Ajay being Ajay says to me, "Babes, you are your own team" aaah ha ha ha , we both laughed about it , and I went back like Cinders to my kitchen, at times I was so fed up trying to develop something, I used to sit hoping I meet a brilliant chef like the rat in Ratatouille ..ha ha ha
Yup I was going slightly cuckoo..
And I had Ajay to blame for it ...

I had to jot down everything to its last tsp and ml, oh my God , and I had 72 recipes.
Everything in the book I cooked more than twice, once to try it out , the second time to see if it really works , so had friends to taste it and then finally for the shoot .
Some recipes I cooked just once, those are my favorites.
Some I cooked photographed and then felt...Naaaaah

The shoot was a mad, fun, crazy affair.
That took its own sweet time, in the middle of moving kitchens and then house and of course holidays and kids exams ..

Amit Ashar my friend and fantabulous photographer agreed to be part of this roller-coaster ride, he always knew how he wanted to shoot it.
And there is no one who could have shot this book with so much warmth and sunshine like he does, he is a Virgo , so he always finds something beautiful in every picture, to bring out its story..
So he only wanted it to be shot in real sunlight..
Under a tree that would provide a lovely dappled effect caused by the leaves, swaying in the breeze.
And that was his take on how it should be .
And I trusted his judgement and went with it .

Sambo my clothes stylist since MTV, was going to style my table , and between her and Amit, they decided on colours for every month .
And moved pots and plants , together , Sambo scouted around for cute stuff to put on the table and got various combinations of table cloths .

Bhavna came with food from her home,and I exchanged mine for hers ,because I did not want to eat my own food at all, except some times.
And she then slipped into the role of reflector holder and general calm bringer.

And then there was Vijay my helper and Sous Chef , who has been with me for 10 years, he understands my kitchen madness and without his efficiency in handling my ingredients and my kitchen quirks , I would not have be able to do this easily.

We all went about our chosen business.
I cooked and plated my food, without adding anything artificial , or overcooking or under cooking it, to enhance its appeal.
What you see is what you get.

Zeke , Zene and Arshad were my permanent Guinea pigs and my most straight forward critics, but after some time the kids began to believe that , they had to critique all the food that came on to the table ..
" Mama these eggs are a bit too hard boiled"
"Why are we eating dal again?"
"So why are we eating food ,that is not going in the book"
Oh my I had to politely tell them that , they would get a kick on their collective arse's, if they did not quietly eat what was served on the table ..
"That's just not fair, now that we have told you how to make your dishes tastier, you are being mean "
And so the saga went on...

Simultaneous along with the cooking, I also began writing and realised that nothing was flowing out of me , as it did so easily in the blog.
Maybe I needed a muse ?? Ha ha ha
And so I realised that the only way I could write was when I was not told that I had to..
Ya .. So I realised I have some issues concerning authority , regularity and freedom..

But I slowly put pen to paper..
And on good days, wrote like a fiend.
I also began running..
And the more I ran ..
The more I wrote..
The more I wrote ..
The more I cooked ..
And the more I cooked ..
The more I had to run..

My book then went into edit and came back , with a maximum of five lines per recipe.
Ha ha ha so I know that this was a recipe book and I need not have a story to all of them ..
But I guess I had a lot to say ..

So I have lots of the written word ,stored with me ..
Along with a whole lot of recipes that I replaced in this book ..

But I'm happy with what has happened to it .
Amit then introduced me to Sucharita who did the final design of my book. And I could not have asked for someone who understood me better..

Well Ajay, Dipa, Shoili , Sharboni, Amit, Sambo, Vijay, Bhavna and me are pretty happy with what we have in hand ..

And Arshad is happy that I finally learnt to cook small quantities ..

All is well that begins well..
Our book is out on the 15th , I think the best is yet to come ..