Blog review: Food, Football and a Baby

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Why did you start Food, Football and a Baby?
I was on the BBC’s Masterchef twice. After the show, I received many requests for some of the traditional Indian recipes that I made on the show. I started my blog to share these recipes with viewers. The blog is called Food, Football and a Baby to reflect the important things in my life. The baby is no longer a baby, but the blog name has now stuck. The football has been disappointing this season, with my team, Arsenal FC not having won for a while, but, heck, I still say there’s no better team in the world!

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
Sharing recipes that have been handed down through generations of my family. It creates a curious affinity with my readers, and its wonderful when someone tells you that they made your recipe and loved it, especially when those recipes have been made by many women of my own family. I also enjoy sharing stories about the food I cook, and how a particular recipe came about.

Do you have a favorite recipe? Why is it your favorite?
It has to be my Prawn Biriyani. Its the dish that got me the most accolades on Masterchef. The complexity of flavours in the dish always draws me back to it time after time. Its my dinner party staple.

I also love the fact that I managed to recreate English baked beans that taste just like Heinz makes. Nothing like replicating the taste of food from a tin, I say!

What’s your next project going to be?
I am currently looking out for work, as I have just become a permanent resident of Canada, and finally been given permission to work. However, I have been working on a proposal about writing a cookbook based on Coastal Indian recipes, an area that is not as well explored as, say, traditional Indian recipes. This project is in its very early stages, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for it.

What’s the best advice ever given to you (with regard to cooking, blogging, or anything else)?
Be yourself! Its very easy to read and obsess about other people’s stunning blogs and gorgeous photography, and its very easy to get disheartened and think that you’re not making a difference or that your blog is rubbish. But we all have our own quirks in life, and the internet is a great leveller. There is a place for the home cook, and a place for the professional. Sometimes its easy to make the transition, and sometimes you just have to accept who you are, and not change for the sake of changing. Everyone has something to say, and some get heard a bit more than other, but that doesn’t mean what you’re saying is not important.

Any recommendations for people who want to start their own blog or get into cooking?
Never be afraid of trying something new. Its the only way you will know if you like it. As I tell my three year old toddler ‘try it, you may just like it’ … but I don’t like it much when she quotes it back to me sometimes :-) And of course, practice does make perfect. Except when it comes to macarons, then you’ve either got it or you don’t :-)

Who is your foodie icon?
David Lebovitz. I love his warm, humorous style of blogging, and how he makes it a point to reply even to the most banal requests or clueless questions. He is truly an example to the bloggers everywhere! And of course, his desserts are to die for and his ice creams are my staple food!

What do you love most about blogging?
That somehow or other I have been able to have an influence on the cooking habits of another household. Its inspiring. Even if said household is just my sister’s :-)

Do you have any must-have appliances or utensils for your kitchen?
I love my Le Creuset French Oven that my husband got me as a Christmas present. Its ever present on my hob, I don’t think its ever made it back to the cupboard.

I also couldn’t live without my heavy duty Panasonic Mixer Grinder. I hauled it all the way back from India to the UK, and then to Canada where my dear father-in-law adapted it so I can safely use it here. Its indispensable when grinding up whole spices, making smoothies, grinding batter for Indian snacks and curries. Its seriously a multi-tasker, just like me.

The other item I find that I use all the time is my Microplane rasp grater. I use it for pretty much everything, and in particular with garlic and ginger which is a staple in Indian cooking. My dear husband was horrified at how much I’d paid for it, but after pretty much five years of everyday use, he’s grudgingly accepted that its worth its money after all!

What are/were your favorite and least favorite trends in food?
I don’t really follow trends, I prefer to march to my own drummer. That said, seasonal, local food and cooking is trending at the moment, and that’s something that I hope will last for a long time.I do like blogging challenges in which different bloggers challenge people to make food to a theme, and I like that they push me out of my comfort zone. I did notice sometime ago that everyone was making macarons. Luckily (or unluckily) my piping skills are the worst ever, so that’s one bandwagon I won’t be jumping on anytime soon.

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