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September 2005

Food Blogs

Updated September 2006

When I began writing The Cooks Cottage, I had not read a single other blog, let alone a food blog. I knew nothing of the blog world and even less about the Food Blog World. My main interest was to learn the basics required to express myself and within a few days I was up and running.

It was exhilarating to have no interfering hand in the process of publication. I did what I liked with the pictures, had fun with language and often made statements which I might have held back in the intimidating and long lasting world of print.

I mean have you ever been in a dentist's office and read about someone or something you know, in a vague little article written 7 years ago in a faded magazine , kept for anxious readers waiting for the worst, and realising nothing can be worse than the story of someones life or something which is very old hat, written by a novice, in an ancient magazine. Can you hear the sound of toothless laughter emanating from that sanitised grey coldness of the waiting room?

So my spat is over with magazines editors who want " no 'gyan' (knowledge), just recipes", those being the very words of one of them.

Now several months later I realise I have been on a journey of discovery without taking a breath. Finding and devouring wonderful food blogs written by people with a passion and often a great sense of humour.

Things are not terrible earthshaking in the world of cooking. I mean the worst that can happen is that a souffle collapses or the bread burns, the rice becomes pulp and the curry solidifies. All quite shreikworthy but controllable disasters. Cooking to share just feels really good. And the greater the number to share with the more heartwarming it is.

I am taking a breather here to list some of the best blogs, ones I keep returning to, for inspiration, a daily dose of laughter, observations about ingredients, interesting slices of history and culture, or a recipe beautifully laid out with mouthwatering photographs. Plus many new food blogs worth getting to know.

Enjoy.

P.S. all the blogs about Indian food are listed in chilli red.

A Blithe Palate

A Full Belly

Anne's Food In her own write-"I just love food. I love reading about food, writing about food, cooking food and.. not surprisingly, eating food.'

An Obsession with Food

A Spoonful of Sugar  Angela in Scotland  " much prefer(s)getting creative with desserts, breads, cakes and drinks."

Bakingsheet Nic bakes everything..vegan cheesecake, zucchini cornbread..you name it....

Becks & Posh High jinks in California. Meet the inimitable Sam Breach.

Belly Timber

BiblioCook Caroline from New Zealand with an Irish slant "It's a much more personal way of learning about food rather than just looking at the bare bones of a recipe. And for me, food is all about context." Loves reading cookbooks as much as cooking.

Bread Coffee Chocolate Yoga

Brownie Points MCauliflower is a fusion girl!

Chez Pim

Chili und Ciabatta Lovely baking blog in German.

Chocolate & Zucchiini The most famous of them all, with a French accent, turns 2 this month.

Chocophile More than you ever wanted to know about chocolate.

Chubby Hubby Musings on food, wine and marriage. Potentially explosive.

Cook Sister Food by the multitalented Jeanne from South Africa.

Cucina Testa Rossa Take a culinary journey through France with Laura.

Culiblog

David Lebovitz Trained at Chez Panisse, leads chocolate and bakery tours in Paris and is a best selling author.

Deep end Dining  Daring, Different, Delicious.

Delicious Days Just the most delicious looking site by Nicky and Oliver.

Delicious Delicious A scriptwriter chronicles her life in food.

Dilek'ce Nice Turkish food blog.

Desserts First An Obsession with Desserts-

Edible Tulip Daphne Randall, a chef for an Art Retreat Centre in the hills south of Georgian Bay documents the challenges of cooking for 12 - 30 people daily

Eggbeater "Shuna Fish Lydon can be spotted at any bay area farmer's market buying seasonal fruit, grean leafies, cheese and jam. Having once had an extensive collection of eggbeaters, is down to a few choice favorites, and has sometimes identified strongly with the Luddites ". Now podcasting and doing amazing things.

Eggs to Apples Recipes from a girl who likes to cook from Kate in Michigan.

Epicurious The largest recipe collection. Commercial site. Fairly good Indian recipes with a twist for western taste.

Esurientes Australian food and wine.

Farmgirl Fare Susan follows her dream with an artisan bread bakery on her farm.

Feeding Dexygus Seconds Jottings of a former vegetarian.

Food & Thoughts Zarah Maria , Copenhagen says 'because it might be "just food" - but you have to eat every day, so why not do it well?

Food Blog  Kiplog cooks,eats and drinks and his blog is a showcase of recipes, food blogs, restaurants and photography.

Foodcraft Savoury cuisine from Steffles in S'ingapore.

Food, in the Main Shyamala Ramathan Edwards writes from the UK  "Former singleton, present wife, future - er, oldie? But always and forever a foodie! "

Food Migration Cindy thinks the world would be a cold, dead place without garlic, ginger, chiles and Nutella.

Food Porn Watch

From the Pantry

Hooked on Heat A Indian food blog from Meenakshi in Canada.

I Heart Bacon One of my favourites from Seattle

Il Forno My personal favourite . A great baking blog.

In My Kitchen Nice recipes- check Cashew Chicken Curry Indian style.

Indian Food Just recipes from Nidhi Rai

Indian Home Cooking website of the chef and author Suvir Saran, who promises to give you any recipe you ask for.

In Praise of Sardines Good multicultural and Indian food to be tasted here. Brett (and Namita ) started this blog "to discuss all the foods I crave and the people who grow and harvest them, the cooks that prepare them, the restaurants that serve them and the writers and their cookbooks that describe them.

Is My Blog Burning THE Centre for Food Blog happenings, now beautifully reorganised to make it easy for all interested including beginners .

I was just Really very Hungry

Jamfaced From Britain, One man and his Kitchen

Kuidaore One of the most beautiful blogs on the sphere.

Leite's Culinaria 'Hot Food, Dry Wit"

Le Hamburger et le Croissant

(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(at) Indian food blog from Delhi

Lovescool 

Mahanandi Indira writes about great Indian fare from the U.S.Recipes galore.

Meat Henge

Movable Feast Diary of an Itinerant Chef. From Louisa Chiu, a working chef.

Mum-Mum

My Little Kitchen

Nordljus

Nosh

Noshetaria  Adrienne, foodstylist and caterer writes from Berkeley, California

101 Cookbooks

One Hot Stove Nupur writes about Indian Food and lots more from New York. Always a nice read.

Ono Kine Grindz Reid eats and writes

Oswego Tea Michele in PAris says its all about food

Pabulum

Pastry Life Trials and Tribulations in the life of a pastry student

Phatduck

Potential Gold

Saute Wednesday Lots about food in the media.

Seattle Bon Vivant

Seven Spoons

Seventypercent

She who Eats   Chica writes from back in Japan, quietly hiding somewhere up there... taking, out of this world, photographs.

Shiokalicious Simply recipes

Small Farms

Snackish From Suebob in California.

Spiceblog

Spittoon Andrew writes about wine so well you can taste it ten thousand miles away,especially in places where no wine worth its vine exists.

Stephen Cooks

Sydney Food Blog

Taste Everything Once In honour of appetizers.

Tasting Menu

The Adventures of Pie Queen Freelance foodwriter from Brooklyn

The Delicious Life

The Experimental Kitchen Recipes and techniques for the home chef from Rebecca, a culinary student chef in Vermont

The Little BlueHouse Bakery

The Passionate Cook -Really good food from an Austrian living in London.

The delicious Life  Sarah writes engagingly from L.A.

The Domestic Goddess Needs no introduction! Super

The Fresh Loaf Floyd from Portland, Oregon gives news and information for amateur bakers and artisan bread enthusiasts

The Food Section Josh Friedland writes out of New York City about culinary news, recipes foofd writing and photography.

The Girl who Ate Everything

The Scent of Green Bananas  Santos from Guam is fun to read.

Tiny Banquet Commitee

Toast Lindy whose toast is always crisp and warm.

Too Many Chefs A blog by Meg in Paris, Barrett in Chicago and Todd A.

Who wants seconds Moira whose favourite words are 'melee' and 'obstreperous' writes a mighty nice blog.

Wine Recipes Lots of fruit and vegetable wine recipes by Carl Cleveland in NSW, Australia. Homemade wine is such fun to make especially when it turns out clear and jewel toned.

Without Garnish

Hope all the links work.


Web of Words

Shuna of Eggbeater tagged me for this ingenious meme.

1. Delve into your blog archive.

2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).

3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas...

5. Tag five people to do the same.

This is like retribution...your words will come back to haunt you sort of stuff.

Here is the offending sentence:

"Non-Veg is a euphemism for many unappetising things in India.You can let your imagination go wild here."

The term NON-VEG originated in the belief that eating  vegetarian is a cleaner, healthier, holier kind of  thing to do. Therefore it follows as the night the day, Non-Vegetarian is the absolute opposite of all that is clean, healthy and holy.In the seventies when this bit of slang  was in vogue here..it meant anything to do with sex...ahah. Anything.

AND it also, literally, meant eating Non-Veg, which was to be done surreptitiously by all those who lived in vegetarian households.Imagine all those grown men creeping out of the house to grab a bite of chicken leg.

The subtext is this-what is   ethical in one mans book may not be moral in anothers.Deccanheffalump sayeth thusly: What is prescribed may not necessarily be the best ,  what is proscribed may not be the worst either.

Hope the following five have not been tagged already - the incredibly inventive Cook Sister  ,a  Pie Queen from Brooklyn, Lindy whose Toast is always crisp and warm, Chubby Hubby who muses  on food ,wine and marriage and finally  Susan of Farmgirl Fare to whose site I go to frequently for sustenance.


Onam Sadhya-A Feast fit for Kings

After fasting the whole day, though not for spiritual reasons, I saw a photograph of someone's feast at Onam. At the sight of those fluffy pappadams my spirit crumbled, my resolve melted, it had to be all..not nothing. We went out for dinner to our local Kerala restaurant.

Leaflet on Onam

Onam was celebrated this year in Kerala from the 5th to the 15th of September and the onasadya / feast is served on the last day. Here the festivities carry on throughout the month and so we had a second chance to enjoy the fare on the 18th. Dance, music performances and other cultural events are held during this time.

Pune has a sizeable Malayalee population, many of whom have lived here for generations. They speak Malayalam and Marathi with equal ease and they have completely integrated into the local population , but their cuisine is as Kerala as it comes. And what a wonderful tradition it hasĀ· Quite different from the rest of South Indian food in the use of spices, vegetables, fish and meat.

When Onam comes around , many of them, with their busy routines, choose to have their feast by take away or out at a public venue, either organised by one of the several Malayalee Associations here or at a restaurant, as cooking all the required dishes at home has become well nigh impossible.

There are special caterers for Onam and even the restaurant we went to had taken on cooks and bearers for the occasion. We walked under a garland made of palm leaves and the outside of the restaurant was decorated with a diya and flowers.

As we sat down we were presented with the bill.Ok, so maybe it was a delicate way of saying "This is going to cost you...." We waited, and waited. After a couple of encouraging smiles from the waiters we realised we had to pay up first.Problem solved, the banana leaves were ceremoniously laid out and the feast began.

First a spoonful of salt on the upper left corner of the leaf. Then one by one, in predetermined order, each preparation was served onto a particular place on the leaf. It reminded me, and it is meant to, of the manner in which food is served to the Gods during a puja. With joy , reverance and generosity.

After the salt came the banana chips and a green banana and jaggery sweet mix. Then the achaars..a delicious dark ginger and tamarind one and a orangey red mango achaar. A few Kondatam or curd chillies and then the chutneys, Pavatai / karela with mustard seed, suran / yam chutney on the upper right corner, below which were placed a masala potato bhaji and two types of pachadis/ vegetables or fruit in yogurt, tempered with spices , a pineapple and a bhindi pachadi .

Then came the vegetables. A large helping of beans and coconut vegetable in the upper middle of the banana leaf and an mixed vegetable avial made of drumsticks, lauki,/ bottle gourd carrot, and much more., in a coconut gravy.

In the lower half of the thali came a huge helping of boiled rice with two tablespoons of parappuneyyi / dal ghee. This was just delicious. A small banana was placed on the left side and after some of the meal was eaten, we were offered Kalan/ sambar.

Oh and I forgot those pappadams, for which I ventured forth in the first place. Pappadams in the south are plain, made of urud dal without pepper or chilli , and are scrumptious eaten with rice. Along with this were two cups of tomato rasam and buttermilk made with ginger, chillies and kari patta.

Last of all came the payasams/ desserts, served on the right edge of the banana leaf , one Adapradaman made of rice , coconut and jaggery and the other a Parappupayasam made wiih of moong dal, jaggery and cashewnuts.

All helpings were unlimited . Not that one could have eaten a crumb more after the first helping.

We rolled home , as satiated and pleased as King Mahabali , in whose honour the festival is celebrated.

I enjoyed the ginger chutney / pickle a great deal and wrested the recipe from a Malayalee friend who was only to happy to share it ...thanks a ton Prema.

Ennjipulla / Ginger Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 350 gms imli/ tamarind
  • 1 cup of water
  • 100 gms fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup garlic cloves peeled.
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 2 tbsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp methi / fenugreek powder
  • 150 gms gur / jaggery
  • 3 tbsp til ka tel /sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chana dal -soak in water
  • 1 tbsp split urud dal -soak in water
  • 1 tbsp rai mustard seed

Soak the tamarind in hot water for 15 minutes. Stir well then bring to the boil.Simmer till tamarind loosens from any seeds and peel. Strain well. Then cook till it thickens into a pulp.

In a blender put the cleaned and chopped ginger, the garlic and the salt. Blend till smooth.

Add the chilli powder and fenugreek powder, the jaggery and the tamarind pulp.

Heat up the sesame oil, remove dals from water and fry along with the mustard seed and add the ground mixture. Stir till well blended.

This makes a substantial quantity and can be eaten with rice, chapathies or poories. The chutney can be bottled and refrigerated for several days.