2019 has been a very memorable year for me personally. My Indian cookery school ‘Breech Lane Curry House’ has grown from strength to strength. I have been nominated and shortlisted as a finalist for a very special nationwide recognition award – The Business Mum of the Year, organised by the Family Network UK LTD. I had the privilege of running a children’s Indian cookery workshop at my daughters’ local village school, to help raise funds. I was invited to talk about my venture and my family dishes on the BBC Surrey Radio show ‘Up Close’! I held a variety of Indian cookery courses, meeting food enthusiasts from varied backgrounds and age groups, receiving such encouraging reviews of my sessions along the way.
One of the most exciting experiences was my recent trip to India to visit family and celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights (you could call it the Indian christmas of sorts!). During my journey, I enjoyed home cooked Indian food at its very best. Whilst visiting my parents and sisters up north in the capital city of New Delhi and my in laws down south of India in a place called Coimbatore, I took every opportunity to add to my repertoire of family dishes. I was taught to make proper home cooked ‘Appams’, a type of bowl shaped pancake made with rice based batter, lentil and fenugreek seeds and enjoyed with home made coconut milk, not to forget my mum’s special ‘Rajma’ curry which is essentially red kidney beans cooked in a delicious onion and tomato based gravy with a blend of spices and my brother in law’s special Kashmiri mutton curry called ‘Yakhni’ created with a set of simple spices such as fennel and ginger powder and yet yielding such complex flavours.
To top this off, I was handed down two very special kitchen utensils by my in laws – both more than a 100 years old and belonging to their parents – a brass spice tin used to store the essential spice powders and a biryani (rice dish) cum idli ( savoury rice cakes) making brass pot. I have since given them a pride of place in my kitchen and used the brass pot to prepare a very delicious, healthy and homely chicken biryani! I can’t wait to prepare some fluffy idlis next!
Whilst my trip was a social visit, I would not hesitate to call it a culinary journey of discovery, rediscovery and enlightenment! I feel very lucky to be in this unique position from where I can tap into this family pool of authentic home cooked Indian recipes and techniques and pass them on to my participants. In a sense, I have the best of both the worlds!