Who am I?
My name is Aparna and I am a stay-at-home-mom to our 14 year old daughter. We are from the beautiful Indian state of Kerala (famous for its coconut trees, backwaters and ayurveda) and now live in Goa (known for its beaches, churches and Portuguese influenced cuisine).
My husband, our daughter and I are vegetarian by tradition and by choice, though we do eat eggs occasionally. We enjoy good food and are willing to try anything at least once, so long as it is vegetarian.
I believe the kitchen, and the dining table (by extension) is really the heart of the home and this blog is my way of sharing some of our food experiences and a bit of our lives with you all.
What's this blog about?
Just good food, some conversations centred around food and lots of food photography.
The name "My Diverse Kitchen" was picked by my daughter and it reflects the variety of food, recipes and food related posts on this blog.
I started this blog in an attempt to collect, put together and share the recipes from our traditional Palakkad style of cuisine. This vegetarian style of cooking makes extensive use of vegetables and lentils and lots of coconut. Since Palakkad is a predominantly rice growing area, our traditional cooking is also very much centred on rice.
I am not a chef, nor do I have formal training in the culinary arts. I do love good food, and have grown up surrounded by womenfolk who were all very good cooks. Both my paternal and maternal grandmothers, and my mother were known in the family for their cooking skills. They were also supposed to have what we traditionally referred to as "Kaipunyam" which would roughly translate as "magic of the hand", that special something that was not in the recipe but added a special something to everything they cooked and served. I guess it meant they cooked with love.
I would like to believe that some of that has rubbed of on me and shows in my cooking too. While what I cook most of the time are well balanced meals from my native cuisine, we also enjoy exploring other cuisines and dishes, many of which I attempt to recreate in my kitchen.
All the recipes on this blog have been tried out in my kitchen and largely reflect our preferences. If they have not worked for you, it could be because of various reasons. I personally see recipes more as a set of directions or guidelines which can be followed intuitively and adapted to suit our taste. That's also how I see the recipes on this blog.
Baking is not a traditionally Indian method of cooking but has always fascinated me. I especially enjoy baking bread and you can see my baking successes here, so much so, you might be forgiven for thinking this is a baking blog!
You use cups to measure your ingredients in your recipes. Why not weight measurements which are more reliable?
Yes, I do use cup measurements for two reasons. The first one was that I did not (and still really do not) feel the need to weigh out my ingredients as measuring them out with cups almost always workes for me. And in the good old days, home cooks and bakers never weighed out ingredients and it worked for them.
While weighing is a more precise and perhaps scientific way of doin things, I believe most recipes (there are always exceptions) work with proportions of ingredients rather exact amounts.
I do now have kitchen scales but I end up using measuring cups, unless the recipe depends upon exactly weighed ingredients. All the recipes on this blog use standard American measuring cups and spoons except in some of my traditional Palakkad Iyer recipes where I use "glasses" to measure ingredients. In such instances, please note that 1 "glass" equals 200ml of water.
You eat eggs. Then why all the "eggless" recipes?
As I mentioned, we do eat eggs but tend to like them better when they're disguised as in bakes. Sometimes the eggs in some bakes and desserts tend to stand out with an "eggy" smell and flavour which we don't like.
Hence, you will find quite a few recipes here where I have substituted for eggs quite successfully.
So what's with the pomegranate picture?
That picture was one of the first good pictures I took with my point and shoot camera and I am quite fond of it. I am also not very comfortable with the idea of my likeness floating about on the net. So I use the pomegranate as my visual identity/ avatar on the net.
While I understand that it would be more interesting to put a face to my name and blog, I also believe that what I look like really has no bearing on what I cook, how I write and what I am.
So I'm putting up my picture here but shall continue using my "pomegranate" as my avatar/ profile picture.
What camera do you use?
I know that many people think you can take better photographs with an expensive canmear and gear. While more expensive cameras do provide a better quality of photograhy because they have better sensors, it really is the photographer who makes all the difference. However, for those who are interested in the gear I use here goes......
For most of the first 2 years of writing this blog, I used my point and shoot which is a Canon Powershot A550. I then moved to a Canon 450D with kit lens (Canon Ef-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS) and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens, which is what I use for all my food photography.
I recently upgraded to a Canon 60D. I have also got a much desired macro lens, the Canon EF 100mm f/ 2.8 USM Macro lens and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/ 4-5.6 lens as well.
I tend to use all my lenses except the 18-55mm lens for my food photography.
I noticed you do cookbook reviews………
Yes, I do review cookbooks and I’m open to doing food product reviews as long as they reflect they way we eat. By this, I mean we are vegetarian and avoid using highly processed food products whenever possible.
I do not, however, do paid reviews and reserve the right to express my own honest opinions about the cookbooks or products I am reviewing.
I have been visiting your blog and keep leaving comments at your posts. You do not seem to return the favour!
Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving your comments. It really means a lot to me to know that what I’m doing on my blog is appreciated. And I do read every comment left on my posts.
If no one read my blog, never asked a question or left a comment about my posts/ recipes/ photographs, didn’t tell me how my recipe turned out, there wouldn’t be much point in keeping this going.
If you have asked a question regarding my post or something else then I most definitely will answer it, usually within 3 or 4 days. If by some chance I have not answered your query, please do not hesitate to remind me.
As for visiting everyone who leaves a comment at my posts, please understand that it is impossible for me to visit each and every blogger who comments on my blog, much as I would love to.
While I am quite serious about my blog, there are other things in my life which take priority. This means that I have limited time to spend on blo related activites, but I will definitely visit you when I can. And if you are in my reader, you shall see me visiting you unannounced, on and off!
Commenting policy on this blog
I am making a point of stressing about against rude commenting on this blog because I feel very strongly about it. I would love to hear from you, even if you are expressing an opinion which does not agree with my way of thinking. But please have your say without being rude. I set great store by politeness, and since this my blog I reserve the right to delete rude or obnoxious comments and will do so without hesitation.
I also request you all to not leave links in your comments here, to your blogs or events you are hosting on them. I do moderate comments with links in them and such commenst will not get published by me.
If you leave your comment and fill out the requisite box with the url to your blog, then it will show up in your comment so you do not need to otherwise link to your site.
You are of course, welcome to leave a link in your comments if you are pointing me towards a post or site that has something to do with my post.
Thank you, for being understanding.
And finally a few words that I feel the need to put down here at this point in time.
This is addressed to that very small percentage of people (who probably will not be reading this) who feel the need to "borrow without permission", matter from blogs. Please understand that I put in a lot of time and effort into my pictures and posts.
All the matter on this blog is my own, whether text or pictures, unless mentioned otherwise. Wherever I have used pictures or text that is not my own or adapted recipes from elsewhere, I always credit my source by name and link to them.
I am flattered to think that there are some people out there who feel my stuff is good enough to be used, but I do not hold with this kind of "borrowing".
So if you would like to use any of my pictures, please write to me. If you use or adapt any of my recipes, I would also appreciate it if you would link to that particular post of mine. I would also appreciate it if you let me know how you found it, good or otherwise. Thank you.
I hope you enjoy visiting my virtual kitchen and I hope to see you here again. If you have anything you would like to ask or say to me, please feel free to write to me.