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Cook Republic - another popular blog

"When you blog for so long and food is a constant, you often lose the love for food, the taste and hunger for it. But then you rediscover the joys of simple food and life is delicious again. This blog is a roller coaster of our everyday life and our love affair with honest, simple food." Sneh Roy

So says Sneh Roy the lady behind my third popular Australian food blog. 2013 was obviously a big year for this blog because back then she won two awards - Best Australian Blog 2013, and Best Lifestyle Blog 2013 and also published a cookbook called Tasty Express which was published by Random House. I'm not sure who was giving the awards, but doubtless other such blogs entered the same competition. I suspect she may have had a bit of a meltdown after all the attention that the awards brought her, because some time later - in her About page - she describes how she did an actual and virtual spring clean and simplified her life somewhat. The blog continues although I suspect that these days most of her attention is given over to her various other enterprises, design, food styling and photography, design consulting and various workshops. Still - good to see the energy and drive.

She was born and raised in Mumbai and brought up a vegetarian, although now she eats the occasional fish. This background explains the distinctly Indian feel and the emphasis on Indian flavours in her dishes. She now lives in Sydney with her husband of 24 years, two sons and chickens.

Like virtually all of the 'professional' food blogs out there - well certainly the few I have looked at so far, the main focus of the blog is on recipes. There are posts of recipes - about three every two weeks I think - featuring all kinds of food, but, as I say, mostly Indian. Above is the first part of the home page. The posts featured there are not the more recent ones. They are either picked at random by the program she uses or she decided which to feature. Whatever the reason, of the ones shown here one is from April this year and two are from 2017. So I'm guessing fairly random.

So what about the recipes? Are they any good? Well without trying them I guess I couldn't say. But I did look at a couple and they did look pretty OK - if not wildly adventurous. I chose the first one on the page - Magic Curry Sauce, which is just what it is - the usual onion, ginger, garlic fried mix, plus spices plus coconut milk in this instance. Well yoghurt is not vegan is it? The you just add it to your cooked protein she says. Personally I think I would be adding the sauce to the fried protein. Is this what Indian restaurants do? Do they just make huge vats of sauces and then dunk the meat, fish or veggies in it? Personally I think if you are going pre-prepared I would go for a spice mix that you add to your fried onion, ginger, garlic mixture, before adding your protein and liquid. I suppose this is just taking the pre-preparation a step further. The spice mixture looks good though and I do like coconut milk, though David doesn't. Non vegans, and I, could, of course substitute yoghurt.

The other recipe I looked at was Chilli garlic potatoes, chosen from her more recent posts - this was from August. Again - pretty simple. What was interesting about this one though was that it was an Indo-Chinese dish and there was a little explanation of this, plus two personal stories, which differentiates her site from some of the others in that there is more than just the recipe. There is also a bit, here and there, about pieces of equipment - in this case air fryers. Occasionally I think these are possibly sponsored and there is certainly some advertising on the site - on the side panels, but not a huge amount like some. Lots of her photos though.

Did I mention that she started her working life as a computer engineer? Just shows what a big change can happen in our lives does it not? And later still - in 1999 - she took herself off to a design college to hone her skills in that area, which I think has resulted in her main work in design, photography and food styling. Which just goes to show that whatever you start out doing in life doesn't have to be your whole life story. Change is always possible.

It's all a bit corny I suppose. But then food is inevitably corny - certainly when it comes to food blogs and writings. Here are some words from an interview that she had when she won all those awards (and the photograph is hers).

"Home cooking is one of the most beautiful ways to create food with the ones you love the most. It is a culinary bonding exercise like no other. Creating meals with children is not only rewarding but a whole lot of fun, while cooking meals as a couple can be intimate and full of special moments."

I have to say that my Zoom cooking classes with the grandchildren have been a great joy to me. I only wish I had done it with my own children way back then. I was much more impatient back then. Though my younger son, being the dogged fellow that he is, hung in there more and made me do it every now and then. And you know I don't think I have ever cooked 'with' my husband. Maybe on camping holidays way back then, but certainly not now. Perhaps we should try. Bounce some ideas off each other as we tackle the leftovers.

I'm also currently running a photo competition with the whole family, inspired my my attempts at being a tourist in my own neighbourhood. This week's subject is 'in my street' because as Sneh Roy says:

"There is form, structure and an innate artistry all around us."

Indeed there is as the entries I have received so far suggest - some of it is man made and deliberate, some of it is random, and some of it is just nature. But it's there. If you look, which we do as a tourist, but not in our daily lives. Possibly even in what we cook.

These are all Australian blogs that I am looking at, and these are some of her words about the special nature of Australians and food:

"I think we are a happy bunch. People who love to eat are the best kind, aren't they?"

Well I guess she got me thinking about a few things.


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