Posts Tagged With: food

My first recipe Video!

It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela

I need to adopt this as my new mantra. I actually wrote it on a post it and stuck it under my desk mat long time ago but somehow it got under some stuff and only today I brought it back out so I can see it clearly everyday. 

It always seems impossible until its done

So today I am feeling like I did the impossible! I have been giving myself plenty fo reasons to convince that recipe videos are impossible for me but today I finally hit that “Publish” button on YouTube! It is big for me, at least at this moment. 

I started food blogging just out of a desire to share recipes. I love cooking and I believe everyone can cook and everyone should cook. Cooking is not a chore but a wonderful offering to family.  I am not the activist kind but I thought maybe sharing easy recipes will encourage at least friends and family. My blog is kind of my bit in bringing back home cooking but slowly it became more than a hobby.

It became an avenue to learn so many things — Food writing, food photography, website making, troubleshooting, SEO, Social Media… the list is endless. The learning never stops because well new things keep coming up and old things keep changing :).

I don’t monetise my blog, simply because I don’t want it to become a job and also I don’t like websites showered with advertisements. But I do want more people coming to my blog and so I learn and unlearn and I relearn about SEO. With more and more food bloggers out there, they continuously redefine the scene. “The world is moving to video”, they say!

I have resisted recipe videos for so long. First I am not at all comfortable with my face being on camera but then came the “talking hands” recipe videos which solved that problem. But videos always seemed very difficult to me, they still do. I have no clue of shooting a video, a setup for videos, the amount of planning required and then editing will be another game altogether! My kitchen is too small with the stove tucked in a corner that shooting there wasn’t a possibility. So I said, “I am fine without videos.”

But then a friend kept on saying, you have to do food videos. I will help you but just click your first one. And I was like, but all the food bloggers have channels with 100+ videos! But then he said, imagine someone coming to your food blog and saying she already has 100+ recipes, I can’t start a new food blog now with one recipe! And I realised that was me many years ago! but I did start a food blog when there were many already.

So I finally did a video. I created a mini setup in my living room. Decided on the simplest of recipes that didn’t have too many ingredients or steps and shot!

recipe video setup in teh living room of a food blogger

Went to YoutTube and looked for iMovie beginner tutorial videos. I spent most of my Sunday on learning the basics of iMovie (because that is the only free video editing software I have!) and then showed the result to a few friends. With some positive feedback, and a lot of nervousness, I finally uploaded it to YouTube today. Even creating a YouTube channel for the blog wasn’t that straight-forward! Here’s how my very first video looks like and I am right now staring at the same post-it which says, “It always seems impossible until its done.”

What do you think?

 

There will always be reasons to not do something, but find your one reason to do it.

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Technology in my Plate

GM Food cartoon by www.springercreative.com

Whether in the agriculture industry or not, all of us have a direct link with food. I came across this article about the seed industry in Economic Times last week. Now seed is the most important and primary input to agriculture and the demand for seed will always be there. No matter what the conditions a farmer will always sow, making seed industry highly lucrative in the entire agricultural chain. Scare land, growing population and rising food prices necessitate the need for agricultural innovations to increase yield. As the crop development is embedded in the seeds, they are the primary vehicles of delivering the new technology. According to the ET article, the Indian Seed Industry is currently growing at ~20% a year!

Broadly speaking seeds are of two kinds: varietals and hybrids. Varietal or open-pollinated seeds can be reproduced for many generations with little deterioration in quality. So after the initial purchase the farmer can multiply his own seeds. Hybrids on the other hand are developed through controlled pollination and cannot be reused and thus need to be repeatedly purchased. White and rice are mainly varietal seeds, while hybrids are large on cotton, oilseed, pearl millet, maize and sorghum.

The private sector is mainly into hybrid seeds. While the public sector consisting of the National and State seed corporations and agricultural research institutes is still limited in their research capacities focussing largely on varietal seeds. Now a growing private sector in something as basic as seed gives me mixed feeling.

Competition ensures that private sector is working on cutting edge technologies and innovations. Large International names such as DuPont or Monsato do bring in huge capital and expertise. Nearly 75% of agricultural biotechnology plant patents are owned by the private industry. Innovations have resulted in drought tolerant and pest resistant crops such as BT Brinjal, corn and sorghum. Most crops can now be grown all year round and across all the climatic regions on India. All this sounds good for the food industry.

The industry is pushing for a move from varietal to hybrid seeds. Seed companies maintain that while varietals may appear cheap they are expensive in the long run as yield and quality deteriorates from one generation to another. Now private firms are there because of the gains from the higher productivity and they would appropriate some cost of R&D to the farmer. Hybrids are thus priced higher and also need to be repeatedly purchased. Without any government control on pricing, are they viable for the small farmer? There are also concerns that land once tilled with hybrid seeds cannot be used with varietal seeds making the farmer dependant on the private firm.

There is also some recent research that claims that crop yield and quality can be improved by magnetic treatment. A development, which has received no interest from any of the seed companies!

A free market and competition should ensure better quality and benefits to the farmer. While I can’t dig a lot deeper into the economics of the seed industry, I just hope it is happening.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are author’s own. The views expressed herein are not intended to harm any person or entity – they are merely the opinions of the author. Any factual errors, misunderstandings, or misinterpretations are author’s own.

The image has been taken from http://www.springercreative.com

Categories: around us, development | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For lack of a better name…

The idea of a food blog has been lingering in my mind since long. Actually the initial intention of “lime ‘n’ lemony” was a food blog but then I started doubting my skills as a cook and abandoned the idea.

When my wedding was finalized almost three years ago, I had asked my mom for just one gift. 6 months before my wedding, I asked her to write down all her recipes in a notebook and gift that book to me on my wedding day. After marriage, I took a break from job for about a year. During that time I managed almost all her recipes and also added many more to that book. Looking at the book now, I feel I need to organize it better (making sections for starters, main course, desserts and also sections of veg/non-veg) and also share many of those recipes with others. Especially my mom’s jams and preserves recipes. Doing it online was the best solution..but for lack of a better name, it’s still an action item in my diary. Since last 6 months I have been looking for a name for my blog. In between I took a bartending course and experimented a lot with drinks and mixers.. so that’s another thing I want to add to that blog (when it happens). Last week when a lot of my friends were visiting, I brought this idea on the table, hoping someone would come up with an exciting name but no success.

The essential ingredient of Indian cooking is the spice and the memory is taste and aroma.. I wanted something which would combine these elements. And just as I wrote that I got the idea of 5 senses. Food in fact touches all the 5 senses.

Hearing: the whistle of the pressure cooker (a quintessential part of any Indian Kitchen)!

Touch:  I strongly believe food tastes better when had with hands rather than the boring fork and knife (it has to be ‘finger licking good’!)

Sight, smell and taste need no explanation for their association with food and experience with food.

However ‘5 senses’ being such a common phrase, I wonder if I would find it unavailable. And I will again be on a lookout for a name.. Any suggestions?

 

Categories: around us | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Brunch@Kensington

I like the concept of Weekend Brunch and I like the fact that brunch starts at noon and goes on till 4pm 🙂 Gives enough time to wake up late and still start the weekend early enough to enjoy the day. Until last night I had all plans to work on my essay today but today was one the best days I have seen in London till now. A perfect, warm and sunshiny day. I just couldn’t waste such a day staying at home and struggle over an essay. So I decided I’d go to the Borough market, drink some warm mulled wine and buy fresh vegetable, cheese and spreads. But it took no more than 5 minutes for Siva to convince to come for a brunch at South Ken instead J. After some google attempts at Austrian and Dutch brunch places, we finally hit on Madsen restaurant. I enjoyed the place so much that I thought I should try my hand at writing a restaurant review. Obviously, a perfect day was the highlight of the experience, but I should give the restaurant its fair due.

Situated opposite the only Lamborghini showroom in London, the restaurant occupies a prime location. This was my first time in South Kensington. The area has a vibrant mix of high-end boutiques, restaurants amidst the Victorian grandeur of Natural History Museum, Albert memorial, Victoria and Albert museum and the science museum. The ambience is warm, relaxed and stylish. They have seating in the patio as well (they don’t have heaters in the patio, but they do provide blankets), though we took a table inside just next to the glass wall to enjoy the sunshine and also stay warm inside. I have no clue about Scandinavian dishes and cannot say if they were truly authentic or not, but I can surely say that I enjoyed the food – the appearance and the taste. The menu is almost a book, because of their extensive wine list, but they also have a good mix of traditional Scandinavian dishes and modern European dishes and enough options for vegetarians like me.

We started with a warm oatmeal porridge served with apple compote and fresh apples for myself and natural yogurt with fresh blueberries and almond granola for Siva and a large pot of filter coffee!. A part of food experience is its appearance, and I was delighted by what came on our table. I should also mention the fresh thyme on top, which added to the taste. The service was good, but since Siva finished his breakfast much before me and they didn’t bring the next order until I finished mine, meant he had to wait.

My lunch order was a potato and crispy onion smushi, which is a smaller version of traditional Danish open sandwich called Smørrebrød. It was a teeny-weeny rye bread, with lot of things on top. Looked good, tasted good. But it really was very small. Siva called it a miniature sandwich. So if you are hungry, you may want to order 3-4 of those :). Siva ordered a Portobello mushroom burger, which also received a thumbs-up.

“Gammeldags æblekage” (which means old fashioned apple pie) came in a glass, with layers of apple compote, amaretti biscuits and whipped cream. I would have preferred real poached apples instead of the compote, but no complaints.

The prices? It wasn’t expensive. It was well priced for the location, the food and the ambience. Without alcohol, our bill was around 35 pounds for two people.

I could just say, Madsen would be my first recommendation, if anyone asks me for a good brunch place.

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