Tag Archives: Prepped

Random Bakes of Kindness & a Thank You Note to Vanessa

7 Sep

A few months back, I did recipe testing for Vanessa Kimbell, who is the author of the fabulous book ‘PREPPED‘. I tested her recipe for Chocolate Savory cookies which were nothing short of gourmet cookies with a homely touch. I was thrilled to bits when she mentioned me and my blog on her blog. I kept track of how she was managing the whole show- writing the book, maintaining a blog, her three children, a house, cooking, baking, marketing, a radio show… Phew. The list is endless. How can somebody do so much at one time! But that’s Vanessa for you. I was impressed by her passion and it is this passion that fuels her to give her best at all times.

Fast forward and one day I receive a package. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it was from Vanessa. It contained her gorgeously sexy book – Prepped. It is shocking pink in colour and contains page after page of spectacular photographs. It was easy to understand that this book is a blessing in disguise for all those spontaneous moments such as unexpected guests, impromptu parties et al. It gave me brilliant ideas and ways to save time by prepping a few basic things beforehand so that it eliminates the last-minute cooking hassles.

I kept flipping through it again and again, completely overwhelmed by her gesture. Since then I had been meaning to do a post to thank her as well as try one of the recipes in her book.

The opportunity came in the form of an initiative by Vanessa herself. She called out to all food bloggers to participate in her Random Bakes of Kindness Project. In her own words, she described the initiative as,

“Blogging seems so me myself and I recently.  It’s so easy to focus on nothing but the food and my own life and I  really wanted to add a human element to baking.  Sometimes it’s not about the food as such .. it’s more about the person eating the food and how it makes them feel. I am sure there must be someone in your life who deserves a spontaneous thank you, a kind word and some recognition for just being a marvelous person. I know it’s a bit random .. but that is what makes it out of the usual and for me that makes it special.  The unexpected just means more.”

This was a fantastic way to thank her as well as do my good deed for the day. I decided to participate and for the same baked ” Chocolate Cookies”  from Prepped.

Morsed is a sweet little guy who works with our building housekeeping team. Once every week he comes to my apartment and works very hard to keep it spic and span. He originally hails from Bangladesh and misses his family a lot. This is one emotion we are all familiar with. He has been doing housekeeping for us for a long time and I thought his services deserved to be acknowledged in a special way. I baked a batch of Chocolate cookies and gave it to him as a Eid gift. He was absolutely taken aback since he didn’t expect it at all. He fumbled and floundered, and I couldn’t help but giggle 🙂 . He blushed the most when I took a picture of him. I have never seen anybody so nervous but I am sure the cookies will more than make up for all the awkwardness.

So that is how I concluded my Random Bake of Kindness project with Vanessa. But I feel, it will not stop here. It is a splendid feeling to do something out of the blue for someone who might not expect it. I think, I have caught the bug; drivers, building caretakers, maids, shopkeepers, watch out!

Jokes aside, I must thank Vanessa for sending me a personally signed copy of her book, for starting this wonderful initiative and giving me and opportunity to look outside of me. The cookies were delicious and that gives me tremendous encouragement to try out other recipes as well.

Epitome of a Week

18 Feb

A high octane week.

Much like the last.

After this, I am going to take a breather.

Sunday, like I have mentioned time and again is the first day of week, here in Bahrain. I had a Writer’s Club meeting to go to. It was the first of it’s kind in Bahrain. This was hosted by one of UK’s leading authors Robin Barratt. He now lives permanently in Bahrain. So he has spear headed this movement to gather all the established and aspiring writers/ poets/bloggers to come and share ideas, conduct and participate in work shops etc. It was an honour to meet so many authors, childrens’ book authors, a professional chef who has written 12 best selling books and many like me too who aspire to get something published. From my perspective, I was more interested in just learning and interacting, so I went.

It was hosted in one of the leading hotel conference rooms and there was an whiff of erudition in the air. I felt absolutely like a fish out of water. Anyways, I sat there, twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the evening to roll. More and more people poured in and I was amazed as to there were so many expats – Americans, English, Australians, Iranians, Indians, Pakistanis- who shared the singular passion of the written word. There were publishers of successful magazines (Bahrain) and some coffee table book publishers too.

Just took down some notes. In order to get your book published the basics that you HAVE to have in place;

1. A good one- two page synopsis of your story
2. A strong bio about self
3. First 3 chapters – Perfect Chapters. – though there was a debate about this being different for Fiction and non Fiction. Fiction demands the whole book material to be ready and sent at one go.

So the evening progressed and the writing project for the next month’s meeting was decided as “Pearls”. So the part of the Club agenda would be get people to write ( absolutely optional). So in the next month meeting the best script/draft on “Pearls” would be read and marked for publication. At the end of the year all such interesting write ups would be collected and published as a short story collection under BWC (Bahrain Writers’ Club). So I think its a good opportunity and I will try my best that my story would get selected for this.

I also met up with some magazine editors – FACT Magazine Bahrain- is the leading magazine here and quite happening one too. I had written to them earlier attaching a sample of my restaurant review but nobody responded. But this time, I had him cornered and he agreed to take a look at it for sure. I asked him to me some constructive feedback to improve incase it isn’t worth publishing. I am yet to hear from him! Hmmmpppfff.

This was where I met Aaron – the professional pastry chef and the related you can read here

So that is how my evening turned from being skeptical to out right amazing.

Every atom of my being was buzzing for the next couple of days. Isn’t it normal to feel like this? After days of nothing happening, suddenly there was so much to do. I had a lot on mind including searching for job, wherein I haven’t made any breakthrough. I didn’t realized as the week just rolled on.

I had a dinner to plan for and I hadn’t done anything yet. I had too many things going on in the background. In between I even baked some chai spice cupcakes and cakes.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Kimbell has mentioned me on her blog for having tested her Cookies. Thank you Vanessa!

http://writingacookerybook.blogspot.com/2010/10/testers-who-blog.html

Now jumping straight to the Dinner plan. I had planned an Italian – Continental fare and again it was the first time I was trying most of the stuff.

I had planned for the Classic Macaroni and Cheese, Vegetarian Pizza, home made parsley hummus with cream crackers, vegetable pulao and Gujarati Kadhi. For dessert, I made a no bake, eggless Strawberry Cheese cake with white chocolate sauce. Since I had to plan for strict vegetarians – Brahmins, it was a challenge, especially for the dessert. Without egg, it was practically impossible. Or so I thought. But I found this amazing Strawberry Cheese cake recipe which required no eggs and didn’t need any baking too, I jumped at it.  I was pretty confident about the macaroni and cheese but was anxious about the Pizza. I haven’t ever made a pizza before and to bake it from scratch was something I desired to attempt for a long time.  So this was my chance.

Parsley Hummus

Strawberry Cheesecake

The Dinner happened and most of things turned out as planned except that the Pizza had too thick a base and mac n cheese was tad dry. All feedback has been duly noted to be worked upon at the next given opportunity. Cheese cake was the toast of the evening! Yipee. It had set perfectly and with the white chocolate sauce it was simply yum. I am sure Gayathri would agree. So yes, it was my friend Gayathri and her family, whom I had invited over for dinner.

Mac and Cheese

pizza n pulao

By the end of it all, I was extremely tired and wanted to put up my feet and rest. The next day, I woke up at 11 a.m. !!! Wonder what professional chefs go through after each evening of gruelling cooking sessions. I decided that the next week I would keep event free. Little did I know that this tiny country was brewing a revolution. More about this in my next weekly update.

Here’s a piece of the lovely cheesecake with some white chocolate sauce for all of you!

Happy Valentines!!

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