EC: Tell us something about yourself
Simran: I have been interested in cooking for as long as I remember. In fact, I have notebooks with recipes that date back to my high school days. Then, 5-6 years back, I started reading food blogs. Then around 3 years back I thought, I should do this myself and started writing Bombay Foodie.
I do have a rather hectic job which is why I call myself "A banker by day, a baker by night". I enjoy baking after work and there have been times when I've finished baking bread at 2 am.
I post 2-3 times a week on an average. All my recipes fall in two camps - (i) easy cooking : everything from starters to main course to desserts you can cook without too much effort and (ii) my baking adventures. I started baking at the same time I started Bombay Foodie, so this blog's captured everything I've baked (unless it's a total disaster!).
EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging ??
Simran: I was inspired by some great blogs to start my own. The first blogs I ever read were Chocolate & Zucchini and 101 Cookbooks. But the one blog I really fell in love with, and the one that inspired me to start blogging and baking was Tartelette.
EC: How do you think blogging has changed your life ?
Simran: It's given me a huge circle of friends passionate about food. Now, when I hear of a food related event in Mumbai, I know I can count on one of the city's bloggers being eager to come along. Or, if I am having trouble making appams, I call Srivalli and she can set me up with the best recipe.
I also combined my other hobby - reading - with food when I started a book club called "This Book Makes Me Cook". Every month, our group of 20-odd members picks a book and and cooks recipes inspired from it. I've read several great books in the last year I wouldn't have discovered on my own.
EC: You have a good number of cookies recipes on your blog. Pls give some tips for first time bakers and which is the recipe that you would suggest for the first attempt.
Tip No. 1 # Don't be scared. Baking might seem like rocket science from a distance but baking cookies is actually quite easy.
Tip No. 2 # Follow the recipe exactly, at least the first few times. Once you get a knack for baking, you can adjust recipes to suit yourself but try some time-tested recipes first and then figure out what works for you.
Tip No. 3 # Most cookie recipes call for eggs but don't let that dissuade you if you are avoiding eggs. I bake all my cookies without eggs and almost all cookie recipes adapt easily to eggless baking.
Tip No. 4 # Unless the recipe says otherwise, all your ingredients should be at room temperature.
Tip No. 5 # Use a heavy baking sheet to evenly bake your cookies, line with parchment if you don't have a nonstick sheet and make sure you don't crowd the sheet. Almost all cookies spread during baking so spacing the dough on your baking sheet is critical.
The one cookie recipe I would recommend to first-time bakers is the shortbread. I've baked this tens of times, with consistently good cookies in every batch.
EC: What are your sources for recipes and do you follow them exactly ?
Simran: I have a lot of cookbooks, I read a lot of food blogs and I collect recipes from every source I can find (even the ones on the pasta package or back of cocoa powder jar). Funnily enough, I almost never follow these recipes exactly. I invariably change the recipe to suit what I would like or to use what I have at home rather than go looking for every ingredient.
The only recipes I follow to the last detail are baking recipes, specially if I am baking something for the first time.
EC: Have your recipes been copied anywhere without your permission..How would you deal with plagiarism ??
Simran: Not to my knowledge. But then, I think of my blog as a recipe sharing place anyway, so I wouldn't be too worried if a recipe or two showed up somewhere.
EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe
My mom's recipe for Chhole.