Edible Garden is maintained, authored, and obsessed over by me, Nags. I have a full-time job, (what feels like) a couple of part-time jobs and almost always a list of to-dos that longer than the Nile. All of this keeps me going though, and I enjoy every single bit of it. Well, most of the time, anyway.
I am a Reddiar girl born in Nagercoil (where I only lived for the first 10 days of my life) and brought up in Kottayam, Kerala. My family has lived in Kerala for a couple of generations now but we are Telugu by origin and our cooking is a fantastic mix of Kerala food + South Tamil Nadu style cooking + a healthy mix of this and that thrown in.
I know most blogs talk about how they started off blogging so I feel obliged to share my story too. Actually there’s no story. One fine day I came across a food blog. I thought it was pretty cool. A month or so later, I had my own although I was barely cooking back then.
A wedding, a husband, 2 relocations, a 10kg increase in weight, and almost 7 years later, I am cooking much more and enjoying it too. I got more interested in food photography, food styling, recipe development, restaurant reviews, blogging and a whole bunch of things which I never knew existed a few years back. It’s changed my life, definitely for the better.
I am originally from the beautiful town of Kottayam in Kerala, lived in Hyderabad for 2.5 years, Singapore for 5 years 3 months, and currently live in gorgeous Sydney. Sydney is a haven for fresh food lovers and has a lot of great markets and produce to cook with. I do have a full time with Google too. Yes, working with Google is every bit as great as they say and I am very happy with my full-time job. If I feel a compulsive need to bake something on a particular day and blog about it, I take a day off and do it.
The best way for you to get started is by searching for a recipe. The search box works great too so feel free to use that to search for a particular recipe or just type in the name of the ingredient you wish to cook or bake with.
I am not very good at concocting recipes on my own. Of course, I do one odd dish here and there but most of my recipes are borrowed and adapted or inspired from another source. I am obsessive about giving due credit (and I expect the same in return, thank you very much). If I try one of your recipes, I will mention that and link to you if you have a site. If you still have a problem with me doing that, please let me know and I will keep your awesome recipe to myself.
All recipes are tried and tested in my kitchen unless otherwise mentioned.
Oh and also, use all recipes as a guideline. Food is a very personal thing and my tastes are almost definitely going to be different from yours. Use your discretion when you add, subtract, and substitute ingredients. If you are absolutely new to cooking and what you make looks nothing like the pictures I have posted, I am going to safely assume you did something wrong. Cooking takes practice and patience.
I use a Nikon D90 with a 50mm 1.8D prime lens or the 60mm Nikkor macro lens for all my food pictures. The 18-105mm that came with the camera is my last choice but its width is great for outdoor shots so I bear with it.
Although I am in no way a professional photographer, I like to pretend like I am one and know a lot. You can read my posts on Food Photography Basics to learn more. I know the bare minimum to take basic pictures and I thought you may want to read up on that.
My site is open to comments, which means you can check out what I have written and leave your thoughts and opinions. We are all entitled to have our own opinions and while I welcome yours, I do request that you share yours in a decent manner. I know decent is a very subjective word but if you are rude, crude, mean, or just not adding any value with your comment other than to spite someone (or me), then the comment may get deleted. If ever a dispute arises, we are going to assume I am ultimately right. Ok? Ok.
Advertising and Revenue
In less than a year after starting to work on this site, I monetized it. So I want to let you all know that each view of yours (and sometimes clicks) makes me money, although a very tiny amount. I spend a considerable amount of time buying ingredients, cooking, photographing, researching, obsessing, and writing out the content of this site and that’s my excuse for monetising it. If at any time you feel the ads are offensive/getting in the way, please let me know.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What can I substitute ingredient A with?
This is tough for me to admit, what with me being perceived as a cooking guru and all. But I will say it anyway. In most cases, I have no clue. If you want to learn how to substitute eggs in a recipe, I would recommend a Google search. In fact, for most questions on substituting ingredients, I would recommend a Google search. Sometimes, a comment on the post itself may help or someone else may have asked the question and I or someone else may have replied. But, I would request you do your own research on this. I may have a suggestion but it’s likely that I haven’t tried it and so can’t vouch for it.
Q: How do I pre-heat my oven Model #XYZ
Again, no idea! As you can imagine, it’s impossible for me to know every make and model of ovens there is. Ironically, my post on how to pre-heat an oven made a lot of people ask me this question for their specific models. Sadly, I can’t help on a 1:1 basis. If my post doesn’t help, please check the instruction manual that came with your oven or with the retailer who sold it to you.
Q: I tried recipe A but it turned out different than your picture. What went wrong?
This is getting to be a long list of “I have no clue” answers but that’s really the truth. It’s tough for me to know under what conditions you tried my recipe. If you were cooking something, maybe the type of ingredient you used was different. Something as basic as a potato comes in so many different varieties! If you were baking, even tougher. You could have used your oven wrong, overbeat or underbeat the batter, used different-sized eggs, etc. Like I mentioned above, use your discretion and hopefully things get better with practice.
Q: I requested a recipe but you never made it / I sent you a recipe but you never tried and posted about it!
Ok that wasn’t really a question but I will answer it anyway. I have a request recipe form somewhere in this site and I do look at it regularly. However, my time is limited and I can only make what my husband and I can or will eat. While I would love to make, say, a 12-layer rainbow cake, it’s not feasible to do it on some random day. I would suggest doing an Internet search if your request is super urgent. Sames goes for recipes you send me. I get tons of recipes each month from readers. I bookmark them all, trust me. I will get to them some day. Too many recipes, too few meals! Also, remember the 10kg I gained? Yep.
Q: Can I post a recipe of yours in my blog which I adapted from you?
Of course! All I ask is that you link back to my post and credit the original recipe to me by linking to my site. Also, it would be great if you could let me know so I can check it out too.
Q: I have a question regarding one of your recipes that wasn’t answered above. What’s the best way to reach you?
As a rule (that’s likely to kill me in the near future), I always reply all my emails. I get an average of 2-3 emails just from readers every day and most of them are generic questions around food or specifically about one of my recipes. While emailing is fine in some cases (in fact all the stuff in Love Letters were originally emails), I would really prefer it if you left a comment in the relevant recipe post for me to answer. I hope one of the other commenters will pick it up and respond, and if not, I am happy to reply as soon as I can. It will also help those who have a similar question in future. Which brings me to the point – please read through all comments before asking your question!
Q: Where can I get ingredient A where I live?
The best place to ask this question would be the Edible Garden Facebook Page because we have members from all over the world who could help answer you. Come on over and speak up, don’t be shy.
PS: if Facebook is not your thing, I also have a page on Google+ where the membership is not as large but just as engaging.
I will try to keep this list of questions updated. I hope you like what you see and will stay around a bit more. Browse around, have fun.