Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Indian Essence by Atul Kochhar Sam Breach

Watch Me Prepare for a Dinner Party Live! Almost Live!

Tonight I am doing a little matchmaking. I am hooking up a couple of local bloggers. I think they have secretly been rather fond of each other for quite a while. It hasn't slipped my notice when he leaves cheeky little comments on her blog and she reciprocates, sometimes with a saucy response. Since I happen to independently know both of these fiery political commentators, I was charged with being the mediator and arranging a meeting between them. I decided that cooking the dinner myself would be far less stressful than finding a San Francisco restaurant that would suit and impress all of the various invitees.

Since I expect the evening to be full of spicy conversation, I decided to go with an Indian theme. Instead of using my tried and tested favourite recipe book, I will be experimenting on my guests by pulling dishes only from Atul Kochhar's Indian Essence which I have never cooked from before. When I say experimenting, I really mean it. I don't hold with safe advice, such as "Don’t try out a new recipe when company is coming to dinner" Guests! You have been warned!

I am slightly fascinated by the idea of real people cooking in their kitchens and recording the events using photography as a medium. It hasn't slipped my notice that food bloggers have become very sophisticated and practised at taking great, styled photographs for their blogs. Have we become too sophisticated? Has the porn gone too far? I have always prided myself on the fact that all the food I choose to photograph for my blog is going to be eaten, mostly within seconds of me snapping the final picture.

Today, throughout the next ten hours or so, as I prepare tonight's dinner, I will be taking a selection of non-styled food photographs using natural lighting, to record the progress of my cooking day. I am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds. I hope you, dear readers, will come back later to see my progress as I update the slideshow (above) which I started on Tuesday evening. Later, when the guests arrive and the wine begins to flow, I am going to leave you on your own. From then on, you'll have to use your imagination...

Read more about Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to be awarded the coveted Michelin star.

2004 | Potato Salad with a Kick
2005 | Nama Sea Grapes

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Indian Essence by Atul Kochhar Sam Breach


  • At 27/9/06 10:09, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You're a very brave woman, Sam! Love the slide show... your pictures thus far are fabulous. You're always on the leading edge...

  • At 27/9/06 10:49, Blogger chrispy said…

    I have to agree with you Sam that it is no good to only serve the tried and true at dinner parties. I rarely make something twice and so when people come over they normally have something new. Every once in a while I will make something again but typically about a year apart.

  • At 27/9/06 11:14, Blogger Civic Center said…

    Being invited to a feast and watching it come together live over the internet may be the most outrageously twenty-first-century feat I've yet encountered. Way to go, pathfinder.

  • At 27/9/06 11:14, Blogger s'kat said…

    Sweeet! You are one intrepid blogger.... can't wait to see how this goes!

  • At 27/9/06 11:20, Blogger Kalyn Denny said…

    This is too fun. I only wish I could come to the dinner! (I'm a bit of a cheeky political commentator too, only not so much on my blog where too many parents of students are reading.)

  • At 27/9/06 13:42, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    But I thought she was married. Who is Cranky?

  • At 27/9/06 14:29, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love your site!

  • At 27/9/06 15:33, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    What fun, Sam! I'm laughing at all the comments. Especially Barbara's. (In a good way, Barbara. Cranky is my personal chef.)

  • At 27/9/06 15:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ha! I'm single again...let the matchmaking begin!

  • At 27/9/06 17:20, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What's on the menu, Sam?

  • At 27/9/06 20:38, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    Aww...bloggers in cute!

  • At 28/9/06 00:02, Blogger Civic Center said…

    Bloggers in love? It was cute. And thank you for the feast, Sam. It was extraordinary.

  • At 28/9/06 01:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Such a gorgeous slide show. Your photography skills and cooking skills are unrivaled!

  • At 28/9/06 02:21, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Gosh, we are allowed a lover.... and a personal chef. I must get myself one. A personal chef I mean.

  • At 28/9/06 06:16, Blogger Julie said…

    Such fun! That eggplant thing looks wonderful. I've yet to find an Indian cookbook that really pleases me, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one, as well as any others you like.

  • At 28/9/06 07:53, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, you are always so innovative. How awesome. I just stared mesmerized as your dinner unfolded on the screen. Awesome!

  • At 28/9/06 08:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sam -- I read that article and the thing i found most fascinating was the fact that Ms. O'Neil did not once use the word blog. I know she was probably talking about us, but she never came right out and said it.
    To your point: I think we (foodbloggers) have become a bit slick. I see it in the comments, "wow, that looks fabulous" or "oh, what beautiful pictures" or "that's so beautiful I can't wait to make that!" But you know no one will ever make it.
    I can think of two instances where someone actually made one of my recipes, and thank GOD both times the dishes came out perfect, I even saw the results myself!
    I think a dichotomy might be forming in the foodblogosphere between people who love to take beautiful pictures and people who want to create recipes that other people can actually cook. In some cases, there happens to be a happy confluence of the two talents, but it is a rare gift (one that I know I don't have, my picutres are atrocious!)
    In either case, thanks much for bringing this to my attention, it's really given me something to think about (and of course I think you're one of those confluence bloggers, flattery will get you everywhere, right?)

  • At 28/9/06 10:49, Blogger Sam said…

    Jennifer J - too brave for my own good. there were at least 3 resipes planned that never made it to the table because i ran out of time (less time blogging more time cooking next time!)

    Chrispy - You are a chrispy after my own heart. I did use my tried and trusted favourite rice recipe though, from a different cookbook.

    SF - what like a Nissan Pathfinder?

    S'kat - would you like to pop over now and do the washing up? I think it would give you a fair idea of how it went!

    Kalyn - I wish you were in the area because i think you would have enjoyed this crowd.

    Barbara - it was a double date. Don't worry. Think of it more as a mutual appreciation society. No babies will be made in the cementing of these new relationships.

    Amanda - I am working on it for you.

    Thank you Krista

    Cookie - I think you have some explaining to do to Barbara.

    Payal - too many things on the menu! I will try and write another post detailing what i thought of the book and the recipes. There were fish, lamb, duck, chicken, lentil and vegetable curries!

    WMM - where did I mention love?

    Mike - perhaps more like bloggers in mutual dislike of president bush?

    passionate eater - I am not sure about the cooking skills, but I like to try.

    Barbara - if you have the lover you have the most important part of the equation - cos I know YOU can cook too.

    Julie - in a while I will try and write a post about what I thought of the book.

    amanda - too bad it's all been eaten now ;( Well the freezer contains a few indian goodies now.

    ann - thanks for your great comment. I think this is a very interesting subject. I very much enjoy the composition of photographs the most, myself and I am lucky enough to have a camera which can work ok in fairly low light conditions so I never end up spending too much time on the photography. I am very prolific, but not very patient.

    I get very nervous when people try my recipes. Recipe writing is probably my least favourite part of blogging. it comes with too much responsibility. I'd be happier just to point people in the direction of good ideas.

    thanks for all your flattery! WIll get you everywhere? So where do you want to go?!

  • At 28/9/06 11:04, Blogger Clare said…

    So did they hit it off? Sam, I wish you lived in LA so you could set me up with a cute foodie guy...

  • At 28/9/06 14:36, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you, again, for a thoroughly enjoyable evening, Sam. The food and the company were both delightful, as always.

  • At 28/9/06 15:43, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Sam would have to charge quite a price for the kind of matchmaking party she throws, let me warn you. That slideshow does a great justice to the number and beauty of dishes, but I noticed she didn't include one of the damaged kitchen that us lucky guests got to waltz away from at the end of a fabulous evening.
    Thank you, Sam. It was superb. Cranky can't stop talking about it.

  • At 28/9/06 19:55, Blogger Dagny said…

    It all sounds too fantastic for words. I love that you took photos along the way. I often like seeing the process much more than the finished product.

  • At 29/9/06 11:13, Blogger Jen said…

    What a bummer I missed the whole thing. Sounded like a great dinner. Will there be an update as to the fate of the two potential love birds?

  • At 30/9/06 10:56, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My goddess you are ambitious and brave [though, I do the same - try new recipes when guests are coming]. Enjoyed the slide show.

  • At 1/10/06 11:05, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    clare - it wasn't really a romantic matchmaking, more a bringing together some likeminded minds. And that part went very well.

    sher - I agree - dinner parties give you the chance to really go to town

    tony - lets not leave it so long before the next one

    dagny - i definitely like seeing the progress too - i hope it wont be my last

    jenjen - see explanation above - they both have significant others already - maybe they will make a handsome foursome.

    karina - too ambitious for my own good. there were three more recipes planned I didn't even get round to working on! This always happens to me.


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