This book which combines cooking from the East and the West is a collection of tried and tested recipes which are guaranteed to excite your taste buds. It has been created because of a comment from my son, “Mom if you are not around, how will I continue to eat my favorite foods? You should write down your recipes.’’ My brother, who also is very interested in cooking, and cooks for his family in Georgia has joined me in this effort. A few of my friends have contributed their recipes as well and I hope you will enjoy the recipes we want to share with you. The recipes use a varied mix of spices and herbs and are easy to prepare. They are a hit with kids and adults alike. Spices make for variety in dishes. A vegetable, fish, meat or a bird can be cooked in a myriad of ways because of the use of spices. I also use spices and herbs to treat common ailments. For a toothache a clove works wonders. Ginger helps relieve cold symptoms and is great on the stomach. My kids eat raw ginger to stop bilious attacks. Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric, “has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses,” according to a review in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. A glass of milk with a half a teaspoon of turmeric stirred in it, helps build immunity. Capsicum which is the active ingredient in cayenne pepper, has been shown to help with weight loss and also helps circulation. Cinnamon is popular in Chinese medicine for its antioxidant properties. A myriad of dishes from vegetables and lentils to fish and meats as well as rice and desserts have been penned down and I encourage you to try them. They will enliven your dinner or lunch table. The staples in my daily kitchen are cayenne (red chillies), turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, onions, ginger and garlic. I also use poppy seeds, Bishop’s weed (ajwain), fenugreek, bay leaves, star anise, mace, asafetida, nutmeg, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, tamarind, and kokum. You just need a spice or two to change the texture and taste of a dish. I hope you will experiment with spices through the recipes in this book.
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Shirley Sharma is passionate about cooking and has taught friends and family to cook and also donated cooking classes to good causes. She has an M.A. in Economics, an M.B.A. and worked in a number of multinational companies before starting her own business after her kids were born. Cooking is a hobby, along with biking and yoga. Her brother Stanley Menezes started cooking after becoming a parent and whips up excellent dishes. He has a Degree in Engineering and cooking is a hobby for Stan as well. Both siblings enjoy sharing their creations with their friends and bringing exciting dishes to the table for their families to enjoy. They hope you will enjoy the recipes in this book. Shirley’s foray into cooking began at the age of eighteen and since then, it’s been a lifelong interest. She cooks with her kids and shows them how to use spices. Also, cooking with friends and trying out the recipes in this book is a relaxing way to spend a few hours. She has introduced many friends in New York to these recipes by cooking together
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