Tomorrow will mark one year since I started my blog, whilst Sunday will be five years since my dad passed away. These facts aren’t a coincidence. I started Sareta’s Kitchen last spring to reconnect with my father and my roots in the best way I know – through food – and to use my passion and skills, instead of just talking about doing something ‘one day’. Today is also the day that I want to announce my exciting new food venture, which has been in development for a few months. Read on for more info!
Writing a blog has been a brilliant way for me to record my recipes and share the food I’ve encountered and enjoyed. It’s been incredible to help people make more creative or diverse choices, including helping to educate people about the breadth of vegetarian and vegan food – if you don’t know already, it’s not all lentils and pasta! I’ve also become more creative in the kitchen, experimenting with new dishes regularly and incorporating ingredients I don’t usually use; millet, chia seeds and sietan have all become new additions to my repertoire, plus I now have a new-found love for once-despised mushrooms!
I’ve filled the blog with almost 50 recipes (including one that was published in The Telegraph) plus reviews of vegan and vegetarian eateries across the UK and Berlin, and reports from my time in India. I also ran a charity supperclub to raise money for the Nepal earthquake appeal, which gave me a big, juicy taste of what could lie ahead… The most unexpected happening has probably been my accidental conversion to veganism, a lifestyle which now seems second nature to me and has provided a whole different outlook on what I cook and eat.
Many of my recipes have been based on the cooking I learned from my father, and musing about him in various recipes, and blog posts about India or the fundraiser, has been rather cathartic. Every time I cook, every time I jot down a recipe idea or look for inspiration, every time I gather spices from my local Asian stores – and to an extent, even when I’m enjoying eating out – I think about my dad and feel proud to be his daughter. Even though he was illiterate, I’m sure he’d have his silly proud grin on if he could read what I’ve been doing!
I’ve also been massively lucky to become part of an online community that can further my passion about and knowledge of food. I’ve learned a lot from top bloggers and foodies, including The Tofu Diaries, Jack Monroe, Vegan Richa, Oh She Glows, Minimalist Baker and so many others I can’t possibly name them all. Before blogging, I would find solace from burying my head in cookbooks (which I still do at home, where there are many new ones crammed on my shelves), but now, I spend my commutes, breaks and other spare time getting RSI from constant scrolling through countless food websites and blogs. The list of dishes I want to create, places I want to visit and food I want to try keeps on growing!
As I hurtle towards these milestones, I realise I’ve been taking stock far more about where the past few years have gone, what has happened in my life, how things have changed and where I’m going. Those that know me will be aware that it’s long been my dream to have a food-based venture – ever since a teen dream of my own ‘Puri-tea’ café (it could still happen!) and that as time has gone on, I’ve been reflecting on my dad’s influence and actually visualising the reality that my dreams could become.
Living in London is a brilliant place to experience new and exciting food, as well as feeling inspired and motivated by the number of people pursuing their own creative projects and escaping the shackles of 9-to-5. The online community, too, has shown me that so many people, across the UK and globally, are following their passions and living for what is important – now.
So, when my good friend Jasel returned from living in Berlin for a year, where she ran a really successful vegetarian Indian pop-up, we got chatting about our experiences and found we shared a joint passion: creating and hosting events that were inspired by our foodie families, with a desire to do something that followed in their footsteps.
After realising these shared interests, it all clicked into place. I can therefore very excitedly announce that we are launching Ruby & Pickles, a new vegetarian and vegan supperclub series in London, serving creative, Indian-inspired dishes. The first of our monthly events will take place on Thursday 5 May at The Joker of Penton Street in Islington, featuring three courses of innovative, and hopefully irresistible, food that celebrates our Indian heritage but with all kinds of contemporary twists. If you’re free do come down and join us – or spread the word to others that might be interested.
Tickets are £22.50 for three courses plus nibbles, sides, pickles and chai. These will be available via GrubClub or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book direct and pay via PayPal. Follow Ruby & Pickles on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, photos and info on future happenings!
So, as I head into my second year of blogging and first year of Ruby & Pickles, I look back over the changes I’ve encountered recently. Some have been exciting, some difficult, some plain scary, but all have eventually proved useful and helped me to get to where I am right now: about to launch what I feel will be an incredibly exciting new venture, and at the same time paying tribute to my dad, who laid the foundations for the whole thing when he brought me up.
It’s been quite the ride over the last few years, but I feel that there’s plenty more to come. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.