I am 36 today. It is my birthday. It kind of crept up on me. It crept up on my family. It managed to scare them because they were caught unawares. While the boys got busy with their craft box, Nick assured me there would be cake and good food that evening and not cooked or baked by me. I always love that! Half an hour later, I had an armful of lovely artwork and homemade chopsticks in my favourite colour - yellow! I don't feel any different today from yesterday or the week before. What is different though this year is that I find myself in a place I could almost be content in. I have a beautiful family, and lovely friends and am doing something I love from the bottom of my heart for work every day. This year, amazingly enough, I was able to strike a few things off my bucket list. Like running a half marathon, writing a book, having a magazine column (spoiler alert!), studying design and taking a trip by myself. I am grateful for that. This also makes room on the list for new things to be added!
Exactly a week ago I was jolted out of my sleep at 2:00 am with a pending feeling of doom. I had just watched a mean lady with horn-rimmed glasses glaring at me, ready to spank me with a lean black cane. No, it was not a sex dream. And I assure you, I haven’t read Fifty Shades Of Grey. This was a nightmare. The mean lady wanted my manuscript. All 240 pages of it and she was prepared to spank the living daylights out of me to get it. I had none. That was Day 1 of Writing A Cookbook. So what has been happening in my world during the past week. Plenty!
Our 8-year-old fridge died, so we spent a day at The Good Guys shopping for a new fridge and migrating whatever we could salvage from the old to the new. For a few weeks leading up to last week, I had been sourcing kitchen equipment to help speed the process. Everyone knows about my dear old oven that replaced an even older oven recently. Well other than baking, that oven really is good for nothing. So two portable Eurolab induction cookers are manning the makeshift kitchen in my photography studio. A bevvy of induction-enabled cookware keeps trickling in now and then through the front door in the daily mail. Nick and I have built several photography surfaces in the past two weeks. We also spent a day at Reverse Garbage (not much luck!) and Major & Tom where I rented almost half of the props and surfaces I would need for the shoot.
We now have a neatly typed recipe list from big A3 pages of scribbles. That list although neatly typed, is anything but. It is filthy with sauce stains and oil splatters and more scribbling and striking out as I have been testing recipes and cooking up a storm. We also have a flat plan that tells us what goes on what page. We have 240 pages to fill up and right now the task seems utterly daunting. The designer and I have started collaborating and we have drawn up mood boards, visual references and colour palettes for the book. I really want to include some illustrations that are shaping up in my head. I just need more time to finish the writing and shooting to sit down and get dirty in Illustrator. Wish me luck! Follow my instagram feed to see pictures from the cookbook process.
Amidst all this madness, I find that experimenting in the kitchen works as a salve when my head starts throbbing with all the stress and responsibility. Short and sweet fruitful experiments are a bonus. Like the idea of having an alternative hydration source to plain water or lemon water (which is my favourite!) throughout the day. An article in Bon Appetit spurred me to try making Tomato Water. It is gorgeous. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, tomatoes might still be in abundance. In the southern hemisphere, I have started seeing boxes and crates of red everywhere. Perfect time to make some tomato water and sip summer in a glass. Try it!
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- 10 large red tomatoes, halved
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Combine all ingredients in the jug of a blender and process until smooth.
- Line a tall jug with a nut milk bag or muslin cloth. Scoop the blended mixture into the nut milk bag/muslin cloth and allow to rest for approximately 2 hours.
- Take care to not press the tomato mixture through the muslin cloth as you don't want any solids escaping into the clear liquid. The tomato water will slowly and steadily drain into the jug below. You will get about 2-3 tall glasses worth of tomato water with this recipe.
- Store in a glass bottle in the fridge. Jazz it up with a squeeze of lemon juice and few sprigs of mint. Sip chilled, throughout the day.
I'm a few months late, but I hope you had a great birthday!
This looks really interesting? What kinds of smoothies have you used this in?
Hope you had a wonderful B'day, Sneh! Amazing clicks, as usual.
Interesting way to add a bit of uniqueness to life.
Hope you had a great birthday. BELATED birthday wishes.
Happy B'day Sneh.
I have loads to cross off my bucket list but there's joy...and inspiration from yours.
How did you 'learn design'. Seriously thinking about it, and looking forward to your column.
Love from Nigeria X X X
Happy belated birthday! I saw a chef making tomato water in a foodie event a couple of years ago, very interesting concept!
I love drinking water with lemons too, so the idea of making tomato water sounds really interesting, especially as I've recently stopped drinking diet coke in an effort to lose weight; god water and tea gets boring! I will definitely have to try this recipe come Summer.
I'm surprised you're getting good tomatoes in Australia, in NZ we're still stuck with the supermarket greenhouse ones. Thanks for the recipe!
Let's go back to the spoiler alert....magazine column... tell us more.... pretty please! Happy birthday 🙂
Wow this is so easy! I would love to try to make this into a fresher version of bloody Mary or use to infuse a tea stock so I can use in rice.
Happy birthday I hope have many great year ahead of you .
Happy birthday Sneh! so glad you got to strike off things from your bucket list! This tomato water is such a nice idea.
happy birthday and congratulations again on the cookbook!
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to Sneh,
Happy Birthday to You!
Hip Hip Hooray 🙂
I'm toasting to your special day with a glass of tomato water. Cheers
I'm loving following your countdown to cookbook craziness on Instagram - I just know the book is going to be amazing. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Hope you have a fabulous day.
I loveee seeing greeting cards made by children!!! <3
What is Rish giving you - 10 gold coins? 😀 And what is that 'wet' sign for? 😛 😀
Pretty awesome achievements by 36! Wish you a lot more. Have a memorable day 🙂
A very happy birthday to you... Have a beautiful day and a blessed n stunning year ahead. ..
Happy Birthday! 36 is pretty young! And its really great: you have been so successful with your blogging, cooking, taking pictures. Wish you the best for your great cookbook deal. Cheers Billa
happy birthday sneh! what a fab year you are going to have leading to your next birthday.
Happy Birthday, sweet friend! Have fun with the family 🙂
Sneh dearheart - a very, very happy birthday indeed! But, I am afraid, you are putting a smile on my face! OK: I hated, absolutely hated turning 30! Yuk! Turning 40 was great: somehow I knew who I was, and what I could do and what it was worth. Getting to 50 was the hugest fun of partying and carrying on for a whole week: more special people [male] in my life than ever before and . . . hmm, we shall not say too much but that was a few years ago . . . and I have never done as much or had as many plans as I do at the moment 🙂 ! Just a few words of sageness to a 36-year-old! have a fab time!!!!!
Congratulations again on the cookbook deal and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! How wonderful that you are able to spend it with your loves, doing something you love x
Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful day.
Tomato water adds umami everywhere... 😉