There is a little girl in pigtails. She is six. She has just discovered the magic of reading on her own. It has opened up countless new worlds for her to explore. She jumps in feet first and never wants to come out. Day after day she has adventures with the characters in the books. Night after night she dreams up fantastical worlds and stories of her own. It is then that she discovers the wonder of scribbling her stories on ruled paper with stick figures and trees and stapling them together. Behold! She has just written her first book and there is no stopping her.
I was that girl. I had a dream. I wanted to write a book that would sit on a shelf, in a bookstore, that someone other than my mum would want to read. A dream that grew and evolved and waited patiently for a moment. A moment that finally came this year. I was approached by a reader of my blog who had posted some pictures of recipes she had tried and loved on her own blog. She asked me if I would like to write a cookbook. Dear awesome Jill Brown
! You see Jill was an ex-publisher who had worked with some top publishing houses over the years. She was in talks with Random House Australia to get a book published based on the food and stories on my blog. We started chatting online, met over a cup of coffee and hit it off. Around that time, Cook Republic was announced as the Best Blog In Australia. All hell broke loose.
Over the next few weeks I met with the lovely Nikki Christer (Twitter
) (Publishing Director at Random House Australia) and the inspiring Brandon VanOver (Managing Editor at Random House Australia) who were both very enthusiastic about my writing and my photography. And just like that I was offered a book publishing deal to have my first cookbook published by Random House Australia under their cookbook imprint Ebury Australia (UK Website
) in mid 2014. Woohoo!! The girl with the pigtails in me was over the moon!
Nick said "This is the only cookbook I will ever READ!" which was HUGE. He was my rock these past few months, having long discussions about the book and eventually suggesting a title that was PERFECT and for all purposes would be the final title of the book. Gummi Bear suggested really unique and helpful titles for the cookbook. "Mum’s Cookbook", "Sneh Roy’s Cooking", "My Mum’s Cooking Cookbook". He drew me a picture of myself holding a mountain of books with Chicken Curry on the cover. Rivs started observing my massive collection of cookbooks daily and worked on the best spot to display my book. He also proceeded to work out a way to save his pocket money to buy my first cookbook and get it signed by me. He was in shock and overjoyed when I told him, I would just give him a copy and that he didn’t need to buy it from me (you would think we never buy him anything and that he has to scrimp and scour to buy his own stuff!!). I could tell they were all excited and thrilled for me!
I am quite gobsmacked actually. You never think something like this will happen to you. Then it does. And it changes everything. The past few months have been terribly agonising because I couldn’t share this with you. But now I can! yayyy! I am so bad at keeping secrets, but I did good and it nearly drove me absolutely stark raving crazy! I will be writing, cooking, propping, styling, photographing and art directing my first cookbook based on the food, philosophy, mood and stories you see on Cook Republic. To have it published by a prestigious publishing house like Random House that has published books for culinary superstars like Curtis Stone, Julie Goodwin
, Nigella Lawson
, Yotam Ottolenghi and Rick Stein
both in Australia and on foreign soil is really an honour. I am truly grateful for this wonderful opportunity and looking forward to working with the team at Random House, my designer Trisha Garner and my chief hand holder, producer and confidante Jill Brown (Twitter
The cookbook will have heaps of gorgeous photos of food you will want to make (I promise!) and moments from my personal collection and everyday life in Australia. And it will have recipes that will be fresh, fuss free and fun – just like on the blog! The book will feature all new, exciting and hardworking recipes that you could take to work/college or just cook in the comfort of your home to nourish your family and enjoy with friends. And a handful of favourites from the blog. In a few weeks I will be announcing the title of the book and some other details, but right now I am faced with a MAMMOTH task. Testing recipes, writing, cooking, styling, propping, shooting and nurturing a nearly 250 page baby in JUST OVER A MONTH!!! I never thought I would have so little time, but logistics and circumstances demand that I push this massive baby out in about 40 days, just like kangaroos do (I bet you didn’t know that!). And all this while I juggle the boys, the blog, my work and college. YIKES!!! So wish me luck and come with me on a journey of delicious food and daily life as I share the makings of my book with you. I promise you, it will be a fun ride that will take you backstage in the realms of cookbook production 🙂
And keep an eye out for ANOTHER HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT that I have been sitting on for the past few months. One down. One to go!
A celebration without cake is like a party without music, right? Plus I have been craving a good chocolate cake for a few weeks now. So I spent this morning baking this beauty so you can look at it and weep while I actually get to eat it, just kidding! Well, that is actually going to happen but I wish I could share it with you all. This chocolate cake recipe is very dear to me. I first made this chocolate cake in 2009. It is a celebratory version of a simple treat we like to have every now and then. It has evolved slightly over the years and has become even more wickedly delicious in the process. It is a great example of how the blog has evolved our way of thinking, our food philosophy and our sense of adventure. It is wholesome, robust, wicked, a tiny bit naughty, very nice, forgiving if you are a klutz at icing like me and a feast for the eyes. It tastes wholemeal too! I like that. Hope you enjoy it.
And thank you all for becoming my virtual family, for sharing my highs and lows, for becoming an integral part of my life, for being there. This blog and all that I achieve here thrives on your support and for that I am truly thankful.
"WHO SAID IT’S WHOLEMEAL!" CHOCOLATE CAKE
A wicked buttery wholemeal chocolate cake baked with yoghurt and dressed with lashings of orange spiked chocolate fudge frosting.
2 cups (280g) wholemeal flour
2 tablespoons (10g) baking powder
5 tablespoons (25g) cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (270g) brown sugar
3/4 cup (180ml) milk
1/4 cup (60g) yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (250g) butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
for the frosting
300g dark chocolate (or a mix of dark and milk chocolate)
1/2 cup (125ml) cream
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180C (356F). Grease and line an 8 X 1.5 inch (20 X 4 cm) round cake tin with baking paper.
Combine all ingredients for the cake in a large bowl and whisk with an electric blender for 4 to 6 minutes until light and fluffy. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake in pre heated oven for approximately 50-55 minutes until the cake is cooked around the edges, well risen and just cooked in the middle. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the cake tin.
to make the frosting.
Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan or enamel pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture is completely melted, glossy and smooth after a few minutes; remove from heat. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Remove from the fridge and whisk the mixture with an electric beater until the frosting becomes lighter, softer and fluffy.
Place cooled cake on a cake platter/stand. Using rough, deft strokes; ice the cake all over as best as you can. Enjoy!