I’ve become rather obsessed with India over the last few years, not least when I discovered Atul Kochhar on the Great British Menu and started cooking dishes from his two great cookery books. He gave me an insight to a subtle balance of spices and flavours with very easy to make recipes.
Recently we’d watched non-food TV programmes which mostly seemed to feature the somewhat scary driving the population seem to revel in. It didn’t put us off. But with such a vast country, how to start to appreciate it? And where to visit first? Kerala seemed a perfect option, perhaps less “full on”. And, as two food obsessed people, what better way to start our Indian discovery by spending our holiday cooking?
If people know anything about Kerala, it tends to be the fish dishes. We, however, were off on adventure to discover vegetarian cuisine.
I don’t think I had quite considered quite how hot it would be. We’d stopped off in Dubai and although the temperature was actually the same – 34 degrees celcius, Kerala was humid. But with that humidity came such vibrant colours and lush growth everywhere. We were soon hooked. The Pimenta can host up to 8 people but on this occasion, it was just the two of us. The accommodation is set in a spice and coconut garden of 2.5 hectares on a hill facing paddy fields about 50 km east of Kochi (Cochin).
There’s a continual assault on the senses. From the local religions’ wake up calls from 5 am, to Bollywood soundtracks broadcast at festivals to the constant peep peep from cars’ horns. It is all wonderful.
- Learning to cook a wide range of vegetarian food (more to follow on this topic on this blog – click on the subscribe link to get our updates). We truly did not miss meat at all the week we were there.
- The amazing breakfasts we had. Each morning a new fruit to discover.
- Visiting the markets, shops and small businesses creating snacks and getting the insider view
- Getting to know the beauty of Kerala and its people
- Jacob’s library of cookery books. What a way to delve deeper into the cuisine. If I had to chose one from the following selection, I’d say buy The Indian Kitchen. It gives you such a good insight into what may be unfamiliar ingredients and how to use them.