Last week, I hosted my ideal dinner party. A cook bringing the food and your guests cooking for themselves. That takes singing for your supper to a whole new level, doesn’t it! We had a great evening being taught to cook Indian cuisine by the lovely Nidhi who runs Meri Rasoi cooking school. She hosts private classes or you can go to her beautiful home for a lesson in Raynes Park. (Win a £100 voucher towards your own class over on Instagram!)
Nidhi’s culinary journey began almost twelve years ago with the genesis of ‘Meri Rasoi’, which means ‘My Kitchen’! Despite being away from India all these years, she was always inspired to cook Indian food from scratch for her family and friends, as some of the best ingredients are easily available in London.
When it came to eating out I noticed an alarming lack of authenticity and understanding of real Indian food. There were thousands of Indian takeaways and restaurants but the dishes on offer were generally rich and spicy and unlike what we eat on a daily basis.
The British love for Indian cuisine and their willingness to experiment was clear to her from my early days here and with this in mind, she started ‘Meri Rasoi’ as an endeavour to introduce authentic Indian food in British kitchens. The plan was simple – easy to prepare food that could be built into weekly meal plans to provide a nutritious and healthy variety to the entire family.
Nidhi believes that food should be fresh, healthy and simple to make and she loves inspiring people to cook from scratch and show them that Indian cooking is not always time consuming or ridiculously spicy.
I do this through cookery classes run out of my kitchen or privately in the comfort of your home. Indian cooking is also a very communal affair and I run various private events for people and team building workshops with schools, corporates and other organisations centred around Indian food and cooking.
Her classes are fun and interactive and appeal to complete beginners as well as serious food enthusiasts. It was an eye opener to realise cooking Indian food from scratch is not as hard as it looks once you know how!
We were the complete beginners although my friend Chloe in the pic above seemed to know a bit more than us – hence the directing! 🙂
The classes are aimed at giving you an opportunity to learn not only how to cook delicious home cooked Indian food but also to use spices confidently, which she brings along from amazing suppliers. (She will tell you where to buy various items.)
Check out the gorgeous fresh ingredients and the beautiful spices.
I loved how she hung in paneer on my kitchen sink. That’s something I haven’t ever seen!
Studious students with their lovely aprons – that they were able to take home!
Nidhi does everything so well. She is patient (even when people aren’t listening!) and doesn’t cut any corners. The only thing I had to do was set the table.
We were totally delighted by our efforts when we finally got to eat! I just about served up the rice with no spillages, despite a few glasses of wine in…
It was so delicious, especially the Chicken Tandoori – I won’t be able to have a takeaway ever again!
What a fun evening. Nidhi is a fountain of knowledge and so generous at imparting it.
Take a peak at her favourites…
Restaurant : Cinnamon club at The Old Westminster Library.
“I love their modern take on traditional Indian classics. The last meal we enjoyed there was on our anniversary and included tandoori chicken in pistachio korma, garlic naan crumble and Bombay style vegetables with cumin pao (bread).”
If you want to enjoy food as if you were sitting in the foothills of the Himalayas, then do visit the New Asian Tandoori restaurant in Southall – Roxy. A bit rustic and my favourite dishes there are lamb bhuna, sarson ka saag (fresh mustard leaves cooked with spices) and makki ki roti (Punjabi flatbread made of maize flour) washed down with a glass of chilled mango lassi.”
“Our last family holiday in India was in Kerala and we stayed at the Kumarakom Lake Resort which has the most breathtaking setting against the Keralan backwaters. The resort offers a selection of Ayurvedic treatments and massages which combined with yoga and carefully prepared meals is the ultimate mind and body detox.”
Holiday Destination : Kerala (India) and Rio (Brazil)
“They are two places that stole my heart the very first time I visited them. Kerala known as ‘Gods own Country’ is truly the most tranquil place I have visited within India. Everything about it from food, lagoons, mountains, tea, wildlife and serene beaches make it a travellers paradise.
If you are ever travelling to Rio you must also visit ‘Buzios’, a fishing village which is known as one of the 10 most beautiful areas in the world. We enjoyed a 3 week holiday in Rio when I was pregnant with our second child and it is definitely a place I want to visit again.”
Website : Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube
Shop : Good Earth
“This is an India based luxury retail store with an organic cafe has to be my top choice. I love browsing their wide selection of homeware, decoration and kitchen products with each design being truly unique and narrating a story of a particular tradition or culture in Asia. They do have international delivery available but I cant wait for them to open a store here in London!!”
“I feel in today’s day and age, it is the parents responsibility to simplify their children’s life given there is so much pressure to produce super humans who are the best at everything. We try and instil in our kids that it is important to take time out to reflect and also let the mind wander which we feel opens the door to new ideas and endless possibilities. We love the outdoors and make it a point to spend time with nature on a regular basis. I bond with them through cooking and my husband is a star at entertaining them with his funny stories – they’ve even written a book together called the ‘monster in a hole’ and are currently looking for a publisher :)”
She is also giving away a £100 voucher toward a cooking lesson or course, so head over to Instagram and enter.