…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

MenU; recipes from me to you

Was tempted to put this up yesterday, with the title "April Food's Day''... but then thought you might not take me seriously...

After some interesting responses to Sunday's recipe post, I was prompted to build this one... Some mentioned enjoying Thai food - undoubtedly one of the most fragrant and healthy cuisines of the world! In Australia, Thai is very readily available, as are most of the other tastes of the Asia-Pacific region. It is something I do miss here; even Edinburgh lacks somewhat in truly international flavour.

It is true, too, that obtaining the necessary ingredients for my own Indian cooking is not quite as handy as it was in Sydney. Most supermarkets are now including the basics in their 'World Cooking' aisles, though; and of course, there are always those prepared canned and bottled sauces. &*(

What many folk don't necessarily know is that the majority of your local Indian 'take-aways' and low-cost restaurants are working with centrally bought sauces, pretty much the same as you find in those bottles, then charging you for it.  When you see on the menu 'Chef's special' it means that is likely to be the only dish in which the thing is prepared from scratch, right from the cutting of the ginger to the topping of the coriander sprig. They might 'tweak' the bought in stuff, but on the whole, what you get at Singh's place in Overthere, is likely to be very similar to what you eat at Khanna's place in Roundhere.  There were signs of this changing in Sydney, due to very large Subcontinental population; it is possible to get authentic Sri Lankan, genuine South Indian and good and true Punjabi dhaba there, if you are prepared to travel a bit.

Here in Scotland, I have been dismayed. The thing is, most of these establishments are not actually run by Indians, but by Pakistani or Bangladeshi people. Whose own cuisines are perfectly acceptable, but who are catering to a certain expectancy of 'British Indian'. (Most of these places also include fish and chips and omelettes, as well as maybe a pizza choice...??!!!) A couple of times I have been 'treated' to an Indian take-away meal by a dear friend and neighbour of father's. They clearly love it. I can barely eat it. I have done so, because it was provided as a gesture of love and eagerness to share in culture.

The meals came all looking the same colour, whether vege or meat, the same texture of glutinous sauce ... and filled chock full of onion. Not even just a small amount to give pungency; whole slices of onion and very few vegetables. Plus salt.  Onions and salt.

THESE ARE NOT MAIN INGREDIENTS FOLKS. THEY ARE INTENDED FOR SEASONING ONLY!!!  How jaded are the palates which permit this crime?

One of the things which changes the menu is to find that folk are not eating it any more. That the customer has become educated and expects better. This requires that someone breaks the mould and takes the role of educating the eating public. Add to that, more folk travelling to wider and wilder parts of the world and discovering the authentic cuisines for themselves, means that gradually things improve.

Meanwhile, nothing - but nothing! - beats cooking for yourself. On the label "MenU" at left sidebar, you will discover a number of recipes I have shared on this blog.  I stopped the 'final Friday feedstuffs' page because, well frankly, there was a better offer in the form of FFHT with Murphy and Stanley!  Mara requested one specific recipe which she had enjoyed when visiting me last year. Soups are a staple in the YAMster's hutch, thick and lush and served as meals in their own right! Based on that prompt, links to  soup recipes from the MenU are given below.

Further, watch for upcoming posts on 'invaded food', the whys and wherefores of food from an Ayurvedic perspective and also the 'plight of the vegetarian traveller'...**

Three Cheese Soupreme
Pumpkin Carrot Silk

.....hmmm thought I had put more than that on here. There's my Lush Tattie'n'Leek, Best Ever Lentil; Cauliflower Classic... crikey... let me know via comments if you would like to see a return of a monthly MenU item??? It could become First Friday Feedstuffs instead. Only if you ask though. 

YAM and Mac2, hard at laughter work in the kitchen

**Am not one for flashing around my resume, but it may help to know that YAM is qualified in Nutrition, as well as Homoeopathic Medicine, Counselling and Remedial (tactile) Therapies. Retired from that now, but still capable of providing informed articles!


  1. The peeps go on and on about the best curry they EVER had up in St Andrews at the Balaka. When they went back a couple of years later the place had been closed down by health and safety! Mmmmm what does that say about the peeps taste buds?
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

    1. Hari OM
      HAH! Yes well... there is a reason that most devout Hindus don't "eat out"; the thing is though, if no repercussions and only good memories are there - let them remain!!! Yxx

  2. Nothing beats cooking for yourself IF you like cooking! Our mom does NOT like cooking. It's a psychological barrier actually. But restaurant food seems to be more and more disappointing.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  3. We would love to have all the spices and other ingredients to Try to make some thingys.

    We On our Hill... love SOUP... mom's furend always says that mom doesn't know How to make soup... it is more like STEW... THAT is beclaws, LIKE YOU, Mom makes it good and Hearty with lots of Veggies and stuffs.. a FULL and nutritious Meal in a Bowl...

  4. Crikey ..... Dad wants an Indian cooking class from you. Mum couldn't cook to save herself but Dad's good. They LOVE dahl but he's never been able to manage to make it taste just right. Other than that his Indian is pretty good and he makes everything from scratch. It's pretty easy to get the ingredients here in Australia, as you say. They love Thai food too. He's not so good at that but our Thai restaurants are pretty good. Especially the Spirit house in Yandina (you can google it. They have a good site and it is quite impressive). Have you ever been there? I have. I sat in the car in the carpark while Mum and Dad had dinner. Hmmmmmmmmph!! They did feed me chicken necks between courses to keep me quiet.

    1. Hari OM
      Oh my word - not even a bit of coconut chook kept for you??? Scandalous.

      Right. Dahl. Check - will prepare a post on that! Yxx

  5. That was such an interesting post Yam. Not being very adventurous when it comes to other than English/Australian food I have to admit I've only even eaten what they call "Chinese". We found a great restaurant nearby and then I found I was getting hints there may be MSG in their meals. Phil asked them and they said some meals do contain MSG still i.e. the prawns they buy are treated with MSG. I love their omelettes but I can make good ones as well as well as fried rice. It's just the ability to go buy something rather than having to cook day after day.
    I am going to check out your recipes to see if there is anything that Phil and I may both enjoy so thank you for them. One thing we both enjoy (in winter) is good hearty and really thick soup. xx

    1. Hari OM
      Thank you Mimsie. MSG is one of those big ingredients which has stretched insidiuously everywhere and folk don't realise how it 'drains' the energy, not to mention totally upset the salt balance and aggravate allergies... Hope you find something you like at the MenU!!! Yxx

  6. I always find it amazing how some people get really angry when eating at a Chinese restaurant in another country. 'It's not Chinese' they will say. Which is rubbish of course. It is Chinese but adapted to the country's taste.
    The Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands have been adapted not just to the Netherlands, but to Indonesia as well. In fact, most of the first Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands were actually Chinese-Indian (as we would call them, meaning Indonesian). Since Indonesia belonged to the Netherlands and a lot of Chinese migrants worked in Indonesia in low paid jobs. After Indonesia's independence however, a lot of people came to the Netherlands and quite a few of those opened restaurants. They were not strictly Chinese, nor were they Indonesian. They were a mix of both!

    I will try and get some of the ingredients for your soup. As soon as the shops open again, which will be on Saturday I believe (the whole country shuts down for Easter).

    1. Hari OM\
      Yes, that is true and is what was being referred to in the "British Indian" context... this is part of what will be expanded when I get to writing the 'invaded food' part! It is not so much the adaptation which disturbs... its the very lazy, one taste/ingredient-fits-all approach that I have fund lurking around these here parts... That is not to say that SOMEWHERE there must be a restaurant or two who are trying to fight that and bring things closer to base, as it were. There is one in Edinburgh which is pure vegetarian and serves gujurati and south indian foods which is fairly authentic. It has adapted to Scottish tastes (excess salt and quite a few onions) but I can at least hold my head up going in there!

      Yes I was thinking about shopping too... but can't be bothered with it just now. Will have to make do till after Easter!... lots of dahl and roti. &*> Yxx

  7. I kinda know what you are saying, I lived in Australia all my life but when I was a kid no one ate at chinese take aways because it was too different to our usual food but now I love all sorts of foods my favourite is Thai with Indian and Japanese a close second.

    1. Hari Om
      Yes Merle, in general Australian food variety has a lot going for it! This is not to say that folk must not stick to their meat and two veg if that is what they truly love... however, I do think in this day and age, if one is going to eat 'foreign' it ought to be something that the people of that origin would themselves relish!..... mmmmm Japanese.... another very rare sight over here. Yxx

  8. oh my word yam.. we need to visit here more often we loved the cartoons and the menU!!
    Homemade Soups are loved here too. In my home economics class we learned folks eat first with their eyes then their mouths. Presentation is important.
    Hugs Cecilia

  9. There is no end to your gifts, talents and knowledge!
    I understand about getting authentic foods. In our small-town Perth, ON, I know I wrote about it and he has created some authentic, home-made Indian foods. I am so grateful. He even makes it so hubby can eat it. I DID have past last time, but he does fabulous food, and employs his cousin in the kitchen. Having grown up in big-city Toronto, with a multicultural mix, I understand your shock in Scotland. Happy working in your kitchen!!! xx


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