Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When the Knife Cooks...

... Magic happens!!!

I think I have said this in my past posts that I started blogging during a big transition period in my life. Moving countries, recovering from a broken leg, changing my career path, 6 months of homelessness etc. This blog became a way to make sense of the things that were going on in my life, track all the amazing food I ate and cooked and most importantly to make friends. The last one, I did not really have much of a strategy on but I figured food is a great way of bringing people together. 

I read The Knife's blog- Finely Chopped a year ago. I was in Chicago and was immediately transported back home. When I moved back to India in April, I wrote an email to The Knife. One email lead to another, soon we were Facebook friends and I was regularly reading/ commenting on The Knife's blog. Then one day I had the pleasure of meeting the Knife at The Blogger's dinner at 55 East, Grand Hyatt. It was like hanging out with an old friend. Someone whom I have known all along. (Ok Ok I know this sounds like the start of a great romance but its not. Its all about Food Love). 

Last Saturday I received a text message that basically said something like- "Im cooking Chinese tonight, come over and bring camera." I was so excited to eat dinner cooked by the Knife.  I showed up for dinner armed with my camera and two lenses. After a glass of whiskey with the Knife and his lovely wife K we headed to the kitchen to cook up some magic.

I followed The Knife's every move with my camera. I captured all the finely chopping, slicing, dicing, stirring, frying, sizzling, adding, mixing, chatting, laughing, dancing etc with my two lenses. I was on my feet, photographing the whole process. The heat was on, the food was in the pan and my skills were on the chopping block. I did not want to miss a move, so much so that after a while, Mrs K and Agent Green Glass (the other guest) lost patience and were pretty annoyed at the two food bloggers delaying the food from making it on their plates. But what can you do when there is so much fun to be had while cooking. It was great to photograph the Knife as he is well aware of how when to pause and hold for a shot, or stirs with the other hand so that his arm does not get into the picture. I know I know sounds a bit crazy but its really hard when you have garlic frying on a high heat and I have to take a picture of that, protect my camera lens as well as myself from spluttering oil.

So what was on the menu. Well it was exquisite. Bacon & Sausage - OMG Hakka noodles. Super yummy Chili Chicken and an amazing Eggplant Balchow with lots of delicious Funghi mushrooms in it.

How did it all taste you ask? The food was a perfect spicy. Mouthfuls of bacony hakka noodles, balanced with the perfectly cooked chili chicken. I don't say this loosely but it was the best texture of chicken and was perfect amount of heat balanced with the sweetness of the soy sauce. The beauty of the evening was the eggplant balchow cooked in shrimp paste and stirred along with some dried portobello mushrooms. Those mushrooms had the texture of beef. First of it was lovely to lick the shrimp paste sauce off the mushrooms and then gently chew on the mushrooms that had the texture of eating ears (or atleast what I think ears would taste like- I love to nibble on ears)!

Ooooh And I cannot forget to mention that after all this lovely spicy Chinese food we had dessert. The Belgium chocolate sex cake by the fabulous baker Shaheen Peerbhai. Check out the Purple Foodie's Blog here.

Following are the photos that I took that night. I clicked around 250 photographs but Ive picked a few to summarize the evening. Do click on the links to see the recipes. 


  1. I see you had a great time! Many moods captured well. I like the 'l'll Miss Sunshine' tee. I have the a lot of the series of books with me:) that I bought for the kids when they were young and we read it even after all these years!

    The look of yearning in the faces of the ladies standing with their plates is good. I am sure they were just waiting for you to finish!

    Kalyan looks so engrossed in cooking! Looks like a professional chef!

    I also like the idea of laying papers all over. Makes cleaning up so much easier!

    Great job covering the session, Jo!

  2. Hey Harini- 'Waiting patiently' is an understatement. They looked ready to kill me at some point there. But yes. It was fun. I was exhausted keeping up. I think I love to photograph people cook in their kitchen.

  3. hey Jyo, what a wonderful post to wake up to on the third birthday of Finely Chopped. Doesn't feel the same cooking now without you and your camera and the two lenses around. My food has never looked so beautiful as it did through your lenses

  4. Simply superb! Enjoyed reading this!

  5. Wow the pictures look great! You seem to have an awesome night with yummy food :-)
    Happy birthday, FinelyChopped!

  6. hey , nice blog , like it ,
    won’t be nice if i u can clickover to my blog page too ,
    & post some suggestion