BENGALURU: What do I cook today?’ is a question that haunts many. And now, Natasha Celmi’s new book Fast, Fresh and Flavourful aims to help people find the answer to this in an artistic manner. Though the book has recipes inspired from various parts of the world like Italy and Singapore that she lived in, the ex-restaurateur and food blogger says it is not a regular cookbook. “People can find recipes at the click of a button. This book is a guide to the concept behind the recipe so that people can make it their own. It’s like a hand book for any kind of modern family that is always on the go and can help you make any kind of international food using local ingredients,” says Celmi, adding that the book is about simplifying cooking and having any kind of gourmet food without any complicated or expensive ingredient.
Married to an Italian, Celmi has spent a lot of time in the European country and so, it comes as no surprise that the book has recipes for many tomato or pesto sauces. Besides Italian, it also has Asian and Mediterranean recipes, with categories for Buddha bowls and soups as well. And since not knowing what to do with leftovers is a common issue, the 37-year-old writer included a portion that will help people deal with this problem.
“For example, if you have extra falafel then you can have it with pita bread or rice, or can come up with a nice wrap or sandwich,” Celmi adds. The book mainly has vegetarian recipes, but also has a guide to adding meat to the dish. “Food gets most of its flavours from the vegetarian ingredients in it. If someone wants to add meat there is always a way to do it,” she explains about the book that is currently available online.
While Celmi, who used to run the restaurant Mamma Mia, may have many tips and tricks up her sleeve now, it wasn’t until 2005 that she learned how to cook. “I had never entered the kitchen till then. There was this sudden boom of international cookery shows by Nigella Lawson and MasterChef Australia that made me fall in love with cooking. It was like an art to create something new and I tried to explore beyond Indian cuisine,” says Celmi, who returned from Singapore to Bengaluru four years ago. Celmi hopes her book will inspire others of different genders and age groups to also try their hand with the task. “I might even do online classes on the recipes I featured,” she adds.