My fondest and earliest memories are the ones spent at my Grandma and Grandad’s house (known for years by me and my brother as “Grandma and Grandad with the chinchillas”, while my others were known as “Grandma and Grandad with the allotments”).
My Grandad was born in Lahore, India as it was at the time of his birth and my fondest and earliest memories are those spent visiting him and my English Grandma. She had quickly developed a love for Indian food and cooking. I still fondly remember the excitement of going to their house, somewhere so different to my friends’ and my own. A place full of exotic decor, the smell of incense and spices, the sound of punjabi music and photos of Gandhi and landmarks like the Taj Mahal on the wall. I felt like I had been transported to another world.
My Grandad sadly passed away in 2007 and I felt that life would never be the same again. It wasn’t until I started to cook for myself and brought back those familiar smells to my own kitchen table that I was able to bring back a sense of nostalgia. I began to create dishes like dahl, biriyani and various curries and again I found myself back with my Grandad. I have found a comfort in cooking, even on the worst of days cooking up a nice saag or even concocting my own recipe can give me that connection that nothing else will. To me, food is more than fuel. It’s a maker of memories and a foundation of families.
On the opposite end of the family and food spectrum, many fond childhood memories came from time spent at Grandma and Grandad with the allotments. If we arrived at theirs while the sun was still up, the chances were that grandad would be maintaining his allotments or pottering about in a shed. I’m yet to see a stretch of allotments be so well organised! Of course, all of these vegetables meant that every evening was paired with traditional English food, such as a nice stew or shepherd's pie.
A few years ago Grandad with the allotments passed away and again there was that need to find a sense of nostalgia. So I made some raised beds in my garden out of stone and cement (I’m not doing that again) and this year I’ll start planting my first lot of veg! I can’t think of a better way to connect with my Grandad and a better time to join the Bangers & Balls family.
As I’ve spent many years trying to relive my past, it’s now time to think about my future. Food has given me back memories I thought I had lost and now I can be a part of the Banger & Balls family and help others create their own memories around the kitchen table.
With a love for cooking and two very different cuisines, it only seemed right that I combined the two so below you will find one of my Indian/English fusion dishes - Curried Shepherd's Pie. Do sign up to our mailing list to get recipes just like this straight to your inbox every Wednesday!
Curried Shepherd's Pie
Fusing the exotic tastes of Lahore with the comfort of a home made Shepherd's Pie