My Bangladesh Kitchen – a new cookbook from Saira Hamilton
Bangladesh is a land of contrasts, from busy cities to the verdant and fertile countryside, with fish ponds, lakes and rivers at every turn. The cuisine reflects the abundance of vegetables and fish, and has a distinctive taste defined in particular by tamarind, the ubiquitous mustard oil, and the spice blend called panch poran. In this book Saira has brought together her much-loved recipes, with 100 everyday classics, regional specialities, street snacks, and impressive celebration food too. It is packed with background detail and anecdote, vibrant photographs of every dish, and an informative introduction describing the ingredients and cooking techniques of Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh is a country everyone has heard of, but few people know. On one hand, you have the high-energy bustle of the city, enveloped by the dusty, smoggy air, diesel fumes and heady street-food smells. At the other end of the scale you have the beauty of the countryside, with its reddish heavy-clay soil, lush greenery, and the abundance of water in ponds, lakes and rivers. The Bangladeshi connection to the land is still incredibly strong. There are many years and many memories held within these recipes from across the range of Bangladeshi cuisine. These dishes will introduce you to some of the ingredients and cooking techniques which make Bangladeshi cuisine what it is, and I hope that they will become as familiar and dear to you as they are to me.”
Saira Hamilton, 2019
Saira Hamilton is a chef, cookery demonstrator and food writer, specialising in her Bengali-inspired food. Saira reached the finals of MasterChef 2013, and during the competition won high praise for her delicious dishes and deft spicing. Saira’s family settled in the UK but always maintained a close relationship with the country, and spent many holidays in Bangladesh. Saira’s love of cooking was inspired by her mother Nadira, and the passion she kindled in her for the food and culture of their motherland.
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£20.00 / $35.00 288 pages, 255 x 208 mm, hardback ISBN: 9780754834502
Sometimes you have to stop talking and just get on with it. Silence the internal editor that tells you to wait until your website is finished and you have the perfectly crafted blog post and a photo in all its filtered glory and with no stray shadows or double chins lurking. So from now on dear reader, you are going to get a regular blog from me, hosted on my imperfect website. I will share with you great recipes, tips and advice on cooking for the season and special occasions and news on what I’m up to and where I’ve been cooking lately.
So first, an update. I have wanted to write and publish a cookbook ever since my MasterChef experience, and I wrote and independently published 3 cookbooks called Kitchen Favourites with Saira: Chilli, Ginger and Garlic in Spring 2016 – which are all still available to buy on Amazon . And now I am delighted to say I have also secured a publisher for a brand new cookbook, different to anything else currently available, on authentic Bangladeshi home-cooking. The book will contain 100 fabulous recipes accompanied by beautiful photographs showcasing the wonderful cuisine that reflects the heritage of my Bengali family. I can’t wait to share it with you. Publication is planned for Spring 2018, so we have a little while to wait!
I had the pleasure of being asked to participate in one of Hari Ghotra’s networking events #HariHosts at the Shard where I was on a great panel of women sharing knowledge about publishing a cookbook. Hari, who runs the UK’s top Indian food website, organises several of these events and had gathered a great panel together. Alongside Suzy Pelta (author of Miracle Mug Cakes and other cheat’s bakes: Ryland, Peters & Small), Xa Shaw Stewart (senior editor at Bloomsbury) and Kirsten Gilmore (chef/patron Mountain Café, Aviemore), the panel was joined by lots of enthusiastic foodies and bloggers all thinking of writing their own cookbooks. It was a wonderful evening, full of positive energy and enthusiasm and it was a privilege to be there. My first time up the Shard, but I hope not the last.
Another exciting announcement to make is a new partnership I have embarked upon with one of my MasterChef buddies Juanita Hennessey, who was a finalist in MasterChef 2016, famous for her strawberry patch dessert. She and I bonded instantly over rum cocktails and Rick Astley at CarFest for BBC’s Children in Need (it’s a long story!) and have been working on a few projects since then. I don’t want to say too much yet but we have already appeared at a few food festivals with our #HamandHen double act and there will be more to come! Come and watch us in action soon – it’s a hoot!
Here we are pictured with Suzy Pelta (ITV1’s Lorraine‘s Cake Club winner) and Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed (winner of MasterChefUK 2017) at a recent Foodies Festival where we had an absolute ball cooking aloo paratha and orange and polenta cake for a packed out crowd in the Stoves Chef’s theatre.
So in these interesting and sometimes turbulent times we live in, I am really looking forward to sharing my cooking adventures with you. So please share and subscribe and I’ll see you soon.