Wondering what to cook tonight? I’d like to supply you with some appetising inspiration from AZ Cookbook, one of my favourite blogs. AZ Cookbook is run by Farida, an Azerbaijani expat who now lives in California. She prepares all sorts of ethnic dishes and takes the most beautiful photographs of them. Take a look – I guarantee you’ll have the munchies in no time!
I caught up with (a very busy!) Farida and asked her a few questions.
So Farida, how did you get into cooking?I got into cooking after I married and moved to California, in 2002. Before that, my cooking was limited to a few things. Mom was in charge of our kitchen and apparently, that worked fine for me. Ironically, I had an affinity for recipes since I was a young teenager. I would collect interesting recipes anywhere I saw or heard them. But I rarely used them back in Azerbaijan. Since there was no one to cook for me in California and since I loved and craved homemade food, I decided to cook myself. The collected recipes were finally put to good use! The journey started there and I’ve never looked back.
Tell us more about your blog.
I happened to listen to a radio programme about blogs and was immediately drawn to the idea. This motivated me. Also, a good friend of mine suggested I started my own blog, and so I did. It started as a simple Blogger blog where I simply wanted to share my passion for food with others.
You’re working on a cookbook now, right? That’s so cool!
My cookbook is still a work in progress. I hope it will be published by this time next year. I will let you know where you can buy it after it’s been published!
What inspires you, in your cooking and as a person?
I like cooking for my family and friends. I’m inspired by the fact that whatever I cook will be shared with somebody.
What do you do when you're not cooking?
I like reading books, meeting with friends, and exercising. These days when I’m not in the kitchen, I spend long hours working on my cookbook – doing research for it, polishing the recipes, taking pictures and working on all the little details that I never thought writing a cookbook would entail.
Sounds like publishing a cookbook is actually quite hard work! Well, I’m definitely looking forward to the book – I’m sure it would make a great gift for all the epicures in my life (and I know quite many). Cookbooks make such wonderful gifts, don’t you think? And there are so many good ones out there, and so many new ones coming out all the time, that it’s possible to choose something really specific and unique for any recipient.
By the way, the recipes on Farida’s blog are divided into categories so you can click on whatever you need – meat, pasta, soups, desserts, etc. The methods are not too advanced, and substitutes are offered for ingredients that may not be readily available where you live. So go on and turn your kitchen into a restaurant this weekend!
All images by Farida from AZ Cookbook.