Thursday, 9 August 2012

Life as a Recipe Collector and Food Writer

I was thinking about this last night, and I realize that I have been cooking for over 35 years now and I have been collecting recipes for well over 20 years.

Even my website, Celtnet Recipes has been live for over 8 years now and for that I have written well over 20 000 recipes, with 19 300 currently live on the website. I've copied and made available 10 historic cookbooks with translations (where needed) and modern redactions of the recipes. Everything form Ancient Roman cookbooks, Medieval English cookbooks, Tudor and Elizabethan cookbooks, Stuart cookbooks, Georgian cookbooks and Victorian cookbooks. 1500 years of cookery writing form the 4th century to the 19th century.

But the truth is, compared with the amount of time required to write and publish new content almost every day, the income from the website has become pitiful. But, about a year ago a friend of mine, whom I had taken through the contents of the site asked me why I had never published the recipes as a book... That got me thinking, and being a bit of a geek I looked into eBook publishing. This resulted in my first eBook, The Guide to Spices and Their Uses, with 88 spices described and over 800 recipes given being published for the Amazon kindle eBook reader (You can find the Guide to Spices and Their Uses on Amazon and you can also find the Guide to Spices and Their Uses on

I made a few sales, but I really wasn't clued in to what I had to do. There followed a long period where I had to learn the ins and outs of publishing (both traditional and eBook). This led to my publishing an even larger eBook, The Big Book of Curry Recipes (again you can find the The Big Book of Curry Recipes on Amazon and you can also find The Big Book of Curry Recipes on

For this eBook (which covers much of the world of curries, both historic and modern and presents a global view) I got more involved in the marketing and making links to the books more visible. This one started to sell much better from the get-go than the original book and I was very pleased with it.

So pleased that I began on a new journey... I started a new blog and began to write down my experiences there. This grew into the blog Dyfed's Adventures in Publishing with articles and anecdotes on publishing and how to make the most of the programs and tools out there. And how to leverage what web marketers have been using for years, but applying that to eBooks. So, yet another project that I am invested in, but which will probably bring me little income... hey ho...

Anyway, as my latest eBook is all about curry, today's recipe will be a spiced mackerel masala from Goa in India.

Goan Mackerel Masala

6 large mackerel (bangda), cleaned and scaled
salt, to taste
1 tsp ground turmeric
80g grated coconut
5 black peppercorns
1 tbsp mustard oil
5 onions, sliced
5 cloves
1cm length of cinnamon
8 whole dried red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 small tamarind pod (or equivalent of tamarind pulp with the seeds removed)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground turmeric

Wash the mackerel and cut each one into four pieces. Season liberally with salt and set aside for 5 minutes. After this time wash the fish pieces and pat dry.

Place in a pot with 1l water, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of the turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. After this time drain the mackerel pieces and put aside to cool. When they can be handled, strip off the skins and remove any bones. Chop the flesh into small pieces.

Heat the oil in a wok and use to stir-fry the garlic, black peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon until aromatic. Remove with a slotted spoon then add the coriander seeds and chillies to the oil left in the pan. Stir fry for a few minutes, until aromatic then remove the spices with a slotted spoon.

Combine all the spices in a coffee grinder and render to a fine powder. Add the onions to the oil remaining in the pan and fry for about 8 minutes or until a dark golden brown.

Mix the spices, grated coconut, remaining turmeric and the pulp from the tamarind in a food processor and blend together (add a little water and oil if needed so that the ingredients can be chopped finely). Add this paste to the fried onions and mix well. Bring to a boil then mix in the mackerel pieces.

Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Take off the heat and serve hot with rice and flatbreads.

This recipe is reproduced, with permission from Celtnet Recipes and you can find the original version here: Goan Mackerel Masala Recipe.

For now, though, I am back to the Dyfed's Adventures in Publishing blog to add its latest post.

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