Welcome to Non-Guilty Pleasures!

I used to make pancakes while standing on my mom’s gardening bench. But that was it, the only recipe in my repertoire for many years to come.

Through MANY failed cooking attempts in my early twenties, I finally uncovered the joy of cooking and the magic of cookbooks. And how a flavourful condiment can save the day when there’s nothing good in the fridge.

Fast forward twenty years, and I can’t imagine my life without cooking.

I love exploring global flavours and diving deep into the nitty gritty of ingredients as much as I enjoy cooking. We can blame my career as a researcher and data scientist for this.

What started as an Instagram page to help my husband pick what’s for dinner – at his request – turned into my inevitable food blog. It’s where I share my love of condiments, global flavours, and cooking – as taught by the great authors that line my bookshelf.

I’m also an adventurous eater, avid fermenter, traveller (when possible) and wine enthusiast.

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A world of flavour

When I travel to a new country, my first priority is to find a grocery store.

Strolling the aisles packed with new flavours and exciting products gets me giddy with excitement. We always look for an apartment with a passable kitchen where I can put my flavour finds to the test.

But 2020 hit hard. Shortly after most countries lifted travel restrictions, I suffered a lower back injury.

Some of the challenges are obvious. Recovery is no joke, and I sorely miss my morning runs. But the inability to satisfy my wanderlust was as painful at first.

While I’m recovering, firmly rooted in my home soil (for now), my fridge and pantry tell a different story. They overflow with all of the interesting global flavours I long for.

There’s a whole world of flavour to explore from the kitchen.

About my Non-Guilty Pleasures

My cooking has come a long way since my five-year-old pancake days. It’s thanks to my love of eating good food, dedication to a deeper understanding of ingredients, and that slight cookbook obsession to fuel the fire.

You will find cookbooks scattered over the house, a few always finding their way onto my nightstand. Menu planning in bed with a cup of coffee, surrounded by a sprawl of cookbooks, is my perfect weekend morning.

I know most of my cookbooks by heart already. So, when I find myself referring to them as guilty pleasures, I quickly correct myself: My Non-Guilty Pleasures.

But Non-Guilty Pleasures also speaks to the way I enjoy food.

Free from restrictions and guilt, and a pleasure to share with friends and family.

“No one should feel guilty about what they eat, or the pleasure they get from eating; the only thing to feel guilty about (and even then I don’t recommend it) is the failure to be grateful for that pleasure.”

– Nigella Lawson

Recipes you’ll find here

Open my fridge, and a daunting display of glass jars greet you, big and small, homemade and shop-bought.

I seriously love condiments.

And they’ve earned their place on this site. A touch of rose harissa paste or a spoonful of gochujang paste can turn an ordinary midweek meal into a culinary delight.

The food I cook tends to be vegetable-forward, and so do my recipes. It’s sometimes healthy-ish, sometimes not, often vegetarian or plant-based, and sometimes neither.

But they are always flavour-packed and utterly satisfying.