Beneath the Turban – Inside Amarpal’s Head

Hello there. I’m Amarpal and I cook Indian.  My children pushed me into writing a blog as it means they won’t have to suffer alone. Enjoy!



Sunday 30th October 2016

Beware of the goblins this Halloween! I used to be plagued by them.  I would often go to a shop and when I got back home, there would be empty packets of pork scratching littered everywhere. No idea how they got there. Goblins!  However, since last week’s diabetes review I have made a determined effort with my health.  So on Monday last week, I kicked off my new health drive with a fry-up.  Oops. On the other-hand, I did make in-roads with the abs-cruncher.  It’s been used at least one and a half times.  I don’t want to over-do things.

iCookIndian, though, has gone into over drive!!!  I ran an event with Talent Match, which is a company that goes out of its way to help young, long-term unemployed people to gain confidence and get jobs.  It was a great session and had the opportunity to learn more about Russian culture as 11 of those in attendance, were Russian (see the ICookIndian Facebook page).  This week has also involved helping Staffordshire Life Magazine with their suggestions for the festive period.  In November, there will be the chance for everyone to say “iCook An Indian Christmas Dinner!!”  Nothing complicated, but it’s a way to spice up the sprouts and turbo-boost the turkey.

There hasn’t been too much travelling this week.  To celebrate Diwali, I changed-up the ICookIndian At Home Experience in Cheslyn Hay.  I provided pistachio barfi and a Pani-Puri Flavour Shot to give proceedings that extra bit of deliciousness. And with Katharine House Hospice, I have arranged a team-building event which should hopefully be a way of bringing in some more money for the wonderful charity that helps so many people.

These days I find that everyone needs help and support.  We went to see my daughter and her family in Stockport on Monday to help with a devilish toddler and attention-demanding nearly-one year old.  It’s tiring but definitely worth it.  I discovered that Facebook has a way of showing that help is required.  It popped up a photo from two years ago that showed I was wearing one black shoe and one white trainer! But even so, I still give last week a 9 out of 10.  Roll on November!!

Sunday 23rd October 2016

Wow!!! Another hectic week been and gone.  The start of the week was a bit slow from an event point of view.  An order came through for an ICookIndian At Home Experience in Reigate, Surrey, and we managed to agree a date.  They sound like lovely people.  Apparently, the Sacconejolys’s are from there (my son tells me that they Vlog on Youtube – He next needs to tell me what a Vlog is).  A nice gentle beginning to the week though.  I also met with the CEO of Kingfisher Breweries which was delightful – I am a keen wine drinker and also like the odd beer/ale.

This was an issue on Wednesday though.  I had my Diabetes check-up where I was told off for my HbA1c level being too high (8.8%). I’m glad that I didn’t mention the alcohol though.  On the plus side, we discovered two soon-not-to-be-idle ‘abs crunchers’ in the loft and I am determine to go through at least 1 week this time before forgetting about them again.

Friday’s ICookIndian At Home Experience was held in a truly breath-taking village near Bridgenorth.  Only 10 houses!! I was hoping that the beautiful week was going to continue and then my Nexus Tablet broke! Lousy technological gremlins!!!!  And I also need some proper tablets for my chesty-cough which still hasn’t gone despite a course of antibiotics.  I will be making a follow-up appointment in the week and neglect to inform them of the medicinal uses of hot brandy I have discovered.

As always, I have been striving to devour as much political news as possible and the US did me proud.  I can’t say that I like Hillary but she is, in my view, the lesser of two idiots – I mean evils.  And while I’m on the subject of idiocy, I read an article over the weekend that said a man in the US ate a Ghost chilli in a competition.  He then required surgery to repair the massive hole that had appeared in his oesophagus.  I suppose here people will have a Vindaloo to demonstrate their bravery – if only they knew that Vindaloo is a Portuguese influence on Indian food.  The name comes from the introduction of white wine vinegar to Indian cuisine – not chilli!

On a more sobering note, though, I was genuinely saddened to hear of the passing of the great Jimmy Perry.  I loved, and still love, watching Dad’s Army.  My favourite phrase was always Mr Mannering’s “Stupid boy”.  It was one I used a lot after the birth of my youngest son.  But life goes on as ever and I am looking forward to seeing my daughter and her family tomorrow.  This week only gets a 7 out of 10 but I’m sure two screaming grandchildren will help to bolster next week’s score.  Have a great week everyone!

Sunday 16th October 2016

I now know how a yo-yo feels! This week I have rocketed up and down the country to provide experiences that “Excite, Engage & Delight”.  The week started with a meeting to discuss and provide more information about the ICookIndian Culinary Tour next March.  Truth be told, it is very humbling to know that people wish to learn from my experience about the food and culture from Punjab.  I’m already counting down the days until we go!  On Wednesday we ran a special Biryani event at Bradshaw Bros in Chase Town.  Just like last time, the cafe was awash with the aromas and sounds that only Indian cuisine could create – the fact that the cooks were new to Indian cooking made it even more delicious.  And then in the evening, ICookIndian gave a demonstration to the Brocton WI.  Thank you to Liz who volunteered to show how quick and simple cooking Yellow Daal can be!  The latter part of the week was a flurry of ICookIndian At Home Experiences.  First Sandhurst, then Motterall St. Andrews followed by another trip down south to Hampshire.  The guests getting involved makes the travel seem even more worthwhile.

As a huge politics fan, this week’s offerings have been wonderful, mind-boggling and blood-boiling in equal measure.  I refer, of course, to the US Presidential debates on TV.  I’m still not sure whether I am shocked or amazed at the levels of ignorance at their perception of what really matters.  Mind you, in Britain there has been debate about whether mums take too much time off work to look after the children.  If we don’t look after our children – why should anybody else?!

Of course, all good things come with a price.  My Parkinson’s tremor always seems to be more pronounced during times that are challenging, stressful or even just non-stop.  I feel quite conscious about my tremor but people tend to not to mention it.  They could just be being polite, or maybe they genuinely don’t notice it.

Regardless of the Parkinson’s and regardless of the travelling, this week has been brilliant and easily gets 9 out of 10 (as this is the first blog, I’m not sure if that is a good score or not.  We shall see!).

Next week, I am really looking forward to seeing my friend Bill Allerton with regards to the ICookIndian Spice Tins.  Bill is a writer who always has great ideas for marketing.  Other than that, this week is sure to be just as productive, just as active and just as fun as last week.

Feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Trip Advisor for more information.  Until then – see you next week!