Monday 22 January 2018

This week actually marks the tenth anniversary of this blog. However, somewhere along the way, in the past year and a half, I seem to have lost my way a little. My pregnancy with Baby Sky wasn't the greatest, and all I wanted to do was sleep, as opposed to cook or eat, or feed anyone else, for that matter. I think I might have survived on ginger biscuits and mangoes.

Ennui comes in many forms. As someone who has struggled with being motivated, it can be a death knell for the creative side. It doesn't help that I work a job in real life that fulfills me professionally and financially. It has just made it easier to not nurture the creative side of me. I was also so disappointed with internet algorithms. All these beautiful niche recipes that I had carefully worked on were now disappearing from search results, in favour of generic recipes from sites like Genius Kitchen or Allrecipes. I mean, what's the point in continuing to compete in such a lopsided market with zero motivation for smaller bloggers? All that work, developing recipes, cooking, styling the food, taking photographs, writing, coming up with a cool SEO friendly title, marketing non-stop, social media, submitting to food porn sites... and it all disappears down a deep, dark black hole because large sites with unlimited marketing budgets know how to fuck you over with their fancy SEO shite and manipulation of search algorithms.

So I made a decision to stop blogging creatively. I continued doing social media – the bite sized formats are easier to work with, plus the financial rewards are a lot better than the crazy workload of the blog, I made more money working with companies for purely social media exposure than I did with blogging or writing – I did a few photo essays, and created a few recipes for agricultural groups that valued my hard work creating and testing (over and over again) recipes that are delicious and work.

I never set out to be a huge blogger or a celebrity. I worked my ass off for the last ten years, and as a result, was able to claim some moderate success for this site. But I've reached the point where I am seriously questioning the point of food blogs and the work they entail, as opposed to the rewards they generate. Some people will claim that the creativity of blogging is a reward in itself. This was me for a long time. But you know what?

I am fucking tired. Tired of competing in an unequal world. Tired of running round and round on this never ending hamster wheel of a little success, and a lot of failure and disappointment. I am tired of having to be a jack-of-all-trades. I am tired of wanting to make a difference. I am exhausted being the little person. I don't want to learn new technology. I hate being on video or doing video or being told I need to do video to stay relevant. I hate having to keep up with the gazillion social media platforms that keep popping up. I hate that other bloggers and websites think it is okay to plagiarise my stuff and I am tired of sending out DMCA and take-down notices. I am bloody tired of those self same plagiarist bloggers and YouTube personalities being featured on the fucking BBC and national media and gaining more and more success. I am tired of telling people to stop sharing their recipes and getting responses ranging from "eh, what does it matter though, the video is good, no?" or "are you jealous"? I am tired of short attention spans and people like me being told to "just get to the fucking recipe..." and don't write your life story (you know, the very memories that people relate to on this site, and the writing that made this site a success in the first place!)

Honestly? Stick a fork in me. I am fucking done. Where does this leave the Tiffin Box? I don't know. I'll let you know when I am not so angry.

But here's a recipe for aloo gobi. I can pretty much cook this with my eyes closed, without any cups, or tablespoons, or teaspoons. I make this for my family all the time. Loosely translated to potato-cauliflower, this curry is a mainstay of almost half of India's not inconsiderable population and in my own household. It is good. It's easy. I've tweaked it to make it a perfect recipe that works in every bloody kitchen and for all levels of experience. It is well written. I have taken good pictures of what it looks like and what you should expect it to look like.

It's not SEO friendly, and it probably won't show up at the top of Google search but it is fucking tasty and it won't disappoint you. That's all.

Recipe: Aloo Gobi 
(Printable Recipe

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 
1 – 2 tablespoons canola oil 
1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
½ teaspoon cumin seeds 
1 small onion, finely diced 
1 clove garlic, crushed 
½ inch piece of ginger, crushed 
2 tomatoes, chopped 
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric 
½ - 1 teaspoon garam masala 
1 large cauliflower, chopped into the same size florets as the potato chunks 
Hot water, as needed 
Salt to taste 
Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped 
Rice or roti, to serve 


Place the potatoes in salted water, and boil until just tender. 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the onion. 

Fry the onion for about 5 minutes, until just beginning to go golden around the edges. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir for a minute. 

Add the tomatoes, turmeric and garam masala with a little bit of salt. Stir and cook together for about 5 – 7 minutes, until the masala is thick-ish. 

Add the cauliflower to the above mixture along with a splash of hot water to loosen and stir gently, then add the cooked potatoes and stir everything together well. 

Season to taste with salt.

Cover and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, adding a little more water, if the mixture looks too dry (this is a fairly dry dish, so go easy on the water) until the cauliflower is just tender and the potatoes have absorbed the spices.

Stir in fresh, chopped cilantro and serve with rice or roti.


  1. i LOVE you and your blog!
    do what makes you happy
    lets get together for a drinky poo sometime soon

  2. Have long loved your blog. So sorry to hear that people have taken and used your recipes without credit. A million thanks for all you have done. My husband is also extremely grateful for my having found your blog.

  3. I also have loved your blog and miss it but when I read the challenges etc I totally understand. I also love you live in the same climate I do and in the city I grew up in which was also a draw for me! I will be making this soon too!

  4. For what it's worth, I love your blog. I've never come for the recipes. I come for the stories which you have a wonderful way of weaving. I have missed you and I hope you don't leave. I've come to the conclusion that you either need to make blogging your full time job or, release yourself from the nonsense and do it just for you and the people who love what you do and stop worrying about the rest.

  5. I'm sorry that you're feeling angry and frustrated. I have long admired your storytelling and your beautiful pictures, and hope you continue this blog in some way.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I come for your amazing storytelling too! You are a gifted artist, both with words and food. My wish is that you follow your passion and I hope you find the happiness you deserve. You’re an amazing person...never forget that!

  8. I googled the shortbread recipe I LOVED from childhood visits to Canada
    and you came up in the top 3. I enjoyed the story and feel good when people like the same things I do. (Cat child cocoa) Read further and liked other recipes I'll try. There are always bastards. Always. Don't let them get you down.

  9. I truly enjoy reading all your posts and recipes, with all the little details and observations, and of course the beautiful photographs. I understand your frustrations but I hope you can return to your blog in the future for readers like myself. Take care!

  10. I love Indian food and so I love your recipes but it was your stories that made me actually subscribe to your blog. I subscribe to very few blogs so only the best get through! I'm sorry you have had such a frustrating time of it. I wish you would continue the blog but make it less work for yourself so you enjoy it more.

  11. Just in case I haven't made this clear from any of my previous comments let me now tell you that I've had a huge amount of enjoyment from reading your blog over the years and not just from the recipes. Although let's not forget all the fine dishes I've made from your recipes. You're one of my (very few) go-to people for recipe advice. When I'm uncertain about what spice to use for a dish or how to get the balance right, I've often found myself wondering what Michelle would do. I understand how frustrating it all must be although we all blog for different reasons and I could never compare myself to you – I don't do any social media, I don't really care about pictures, I never look at stats for the blog and I only really blog for myself and a few friends, kindly strangers and family. Recently another blogger told me that she only really blogs for her young daughter so that she'll know when she grows up what her mother learnt from her mother and grandmother. I hope you're soon feeling less angry and just a little bit proud of the pleasure you've given to people like me.

  12. Michelle, I am not a blogger, bot a chef, but I love your blog for the stories you tell. For an expat, the feeling of reading stories that give you that 'been there, felt that' feeling, are more important than the recipes. I know that this blog is like one of your kids and an assault on it is like an assault on one of them. But, even if you give up on the recipes, make a story blog on your life experiences, and you will have a huge following, or publish a book and I will be there to buy it. Albeit I am not in India or Canada. But out in the webosphere.

  13. holy smokes Michelle. You said EVERYTHNG. This is so true it hurts. Write your blog for YOU, your family and your friends. It's so easy to get caught up in trying to do everything and seeing very little results as things change over and over again it's adjust or become even more insignificant. To those that know and love you, you're not insignificant. If it helps, I bought a head of cauliflower JUST to do this recipe and I HATE cauliflower.

  14. Well, I'm new blogger (relatively) and agree with you completely. I've given up on social media because I can't compete with the big spenders, my photography is not spectacular, my SEO/tech skills are minimal, and I'm resigned to having my recipes & pics stolen. I just blog for friends and kindly strangers who stop by. I'm not sure if the age of blogging is over or if it's over saturated at this point. I love reading blogs like I used to read magazines (way before they became more advertisements than actual writing).
    Anywho, I found your brilliant blog through one of my readers and have long enjoyed your well written recipes and storytelling. I hope you continue to blog and realize what great pleasure your writing has brought to readers like myself.

  15. I too have enjoyed your stories. I have missed your blog and just happened to check it yesterday and was so excited to see a new story. I had no idea of the barriers you need to face and how recipes can so easily be stolen. I agree with so many of the other comments, you have brought great pleasure to people reading your stories. Your recipes are awesome as well, but I never go straight to the recipe. I read the entire story first. If you decide to quit (which I totally understand), thank you for your time that you have shared with us.

  16. That's a refreshing read. And I'm just about to make your recipe having only just found your site and bookmarked you. I totally hear you about blogging. I've been told I should blog about my DIY antics for years bit the truth is I can't compete with the big boys, and I'm too busy having a life and actually doing the doing rather than writing about it and photographing it. Life isn't as lovely as social media has us believe, but it is for living. Enjoy your cooking and your fans will enjoy it too, for its authenticity.

  17. I've been cooking your recipes for years, and they're some of my partner's favourite meals. You've had a big impact on us and our cooking. I think your blog is brilliant, however often you update, and I point people here whenever I can :)

  18. Your honest writing makes so much sense. I have long considered entering the blogging world for writing about my Mexican food but I lack all the drive you and others have. So glad to hear this warning about the rat race of algorithms. I'll keep writing my handwritten recipes and telling my kids stories of my mother's cooking instead. Enjoy your baby and your rest and know someone out there listened to your carefully crafted words.


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