Fabulous Foodies - Here, we will feature series on food bloggers from around the globe bringing inspiration, information and how-to!
This week, we are pleased to present this interview with Urvashee Patel, Owner of Dessarts
Urvashee’s website is adorned with amazing food photography. Just looking at the first recipe, I can see why owner Urvashee chose the name Dessarts; sweet dishes that are meticulously presented, eye-candy redefined! Aside from the visual appeal, what also drew me to this site is Urvashee’s writing style. She is very detailed, and I love how many of her blog entries begin as a story. Her instructions are easy to follow, and she is easily accessible through her website and social media, such as Twitter, for questions.
What prompted you to start writing about food/cooking?
I’ve always had a passion for desserts and particularly the art of plating and making food look pretty. When I decided to take a break from my teaching career to start a family, I wanted to do something completely different before becoming busy with a baby. I enrolled in a six-month pastry program at the French Culinary Institute. At the end of the program, I found out I was pregnant and that was the end of my courses for a while. About six months after my son was born, I began to get intellectually bored but still did not want to leave him to pursue a career. I also did not want to forget what I had learned in culinary school. Trying to regularly write about it on a blog kept me cooking, perfecting technique and learning about what was trending in desserts. I had no idea that food blogging would also lead me to learn better photography and connect with so many other people. It’s opened up a whole new community for me.
Most blogs have concept(s) (organic, ethnic, entertaining, etc). What would you say yours is/are and why?
I think I may have answered the “why” part in my answer to the first question. The general concept of my blog is dessert. Although I’m influenced by my Indian background and have several fusion recipes, it’s not the focus. I began with blogging about anything dessert related including interesting products I discovered and places I had eaten, but it seems to have become more about recipes. I like to think of it as still evolving. I’m trying to add emphasis to the presentation of things I make. For example, my chocolate chip cookie post is an ordinary cookie, but the emphasis is on making it perfectly round and therefore more of a dess”art”.
Who is your favourite chef or someone that inspires your cooking/writing?
I don’t think I am influenced by any one chef or person. I know it’s a common answer, but I definitely learned a lot about general cooking from being in the kitchen with my mom. She’s definitely a source of inspiration for my fusion recipes. Inspiration for most other recipes comes from lots of other places like TV, books, magazines, and especially other food bloggers.
Where do you see yourself in five years with your blog/website?
My blog has really just been a hobby. Dessarts has been around for a while but I’ve found it difficult to keep up with any sort of consistency. I’m hoping this will soon change, and I will be able to devote more time to it. In the next five years, I hope to continue improving my food and photography. I love what I’ve been learning and have found so much joy in being part of a food community through it. It’s nice to inspire others and connect with readers that enjoy food as much as I do. I’m looking forward to building more of these connections.
Can you share a tip or recipe with us?
I recently made my own version of coconut burfi, which was inspired by my mom.
yield: 3 dozen pieces
4-5 green cardamom pods
3 tbs unsalted butter
2 pinches of saffron
3 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3 tbs dry milk powder
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
chopped pistachios for garnish
gold shimmering sugar for garnish
Carefully remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and set aside. In a large, non-stick pot, melt the butter. Add the seeds and the saffron and stir over a gentle flame until fragrant. Keeping a medium to low heat, add the coconut, ground cardamom, and milk powder and stir until it is thoroughly mixed with the butter. Add the sweetened condensed milk. Stir until the mixture clumps together.
Spread the mixture in a tray and press it down. Let it cool and then cut it into squares. Alternatively you can use molds like I did. Just press the mixture into a buttered mold and gently pop them out. Garnish with pistachios and or shimmering sugar.
Follow: Urvashee Patel