Hello! Bonjour! Namaste! Welcome to conifères & feuillus. My name is Annika Patel. This blog is what happened when I decided to put together a photobook cookbook of a few of our favourite recipes as a keepsake for my children. Yeah, so I got a little carried away. But hey, that’s alright cause now I can share our recipes with the rest of the world. So wherever on this Earth your kitchen might be, welcome to mine.
A bit more about the blogger and her family
By profession, I am an engineer but switched to becoming a full-time mom some time ago. I live with my husband, John and our 3 children in the beautiful city of Montréal. The blog’s name, coniféres & feuillus, is French for conifers and deciduous trees. Both types of trees can be found in Montréal’s ecozone and yes, we speak French here.
While I am the main blogger behind this site, amateur photographer, dishwasher, general kitchen aid and clumsy cook at best, John is the real chef in our home. He handles the meat (something I still can’t get myself to do), assembles cakes more gracefully than I can dance, and chops vegetables faster than I can even think it. Our 10-year-old son and daughters, aged 8 and 3, serve as helpers in the kitchen, very picky taste-testers and food critiques, but above all, as inspirations behind eating well.
While I err on the side of being vegetarian and have a seriously sinful sweet tooth, John, with his German background, grew up on a “meat and potatoes” diet. Since becoming parents, we have become more conscientious about what we eat. We didn’t want our children to grow up with a lazy indifference about what they put into their bodies and the best way to teach is by example. So we started making changes towards a healthier diet. That meant reducing our intake of meat, sugar, and processed food and eating more whole foods and generally, just becoming more aware of what we ate. We are finally at a place where we feel comfortable. Our number one rule is quite simple: stick to homemade and made from scratch. While we are no nutritionists, our approach is a mix of self-educated and common sense but nothing too complicated or “out there”. In all honesty, our food is quite ordinary, as are our lives.
Want to know more?
Growing up, I always ate home cooked meals. My parents were immigrants from India and the only way to get by was to stick to a dal/roti/vegetable diet. It was low cost and yet healthy and delicious. When I first moved out of my parents’ home, I didn’t know how to cook, nor did it matter to that much younger and naïve me. I sincerely thought that I could get by on cereal, salads and peanut butter sandwiches. Of course, I soon realized that I could not and my mouth would water just thinking about some of the foods I had eaten at home. When I would call my parents to find out how to make a certain dish, they would eagerly list the ingredients and steps but only in approximations; a “handful” of this, a “pinch” of that, simmer for a “short” while. They did this because this is how they cooked, this is how our ancestors had always cooked. With no written recipes. I didn’t want my children to fall in the same predicament as I had and I certainly didn’t want them to rely on frozen dinners and take-out. I had been thinking for a long time to compile my recipes but once the idea of a blog entered my mind, there was no turning back. It just seemed like the right thing to do. And if by sharing, this blog can inspire other families to get into the kitchen, then that is just great!
My toughest challenge
Everything we cook is made first and foremost to eat. I don’t believe in wasting food. And so I have to squeeze the photography bit in before the food gets eaten. With three growing appetites and being an amateur photographer who often needs to fumble with the camera, this is not always easy. Actually, this is my toughest challenge! So if every now and then I put up a recipe that makes 6 and you only see 2 in the photos… you know what happened.
If you are still reading this… thank you! Yes, I tend to ramble sometimes and if you could put up with that, you just might even enjoy my stories!