Hello! Ciao! Namaste!
Thank you for stopping by our very multi-ethnic kitchen!
My name is Elena [Elle for international ease!], and I am half Italian and half Canadian, born in North-Eastern Italy, in a beautiful, sleepy seaside village.
My husband Jay is Indian from Mumbai, although my parents-in-law come from the magnificent South Indian state of Kerala.
On Spice and Life, you will find recipes that either Jay or I grew up with, others we discovered during our many years of finding meals that could make us both happy and many more we fell in love with during our travels.
How did Spice and Life come along?
I learned to cook from my parents and grandmothers, like most people.
My grandmothers were born just before WWII, which greatly affected our area. They had to go to work very young, and most of the food they would cook was considered ''poor food'' or ''war food''. With time, many of these recipes have become classic Italian, cooked most days for lunch or dinner.
My parents' cooking styles, on the other hand, are opposites. While my father could spend hours preparing a meal, my mother would cook a completely different one in half an hour, as delicious as his, but with no fuss, as there are, and I quote her ''way too many beautiful things to do in life to spend every spare moment in the kitchen'', and I couldn't agree more!
From my teenage years until my late twenties, I worked mainly in hospitality, from being a ground hostess for cruises to a cocktail bartender, till finally culminating in a four-year stint as a chef in central London, England.
Once I finished my studies, I redirected my career and now work in the industry I studied for, interior design, focussing much of my energy on sustainability.
On the other hand, Jay had a very different approach to cooking. He grew up eating homemade South Indian food at home, munching on proper street food while outside, all while going to culinary school.
After culinary school, he became a flair bartender, moving through the ranks in 5-star hotels to managerial roles across multiple properties. However, he continued studying hotel investments and finance and now works in that industry.
We both clearly have a massive passion for food and buildings!
What will you find on Spice and Life?
Italian, Indian, and Canadian recipes, of course, with a few other dishes we fell in love with during our holidays or were curious to try after watching some Rick Stein travel series.
Beyond Spice and Life
Jay and I have been together since 2009, having met in London while flat sharing.
We married right on the beach in my tiny seaside village, where my bridesmaids [and the best friends one could ask for in the whole world] wore deep blue saris with golden decorations, and the food served was a mix of local specialties and Indian delicacies.
I am an avid reader and will only leave home with my Kindle, which I read every spare minute I have while listening to rock or country music.
Jay, on the other hand, is a numbers guy. He is an Excel aficionado, and he will find a formula for anything you can think of.
We spend our time together walking in the woods close to our home, at the gym [healthy body, healthy mind!], planning sunny escapes [Vitamin Sea is all I need], or watching some series that took us way too long to choose!
Why Spice and Life
Cooking with herbs and spices and understanding how cuisines all over the world balance flavors on a thin invisible thread have become our mission – because whether you are cooking a spicy South Indian curry or a rich Mediterranean sauce, we all start with an empty saucepan, a bunch of raw ingredients and a few pots of raw spices and herbs on our counters.
How to Get Around Spice and Life
If this is your first time on the site, I would recommend having a look at:
As the world is wonderful because we are all different, our recipes have been divided in many different ways, so that you can find what you are looking for (or something completely unexpected), in multiple ways.
This is where you will find all the ‘How To-s’ and information about herbs and spices. For me, as an Italian, learning how to balance Indian spices while cooking for Jay, and understanding why each ingredient is part of a dish has been enlightening and it has made me think more about why some ingredients are added in mine and other countries’ dishes.
People Also Ask [FAQs]
On our homepage you can find our recent recipes, just below the popular ones. You can also get them all directly in your inbox with our weekly newsletter, which you can subscribe to!