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About My Passport by Shamilah Abass

Why My Passport? The definition of a passport is “a document that ensures admission”. It means a key, path, route or entry. In this case, entry to the world of cooking. I would love my book to be your passport to good food, good health and great relationships! It also symbolizes my journey towards my goal of demystifying cooking and extending my passport to you.

There is a certain nostalgia about home-cooking. In the era of take-outs and “heat and eat” food, I am passionate about encouraging young and old, not to see cooking as a chore, but rather as an exciting, rewarding and pleasurable labour of love.

My love for good food started in my mother’s kitchen which was always a hive of activity, redolent of the most delicious aromas of food, cakes, breads and desserts. I still bake and cook from a battered old recipe book that I started in my mom’s kitchen as a 14 year old. My self-appointed job at that time was to bake all the Eid biscuits, cakes and desserts.

My personal cooking journey began after I got married when I started experimenting with all kinds of foods in my very own kitchen – much to my husband’s pleasure! Shreef and I share the love of entertaining family, friends and business associates and this necessitates that I constantly serve up innovative new meals. It was therefore a natural progression that when we registered our business, Spice Mecca, in 1994, I undertook the task of new product development in our fledgling spice business. What an exciting time it was crossing the bridge from a microbiology lab to product development!

Many hours were spent studying the aromatic and flavour profiles of spices to best deliver on the blends that we have developed in our spice range. These blends were formulated to deliver on what is now known as the CookEasy Lifestyle. Even more hours were spent cooking and experimenting until we were delightfully satisfied with the flavour profiles we had developed. That we have been fortunate enough to travel has allowed for tremendous exposure to various wonderful cuisines and cooking styles. All of this has contributed to the development of a broad and diverse spectrum of products.

For a number of years I hosted interactive cooking shows on radio and occasionally on television. Currently, I still have an open line for anyone who needs advice or menu planning using our CookEasy Lifestyle and innovative blends. I also produce annual Ramadaan recipe booklets. 2019 being the 25th anniversary of Spice Mecca, I decided to do a formal recipe book to mark this historic occasion in our business.

My relationship with food has always been about creating exciting flavours and a CookEasy Lifestyle, staying true to wonderful home-cooked meals and catering to modern tastes without compromising on flavour and authenticity.

Food was, and will always be, intrinsic in all communities. Whenever people socialise, whether it is an intimate dinner, a wedding or a birthday, it always centres around serving the best food to your guests. Therefore it is so rewarding to share my recipes with you, as a personal gift from my heart, something that I hope will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Contact Shamilah