Is it ok if I do a bit of self glorification? ;)
A few weeks back I got an email from Shilpa, the reporter of Gulf Weekly, a newspaper based in Bahrain.
Have been following your site for so long and have been witnessing it grow
in demand day by day (need to thank my sister to introduce me to your site).
I am a reporter with the GulfWeekly newspaper in Bahrain and I would love to
do a feature about your website, passion, recipes and about yourself for the
And that's how it all started…. thanks a ton to Shilpa & Shalu (Shilpa's sister) :)
Wait, wait I'm not done yet…. a big THANK YOU to YOU who drop in here and support & encourage MariasMenu by leaving a comment or by subscribing to our site or by joining us on Facebook/Google Connect or by simply dropping in :)
Below is the write up from the paper. You can see the online version here.
Cookin' up hot and tasty meals
AUNTY'S recipes have created an internet sensation for Bahrain-based blogger Maria Jose who has been inundated by numerous newly-wed women wanting to cook up some hot stuff in the kitchen.
Her ‘MariasMenu' website has become a huge worldwide phenomenon and has received heaps of praise from those lacking experience when it comes to cooking up Indian culinary sensations.
Maria, 29, from Juffair, launched her venture five years ago after marrying Bahrain-raised investment banker Jose Paul Martin back home in India before settling down in the kingdom. She said: ‘When I moved to Bahrain my Aunt Tessy gave me a diary of all her old recipes and soon I began using them. I even began experimenting and introducing a few additions too.'
Impressed with her new cooking prowess, Jose suggested creating a blog where she could archive the collection of recipes as well as share them with friends and family. Word soon spread and thousands logged in for cooking tips and advice.
Jose, 32, said: ‘We started it as a very basic site with 4,000 hits a month but now we have 35,442 unique visitors, 210,177 page views a month and 1,234 subscribers for the page.
‘The content and the photography on the site is all Maria's – with help from her aunt's family treasures! She compliments the food with a picture – sometimes taking up to 30 minutes to capture the perfect image of a single dish!'
The site now boasts more than 200 recipes of traditional homemade Keralite dishes as well as other delicacies. Maria, 29, said: ‘I love bakery items in particular and used to live on them during my school days. Even now when I go to a bakery I am like a hen let loose in the moonlight!
‘Seeing my love for bakery items, my aunts used to say ‘we will get you married to a bakery owner' and secretly, I loved that idea! The thought of an unlimited supply of meat puffs, laddoos, jilebis and jam rolls on a daily basis was too much to resist!'
Her relationship with Jose was almost heaven-sent when Jose revealed his childhood dream of one day opening a bakery. She said: ‘I guess we were destined to meet – a bakery-obsessed girl getting married to a would-be bakery owner!
‘We would love to have our own bakery or sweet shop some day because they are places where people usually come to celebrate their happiness and we would love to be a part of it.'
Jose's favourite dish is Maria's chicken biryani, which she has now mastered after failing miserably at the start. She said: ‘I still remember the first time I made biryani. It was our ‘one month' wedding anniversary celebration and it had only been a few days since I had started cooking.
‘I wanted to surprise Jose and decided to make the dish for dinner but half way through it I realised that it needed to be baked. I didn't have a clue how the oven worked – we only bought it the previous day and I hate reading operating manuals.
‘Since the whole dinner was supposed to be a surprise, I couldn't ask Jose to help. Luckily, I recalled my aunt mentioning the ‘dum biryani' method using the stove.
‘But this incident helped me a lot with the blog because I know exactly how a ‘novice cook' thinks. I try my best to write the recipes accordingly, including even the simplest of things!'
‘What keeps me going is the feedback I receive from visitors. They are very generous with their comments and support and I feel blessed to have such wonderful followers.'
The website also has helped the couple make new friends and Maria hopes to add different cuisines to her recipe for success, for instance popular Italian dishes. Currently, she is planning her first published cook book which will feature simple, homemade recipes for young women.