History of cooking and baking

Cooking is an art that needs dedication and more than anything interest .Over the centuries human beings have perfected the art with so many inventions , that now food is one of the biggest industries ever. Right in the beginning of recorded history there was the discovery of fire making, which probably led to the discovery of making food tastier and easier to consume by using heat .

People then discovered that with the help of heat and grain, one was now able to prepare a kind of broth and hot stones were covered with this broth or the broth was roasted on embers and that was how flat bread was created. This ability to prepare stable food radically changed the eating habits and lifestyle of our early ancestors, from being hunters they became settlers.

We see that already in the years 2600-2100 B.C. bread was being baked by the Egyptians. In fact, it was the Babylonians who were the pioneers of baking . The royal bakery of Ramses and also Greek royalty had their cooks making bread and cakes, some shaped in the form of animals and used for sacrifices in Egypt as well as in Greece.

Greek scholar Aristophanes’s ( 450-385 B.C) early writings show the existence of honey flans and patterned tortes. According to Aristophanes, the ancient Greeks also made a certain type of doughnut made from flour and honey called “Dispyrus” a ring-cake that was submerged in wine and consumed hot. So, this is how baking began and over the years became a very integral part of world cuisine...

I am presenting here a few baked recipes which are my personal and family favorites that are besides being tasty are also healthy and very nutritious.


Baked Brinjal


Medium sized brinjals 5-6 ( washed thoroughly and cut into halves without removing the stock)

Tomatoes – 3 cut into slices

Onions 2 - cut into small pieces

Garlic - 5-6 seeds finely chopped

Coriander leaves one cup finely chopped

Chilly powder 1 teaspoonful

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive oil as required

Grated cheese ( optional)


In an oven proof flat dish pour some olive oil and add the finely chopped garlic, salt , chilly powder and some of the coriander leaves mix thoroughly with a spoon . Arrange the halved brinjals in the dish after coating them well with the oil and spices. Bake for 8-9 minutes on medium heat until the brinjals are tender.

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onions and fry for a while after which add the tomatoes and fry well, add salt and pepper and rest of the coriander leaves and take it off the stove. Spread the tomato mixture on the baked Brinjals .

Alternatively you can sprinkle grated cheese on top at this juncture and put in the oven for a minute after which the dish is ready to be served with either steamed rice, Chapathis or on Toast.

Baked chicken with spinach and mushrooms


Boneless Chicken half kilo

Onions – 2 finely chopped

Mushrooms – 1 pack washed and cut into pieces

Spinach – one bunch cleaned, washed and chopped

Ginger and garlic as required finely chopped

Bread crumbs

Grated cheese

One cup stock made from stock cubes

Butter and Olive oil

 For the marinade

Yogurt half cup

Salt and pepper

 Red curry paste (available in most super markets)

Handful of coriander leaves

Mix the yogurt with salt, pepper, curry paste and the coriander leaves and add the chicken pieces to it and let it stay for 10-15 minutes.


Heat the olive oil and add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Fry for a while and stir fry the mushrooms and the spinach, adding salt and pepper. Transfer half the contents to an over proof dish which has been smeared with butter on the inside.

Into the same pan add some more oil and add the chicken marinade and fry until the chicken pieces are beginning to brown on the outside. Cover and cook for 5- 10 minutes on low heat. Once done, spread the chicken pieces evenly on top of the mushroom, spinach mixture. Add and spread the rest of the mushroom and spinach mixture on the chicken pieces . Pour the stock over it and sprinkle the bread crumbs and bake for 15 minutes on medium heat. Take it off the oven and spread the grated cheese on top and bake for 3 -4 minutes until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown.

The dish is ready to be served with bread or rice...

( Alternatively you can add a few small potatoes to the dish. Peel the skin and prick with a fork all over and stir fry along with the mushrroms and spinach )

 Baked fish

You can use any large fish cut into boneless fillets. You can also make this dish using prawns instead of fish.


Fish of your choice – half kilo

Spring onions one bunch cleaned and chopped to small pieces

Onion one chopped finely

Garlic – 15 -20 seeds finely chopped

Ginger 1 inch piece– sliced finely

Salt and pepper to taste

Lime juice 2 table spoons or more if you like

Coriander leaves a handful finely chopped

Olive oil or any oil of your choice


Marinate the fish with lime juice, salt and pepper and keep aside for a few minutes .

In a flat oven proof dish add the olive oil and spread it evenly. Add the chopped garlic , ginger, onions, spring onions , coriander leaves, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place the fish pieces in the dish making sure that the fish gets coated with the oil and herbs. Bake on medium heat for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and pour out all the juice that gets accumulated on top of the fish...

This is a great dish that goes well with anything ( rice or bread ) or can be eaten by itself.

Baked vegetables


Potatoes – 3 cleaned, skin peeled and cut into largish pieces

Carrots – 3-4 cleaned and cut into large pieces

French beans a handful- remove strings and chop

Peas – one cup

Cauliflower – cut into medium sized pieces – one cup

Mushrooms, one cup full – cut into halves  

Capsicums one cup – finely chopped

Onions – chopped

Green chilies 2 chopped finely

Salt and pepper to taste

One cup stock made with stock cubes

Grated cheese



Heat oil and fry the onions and green chilies. Add the potatoes and carrots and then the French beans. Mix well. Add the peas , capsicums , cauliflowers and the mushrooms , salt and pepper and take off the stove. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly in an oven proof dish. Pour the stock over it and bake for 20 minutes in medium heat. Take out and stir thoroughly and spread the cheese on top and bake for another 3 -4 minutes until the cheese turns brown and the dish is ready to serve with either toast or steamed rice. (Alternatively to make it even more nutritious you can beat two eggs and pour on top after it is taken out. Spread cheese on top and bake until the egg sets and the cheese melts and begins to brown.)

Baked Bread And Butter Pudding


A baked dessert is not only healthy but can also be very tasty. I am giving a recipe here for a Bread and Butter pudding which is a traditional English dessert but can be done with slight variations for added taste.


Bread slices 7 cut into triangles

Eggs 4 beaten well

Sugar half cup

Butter as required

Walnuts broken into small pieces – 1 cup

Raisins a few

Orange marmalade as required

Nutmeg powder


Apply butter generously on the bread slices on one side . On the other side apply Marmalade.

Arrange them on a oven proof dish. Beat the eggs until frothy and add the sugar and the milk mix well until creamy. Add the nutmeg powder and mix well. Pour the egg mixture over the bread slices and sprinkle with walnuts and raisins. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes on medium heat and serve either warm or cold. The pudding tastes good either way.

(Traditionally Bread and butter pudding is served with a custard, that is made by mixing custard powder that we can buy from the shop with boiling sweetened milk.)

( images from wikimedia)

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