Written by Marjan Thu'thu, photos by Thooha Adley
We have a chat with Thooha Adley, author of the popular food blog Thoodles Doodles and the topics we cover include childhood baking stories, food heroes and food blogging among other things. So, read on.
Lonumedhu: Almost everyone we interview here on Lonumedhu comes from families that cook. Is this the case for you too? Do you have any childhood food stories you could share with us?
Thooha: I love my mum’s and grandma’s cooking. But it was during Ramadan, when I was 10 or 11 years old that I made a dessert called Queen of Puddings with my dad. That was the first time I made something by following a recipe and I found it quite challenging as it had breadcrumbs, custard sauce, jam; and the meringue, we had quite a bit of trouble with that on that first try.
Lonumedhu: From where did you get the Queen of Puddings recipe?
Thooha: The recipe is from an old English recipe book that I still have with me. It had really old photos and black and white illustrations. I remember browsing through it back in those days and there’d be hardly anything we could make because most of the ingredients weren’t available in Male’ back then.
Lonumedhu: So that Queen of Puddings was the beginning of all this?
Thooha: Yes. After that I kept trying out recipes, especially desserts and bakes because I’ve always loved sweet stuff.
Lonumedhu: Yes I’ve noticed you’ve got quite a good number of baking recipes up on your blog, like your chai brulee, chocolate cake with cheese icing and chocoflan.
Thooha: I think one of the reasons I am drawn to baking is because of the precision required. When you are cooking something savoury, how much you put an ingredient in can vary, but in baking there’s no room for that. And I think I am also drawn to desserts because some of the techniques can be a bit challenging, like making caramel, or making custard from scratch.
Lonumedhu: I think making custard from scratch is quite a feat.
Thooha: Making custard needs a bit of practice. I remember when I attempted it when I was younger, it would curdle and my mum would fix it for me by adding a little bit of custard powder.
Lonumedhu: I am curious to know what made you start food blogging.
Thooha: I like writing. And I actually started the blog to write about my wedding, and after the wedding, I spent a while wondering about the topics I could blog about. It was only after I got into food photography that I decided on writing about food.
Lonumedhu: I see. Why did you name it Thoodles Doodles? Is it like doodling or noodles?
Thooha: (Laughs) Thoodles Noodles is a nickname a friend of mine gave me. As for the doodles part, when I first started the blog, I thought the topics would vary a lot as I love to read and was thinking about writing book reviews, and then there was food and so on. So it was like how someone would doodle in a sketchbook.
Lonumedhu: Well done on your blog Thooha. I think Thoodles Doodles is quite popular.
Thooha: I live in Melbourne, and when I visited Male’ two to three years after I started the blog, I was surprised when people started asking me about it. That’s when I realised that people were reading it, so I started blogging seriously, making a schedule for the posts and all that.
Lonumedhu: Do you have any food heroes?
Thooha: I try a lot of recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s dessert cookbook ‘Sweet’. I think they’ve developed really masterful flavours.
Lonumedhu: So, if you were making a treat just for yourself, what would you make?
Thooha: There’s this chocolate chunk brownies that I’ve been baking for the past ten years. It’s got white chocolate chunks, and the white chocolate caramelises really nicely in it. I made a batch quite recently too.
Lonumedhu: Your last blog post is about your travels to Turkey and England. What would you say is the highlight of your trip?
Thooha: I would say absolutely the chocolate baklava I had in Istanbul. I get to enjoy a lot of multicultural cuisine here in Melbourne, but we don’t have chocolate baklava here; we do get Lebanese baklava though. I did enjoy a lot of chocolate baklavas in Istanbul because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it once I came back home.
Lonumedhu: Are you drawn to any particular cuisines?
Thooha: I am mostly drawn to Indian and Italian food. I do experiment a lot with these cuisines.
Lonumedhu: So last question, what’s next for Thoodles Doodles?
Thooha: Well, these days I’ve been a bit busy with work and therefore I haven’t been able to publish too many posts, so I hope to get back to blogging more. Apart from desserts and bakes I am also planning to include more Maldivian recipes; the things that my mum and grandma makes, I feel like I need to preserve them, and also introduce them to my Australian reader base.