Message from Fleur O'Meara nee Manley (Kenya)

From : Fleur O'Meara (nee Manley)

Dear Bridget,

I have just finished reading your book about K.G.F. I really enjoyed reading it and I am so glad someone wrote it for posterity. You even included my mother's name in it as being the person who introduced Scrabble ! She would have loved that. I, too, grew up there and so much of what you wrote brought back wonderful memories. We were indeed fortunate to have lived there. I went back in 2002 and, as you say. K.G.F. has turned into a dust bowl. I did go to St Joseph's Convent (our family are Catholic) and a very kind nun gave me tea. I remember being taken into the chapel to put roses on the altar so I asked to visit this chapel. All the pews had been removed as Indians sit on the floor.Times change and we have to change with it. Your family was so close so it must have been very difficult when the mines closed and you were all scattered to get work. It is one of the problems of today, the family unit is broken so people don't get that wonderful support they needed.
I now live in Kenya and am married with three sons. I have been back to India a couple of times and am very drawn to it. It is funny how we seem to be drawn to the country we were born in. I went to Kodai after St Josephs so I completed my trip down memory land by going there too. I loved every minute of it. Several friends who also went there have retired now in India.

Bridget, I see you write recipe books so I am going to ask a question ,if I may. My birianis are not as they should be. The problem is the rice. I do exactly as the Indian recipe book states but the rice end up sticky and wet. I am sure it should not be that way. What am I doing wrong? I use Basmati rice. The flavour is good but the problem is the texture of the rice. The family say it should not be like this so I now cook the rice separately which gives you nice fluffy rice but with no flavour.

Bridget do you still live in India and if so where?      
If you have time, I would love to hear about your family.
Fleur O'Meara


  1. Fleur,
    Nice to respond to another Biriyani fan! The problem you have mentioned with the rice is very common and it is easy to overcome it: the trick is to fry the onions, ginger-garlic, meat and tomatoes in that order until they are a reduced to a kind of waterless paste. To this you need to add partially cooked rice (I have found that just 20% cooked rice is right). Add half-a-cup of water for every cup of partially cooked rice. Cover with lid and slow cook. Your Biriyani should be fit for a King!
    Email me at and let me know.
    Alagarasan, Class of 1971, KGF School


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