Ok so I do a lot of cooking and I'd love to claim it all comes from taste memory and sheer genius. However, since no one seems to be swallowing the claim, here are some of my secrets. There's of course the whole business of eating, and trying out and asking my mother and google, but then there are cookbooks too. I'm a great reader of cookbooks to extract re-usable techniques and flavour combinations that I can then tweak. Most of my experiments with Avadhi food are inspired by the recipes found in Jiggs Kalra's book "Prashad - Cooking with the Indian Masters". The section on Avadh is written by Imtiaz Qureshi, whose food you can try at Dum Pukht in the ITC hotels. Another source of recipes is R.K. Saxena's website on Tripod (or at least, it seems like his website) that lists recipes from his book "Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh". Camellia Panjabi's book on the 50 Great Curries of India has also provided me some very reliable recipes. Minakshi Dasgupta, whose children run Kewpies in Kolkata has a cookbook that I find very useful - "Bangla Ranna".