Cup cakes & fruit bread

Standard

Made some cup cakes and fruit bread o’er christmas!!!

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas & a sparkling new year!!

Dessert @ Creamstone, Hyderabad

Standard

I don’t have a so called sweet-tooth, craving for sweets always, but when it comes to ice-cream at Cream-Stone, Jublee Hills, Hyderabad…I can’t say NO. Especially the nice, creamy, chocolaty, nutty ice-creams…They are irresistibly and delightfully Yummmm!!

They have a very unique way of dishing out their ice-creams… instead of serving the regular scoops, they beat it with a mixture of nuts, waffles etc…and bring it to a creamy texture to serve with desired toppings, fruits etc. Interestingly, your ice-creams can be customized too, depending upon your flavour. My all time fave is the chocolaty, brownie ice-cream topped with warm chocolate sauce. It’s simply sinful…! :)

Here it is… sorry about the picture quality, was not carrying my camera, so managed to click using my Phone Cammy….

So, what’s your most desirable flavor of ice-cream?

Cotton dresses can be classy!

Standard

Cotton clothes are not only comforting  but right fitting, mix-n-match of right colors, churidars and stoles, with right kind of jewelry can make you look really stylish. I have always preferred wearing cotton, be it office, outings, or some times even for get-together`s. Of course for appropriate get-together`s have considered slightly extravagant cotton-wears with heavy embroidery and matching jewelry.

Even cotton sarees, especially Bengali Cotton ones, called “Taant Sarees” look fabulous when teemed with beautiful terracotta jewelery and sexy looking blouses. Though I am not a Bipasha Fan, but loved her look below wearing a simple cotton saree with right balance of jewelry. And, that red color bindi simply completes and accentuates her look.

 (Pic Courtesy: Google)

Kareena has kept it very simple. Yet, she looks stunning in this black saree with golden work.

Do you prefer wearing cotton dresses too? What’s your style quotient?

Baking lessons with Rushina

Standard

A weekend at Nature’s Basket with a vibrant food writer and consultant Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal. She also blogs at “A perfect Bite” and Rushina’s. It was a delight to watch her make those quick and easy cheesy Italian Veg Lasagna, Dried Fruit’n Nut Loaf,   Strawberry  Muffins, … amidst all the hustle-bustle of the crowd, cameraman and photographers. Last week, I did try making one of her recipes, will post the pics and the recipe soon. It turned out to be ultra fabulous :-)

I also had the rare opportunity to meet her personally for a fleeting moment! And, I am glad I did.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A healthy variation of the regular ‘sponge cake’

Standard

Since we have become kind of fitness freaks (!), and the paradox is our extreme love and fondness for the regular sponge cakes, we decided to try something healthier!

 

First we identify the health-culprits in a cake…

 

Butter

Sugar

Maida

 

And we replaced them with

Dry fruits

Honey

Wheat

And the result was not so bad!!

 

Ok, so here is the quick recipe for an evening tea party of four!

 

Eggs- 2

Wheat – around 80gms

Honey – as per taste

Rose essence – 1tsp

Baking powder – 1/2 tsp

Dry fruits – 1/2 a cup

 

Whisk them all together (except dry fruits – which are chopped in small and coarse pieces. Fold them into the mixture at the end.

Pour the mixture in a lined container (preferably ring shaped)

Bake them at 150 C (preheated) oven for around 40 minutes.

Take the ‘cake’ out and cut it in small pieces.

You can store it for 4-5 days in an air tight container.

Before you serve it, microwave it for 30sec for a warm and soft experience :)

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Healthy breakfast option for kids

Standard

Well, feeding kids is the most difficult task, especially healthy food. Kids are somehow allergic to them but happily gorge on chips, doughnuts, fried stuff, colas and what not. It’s every mom’s nightmare and they make every effort to feed them with some healthy options, to balance their nutrient values and enhance their immunity system.A few healthy options for kids that I could think of:

(Pic courtesy: Google)

Fruits, green veggies, whole grains, protein, dairy products are the primary sources of all the nutrients. Let’s see how we can make interesting options so that kids not only eat them but enjoy eating them thoroughly:

  • Fruits / Milk / Yoghurt – Fresh fruit salad, smoothies, milk shakes with fruit puree and nuts
  • Green Veggies – Make vegetable pulao using soya chunks or make khichdi
  • Whole grains – Healthy stuffed paranthas with potatoes, daal, peas..puree of palak or some shredded veggies. Make pancakes and cupcakes that has milk, nuts, eggs…and kids love them
  • Meat / Eggs for the protein content / Bread – Use lean meat, boil some shredded chicken and use them for sandwiches mixed with shredded veggies like carrot, cucumber, cheese and a dash of mint chutney / mayo. Boil eggs or fry them to make sandwiches using whole-grain bread
  • Beans – Try making tikkis of soaked and boiled kidney beans. Rich source of nutrients
  • Nuts – Try giving cereal with milk and mixed dry fruits and fresh fruits too.
  • Yoghurt – Try making some yummilicious dessert with low-fat yoghurt…like whip them with sugar, add some strawberry puree and serve chilled garnished with chopped fresh fruits and nuts.

Sometimes indulge them with fritters using veggies, alu chaat, burgers made of whole wheat buns and veg patties, tea cakes, etc to cater to their ever-changing taste-buds.

This is our special post towards Children’s Day :-)… A very very happy children’s day to all the little ones out there!!!

Not for weight watchers ofcourse :-)

Standard

Bengali sweets at a sweet-meat shop in West Bengal.

Sweet-meats from the state of West Bengal needs no elaborate introduction. They are world-renowned. But, these fitters are a must-try. Some have potato filling and some are fried using brinjals/onions. On a delightful rainy day…it’s a perfect stop for your cravings to have something fried and spicy and then gulp it down with some ginger tea :-)

Marathon plan Update

Standard

Not too disappointing I would say! For someone with a chair job and very less physical movement on a regular basis, this was a welcome change. Waking up early in the morning was difficult but I managed it somehow. Here I should add that having a partner ‘in crime’ helps for providing moral support as is required in such cases!! A quick session of yoga that includes basic hand and breathing exercises, six rounds of Surya Namaskar and a few laps of alternate walking/jogging was all that I had planned for. After a few days, I decided to give myself a break of two days since the weather outside was cold and rainy and I didn’t want to lose my Marathon plans to some over enthusiastic and yet lousy decision!

Breakfast was the constant Omlette and paranthas and I included more of fruits and curds in my diet to reduce my hunger cravings!

I feel good and fit already. Though there is a long way to go when it comes to stamina. Marathon is still a distant dream!

 

And it is Bakr-Eid today. Hope you all have a good time!

Jogging gear

Standard

Since we are celebrating ‘Fitness month’ on our blog, there is a huge importance given on exercises and other physical activities. Jogging is a personal favourite since it keeps the boredoom of a gym away!

But before we get down to the jogging track, a few essentials have to be taken care of. The most basic of them being the jogging gear which includes:

Running Shoes:

The shoes should be comfortable. The toes should be able to move about freely and not feel constricted. The heels should be properly supported and well cushioned. The weight should be distributed uniformly. Also wear a pair of clean cotton socks to go with them.

Make sure that the shoes and socks are cleaned and aired frequently to keep them germ free.

Apparel:

Cotton is the obvious choice! Go for loosely fitted and comfortable attire. A basic t-shirt with trackpants would be a good choice. But the stress should be more on your own comfort and choice.

Make sure that they are washed frequently.

Other essentials:

Keep a bottle of water with you, especially if you are living in a hot and humid area.

If you are a music lover who likes to jog alone, a walkman would be an advantage!

So be comfortable, relaxed and enjoy jogging!

Healthy Breakfast!

Standard

Every morning we wake up worrying – Now what to cook for breakfast? There’s undoubtedly a whole variety that we can try every day, but the question is – are they packed with wholesome nutrients required to kick-start your day? Breakfast is the most important meal, so it should be a balance of all the essential nutrients wrapped with absolute goodness of health.  An ideal platter should have a mix of carbohydrate, proteins, essential oils, necessary vitamins and fibre.  Some healthy breakfast options could be;

  • Cornflakes added with milk, seasonal fresh fruits , almonds, raisins, walnuts and a dash of honey
  • Poha (beaten rice) with lots of vegetables and groundnuts
  • Upma, with veggies like cauliflower, French beans, green peas, capsicum
  • Toasted multi-grain bread with boiled eggs and some low fat cheese
  • Toasted brown bread sandwich with eggs / fresh cottage cheese, peanut butter spread, lettuce leaves, cucumber, tomatoes
  • Stuffed paranthas made of wheat flour , served with curd (Leftover daal can be used to knead the dough to make it more nutritious).
  • Grilled veggies and fresh fruit salad with low-fat yoghurt

You can round off your breakfast with Green tea / Fresh vegetable juice/ fruit juice and plenty of water, preferably after a gap of half an hour.

Happy breaking your fast!

A little corner to call my own…

Standard

A little corner where I can sit
to get immersed in poetry.
A place which I can call my own
and shut out the unwanted noises.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

In the noise and chaos of our daily lives, we  often forget that our soul needs some nourishment as well. It is very much required then to spend some time with ourselves, doing things that we like. In silence.

Stay healthy…stay fit!

Standard

It is the first day of this month – a sweet, wintry November; and we are    all set to  kick-start our fitness regime. Somehow, we find any fitness or  health related  programme to be very boring. We lack in motivation for  an initiative that  safeguards our own interest, so we thought we would  make it slightly interesting    and easy for all.

At our end, we have slowly started our regular walks, a bit of free hand exercises and included fresh food, green veggies, and fruit juices in our diet; because we believe  –  a balance of wholesome meal and exercise is mandatory to achieve the desired results. And, that forms the crux of a fit body and mind.

Besides our regular lifestyle, home decor and food posts…in the following days, we would share more of

  • Healthy food options
  • Various exercise options
  • Fitness tips, and
  • Healthy recipes

Stay tuned if you care…for a healthy body and a healthy mind of course!

:)

(Image Courtesy: Google)

Meal Menu

Standard

Alu posto is a hot favorite at home. It simply works for a simple veg affair. Though, making the paste is slightly messy but cooking is ultra easy. So, this sunday I decided to make it with a slight difference, made Deem-Alu Posto i.e. Potatoes and eggs in a gravy made of Khus-Khus /Poppy seeds. There was a beetroot lying somewhere in the corner of my fridge, waiting to be cooked, so used that as a side dish with some chopped carrots, a simple stir fry. Here is a quick recipe;

Deem-Alu Postu

Things you shall need;

  • Hard boiled eggs – 2, (remove the shells and marinate it with a hint of turmeric and salt)
  • Medium sized potaotes – 2, peeled and cubed
  • Medium sized onion – 1 (finely chopped)
  • A paste of poppy seeds, green chillies and a little salt – 2-3 tablespoons
  • Nigella seeds – very little just for tempering
  • Green chillies – slit into two halves (to be added, towards the end)
  • Mustard oil
(I soak the poppy seeds in water for nearly 3-4 hours, it becomes very easy to grind it in a mixie that way and do not make a fine paste, but leave it slightly coarse)
Process
  • Heat the mustard oil to a smoking point in the wok.
  • Now add the boiled eggs and fry them till they are nice and golden.
  • Remove the eggs once fried and keep it separately.
  • In the same oil, add the nigella seeds. Then add the chopped onions and a pinch of sugar to get a beautiful color. Once the onions turn slightly pinkish add the potatoes and fry them for sometime.
  • Add half cup of water to the potatoes and cover and cook until the potatoes are tender
  • At the final stage, add the paste made of poppy seeds and mix it well. Once it comes to a boil, add those boiled and fried eggs to them and season it with salt. Remember not to add too much of salt, since the paste already has some.
  • Add the chillies, simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
Beetroot stir fry
Things you shall need;
  • 1 Beetroot
  • 1 Carrot
  • Green chillies
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Salt
  • Nigella Seeds
Process – In a wok, heat some oil and add the nigella seeds and chopped green chillies. Now add the chopped beetrot and carrot, mix it well. Add some turmeric, salt and cover and cook until done. You may also add some boiled and fried soya nuggets.
Serve the two with steamed rice, papad and some plain daal!!

Announcing the Fitness Month(November)!!!!

Standard

 (Image Courtesy: Google)

Lifestyle – Food – Fashion is going to begin a month of healthy living in the month of November by regulating our eating habits, exercising more and following a fitness regime. It’s our initiative to slowly build a healthy body and sound mind. We will discover healthy eating habits, food choice, health tips, physical activities and likewise. We would encourage readers to come and share their own experiences, links or any other important articles in this fitness month!

So gear up for a whole new YOU because, in a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible quoted Cicero!

:-)

Stay Fit – Stay Happy!!

Happy Diwali!!!!

Standard

Here is wishing all of you a very Happy & Safe Diwali!!

 

Do something different this Diwali… Send sweets to loved ones AND to those you chose not to love!

Gift someone what he/she really needs. And don’t limit that to friends and family.

Pack all your old clothes and other stuff in a bag and visit the streets of your city/town. Be a Santa Claus in Diwali and give them to the needy ones!

Make someone smile :)

 

 

( pic from google)

Interesting spam!

Standard

We all know how interesting spam messages can be!  This one takes the cake!!

 

Your use of such emphatic words in your article shows an intense excitement in what you are trying to convey. Keep up the good work! I will shurely make a link to http://lifestylefoodfashion.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/dinner-menu/ on my site.

The post in question: Dinner menu?

 

Hmm!!! I wonder if

Why is it always very intriguing to plan a meal? I normally try to rummage the kitchen to see what’s there to cook and the results are not bad :) Last evening I had a few pieces of rohu fish in the freezer, a few leaves of spinach and a brinjal. I wanted to have a good hearty meal,

was so emphatic that the sender of this comment was moved to type this ..ahem.. nonsense!!!

 

Preparing for Diwali!!

Standard

It’s festival time and that means a lot of hard work preceding the usual celebrations! Yeah right! It is not all fun, though for those who derive joy from working for home and keen on keeping the vibrancy in the air, even this hard work translates into smiles!!

So here is the list of tasks that I am planning to finish before putting on my best dress and partying with family and friends:

  • Buying sweets to be distributed
  • Some home-made kheer, sweets and namkeen
  • Cleaning up the house
  • Sun drying the silks, woolen and quilts
  • Making greetings, wrapping gifts
  • Buying earthen lamps, puja samagri, and fireworks

Dinner @Harvey’s

Standard

 

Simplistic and yet graceful ambiance, comfortable seating,  smiling faces, beautiful artifacts and just the right amount of light makes Harvey‘s a preferred destination for a family dine out.

We went there in a group of 4adults and 2kids. Though I prefer not to take the kids along to a fine dining place, yet this one couldn’t have been avoided. Having decided to keep the guilt aside, I asked for a high chair, since that is the only thing which keeps my kids occupied and not run around! Unfortunately they had none! I would have quickly labeled it as non child-friendly had it not been for the friendly staff who spoke to the kids and tried to keep them entertained!!

Another downside was one of the orders arriving too late. But that could have been overlooked considering what great time we had there!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Preparing for Marathon – Nutrition – 1

Standard

Outline of a basic diet chart

  • Breads and cereal ( 6 servings)
  • Vegetables and fruits (2 fruit & 3 vegetable servings)
  • Milk, dairy products and milk substitutes ( 2 servings)
  • Meat and meat substitutes ( 1 serving)
  • Fluids (8 cups)

Disclaimer: This is for our own purpose, please consult your doctor before you follow the same!

Taking one step at a time.

Standard

The body needs to be oiled, tested and worked up on in order to realize the Marathon dream.  The path is difficult and the goal looks almost impossible to achieve at this stage. We are way past childhood when no amount of jumping around could tire us out! And yet, there is a child like excitement in our hearts as we set sight on the Marathon dream!!

Taking one step at a time.

We would train ourselves for 5K Marathon first. And our target is twelve weeks starting from November 1. That means we should be all set for a decent distance to cover in the month of February!!

We focus on the following areas:

  • Nutrition
  • Workouts
  • Practice
  • Rest/Recovery

Running for healthy living!

Standard

Just on the cue, I came across this site that speaks volumes about running , the basics and the science behind it!!

The simple question of how do you run is largely unanswered in the running community. You have a bunch of pseudo-guru styles like Pose or Chi, but the key to running correctly to maximize performance is a topic that is largely left to elite coaches or biomechanics experts. As Pete Larson pointed out in his blog, elite coaches like Alberto Salazar extol the benefits of working on running form, but no one has told the masses how. In the following article, it’s my goal to unmask the “secrets” and provide the answers. The bulk of this article comes from information gleaned mostly from working with world class track coaches like Tom Tellez and a great High School coach in Gerald Stewert. Throw in some biomechanics classes in undergrad and graduate school and the picture is a little more complete.

This is also perhaps the right time to announce that we would be starting to train ourselves for Marathon next year!!!!

Lakshmi Puja – Divinity in Bhog-er Prasad!

Standard

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With Maa Durga leaving for her home, the sadness in the air is visible. But then comes Lakshmi – the Goddess promising wealth and prosperity! For me the best part of Lakshmi Pujo is the Bhog-er prasad! The complete gastronomical  paradise – right there in front of you!

Handbags – Yummier than Icecream?

Standard

Well! Well! Well!! They certainly are for me!! I can sacrifice  “Death By Chocolate” for that one, that petty looking, that absolutely uninviting handbag! Yeah.. I can find utility in even the most uninspiring designs!

Interestingly, a lot of other women feel the same way! Read this survey!

Oh! And I also intend to link to another blog post, the writer of which I absolutely adore :)

Here is a small snippet from her blog-post:

So. A survey conducted by the website saveme4later.com finds out that most women get the greatest thrill while buying a handbag.
Now why doesn’t that come as a surprise to me, the owner of more handbags than I could ever use realistically, considering I rotate my bags every couple of weeks and still have a couple which have never emerged blinking into the bright light of days from their packaging.
The thrill of buying a handbag, says the research, is more than the thrill of buying a pair of shoes, jewellery or underwear. Other items that made it into that list of a quick frisson of joy upon purchase include a summer dress, a well fitting pair of jeans, beauty products, a little black dress and chocolates. I keep the summer dress, the little black dress and the chocolates aside and the rest of it all would apply to me. And yes, the jewellery apart too. Can’t afford any at the current gold prices, might just salivate outside jewellery store show windows and mop my drool surreptiously before moving on.

 

Do not underestimate

Standard

- the power of simple dressing!

No matter how festive the occasion or how much overload of bling it requires, the dress and styling should be classic and hassle free. This is not to reject bling, but an attempt to make sure it is kept relevant and free from any kind of tackiness.

With the festivals like Durga Puja and Diwali coming up, there are major shopping sprees going on and I am sure that you would have pretty much planned the entire dress schedule by now.  This season do something different from your usual choices. Come out of your comfort zone and instead of overloading yourself with jewelery, go for that one solid neck-piece, a minimalistic ear-studs and few bangles. Ditch the silk and embrace cotton! And for a recco, FabIndia are the very best with their ethnic wear and exciting jewelry! And their latest kids range is just WOW!

Burrito & Nachos for Lunch? Yumm Mexicana o’er weekend

Image

I love nachos, especially with the salsa dip :-). The meal-combo at Taco Bell (Koramangla, Bangalore) was fairly nice. Crisp Nachos with topped chicken and sour cream, one burrito, a taco and a drink of our choice was just for Rs. 160.  I thought it was really inexpensive and quite filling, considering the price-hike we are witnessing everywhere.

Dinner menu?

Standard

Why is it always very intriguing to plan a meal? I normally try to rummage the kitchen to see what’s there to cook and the results are not bad :) Last evening I had a few pieces of rohu fish in the freezer, a few leaves of spinach and a brinjal. I wanted to have a good hearty meal,

So went ahead and roasted the brinjal for a bengali style begun pora, and masoor dal with spinach. Made Rui Macher Do Pyaza with a slight variation to go with steamed rice. Thanks to Spice & Curry for her post. It turned out to be yummm :)

How I made the Begun Pora / Roasted and mashed brinjal?

  • Roasted one medium sized brinjal and mashed them. (Tip: Slit the brinjal and insert 1-2 garlic pods for an amazing flavour)
  • Chopped some onions, green chillies, 1-2 garlic pod, green cilantro, and mashed a hard boiled egg
  • I mixed the chopped ingredients with salt and a hint of raw mustard oil. And, then added the mashed brinjal
How I made the Palak-dal?
  • Pressure cooked masoor dal with washed and finely chopped spinach leaves, turmeric and salt
  • For the tempering, I heated mustard oil and added cumin seeds, a couple of dry chillies and a few crushed pods of garlic. (Combination of spinach and garlic goes well)
  • After tempering I normally close the lid of pressure cooker and bring it to another whistle for a beautiful fragrance and taste
Rui Macher Do Pyaza
  • I made it almost the similar way as mentioned in the post, but did not add the meat masala and cream (actually had none of that at home :p). Instead, added some finely chopped tomatoes. Also, I did not use chopped ginger and garlic, I added some freshly made ginger paste to the fried onions.

Lazy but sweet & tangy evening

Standard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Went to a nearby market where a boy makes delicious north indian style “phuchka and alu chaat”. I had about 6-7 of crispy” gol-gappas” or “pani puris” as they say; and got a plate of yummy “alu-chaat”. It was a fine blend of sweet, spicy and tangy…just the way i like it. Made some ginger-tea and relished it to my heart’s content.

Breakfast at New Shanthi Sagar, CMH road, Indiranagar, Bangalore

Standard

What do two best friends need when they are hungry and have loads to talk about?

You guessed it!

Good food

and Good place to have a leisurely and uninterrupted chat!

 

And that is exactly what we enjoyed on Tuesday! After checking out various ‘known’ places on 100ft road, Indiranagar, we finally found New Shanthi Sagar, a vegetarian eating joint on CMH road (, Indiranagar, Bangalore). And boy were we delighted and proud of our choice (which by the way was one of the two options available at 10:00 am on a weekday!). So engrossed were we in the hot and delicious idly-wada with coconut chutney and sambhar , that we forgot to take pictures!! Oh and I haven’t even gotten to the yummilicious (I know it’s not a dictionary word, but it most certainly is my state of mind!) Kesari bhat!

As for ambiance, I would recommend their AC Hall. The prices differ only slightly from their non-AC hall, but it is much more comfortable, less noisy, less intrusive and you are treated like a king! The waiters are polite and know their job well.

And food! Oh the wonderful food!! I am not a big foodie.. But I can still go on and on about the soft and freshly prepared idly and crispy wadas! Add to that the non stop chatter of two friends pouring their heart (and wild ideas) out – and the combination is deadly!!

Overall, I give the restaurant 3 of 5 points for a weekday breakfast (or brunch if that is what you have time/inclination for).

 

Building a new home! – Part 1

Standard

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when someone asks you to run your imagination wild and visualize home of your dreams?

 

I bet it would a huge green space housing a small white wooden cottage!! Well, at least this is what the majority of us would dream about! But alas, life presents to us more realistic scenario and we are left with whatever limited options our budget allows.  But it’s not the space which matters. In fact, the smaller the space, the more creative you have to be in order to make the place livable. Personally I prefer small houses to the large palatial bungalows.  The warmth and the cozy ambiance that a small house provides , surpasses the joy of living in a huge setup.

In this series of BUILDING A NEW HOME, we would cover various aspects that should be considered while building a house on a plot of land.

 

Eat breakfast like a king!

Standard

Some days I prefer having a wholesome breakfast. A lavish one, with breads, cheese, jam, marmalade, eggs, juice, muffins, and of course round it up with a cup of English tea. It kick-starts my day and keeps me energized all day long. Though, it’s important to eat a heavy breakfast but it’s ideal to watch out on the nutrients, preferably a healthy-combo, otherwise the day can turn out to be really slow & sluggish. Once in a while it’s okay to indulge however!

In India, breakfast constitutes an important meal of the day and interestingly it offers a wide variety of dishes… right from the northern region to down south. Up north, it’s Stuffed Parathas (Flat breads), Chapatis, Puris, served with veg-curries, pickle, curd etc. Down south, it’s Dosas, Steamed Idlis, Upma, etc served with a wide variety of chutney and sambar.

What do you prefer having…for breakfast?

 

Artefacts for those shelves & corners

Standard

Artefacts can truly embellish your home decor. They fill in the gap and make your home appear the way you have always desired for. Choosing them carefully…considering the tone, colors and theme of your house is the most important aspect, and then placing them at the right place is the next important task.

I love collecting antique pieces, somehow have a strange fascination towards them and I hunt them down in flee markets. Lovely looking lamps, masks, hand-made artefacts, brass-wares, ethnic handicrafts for wall hangings, candle-stands etc… can create the magic for those vacant looking shelves and corners of your house. But, remember one thing – Do not over-clutter by stuffing too many things. Each piece should draw attention leaving your visitors admiring them over and over again.

What’s your pick when it comes to artefacts?

Eid Greetings to all…!

Standard

Month long fasts and prayers have come to an end. During this holy month “The Quran” was revealed and therefore, muslims offer prayers, read Quran and give alms to poor people. They celebrate Eid-ul-fitr to mark its end with festivity in full swing.

 

 

 

Men offer special prayers in the mosque during the holy month.

 

 

 

 

 

Markets brighten up with colorful stuff for people to shop around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men, women, children all buy new clothes and jewellery for  the festive occasion.

 

 

 

 

Variety of sweets and savories, especially the fine vermicelli are sold out during the Eid festival. These vermicelli are used to make the special “Seviyan” on the special day.

 

 

 

 

 

“Haleem”, the most sought after delicacy of this season. Made only  during “Ramadan” is a complete meal in itself with broken-wheat, meat,  spices, dry fruits and clarified butter. It tastes heavenly when served hot  with fried onions and lemon juice. Streets, shops, restaturants are  flooded with people from all sects to savour this dish.

Bid adieu…

Standard

…to this season’s last few sweet & juicy mangoes!!

 

 

 

Rightly called the king of fruits was enjoyed through-out this summer season. Recently, I managed to get a few as it’s hardly seen in the market. I have made mango pudding, mango custard and milk-shakes very often while it was available in plenty and truly never got tired of it.

 

 

Instant dessert made out of the last stock – Chilled Mango shake with ice-cream and chopped  mangoes.

 

Ingredients 

1. Ripe mangoes chopped, 1 bowl

2. Preferably mango ice-cream or plain vanilla ice-cream

3. 1 Cup chilled milk

4. 2 Tbspn sugar

5. Mango syrup

6. Strawberry and chopped mangoes for garnishing

 

Process (Can serve upto 4 if glass sizes are medium)

In a mixie jar, take the ice-cream, milk, sugar, mangoes and run it through until smooth. Now while serving in glasses, pour some Rooh-Afza and a little mango syrup around the glass-edges with the help of a spoon to make it look colorful and tempting. Pour the milk-shake into the glasses. Now scoop out a little ice-cream and put into the glass as a third step. Garnish the top layer with lots of chopped mangoes and a strawberry with a dash of cream and serve it fresh & chilled to your guests.

Bangles and Bracelets

Standard

image

 When I was a small girl, my grandmother once asked me to  wear bangles to a marriage party. The small glass bangles jingled sweetly and I proudly showed it off. She told me that the one who wears glass bangles that make the sweetest sound are blessed with sweet dreams at night!! I am not sure whether this is true or not, but it certainly did make me love myself a little more!

I believe that Indian dresses are accessories-centric. You can wear the most busy and richly covered saree and yet it would be incomplete if you don’t wear appropriate jewelry with it. Those who prefer minimalistic look often decide to tone down the accessories instead of doing away with them.  Of all, bangles for me remains the most sticky component of my jewelry box. It is difficult to coordinate them without risking being labeled as ‘overdressed’! And yet, when worn properly, they make the entire look ‘complete’.

Available in various materials and textures, bangles should be chosen carefully. Don’t go for match-match game of bangles with your outfit. Rather, use them to draw the prominent part of your dress. One can also wear them with jeans, skirts and other outfits. Play around with color and textures and you can have that perfect look!

Cumin

Standard

Cumin (play /ˈkjuːmɨn/ or UK /ˈkʌmɨn/, US /ˈkmɨn/; sometimes spelled cummin; Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India. Its seeds, in ground form, are used in the cuisines of many different cultures.

(Description From Wiki)

Cumin is one of the most essential ingredients used in Indian cooking. It has strong digestive properties and thus makes even the most richly flavored food light on stomach. It is also a very good source of iron and magnesium and helps in detoxification of human body. It is also known to aid in cancer cure. Lactating mothers are often asked to add more cumin seeds to their diet. And pregnant women are advised to take water boiled with cumin seeds in case of any gastric problem or pain.

As a spice, cumin is mildly hot with a distinct strong and flavored aroma. You can either roast them and then use in the dish or crackle them in hot oil, thus treating them as the base for curries. In many parts of India, the roasted to black and then powdered cumin seeds are used as salad and ‘raita’ seasoning. The pungent and slightly bitter and burnt flavor gives an entirely new texture to the dish.

One can also use cumin powder instead of cumin seeds but the later are preferred for their more powerful aromatic properties since the powder loses most of its flavor and smell when stored for a long time. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to use cumin powder in uniform and dense curries / sauces where the requirement is to have its flavor merge with the rest instead of acting as a base, and sometimes even the prominent feature of a dish.

……………………………………………………

* Pictures from Google

A small tip … but makes a big difference

Standard

Remember not to copy others while you are styling. Each individual is different with different body types, personality, features etc; and it’s only wise to understand that first…before you style. I have noticed many imitate models, actors, celebrities etc. They try to embrace their dressing style, get a similar attire, get similar hair styles too…but that’s the biggest blunder they make I feel. Of course, unless they are clones to those role models. You can be a good observant and draw certain traits and re-define that to suit your personality. But, do not… Cut-Copy-Paste :-)

Fashion and style is also about comfort levels. Choose what you think suits you and makes you feel comfortable. You never know, you can create your own style statement? And yes, do not forget to carry that confidence and attitude with you :)

Plants In Home Décor

Standard

Every girl dreams of a cottage in the hills, surrounded with wildness, with stillness around, disturbed occasionally by chirping of birds, or playful cries of kids playing in the garden attached. Now, this is difficult, if not impossible in today’s world of high real estate prices. With people struggling hard for each square feet they buy, it comes as no surprise that the childhood dream gets replaced by harsh practical decisions. And so, the space which comes at such high premium gets utilized till every inch is ‘livable’, giving very less, and often no space for that green cover everyone longed for.

There are still ways out and you can realize your dream with a little creativity and common sense applied. Here are a few tips to get plants collaborated with other elements of your home décor:

1. Hanging pots with small flowering plants and creepers.

You can put them on the porch, balcony, parking lot, etc. They don’t take much space and are really soothing to the eyes.

2.  Table top plants

Especially bonsais and other small flowering plants that don’t require much sunlight are the best choice.

3. If you are blessed with large spaces, go for big leafy plants like palm, firangipaani, neem  etc. Get some fruit/vegetable plants as well. They are not only good to look at but also add on to the ‘kitchen garden’

What matters most is how much you love plants and how far can you use creativity to make them gel with your home. It is important to take good care of plants so that they stay and look fresh forever.

Plants brighten up the living spaces. And they don’t cost much either. Try experimenting with different plants in your house and you would be amazed at how much face value they add to your decor!

…………………………..

Pics courtesy – Google

Soft and fluffy pancakes

Standard


This is such an easy-weasy breakfast that is sure to fill your tummy and help you kick start your day packed with nutrition and energy. The mildly powdered cinnamon fills your senses while pancakes are cooked in the pan and you would want to have more and more… munching every bite with sheer delight.

Ingredients for the flour mix

  • Refined Flour – 1 Cup
  • Baking Powder – 1 tspn and a little more
  • Soda bi-carb – 1/2 tspn
  • A pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Powdered cinnamon – A pinch

Sieve all the above ingredients together and keep aside.

For the batter

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter

Take the flour mix and add the egg, milk and the melted butter and keep it inside the fridge for half ‘n hour. Now take a non-stick pan and heat it properly. Pour the batter into the pan with the help of a ladle. When you see bubbles appearing on the pancakes, flip them until nice and golden brown.

Serving Tip – You can easily get maple syrup in the super markets. You may either serve them plain or pour the syrup onto the pancakes and serve with chopped fresh fruits(Banana, apples, blueberry, strawberries etc), and a dollop of cream. Nice, fragrant fruity syrups can be made at home too. Shall share the recipe soon.

Enjoy….!

Neckpieces (Tribal)

Standard

Neckpieces do wonder to styling. You can be dressed up in the most plain looking dress and yet look a stunner if compensated by an apt neckpiece.

A basic chic LBD can be spiced up using something tribal like the one here :

(pic from here)

It adds just the right amount of color to the otherwise plain black look. Try and keep other accessories to the minimum so as to highlight this exquisite piece and also avoid presenting a busy look.

The tribal neck pieces can also fit beautifully with Indian dresses, especially saree. The one on the left is from Rajasthan and would look lovely with any monotone silk saree. I would personally prefer it with a white silk with green border.

(pic from here)

And some more…..

(pics taken from google)

By now you would have known that I am a BIG fan of tribal jewellery. So I would take one last opportunity to present the kind of piece I would recommend for a basic jeans-shirt look. The shirt should preferably be white in order to enhance this beautiful neck piece.

(pic from here)

(Though the above neck pieces are not all from India, yet it would do good to explore Indian market for authentic tribal jewelry. India has diverse and rich cultural heritage. The tribal art reflecting in jewelry is not just an art collector’s dream. Materials like wood, stone, glass, gems, precious metals, threads etc are used which results in a beautiful creation. The pattern may differ. Some are beaded, while others are layered. Some may have precious gems laid in gold while others may just be intricate embroidery on a jute cloth. Together they form our rich culture , too vast to explore in one life time!)

Spice…spice…baby!!

Standard

(Pic courtesy – Google)

Indian cooking can never be complete without the variety of spices it offers. The amalgamation of all the spices in the preparation is something really fascinating… it always blends to perfection. The aroma, consistency, appearance, depends a lot on the composition of right kind & quantity of spices. Do check for good quality and brand of spices as the shop may be trading adulterated stuff that may be injurious to health. These are the must-have spices for my kitchen and rather any basic preparation. Of course, there are plenty worldwide.

Powdered spices

  •  Turmeric powder
  • Red chilly powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Pepper powder
  • Garam masala powder(The combination of spices used in garam masala may vary region wise)

Curry paste

  • Ginger paste
  • Garlic paste

Note – I store it in different containers and do not mix it together because, the recipe requirement may differ.

Whole Spices

  • Nigella seeds or onion seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Carom seeds
  • Caraway seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Celery seeds
  • Bay leaves
  • Asafoetida
  • Mustard
  • Green cardamom
  • Black cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Dry red chilly
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper corn
  • Nutmeg and mace
  • Star anise
  • Panch Phoron ( A must have for most of the bengali recipes that includes equal mix of Fenugreek, cumin, nigella, mustard, carom seeds / celery seeds)

Note – Buy nice glass jars to store them for longevity and odor-free. Your kitchen cabinets look neat too.

Herbs

  • Curry leaves
  • Coriander leaves
  • Basil leaves

Refer this Spice Catalogue for more info on spices. It offers translation in different languages too. Hope you find this useful.

Happy Cooking!