Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cookbook for Christmas!

1. Looking for the perfect Xmas gift for someone who likes to cook?
2. Looking for the perfect Xmas, birthday or "just because" gift for someone who likes to cook AND loves Indian food?
3. Looking for the perfect gift that's easy on the wallet, easy on the eye and absolutely spine-tinglingly deliciously tasty on the palate?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, then stop looking NOW! Cos I have the perfect gift suggestion. Here is a cookbook that is gorgeous to look at; a book that can compete side by side on your coffee table with all your sophisticated design/art/architecture books; a book that will sit as comfortably on your kitchen counter as you cook, as it will on your bookshelf! It is "Entertaining from an Ethnic Indian Kitchen" by Komali Nunna. 

There are cookbooks that look great, but practically and in theory, they fall apart. They are complicated, difficult to follow and sometimes you wonder........"did the author really test out these recipes"??? But not this one. These are not recipes perfected in a state-of-the-art kitchen by an impersonal chef with a white jacket and pointy hat.... they are simple step-by-step recipes tried and tested by Komali herself, and pictures of her cooking in her own kitchen and in her backyard which makes it down to earth and "real"; recipes that she has honed to perfection over the last 25 years! In fact to prove how simple the recipes are to follow, I mailed one to my son and his partner, neither of them proficient in Indian cooking by any means, and they both looked through it and were thrilled! So there!

It is a complete, comprehensive book with ideas on entertaining including inspiring flower arrangements and table settings for various holidays.
In addition to the usual favorite classic recipes, there are unusual innovative new recipes

The beautifully captured illustrations are so life like the make you want to reach out and grab at the food

Planned menus for different cuisines of India make the job so much easier. How about a Nawabi Hyderabadi dinner......?
or some Dum Biryani for a Mughlai feast?
Here are some dishes I tried right away that were super easy to follow and make. 
Thadka Dal
 and my favorite Okra Fry?
 And then to follow some minty sweet Pudina Tea
 and Masala Chai, which I was not even afraid of spilling on the book because the pages are coated, so if anything spills, you just wipe it off! How cool is that?

The book is choreographed like a graceful dance performance.....all the ingredients - the writing style, the illustrations, the recipe directions, the formatting, the photography, the explanations at the end of Indian ingredients - all come together to create one beautiful product! And if none of this is enough to convince you to gift it to someone, then get it for yourself and stack it along with all your other cookbooks, it will look spectacular!
 And....if you order the book from Komali's website during this holiday season, she will personally autograph it and mail it to you gift wrapped in this block printed paper. 

And for more fabulous recipe ideas visit Komali's blog. So what are you waiting for?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up VIII

Am linking up once again with Patty's Weekend Wrap Up!

It was a nice weekend, a little bit of everything thrown in. OK even though the weekend is officially Sat/Sun, we got into the weekend mood on Thursday itself, celebrating my Dad's 77th birthday. My parents, hubby and I went to the much touted Siaa for dinner. Absolutely delicious food, then came home and gorged on this decadent chocolate cake.
Friday was a day to recover from the gastronomic extravaganza of the previous day so all I did was chill out, watch TV and read. I took pics of my dogs while they were sleeping...or at least trying to sleep. Here is the red colored Lucy
and sleepy black Junglee
 I worked on another dry pastels drawing.....
........along the same fishy theme
Then I roasted up some broccoli , make that brussel sprouts - for Saturday lunch
Brought some flowers indoors
Took more pics
Made a salad for Sunday's lunch
Got all gussied up for a wedding reception in the evening
and then the "piece de resistance" of my weekend, I got this magnificent 200 plus year old stone statue of Hanuman from a good friend in Chennai! A little bit of background - this friend just donated a lot of money to rebuild an old temple on the outskirts of Chennai, and in the process of rebuilding they discarded this poor guy and bought a new statue! My husband was in Chennai last month for the "grand re-opening" and was shocked to find this out. So he promptly asked them to send it to us cos we would love to have something so old and precious! And they did! Isn't it lovely? I like that its features are all rubbed off and worn out. Imagine having a 200 year old stone figurine!!! So now he rests amongst our greenery!
Close up shot. He is about 20 inches high including the base. For now the whole thing is placed on a slab of granite rock we had, which I am thinking of painting a white Rangoli pattern on...? But then again, maybe not...it looks nice and simple as is. I don't want to draw the attention away from him. 
Hope you all had a fabulous weekend too! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sensational Spaces IV - a cabin on the Bay!

Tricia Rose is a self described "rag-and-bone-man"; a documentary film maker, linen seamstress and a DIY decorator with a genius for creating beautiful things with found objects. Her very own line of linen furnishings is simply stunning, and I featured it here. But her home is something else! When you see the photos of her 1936 duck-hunting shack on the San Francisco Bay in San Rafael, CA, you can almost hear and smell the sea. Tricia describes her style as "fishwife chic" - handmade, personal and simple.

Here is a tour of her self crafted home, her creative cabin on the Bay! Her ingenious DIY's will amaze you as she creates a home with a definite nautical feel to it. Her accessories are rustic pieces of wood, rope, paddles, iron anchors, wine barrels, galvanized buckets, corroded metal, fishnets and brass portholes! Some of the pics have little explanations from her.

The home abuts an inlet of the Bay in San Rafael
Tricia Rose mediterranean exterior
Tricia used found pieces of driftwood to frame the mirror
Tricia Rose eclectic bathroom
The bedding pictured here is based on nautical flags. Don't miss the little miniature bed beside it.
Tricia Rose eclectic bedroom

Tricia Rose eclectic bedroom
"I had this wood for a long time and thought about it for a long time," says Rose. She created this headboard with the help of a nail gun in about 20 minutes. "If I get tired of it, I'm going to take it down," she adds.
Tricia Rose eclectic bedroom
"I cut up an old gate-leaf table to make that rack," Rose says. Hanging in the center is the key to a home in France she and her husband used to own.
Tricia Rose eclectic entry

Tricia Rose eclectic entry
Rose framed a plain mirror with found driftwood, which she also used to create the legs of the side table. The tabletop is the end of a wine barrel, which she embellished with a scrap of rope. Salvaged galvanized buckets serve as wastebaskets throughout the home.
Tricia Rose eclectic living room
Rose made the two ceiling lamp shades from crab nets that she lined with a remnant of ombreTricia Rose eclectic living room
The waterfront room pictured here used to be a porch. On a beam over the sliding door, she and her husband have mounted a retractable movie screen. "At night we lie around on the couches and watch movies projected onto it," she explains.
Tricia Rose  living room
To make the 9-square-foot kitchen work, Rose put a sideboard under the window for storage. Nailed to the wall is a scrap of corroded metal she found underneath an old water heater.Tricia Rose eclectic living room
"I wanted to have rope handles, so I drilled four holes in every drawer I could find," Rose says. The pile on top is coral, driftwood and other beach detritus, onto which she tosses her jewelry to create the enticing look of a found heap of treasures.
Tricia Rose  living room
Here, an old brass porthole that was in the house when she bought it is repurposed as a plant stand of sorts. Rose notes that there is a raccoon skull tucked somewhere in the current display.
Tricia Rose eclectic living room

Tricia Rose eclectic living room

Tricia Rose eclectic bathroom

Amazing isn't it? Pics via

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Food for thought!

Yay! Another recipe of mine got posted on They Draw and Cook! Well, it's not really a "recipe recipe"...but you decide!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! And for those not celebrating Thanksgiving, there's always something to give thanks for! Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Linen....the fabric of our lives!

OK OK, so its not linen, it was Aaron Neville who crooned that cotton is the fabric of our lives. But in my (humble) opinion, give me its close cousin, linen, any day over cotton! And as much of a cotton gal that I am (I absolutely refuse to wear anything else, maybe silk if the occasion demands it), I love love linen. Both linen and cotton are natural vegetable fibers, but unlike cotton which is made from the cotton plant, linen is fabric or yarn made from the fiber of flax, probably the first vegetable fiber known to man. Linen is lighter and has more texture, and exceeds cotton in coolness, luster, strength and length of fiber.

Anyway, enough about linen theory, suffice to say that we all love linen. A crisp, cool linen shirt in summer really beats the heat. It may not be as smooth and sensuous as silk, or as soft and comfy as cotton, as warm and snuggly as wool, in fact it crinkles up easily and is high maintenance, but it is an organic, living, breathing, tactile, intimate and sexy material. And linen furnishings for the house are not only simply gorgeous, but they scream "NATURAL"!

Here are some stunning images of linen used for furnishings. Of course nowadays linen is dyed every color of the rainbow, but I like it best in its natural, beigy, off white avatar!

Pics 1 thru 8 via

Pics 9 thru 13 from various Internet sources

And for those of you really interested and with 15 minutes to spare, here is a fascinating, riveting video of the process of harvesting the flax fiber and making linen!

BE LINEN MOVIE from Benoit MILLOT on Vimeo.