Friday, August 30, 2013

Textile-licious !!!!

Hello Everybody,

It's been a hectic week at my place. School starts next week, so getting things organised for my son's school has been my priority. The hardest part has been coming up with a lunch menu for him. Then there's the school open house, volunteering for the school and not to mention the anxiety that I have to deal with, as this is the first time he's going to be away from me, for 7 long hours at a stretch. 

On a different note, I'm also getting things rolling for the Ganesha Celebration at my place. So, I've got my hands full. 

Now, coming to the "Textile-licious" Home of today. That's the only word that came to my mind to describe the home of  renowned textile designer John Robshaw. The images of his home have stuck with me from the time I saw them in Matchbook Magazine and Elle Decor. I just had to share it with you'll. There is a touch of India in every corner of the home.

Mismatched framed art together with masks, bowls and turbans makes for
one -of -a -kind display.

Juxtaposition of fabrics in brilliant hues and patterns creates a space that's 
warm and inviting. Love how the MODA(for foot stool in India) is used as
 a side-table.

In love with the  floor to ceiling art.

Comfortable work station - I would love one like that for myself. Right now my dining is my work space and I got to share it with my 6 year old.

The curves of the headboard is to die for. The place looks so lived. Not what I'd expect for a designer's home in Manhattan.  

Love the display of knick knacks. 

BOOKS sigh.........

Aloe vera in ceramic pots add a touch of greenery.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay tuned for more exciting posts on decor and photography heading your way !!!!!
Images : Via

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spicy Chicken Bombay Biryani - Nothing less than A Royal Treat

BIRYANI - just the word makes me drool. This dish is a royal culinary treat for the taste buds and all your senses. The aroma of basmati rice, spices and meat cooking together in a richly flavored gravy conjures up an appetite unlike anything else. Wake me up in the middle of the night and trust me I'd get up to eat this. My husband "G", a wonderful cook is to thank for this mouth watering recipe. A warning however, this delicacy is a spicy treat as the spice level on a range of 0-5 is 4.

It's one of those recipes where you don't have to open your masala dibba (spice box) making it easy on yourself but not compromising on the taste. "G" came up with this when we had made an unplanned invitation to one of our friends and had to come up with something quick and delicious. Since then it's what we treat ourselves to on Sunday afternoon lunches and is also one of the most requested items on the menu when friends come over.

Spicy Chicken Bombay Biryani
Serves : 5
Time: an hour excluding marination time
Spice level: 4/5

To marinate:
1 whole chicken (Preferable with the bones as the goodness is inside the bones and adds a lot of flavor to the biryani) / 3 pounds cut and cleaned
1- 60g  ready made Shan Spice Mix for  Bombay Sindhi Biryani
1 Tbsp ready made Laziza Zafrani Bombay Biryani Spice Mix
3 Tbsp Maggie coconut milk powder mix
1/2 tsp yogurt
1Tbsp ginger-garlic paste

For the Chicken Gravy:
2 large onions sliced 
1 small tomato chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves packed
2 green chilies slit ( avoid if you want to reduce the spice)
2 Tbsp coriander leaves chopped 
1 small potato cut into 1" cubes
3 Tbsp oil
11/2 tsp ghee
2 whole green cardamom

For the rice:
2 1/2 cups basmati rice ( I prefer to use Royal)
salt to taste (this is only for the rice - DO NOT add for the gravy as  the spice mix contains salt)
a pinch of yellow color (as per preference) 
a very small pinch of EDIBLE camphor (adds a wonderful flavor and aroma)

For the marination:
For best tasting results combine all the ingredients listed under "to marinate" and refrigerate overnight. If your short on time, marinate the chicken for atleast 1 hour.

For the Rice:
Wash and Pre-soak the rice for 1/2 hr at least before cooking. Heat sufficient water in a pot with salt, a pinch of yellow color and a very small pinch of edible camphor. When the water starts to boil, add rice cover and cook. Stir occasionally and cook until 80% done. Drain rice and wash under cold water. Let drain completely. The texture of rice should be a little chewy but not soft (refer to picture below). Let the rice cool completely.  

For the Chicken Gravy:
As the rice is cooking, heat oil and ghee together in a pan. Add cardamom, sliced onions and fry till they turn translucent and a light golden brown. Next add slit green chilies and mint and fry for a minute. Tomatoes go in next and fry till they turn soft and mushy. Add the marinated chicken once it comes to room temperature and cover and cook until almost done.(Do not add water as the meat releases its juices.)

(If you want it to be quicker, the same process for the gravy could be done in the cooker and chicken cooked for 1 whistle. Again do not add water.)

Once done, reserve 1/2 cup gravy in a separate container and retain the remaining chicken and balance gravy in the same pan. Once the rice is done to 80% consistency, layer the rice on the chicken and top it with the reserved 1/2 cup gravy. It should look like the picture below. 

Cover and cook with a tight lid for 8-10 minutes on the simmer mode.  (This is the dum process where the rice and meat cook completely and the flavors are all come together beautifully.) The Le Creuset dish is ideal for this as the heavy lid seals in the heat and creates a perfect dum. 

Finally, fork the biryani lightly until the rice and chicken gravy are combined together. Serve with lemon wedges and raita of your choice.

Try it out and let me know, how you and your family enjoyed it. If you don't get asked for the recipe, I'd be surprised. Have a wonderful week!!!!!

 Images:Clicked by me. Please do not use without prior written permission.
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Caprilicious Jewellery (Featured Shop)

Clasp my love around your neck,
Wear my heart on your finger.
My soul will be your pendant:
I live to adorn you -
You're the precious one'.
~ Grey Livingston, Genuine Adoration.

To me "Jewellry" is an extension of a woman's femininity and personality. Today's woman, adorns herself with jewellry to match her moods, to make a statement and to grace her inherent beauty. Caprilicious Jewellry, corroborates this very effort of the women to look classy, modern and themselves all at the same time.One look at what this store has to offer and you know exactly what I mean. Each piece of jewellry is handmade and an art in itself. If you are a jewellry lover like me, go ahead and feast your eyes.

Neena Shilvock is the creative mind behind the jewellry line "Caprilicious Jewellry". When Neena reached out to me, I was awe struck by the originality and the intricacy of each and every design that Neena so diligently creates. Wondering how the name Caprilicious Jewellry came together -Neena beautifully sums up the essence of the brand saying "I design for the woman who likes to be noticed - stylish, individual,confident, with a sense of humor and a zest for life - Delicious jewellry for the Capricious woman - Caprilicious! " Her jewellry is traditional with a modern twist so matter what mood your in, it would look great with a silk sari or a little black dress. 

Based in Warwickshire (UK), Neena is an obstetrician and gynaecologist by profession. Neena goes on to say "I have a day job, that is very responsible and demanding, and sometimes quite hard work - however, I felt the need for some 'MAGIC' in my life - and I went out looking for it. I wonder whether I just loved
jewellery enough to want to make the magic - or I wanted to learn the magic to be able to create the jewellery - but this is how it all went ballistic." 
So after a couple of classes learning the nuances of the jewellry making, she was completely hooked. 

I love how Neena draws inspiration from the Blue Himalayan poppy, windows of the Alhambra palace, tribal jewelry from Mali, Libya and Senegal, fireflies, waves, butterflies, leaves and all that nature has to offer. Do check out her wonderful blog, where she shares more on her design process, inspirations and experiments. 

Every piece that Neena has to offer is different. The versatility of the collection is admirable. But one close look at them and you can tell, the common factor binding them together is the Neena element in them. The convergence of  wire, together with different gems and metals only makes for one of a kind statement piece. She also undertakes custom orders and is more than willing to work with you should you opt for it. 

Neena's desire to create magic has definitely evolved into one of the most versatile jewellry lines for the woman of substance. Neena ships internationally,  so go ahead and get a piece of these magnificent treasures from Caprilicious Jewellry's cache for yourself. For more on Caprilicious Jewellry - here is the link .

Images : Courtesy Caprilicious Jewellry

Friday, August 23, 2013

Brighten Up My Day !!!!

Hello Everybody !!!!

It's been a dull and rainy day here in Virginia. I hate weather like this. On a rainy day I prefer to have lots of family and friends at home, lazying around and chit-chatting nonchalantly accompanied by cup after cup of ginger chai and hot pakoras ( fried chick pea fritters). Back in the good old days when it rained, mom always used to make pakoras with ginger chai. Thinking of it, gives me a warm feeling. 

However, now no pakoras for me. I brighten up my day lighting candles and buying flowers for myself. Today, it was hydrangeas that I longed for. So when I went to the store for groceries, there they were calling out to me. I had to pick them up. They definitely made up for the gloomy weather and brought some color to the indoors. 

I love Hydrangea cause you only need a couple of stems to fill a vase.

Love to watch the wax  as it melts and makes beautiful patterns as it drips down .

As you'll know, I adore kantha work. I've already featured a shop, Another World Trading that specializes in kantha products. So when I came across this Terai folding chair from Anthropologie on Craigslist, I could not pass it up. It is in mint condition. And I'm thrilled I got it. It originally costs $198 and I scored if for........ drum roll please.... $30. Now that's a sweet deal. 

The chair fits beautifully in the guest bedroom and works as additional seating on days when we are entertaining. These chairs instantly add a global flair to any room. I'm constantly moving furniture around house, digging into my stash of accessories and making combination to see how it all comes together. So today, this was the look that I was going for.

Fresh flowers, a candle and a brass aarti diya makes the rule of three work like charm.

You'll have a wonderful weekend and stay tuned for more on décor, food and " if I could I would(featured shop)" sections coming up next week.

Images:Clicked by me. Please do not use without prior written permission.
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cozumel, Mexico

Every opportunity that life hurls at me to slow down and enjoy some precious moments with my family and friends, I seize it with both hands. Our family vacation was just that and more. We took the cruise and traveled to Cozumel (Mexico), Belize city (Belize), Island Of Roatan (Honduras) and Grand Cayman. Every island had so much to offer......... the sandy white beaches, the endless blue horizon, waves making a new pattern, time and again that could not be replicated and the islands local flavors and vibes. Not to mention the wonderful company we had, as we were a group of 16.

Travelling to the enchanting island of Cozumel(the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean) was only the tip of the iceberg. Friendly people, great food and pristine waters was indulgence for all the senses. The name Cozumel was derived from the Mayan word "Cuzamil-Pectin" or "Land of the Swallows" as legend has it, the Mayan Goddess Ixchel thanked the women for dedicating temples here to her by sending her favorite bird as a sign of gratitude. 

Once on the island, a little haggling with a local tour guide and we were on our way to the archaeological site, San Gervasio. History of these Mayan ruins dates back to 100 BC and continuing as late as the 16th century. Armed with sunscreen, bug spray (is a must) and my lens we were off on our long trek through the fertile jungle heading towards the religious ruins dedicated to the Maya Goddess  Ixchel["what translates to "She of the Rainbows"- deity of fertility and love].  San Gervasio served as a sacred site where Pre-Columbian Maya women would make a pilgrimage at least once in their life time to make offerings. It is overwhelming to see something so ancient existing for us to observe to this date.

At the end of the trek this wonderful sight awaits you.

Having explored the ruins, we could not contain the kids excitement for the beach. So our next stop was at Club Cozumel Caribe. It's great to hire a local tour guide as they can lead you to the hidden treasures that may go unnoticed despite the hours of research prior to travel. Inviting blue waters, restaurant at your service and a place to shower after you have soaked in the salty water and have sand kissed body always helps. This is where we spent the bulk of our time. This place offers snorkeling too. So while the husbands and others who wanted to try snorkeling were gone, the kids were kept busy playing in the water and making sand castles. I managed to sneak in a cat nap for myself under the shade of the coconut lined trees. Stopping and devouring moments like these is what makes up for a good vacation.

After showering up, we were hungry and could eat a horse. So out came the Mexican fare - quesadilla, nachos and fajitas. We eat Mexican food here in the US all the time, but having authentic Mexican food in Mexico is something else. With bellies full, we were off to steep ourselves in the local ambiance and shopping that the place had to offer. The pictures will be  doing the talking from here on.

I can't get past the clear blue waters dotted randomly with boats, the roads lined with coconut trees, the feeling of sand under your barefeet and the gentle waves as they crash against the shore making the most soothing sound that I have heard in a long long time.

And language is not a barrier when travelling, that's for sure. All you need are warm people who welcome you with a hospitality that cannot be forgotten. And that is exactly what we got.

High light of the trip: me being able to put my feet up and immerse myself in the ocean sounds and smells..............the laughter and chuckle of the kids as they splashed around in the salty waters......... holding hands and walking with my husband along the beach as the wind tangled my hair to a wonderful mess. 

As difficult as it made it for me to leave this island, the only consolation was that I had three more islands waiting for me to put my feet up again and experience nature and create memories to last a life time.

Hope you'll enjoyed your tour of Cozumel with me. Sharing these with you'll, only made me relive all those wonderful moments.

Take care and have a wonderful week.

Images:Clicked by me. Please do not use without prior written permission.
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.