Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Stills - A photography post

For the last two years I have been doing a photography related post on the blog. The discipline  to photograph is not something I need work on, as I use my camera almost every day…it sounds crazy but almost 5-6 days of the week. But, it is not about using your camera…it is more about what I learn from it, how productive are the photo sessions. The last couple of years have given me a lot of learning by dedicating myself to a schedule. I was really missing this discipline this year as there was no photography project that I had committed to, so procrastination was a easy solution.

The light bulb moment struck …#SundayStills is going to be my project for this year - it's a bit late to call it a 2016 project…maybe I will continue it  for more than a year. For now it is an assured post every Sunday sharing one  some still life images in a post…it is hard for me to stick to one image. I'll try to post two or three not more. I promise. I really need to work on my styling skills and this will help me move in that direction

I'm so glad that  Deeba from Passionate about baking and Dolphia from Story of cooks will be joining me in this madness. No specific rules - just #SundayStills.

Am so tempted to add a few more images …I cannot break the resolve :) Hope you had a wonderful weekend !!


Here is a cute image I did last week - just for fun…
Drying fava beans on a clothes line :))

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tropical smoothie

Creamy rich tropical smoothie with saffron and cardamom - it smells like spring.


It's here…it's finally here - Spring !! The warm sunny skies,  the kiss of the morning light …not waking up to dark cold skies. Well….all true except it's raining n' pouring and it feels cold and the sunny skies are not in sight. I'm not complaining as we had a glorious weekend and I was out most of the day, photographing cherry blossoms, glad I did as it's pouring now and most of the flowers will not hold this  downpour. Well, those of you who are not fortunate to live in the midwestern US ( heavy sarcastic tone) will wonder what am I fussing about. Well, if you live nine months indoors in cooooooold temperatures, summer is more like a festival.

In between all the walking and wandering, I did mange to stock up the refrigerator with the essentials … saw this huge stack of mangoes at the grocery store…it transported me to Indian summer. Growing up in lucknow we were always eating  - dasheri, lagada, totapuri  aam ( varieties of mango). I never ever realized in my past life that one day I would be yearning for mangoes. Well, you get mangoes in  the US …it's not really the best quality of mango. Let me put it this way, if it was sold in India - no one would touch it.

Summer vacations was all about mangoes and play….all we did was play outside in the hot summer sun. I remember my mom would always say, "you will get dehydrated and sick", nothing really happened - we were tough kids. Now, when I see my teen turn on the air in the car, I wonder ….what a difference a generation has made. It is not just her,  my nephew in Delhi, kids in my mother's neighborhood in India, it's almost everywhere. None of them actually even eat mango like it should be - they want it chopped and with a fork. I am proud to admit that fork was  is my last option, I still want to bite into my mango…oh yumminess.

There is definitely something about growing up climbing mango and lychee trees !! As much as I love my gadgets and all the possibilities in this internet world. I think, we have paid a price, especially our kids…. we have become so sterilized in our behavior and activities - it's all pre planned. There is no room for spontaneity. I'm not sure if every generation feels this way…I hope it is that way!


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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Indian Masala Dubba 4 - Chili

Red chili or laal mirch is an important spice used to heat up a dish. Not all chilies are equal, some add color, while others are extremely pungent and should be used with caution.


I just love photographing spices. Maybe I am getting obsessed about it. In a good way, well that's what I think …spice boxes scattered all over the kitchen may not be the idea of decor. Talking about decor. I do have 3 jars with star anise, red round chilies and coriander seed on the dinning table, I have got questioning looks from friends. In my defense some of my friends think it's such a cool and creative idea. My blogger friends would think of it as a cool idea, the non-blogger real world friends might find me weird.

A few weeks back I asked my friend about a big black box in her backyard - it had such a
cool surface. She gave me the look and told me it's for organic waste. Since she knows me so well, it was followed by, " you can't have it " "get a life".

The madness does not stop with props, it trickles to a lot of things (let's call it passion, it sounds better)…or should I say that is my obsession : 'light'. Last week, I was in the process of making breakfast, I opened my drawer to get a spatula…and my eyes froze at the gorgeous light inside the drawer. At the speed of light, I emptied the drawer to arrange the spices so I could take a few pictures. A few, led to a few more and a few more….. I saw the poor husband,  standing and looking at the kitchen in shock. What was a perfect normal kitchen a minute or two ago had  transformed itself into a chaotic mess. Well, let us put it this way….we had some cereal for breakfast.

Here is links to my partners in crime



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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Curried Chickpeas and spinach on a toast

Spinach or palak is a very versatile vegetable and can be paired in so many different ways. I love pairing it with chick peas, garbanzo or choley.  This is a quick meal that is nutritious and absolutely delicious. Add an egg on it to kick it another notch or just try the vegan/vegetarian version with no egg.  Pair it with bread or rice…great weeknight meal. You will love this Indian inspired curry.

I always write up my blogpost with a cup of coffee, it's like sitting down and chatting with an old friend….just a monologue, I wish the blogging platform was more interactive like social media and I knew which of my friends were online. Not too far fetched. Take it a step further and how about creating content together, each of us with our uniqueness and all that creative energy in one room. Last week I was shooting some stills with a friend/colleague - it was amazing how quietly we worked together - loved the creative energy. Silence is so strong… a lot can be said in words, but probably a lot more without.

My favorite topic to rant - weather, till it becomes walk worthy n warm. Am thinking of a bigger herb patch in the backyard this year, if it ever gets warm…!! Since my baby herb patch is taken over by mint, might as well call it the mint patch and create another herb patch on the opposite side. I do get the best herbs in the farmers market downtown and often go there and get my fill…with nine months of frost and cold, is it even worth it? Well, will keep you guys posted on how that goes.

For now it's store bought everything….nothing homegrown.


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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Still Life Photography

I have not been photographing for myself as much as I used to…at least the last couple of months. I have been missing that a lot. This Sunday I got my paints out and painted a brand new board after a long time, I wanted a rustic old look to it…am not sure if I achieved that but I did like the final look. So, the next day I  tried to test it and did some test shots with it…

Many of you asked me on social media if I had a tutorial for my boards, well here it is. … Tutorial.

Photography is a self learning process, as I try and break loose from boxed thinking, here is my visual interpretation of it. Maybe too literal ??



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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lemon and blueberry tarts

Lemon and blueberries complement each other in this tart. Each bite has a sweet zesty bite to it. Perfect spring dessert, fresh and light. Super easy recipe that looks like you spent some quality time in the kitchen, but you actually did not :)



The arrival of berries, fresh herbs,  cherry blossoms is usually a sign of spring…something I'm still waiting for ….we are having weird weather pattern here in the Midwestern Unites States. A warm February, with ground hog announcement of an early spring, followed my a confused March and a cold April. I really am confused which season we are in. It's below freezing with snow showers one day and in the 60F the next. I'm just worried that the extreme temperatures might ruin the cherry blossoms. I tried to go out for a walk in the morning, it was too cold and it did not take me long to walk back home in despair.

It's cold out side, but spring in my kitchen. A few weeks back I made lemon tarts from home made lemon curd. Just loved the citrus flavor with a mild touch of spice. I tried making the tart two ways, one baking the base of the tart followed by baking the lemon curd and second: baking the tart base and setting the lemon curd with gelatin. I liked the second method for two reasons, first it was easier and the beautiful color of the lemon curd is preserved.

I also made a lemon curd ice cream, with store bought ice-cream - and did a tart with it. Loved it !! so here are both variations - with the ice cream and just with lemon curd.

This really is an easy recipe and am planning to make them in mason jars - so I do not have to un mold and it's easy to serve.

Lemon and blueberry tarts


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