Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inspiration from the blogging community - Deeba Rajpal from Passionate about baking


I have been thinking of inviting some of the bloggers over to Turmeric n Spice for an informal chat over some exotic food with people who have inspired me to go beyond my comfort level, be it cooking, baking, photography or writing! These are some of my favorite blogs and I always read them regularly and have drawn inspiration from their work.

Some time near the end of November I wrote to Deeba from Passionate About Baking asking her to do a guest post for me.  She was so gracious to take out time from her busy schedule for a little chat at TNS. I don't think Deeba needs an introduction, her work speaks for her passion for baking.  She has some of the most exotic desserts showcased at PAB. Her blog is almost therapeutic,  I just love her rustic, earthy style of photography. You will fall in love with her desserts, photography, props - my heart is set on the rustic blue box - absolutely gorgeous!

Thanks Deeba for this wonderful chat and for sharing your beautiful pictures. Loved having you over, looking forward to meeting you in person the next time I am in Delhi.

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"Find something youíre passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it."
Julia Child

Simi : What made you decide to do a food/baking blog?


Deeba : Having left my job after the kids were born left me with time on my hands so I began baking a lot more. Then one day the husband got me a digital camera. It opened up a whole new world. I decided to document my recipes in my own secret space on the net. It was quite a scary beginning as no one at home even knew what a 'blog' was back then in 2007.
Chocolate
Simi : How long does it take you to do a post, from cooking, to photography, edit and finally writing before you hit publish?

Deeba : It depends. On good days, I usually have a draft that I type with first thoughts as the ëstuff to be bloggedí cooks or bakes. Those are inspiring times as I have a good feel about the end result. I just know. These days itís taking a lot longer as I have work other than just feeding the blog so those commitments need to be met too. Ideally, 4-5 hours is good for a well balanced post if my pictures have been downloaded {and I havenít gone overboard with the camera!}
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Simi : Who have been your major influences and inspiration?


Deeba :  My initial major influences were 2 pastry chefs from the US in 2007-2008 -Aran @ Canelle et Vanille and Helene @ Tartlette. I'd spend hours looking at their food blogs. Later, my rustic side took over and Katie Quinn from What Katie Ate inspired me tremendously.

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Simi : What is your idea of a memorable meal or dining experience?

Deeba : One where the guests enjoy every little bit of the meal and experience ... the drinks, snacks, mains, dessert, ambiance and company. IMHO, if you look forward to the guests, the food turns out looking and tasting so much better. I've been fortunate to host two utterly memorable meals already this year. They left me so satisfied that I danced with joy!

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Simi : What is your favorite dessert that you loved to create ?


Deeba : I prefer all things coffee, be it a Coffee Panna Cotta or an Espresso Coffee Cream Cake. My favourite dessert to plan and present has always been layered cakes.One that I really enjoyed, and importantly made a lot of readers particularly happy was the Old Fashioned {Eggless} Layered Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Strawberries & Cream

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Simi : How do you innovate in the kitchen, do you read a lot about the different techniques and new trends ? Do you read a lot about food photography?


Deeba : I wish I had time to read about trends, techniques etc. I usually work with what I have in the kitchen, or something thatís in season. I love to create and innovate with seasonal produce, especially fruit. My mind charts its own path as I begin to bake as I am usually short on time. I use shortcuts like lace borders to pretty up the sides of cakes, garnishes, plating, chocolate decorations. I also stick to my own basic sponge, crËme patesserie, frosting and ganache recipes as they live in my head.

Simi : Your food photography absolutely stands out, if you had to pick one thing that makes your food stand out in the pictures, what would that be?


props
IMG_5425-horz

Deeba : I am not sure, but people {readers,friends, family, critics} say that it is my individual sense of styling in a rustic, earthy way that leaves a ëDeebaí trademark. I go with my mood most of the time, but do try and keep styling fresh. I am a ërabidí collector of all things old and vintage.

old del

I need to be bound and gagged at times.I will stop by every dusty gypsy shanty in Delhi and Gurgaon, I will buy knives from the roadside vendor, I will carry every old plate from my mothers, aunt etc. I have banned myself from going into Old Delhi because I cannot stop wanting to buy everything I see! I have trunks, boxes, shelves of plates, bowls, spoons, knives, ribbon, twine, jute, cloth Ö and it is all a hobby I enjoy! {I have a very very understanding and appreciative better half who never says no to anything I want. NEVER}

Simi : What is your favorite picture that you have shot in the last 6 years of blogging ? 

fave

Deeba : This was one of my favourite shots of Blood Orange Macarons as it has a bit of everything I love ... my rustic blue box that I bought from the gypsy tent, macarons and blood orange flakes from a dear friend in Canada. This is the kind of connect which I enjoy. {I like a few pictures others too...}

fave 2

You know, sometimes I fall in love with my own pictures. Pictures that are truly reflective of everything I stand for, do and love ñ cuisine, seasons, colours and hues, props and ambiance.

Simi : Any photography tips for fellow bloggers?


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Deeba : Get inspired. Never fear asking. Itís not the camera but the person behind the lens. Confession: I still shoot in auto mode, and in natural light. I am technically challenged and cannot seem to get ëmanualí confident. I understand my limitations but enjoy what I do with a passion. I dream. A lot.

Simi : When was the turning point for your blog - your first recognition?

Empanada Gallega

Deeba : I had a few early surprises that made me ask myself ìMe? Why me? What did I do?. I cherish each mention I get, each award I have received. The most special one is the first one I ever gotÖ I shall never forget the exhilarated feeling of that one from Abby!I was thrilled to get a feature in Femina, BHG, BBC Good Food, Harpers Bazaar†... and more recently on Sparkah.

Simi : What are your plans for 2013 ?
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Deeba : Pardon me, but I have already tripped on my plans to blog more often this year. From belting out posts at least twice a week, I am still trying to get that one post going! I am quite lazy with monetizing my blog etc. Maybe I finally get down to writing a cookbook proposal? That is one thing on the top of my mind.

Simi : Any final message/advise ?


stay inspired

Deeba : Please dream a lot, get inspired, stay inspired and eventually develop your own style. Do not feel shy to emulate. Itís a step in the right direction if you can find your own style one day. Seek advice from others. Shoot loads of photographs. Ask friends to play critic. Join Pinterest. Stop by at Flickr, Foodgawker and Tastespotting, appreciate and enjoy photographs that appeal to you. Do what makes you happy; be passionate; and thatís when you will begin enjoying what you do! Have a most wonderful 2013!!

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Thank you Simi for having me over and allowing me to indulge my passion. You are the sweetest!
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16 comments:

  1. Thank you lovely ladies - Simi and Deeba for such a lovely post.
    Deeba has been an inspiration since I stepped into the blog world!!She is superlative! One day I hope to be as good as her :)
    Thanks once again Simi fr a lovely virtual interview!

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  2. Nice interview. You have a really nice blog here.. will be back. :-)

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  3. Indeed very inspiring! and Deeba is one person i look upto tremendously. With her recipes, her food styling, her unique 'Deeba stamp' on all her photographs and the warm person that she is, she makes it so easy to! Thank you Simi for giving us an opp to get to know her better!

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  4. Fabulous & utterly inspiring post!!Deeba is one amazing food blogger...Her photography skills are mind blowing..Rustic yet elegant & classy..And with all this cant help it but spend so much time just browsing thru pics on PAB!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

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  5. very inspiring talk!!!! i m going up n down jus to see the pics!!!so lovely!!!!

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  6. wow great to now abt u....happy new year. to u as well..

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  7. A very nice interview here. I read her blog frequently, she does some amazing work.

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  8. Delicious and beautiful guest post, she take good pictures and make good food. Both simi and Deeba congrats for this guest post.

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  9. its really a nice post.R8 nw i checked out deeba`s blog....thanx 4 introducing here..
    Iam mving my cursor up n down 2 see d pics.. just awesum......Mouth watering dishes.....
    HAPPY NEW YEAR2013
    Maha

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  10. Hi Simi,

    Apologies for the typo in previous comment :)

    I liked this blog and following you now on.

    Regards,
    Raksha

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  11. lovely clicks.thanks for sharing.happy to follow you.check my space when you have time.

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  12. lovely clicks.thanks for sharing.happy to follow you.check my space when you have time.

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  13. Wow....that's a wonderful interview...very motivating too....thanks both of u.

    Helen

    http://myworldmyhome2012.blogspot.in

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  14. Thank you for having me over Simi. I loved being at your 'place'! Hope you have a wonderful and inspirational 2013! HUGS!

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  15. As a blogger Deeba is awesome! But as a human being, she's one of the best I have ever ever come across. I totally <3 her.

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Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to browse. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. Hope you enjoy your stay :))

hugs!
simi

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