DIY: Grow cilantro/coriander in flower pots

Yay!!! That’s all I can say. Little coriander rose from its seed-slumber as I was sleeping away. This morning when I peeped out of my window, I saw a little leaf smiling at me, saying, “hi”. How I adore this little leaf- it gave me the sign that now I can officially grow my own cilantro, outside my window. Happiness is a cilantro leaf, I say.

Blossoms and a kitchen peek-a-boo!

With the onset of monsoons, my darling house plant decides to bless me too. A thing to celebrate I guess? Looks like it from the menu!

I spotted an array of earthen ware pots at a local nursery- all beautiful, with pure Indian motif. And you wouldn’t believe how cheap they were. I actually paid 20 rupees more to the young boy who sold it to me because I thought paying them what they wanted was still below its worth- at least to me. My city-conscience couldn’t believe they could be so cheap. In shopping malls and trade fairs, we would have bought the same stuff for thrice its price, happily. In fact it was only a matter of days when me and my sister were strolling through a shopping mall and found some great earthen ware. We wanted to pick it up but thought it was overpriced. Thank god we didn’t buy it! Coming to think of it now, we would have been fools to buy them and also criminals, to have supported such an ugly affair of exploiting poor manufacturers and making money from their hard work, by selling “brand exotic”. No, way!

Anyway. I planted three colors together, just because one of each was available and then thought it might look good! I am proud of myself. At least just in one case. or maybe two! For not contributing to capitalism just once. For my happiness’ sake.

DIY: Revamp a cushion with fabric rosettes!

This post is dedicated to two people; two bloggers I really admire. To

1. Janice from postcardsfromwildwood– for being an inspiration. She is just beyond normal when it comes to needle work, she is extraordinary. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to stitch patterns like her, but again, maybe its her magic wicker basket after all. Contemplating a thievery. Check her post: Hungarian rhapsody to see what I mean.

2. Kristin from Myuncommonsliceofsuburbia– again for inspiring me to live out of the box on a budget and for the tutorial. She is probably one of the most talented DIY-ing blogger I have seen, by far. And yes, I do see a lot of blogs from around the world, being someone from the digital industry.

The drift

Kristin from MyUncommonSliceOfsuburbia blogged a beautiful tutorial on fabric rosettes, seeing which I was really inspired. But again, those who know me, knows that I’m no good with needle and thread or lets just say that I don’t have a sewing thumb! But surprisingly this time I made it. Maybe, finally, God listened to my prayers of delivering me from being such a lousy-needle-n-thread-girl.

This is a great and a very easy makeover theory and takes only a couple of minutes! Even for someone like me. I took scrap clothing from the side of an old bedspread that matches my new quilt, tore it down to rags (in strips, no precision required), twined it and kept swirling around a knot that i formed before twirling the cloth. And as I went, i kept stitching it to the previous layers from below. My cushion was ready to be used in less than 10 minutes. Isnt it real fun?

Chocolate walnut cookies Recipe

I think one foodie finds the other! By default. She is a brilliant cook, a great baker, an equally great girl and cherishes food just as much. I’m featuring my friend, Nupur Birla’s chocolate walnut cookies today. What a thing to have on a rainy day with a steaming cup of cafe latte!

The Recipe

Ingredients:

½ cup butter

½ cup castor sugar (can use powdered sugar)

1 cup plain flour (maida) (Nupur’s tip: use equal proportions of maida and wheat flour for healthier cookies)

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice (brings a lovely tangy zing to the cookies!)

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

¼ cup crushed walnuts

¼ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (use any chocolate – milk/dark/mint/caramel,etc)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C for about 3-4 minutes
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter using a wooden spoon till it becomes soft and creamy. Now add the sugar and beat well
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon juice, vanilla essence & crushed walnuts and mix well using your hands to make a dough.
  4. Cover it with a plastic wrap and chill for a while. For at least 2 hours.
  5. Divide into 15 equal portions or shapes of your choice and roll in the chocolate chips. Make sure the shapes aren’t too big because the cookies will spread once put in the oven
  6. Place these on a baking tray and bake the cookies for 20 – 25 minutes at 150⁰C. Ensure the color doesn’t go too dark or else it will bring a bitter charcoaled like taste (:P)
  7. Remove the tray from the oven. Cool &  serve.
Of course, you know, cookies can be stored, which never happens in our case.
Here’s some additional tips from the lady herself!
  • You can even use crushed cornflakes instead of chocolate chips for crunchier & crispier bites J
  • Try replacing walnuts with almonds/peanuts/cashews or pistachios and you can have assorted cookies for your friends. But don’t forget to tell me how they taste!
The girl in question
~Have a good day folks~

Window View

After years of staying in a brick and mortar jungle, I finally have a window to wake up to. A cup of tea and the blue hills beyond is what I look forward to every morning: there’s nothing else I’d want to do, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Specially when it’s raining!

Back in the hills, my window used to open to a bed of Chrysanthemums, Mt. Kanchendzongha (the third highest mountain in the world) and a glistening river flowing from the Himalayas, snaking it self through the valley until it finally met river Teesta. And while on a sunny day it sparkled like a thousand million suns, on a moonlit night this became the secret stream of molten silver. Sadly, I have no photographs of my own to show you how beautiful and striking it was but this photograph is ditto of what I’m talking about. Meanwhile, I need a bite from my lemon cake.

Life has brought me into this weird situation, where every time I see these hills, I’m equally happy and sad.  Happy because they make me feel at home. Sad because I miss my little room and the extended study that dad built for me with glass windows.

And as I write from my window, the only thing that worries me is that I’m having to see my childhood memories get tarnished and replaced with snapshots of violence. With political outrage, killing, strikes, processions and so much blood, I wonder if I’d ever be able to return again. In fact I guess, the only way to live those memories is to not re-live them anymore.

  Somethings are better left the way they were

~X~

DIY: A quick back rest makeover

I bought 5 meters of organza from the flea market at Rs. 100. 4 meters went into making curtains that adorns my living room. Where is the other 1 meter?

I snipped the extra 1 meter into halves and tied a bow on the backrest of my two white chairs. Yeah, it’s a bit girly, but it gives a fairy tale effect to my room! And i love it.

Hope you like it!

~X~

Welcoming the change: New home’s living room

Yes, I have finally moved away from the city, an information for all those who might stumble upon my blog for the first time. And what a task it has been; not to mention, what fun too! More possibilities, more scope of DIYs, more negotiations and finally getting a good deal. I surprisingly enjoy the process. It makes me feel like a winner.

Its raining here in India. From yesterday, that is the 2nd of June, the great Indian monsoon has officially struck the parched subcontinent, bringing with itself the much needed relief. Honestly, after a couple of days we all will be pretty much cursing the rains, but for now, we are loving it.

Although most people would think of it as a bad choice to dab your room with blue when its sombre and grey outside, but I say, what better time to bring out the blues if this is not it. Count the color and of course the music. Different hues of blue and pops of cool color scattered here and there. Ah, I can die for it. I wanted to go blue, lime-green and grey set in the milieu of the darkest grey sky and transparent pitter-patter. I’m clearly going beyond rules.

 

Oh, and I finally got my hands on a crate. I love crates. This is a mango crate that acts as the center table in the living room. I wanted to give it a worn out white look but I feel for the grain. Maybe later.

of course, these are just sections of the living room and there are lot more that needs figuring, but for now I’m happy with how its shaping up. I hope you all agree!

Have a good weekend

~X~

A little rain and cappuccino!

This has been a family tradition to go gaga over coffee in the rains and the winters! Having grown up in the hills and in the foot hills of the great Himalayas, monsoon and winters were ‘the seasons’ to look forward to; while the winters were adorable with fireplaces and room heaters and after dinner hot chocolates, the monsoons were cozy over cappuccino and a light shawl.

Huddled up in our living room, listening to the rain drops on the glass windows, over the roof, over the tiny chrysanthemums, mum’s coffee made our day. Though basically, we are a tea family, of which I’ll have to talk about later, this coffee was special. This was the coffee we all looked forward to- a coffee that was specially made after dad was home from work. The sound of his car and we are ready to sip on the heavenly caffeine.

Though living in the hills seems like a distant memory, the memories of good times with my folks and my sister are here to stay and to be passed on to the generation to follow. And of course, so do the recipe, the warmth and the love. And someday i wish to give my children the best of monsoons, the best of times and the best of coffees. To inculcate in them, to foster in them the same love, the same sweet memories, that my parents did in us. That is success. That is living.

Its June. And its raining too. And as usually, i couldn’t restrict myself from having a cup by my window. Here is the recipe to rock your rains.

For two:

2 tbsp coffee powder

6 tbsp sugar

1 teaspoon warm water (add slowly)

1 cup milk

1 cup water

Procedure:

Beat them for around 5 to 7 minutes till it becomes light toffee colored and the sugar crystals dissolve.

boil the milk and the water

Put one spoon full into each cup and pour the milk and water mixture

Stir gently. You’ll see the froth floating on top.

Garnish with cinnamon, drinking chocolate or whipped cream. Our favorite is cinnamon.

To all those who are into monsoons and cherish the pitter-patter of the heavenly drops against the window panes and the green tree against the dark gray sky, this coffee is for you! Enjoy!

Return to innocence!

This is Friday; and a perfect day to start infusing and confusing this place with exited thoughts that are primarily random. Because, this is my place. A place where someone else do not decide what i write. This is my way of rebelling, of freeing those freedom crazy thoughts that hover in the head, in the blood, desperate to be expressed somewhere.

Last night was a great night. And it was great because, i religiously followed the maxim, ” Time wasted is time worth spent”. Last night i gave nothingness a priority over something-ness which made all the difference. Doing nothing is a great thing to do.

After having the pleasure of throwing some magazines, which landed defeated on the bed with soft thuds, I did some serious cloud watching from my window, spending time like it were no object. And in this carpet of brick and mortar that covers this sophisticated city, it gives me immense pleasure to announce that my window actually opens out to no other window but to the open air. I can hear the birds sing, can almost touch them when they fly, can see the city heights in glory and at times when all that’s so ‘done’, I quietly lie down and watch the clouds float by. And at days when there are no clouds, I see stars. Millions of them from my window!  I feel blessed, my life gets complete and I feel the city breathing. That is when I want to believe in fairies.

I always believe, funny as it may sound, that someday, something supernatural would happen. Maybe finally a pixie will be shining on my candle holder, or maybe at the dearth of the night, outside my window, I will see Peter Pan who will take me to never land. After all, they say it’s just a matter of belief. I choose to believe.

And after a day full of meetings and brain-storming and work, where imaginations are chained to bring ROI to the clients, at night I let them free. Let them think whatever they want to. Innocent imaginations have learnt nothing by far is what i gather. They haven’t quite grown up. At the end of it all, after being agents to such lofty articles, all they think about is Peter Pan, Heidi and Pixie Dust!!

In a state of sub consciousness, my imaginations want to escape reality. Wants to fly straight from my window to a place, to the left of the third star from the right behind which there’s never land. Behind which the fairies play and pirates hunt for treasure. Wants to go to a house in the high mountains and earn a living being the owner of 200 sheep. Build my own chairs, have an attic full of hay. And at night sit by the fireplace and eat my dinner, while my St. Bernard grumbles outside.

That is where I want to be. Through my window in a state of nothingness, i achieve everything. Figments of imagination, the transport to fairyland. Figments of imagination- a great thing to live for!!