Friday, 28 March 2014

In the closet 3: Meet Sharanya Rao

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Presenting the 3rd closet story. This one has been lying in the mailbox since forever (i am super-lazy... you know that by now!). 

Meet Sharanya Rao aka Panache_
Sharanya, the fashionista works in a finance company for a living, takes pictures for fun, hordes silver jewelry, applies beautiful mehendi designs when she is bored, reads a lot, loves travel and is a foodie.

And guess what i found in her closet? I found crochet :D

Here's talking to SR, the closet crocheter. She has also shared some resources if you would like to try.

MG: What  do you do for a living?
SR: I have an MBA in marketing and finance and I work with a finance company. I know it sounds boring... Believe me it's lot of fun! 

MG: Social networking and you... in 30 words
SR: Opens a world of possibilities! You can connect with anyone and everyone who are not accessible in real life. You can represent yourself they way you want and the resources you have access to is mind blowing. 

MG: What made you start crocheting?
SR: It started off with SUPW classes in school, mom was very interested in craft...but she didn't have the right resources,  I learnt the basics (saw how the teacher moved the crochet needle and wool) and taught mom or tried to teach. She would somehow see to that my project was complete. Voila! I always got an A+ in my knitting and crochet projects :) I don't think I would have got through school without my wonderful mother :) Later when I got working and wanted to have a hobby... I thought why not try something I already know a bit... And it worked! I remembered every stitch I learnt (visually). 

MG: I love every single piece of crochet in that collage but the wrap is my favorite! SR, hats off to you for the skill and patience with which you have made the pieces featured here. 

MG: What's your favorite color?
SR: It's seasonal! My current favorite is coral... all time favorite is red. When in doubt wear red, I believe in this! 

MG: If you could give up what you do and do something else... would you? And what?

SR: I haven't figured out that yet! I have too many ideas running around in my head and somehow I have this difficulty to commit to one idea :) I might be sounding very vague, but right now that's how it is :) 

{Links if you want to get started crocheting: YouTube and Ravelry.}

{Previous editions: Meet the shoe-hoarder Divsi, the closet poet Braj, the IITian who is passionate about photography Anil, the lawyer who is also a photogrpher Cristian, and the product designed Manreet who now designs and retails jewelry.}

Hope you have enjoyed meeting Sharanya. If you'd like to share what's in your closet... do send me an email to ambicasrimal@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Ashley and Pudsey make my day

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Divy sent this video to me and I watched it this morning. My jaw dropped and I was smiling like a cheshire cat. Pudsey and Ashleigh are just too cute... please do yourself a favor... Watch it.

And then there is Happy Singh who does the smartest trick in the book... :D

{More Pudsey and Ashleigh}
{And if you haven't got tired there's some more Pudsey and Ashleigh here}

PS: I still love Uggie, from The Artist as much. If not more. Ok, I think Uggie is the best looking dog ever.

PPS: Thank you Divy for sharing this! XOXO

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Illustrations by Prashant Godbole

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A friend shared a link asking me to check out the photographs knowing i would enjoy them. I did enjoy them. A lot.

But it was Prashant Godbole's pen and ink illustrations that caught my eye and refused to get out of my head. I wish he sold them as art prints or something... I am sure there would be many takers!

{If you have a FB account that is still active, then you can find the illustrations here.}

PS: Thanks Chef Cyn for the share. Find the crooked cook chef on BhajiFried.

PPS: I think Mr. Godbole is the only person I know who can't add more friends... (I didn't know there was a friend limit) But yes, you can follow this awesomely talented man. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The simplest herbed bread with onion and cheese... and the yummiest

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Since I was already baking a cake, i decided to bake bread too. Yeah, the stupid irresistible urge to bake... Baah!

Baking bread is time consuming and requires a lot of patience what with the waiting for it rise and all... but home baked bread is well worth all the effort you put into it.

This one i found on Haathitime's Hungry and Excited. It's quite simple to make and awesome to eat. I ate the bread just like that... no butter or curry or cheese or olive oil. It was divine just as is. Another winner... I was one lucky gal yesterday... both the recipes i tried turned out simply awesome... Needless to say... I pigged out.

{Learn to make the Herbed Bread with Onion and Cheese here}

The best eggless chocolate cake I have ever made

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I woke up yesterday with an urge to bake... the kind that refused to shuttup and let me go back to sleep.

So I baked this cake.

The recipe is a winner and it looks like this is going to become my go-to recipe whenever i want to bake a chocolate cake... In fact, there is another one of these baking in the oven right now, while i am typing this and the house smells chocolatey and lovely!!

{It's eggless and also a one-pan cake so less dishes to clean up after. Find the recipe on the Stephanie's JoyofBaking}

PS: I ran out of sugar while baking this yesterday so i substituted brown sugar instead of regular sugar and it still turned out fine! :D

Friday, 7 March 2014

How the Spiderwick Chronicles changed my life aka the story behind HappySong

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May 2008
Prasad’s Multiplex

The four of us (Raam, Anand, Rohit, and I) had gone to watch a late night show of The Spiderwick Chronicles, a magical fantasy adventure film. On our way out of the theatre, I spotted a tiny puppy, his head protruding from under the frame of the metal detector frame. He was the cutest little thing I had ever seen… naturally I called the boys to come have a look. The security guard told us the puppy did not have a mother so we decided to take him and drop him off to Blue Cross so he could get a fair chance at survival.

On the way back home, we started discussing the pros and cons of bringing a pet into our life. The four of us are all business partners in an advertising agency and also neighbors, besides being the best of friends.  By the time we reached home, Happy Singh was ours.

Happy takes away a lot of our work stress and we don’t even realize when he does that. He goes to office everyday and has been since he was a puppy, riding in the car, his head jutting out of the window, barking at all and sundry. 

Happy has changed me. I have lost a lot of my irrational fears and become a kinder person too along the way. I am not scared of dogs anymore. I love them and play with any stray I see. I carry biscuits in my car for dogs that don’t have homes. I can pretty much pet any animal, in fact – cows, camels, and cats because I don’t fear them anymore.  I don’t jump at the sight of an insect or bug, beautiful or not. And i am grateful for this. 

Happy has changed our lives phenomenally.

It hasn’t been an easy ride always but I feel blessed that we decided to keep him. It didn’t matter to us that Happy was of unknown parentage.  He is a dog and a loving one at that and that’s all the matters.

Happy now stays with Raam mostly, as we are not neighbors anymore. But he is as much  part of our lives as he was then, when we were.

{Photo: Raam and Mahesh play some form of football at Deccan Trails, the only time we took Happy on a trip. Shot with my Nikon D3100}

PS: The name of my business - HappySong is an adaptation of the name Happy Singh.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Best Chocolate Brownies I Have Ever Had

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I recently reconnected with Shilpa, a school friend after 2 decadesand we have been bonding over afternoon booze sessions.

She recently invited another school friend Maddy and me over to her home for a marathon baking session. We baked brownies, an orange cake, and two types of bread (my participation was zero and only limited to eating and taking pictures!)

Maddy swears by Stephanie's brownie recipe and honest to God... these were the awesomest brownies I have ever had. Rich and moist and very chocolatey. Divine and guaranteed to take you to food heaven.

If you'd like to make them brownies, head to the Joy of Baking. You can thank me by sending a couple of pieces when you bake them :D

PS: The brownies, unfortunately, are not eggless.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Instalove 5: Snapitoga

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Instagram handle: snapitoga
Followers: 783
Posts: 430

Photographer: Devesh Uba
Gear: Canon 550D and HTC One

Meet him: http://snapitoga.tumblr.com/

Why I follow: Devesh, in his words, is a 'Traveller from India living the Lagosian adventure." I follow because I get to travel to Lagos without a ticket. The city is vibrant and colorful and Devesh's photography makes it all come to life.

Devesh captures the people, the buildings, the food, the street art, and the life of the people of Lagos. It's been a wonderful journey so far, and Devesh has been an interesting travel companion showing me the sights and sounds of a land far away. I especially love the tiny details he spots, captures and posts... especially the hand-painted art on cars, vans, autos, walls and shop fronts.

Follow him on Instagram, if you like me are a travel enthusiast and would love to see a new place captured so lovingly! :D

{All pics are from snapitoga's instadiary}

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Travel: Worst travel advice ever

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Head to Lonely Planet to read Leif Petterson's take on the worst travel advice ever. I agree with all, except... uhm the last one, which seems forced... to maybe increase sales of LP books!

And while we are talking of traveling... head over to The Adventures of Potli Baba, if you'd like to hear what some seasoned travelers have to say about their journeys and their experiences.

Yes, you guessed it right... I am beginning to feel the itch to travel and am getting a little bit antsy right now.

{I took this photo on a recent train journey with the awesome iPhone4!}

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cookery: Easy Peasy Green Moong Dal Parathas

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I don't like plain parathas much. I love the stuffed ones the most but it takes a lot of time and effort and i am not willing to spend that much time on cooking often. So I found a simple middle path... jazz the basic paratha with different things at the dough stage itself.

When i am feeling super-lazy, I just add chili powder, cumin and salt to the dough. I have also tried parathas with grated carrots, chopped onions, grated bottle gourd and even beets. The moong dal variant is one of my favorites and also i guess, very nutritious.

{Recipe for 4 parathas}

Soak 1 cup moong dal (green gram - split or whole) overnight or for 6 hours at least. Pressure cook with a little water for 1 whistle. Drain the water and leave the dal in a colander / strainer for a few minutes so that all the water drains out completely and the dal cools down as well.

Now transfer the dal to your mixing bowl. Take a 1 inch square piece of ginger, finely grate it and add. Also add a lot of finely chopped coriander, 1 finely chopped green chili and salt to taste (you will need to add more than you usually add to your plain dough).

Add 1 cup whole wheat flour or multi grain flour to the dal and mix and knead the dough till it comes together. (You may need to add more flour, if you think the dough is still too sticky. But yes, this dough is much softer than the regular paratha dough you make). Add 1 tsp of oil and knead again.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Use lots of dry flour, roll the parathas and cook on a tava with as little oil / ghee or as much as you like :).

Serve hot with curd and pickle. 
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