Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Photography Styling Challenge- Order

order6Sneaky little December breezily slid in while I was not looking, bringing with it the deadline for this month’s photography styling challenge topic, Order. Ironically, my house is at its least orderly self, thanks to the huge load of baby stuff we bought/got as gifts in the past six months. This, topped with crazy Black Friday shopping for Christmas gifts, I feel like a bull in a China shop at the moment.

Thankfully, the weekend was long and I had a couple of good ideas. Hence, I managed to photograph the handful of order we had around the house and call the challenge done. Next month’s topic is chaos. I am beside myself with excitement for this one. I probably have to wrap up the shoot by 19th of this month because we are off on a holiday after that and would return only by the 1st of January. And then it would be time for the madcap semester to begin (I will whine more about that later, I promise!). But now, here is to December and the much needed inspiration for order this photoshoot brought my way.
order3I had to take a pic of this before babygirl starts crawling and we pack them away. These are just a few trinkets, most of them gifts from friends and family. My absolute favorite has got to be this bell from Germany, a gift from my wonderful friend, N. Aarabhi already tries to grab this off the lowest shelf of the television table.

orderI’ve always been known for being a reader and not a collector of books. I owned a Kindle for a few months, didn’t really dig e-books and gifted it to my sister. We’ve bought multiple Kindle devices on my account since, but none of them for me. I have a very small collection of books at the moment, no thanks to poorly stocked county library in the city I used to live before moving down south. I hardly found Indian authors or Magic-Realism books there so I have been skipping libraries since and buying a few every time I go to India from Landmark Bookstore in Madras. I have no place for bookshelves in my apartment at the moment so my books sit on the side table in the living room. I have also found them to be a good source of conversation when we have guests over.
order4Ah, the divine altar at home. This shelf used to be such a mess until my mom-in-law decided to come to its rescue. Right now, it is in perfect order… as are the three other shelves below this. Zen, finally!
order2This is the hub’s handiwork. For the uninitiated, this is a collection of my pregnancy ultrasounds. Although our photographs (who prints them anymore, right? I do!) are in a mess in one of my drawers, the K man meticulously arranged these in order. We hardly look at them but it is good to know that they are around when we feel like taking a peek.

As always, you can read about the challenge here and take a look at other participants’ entries. Here is the list:
Redesigned By M
Red Lovin Pixie
At the Corner of Happy and Harried
Inge Kathleen Photography
My Food Tapestry
Pies and Puggles
A Woven Life
City Girl Searching
A Tree Grows in the Bayou
I Live under a Rock Called Table Mountain
Hooked on Homes

Ah, chaos, come to mamma!

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Good-bye, Tarla

tarlaI cannot seem to grasp the fact that Tarla Dalal is no more. It is strange, but her demise has touched me at a personal level that no random news about death of a celebrity does… yet, I’ve never met her, had no dreams of getting in touch with her and there was no way our paths would ever have crossed even if she had lived a hundred years more.

Like most contemporary Indian home cooks and Indian cuisine lovers alike, Tarla was one of the first people, a silent teacher whose invisible hands guided us to make wonderful homey dishes that ranged from Kashmiri food to Malayali cuisine. I loved the fact that she got her ingredients and flavors right 98% of the time, a feat only a hand full of chefs in this world can boast of. Her books were my happy place, her website, an oasis of good food that I would visit at least once a week, in search of something yummy to make.

Today, as I leaf through my well-loved copy of Punjabi Khana and caress the hastily-wiped stains of dried splutters of food, I send Tarla a silent message of gratitude. I could never have whipped up a perfect pot of Dal Makhani without her gentle prodding. I would never have known the foolproof method to make perfect Kachoris without her Rajasthani Cookbook.

Thank you for sharing your passion with us, chef. And I am grateful for the legacy you leave behind in the form of literature. You will be terribly missed. Good-bye, Tarla and I hope you cook up a storm high up in heaven!


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On the labour/labor of writing

*I am not showing off or subtly dropping names here*

I once met a man, a disciplined writer. He was one of my favourite writers and a New York Times Bestseller at that. The day I met Jeffrey Archer after struggling with my teammates and later, convincing my boss that I was good enough to be picked for a 30 minute interview is something I look back at everyday when I sit down at my desk (cum dining table) to write.

Amongst discussing things like his latest book that I fell in love with (Paths of Glory) and his first ever work of fiction, we discussed things that actually opened my mind to the possible journey of writing a fiction. Well, I consider blogging fiction enough to last me a lifetime or until I am ready for more. Archer, being a humble person, told me that discipline, more than the gift of words, is the key to success. He informed me, matter of factually, that he wakes up at 4am everyday to begin writing at five. He always works for two hours at a time, with sufficient break-time in the middle.

While my hours at work deeply varies, a couple of things he told this very small-wannabe-correspondent really stayed on. Dedication matters. If you don’t believe in what you write, you will never make your point. Hours are important: you can’t expect to churn out an awesome page-turner or webpage-scroller if you spend thirty minutes in front of your laptop and think about getting this done after the first fifteen minutes. You need to think big, find other amusements to keep you inspired and possess enough imagination to turn even the smallest thing you come across into a concept (I silently thought about his Prison Diaries while writing his response in bold).

It was only a couple of weeks back that I took complete heed to his beliefs. I have stopped watching daytime television. I don’t chat much or surf through Facebook aimlessly (sorry, Zucker-man!). I sit and put my heart onto whatever I type. About 70% of it is crap (as some of you may think this entry is) but hey, can Jeffrey Archer be wrong about it? I doubt, I doubt.