Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Moment with my Watercolors

I admit, I am succulent obsessed these days...
And it all started with the succulent miniature fairy garden that I made as a gift for a visiting dignitary. ( A peek here)
And I was hooked!
Even though I know that surviving the intense heat of the Haryana summer will be really difficult for the delicate succulents, but I am nothing if not hopeful.
I shall give them a lot of TLC and just generally hope for the best!
Right now the weather is really conducive and boy are they thriving...
Its fun to be able to sit out in the mild sun of the North India winters, as the fog clears, sip on a hot cuppa joe, nibble on some namkeens., watch the squirrels come out of hiding...and paint the delicate plants in my favorite medium.. watercolors.




Here is a peek at the little lovelies that I picked up from the nursery a couple of days back and cant't get enough of!!





Have I got you all mesmerised and obsessed with succulents, yet...
Join the gang!


Sunday Slurp...Roasted Honey-Garlic Chicken

It seems like been a real long time since I cooked something nice.
And put it up here to share with you all.
These days it feels like I am running against time, failing deadlines, not being able to cope up, and most of time doing everything but art....
And its getting to me, and in the running huffing and puffing, I know I am neglecting the one place that I can be what I am, the place I can dream, and share.
My blog.
And my New Year resolution's gotto be to get my priorities straight and focus on me, my work, my dream projects that have got sidelined and most of all my art...
and of course get back to cooking delicacies for my family.
Can u imagine, I feel lazy and overstressed to even think of baking a cake for them??
But enough of the cribbing...
Lets get started on the juicy, melt in the mouth, sweet and savory, delectable:

ROASTED HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN WITH POTATOES AND BROCCOLI
(Serves 4)


Ingr:

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil or any refined oil will do
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp brown sugar
5-6 garlic cloves- crushed/minced
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil (I used 5-6 fresh basil leaves)
Pink salt (I used Himalayan salt) to taste
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp chilly flakes
juice of 1 lemon
(mix all the ingerdients given above and whisk well to blend)

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 medium heads of broccoli
400 gms small potatoes cut into halves (leave the skins on after scrubbing)
2 tbsp fresh parsely (if you can get them) or maybe use fresh coriander


Method:

  1. Marinate the chicken in half of the whisked marinade for at least a couple of hours. Reserve  the remaining for later. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 C and line a baking tray with foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray or oil.
  3. Place the cut potatoes on the tray in a single layer, and brush with a little olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chicken on top of the potatoes (rubbing the marinade well on top)

  1. Place the tray in the preheated oven and roast for about half an hour.
  2. Add the broccoli lightly seasoned in the last 10 minutes... kepp checking so it doesnt get over roasted/ charred.
  3. Serve immediately garnished with fresh chopped parsley or fresh coriander.

And for you pin for later :-)




Monday, January 22, 2018

Making a Miniature Fairy Garden of pretty succulents.


I had been toying with the idea of making a miniature garden for myself, especially after I had made an intricately hand-made Bougainvillea Bonsai garden that had a few elements of a miniature garden.
I had even made it into my November Desktop Calendar with a little illustrated gnome!
But before I could get around to making something for myself, a VIP comes visiting, and another little gift of a similar kind is required.. 
As the earlier one had been a big hit!
But this time as it was a being given in an elaborate Coffee Morning, I thought why not have the miniature garden in a huge cup? filled with pretty succulents and teensie fairy garden elements!
So I scoured everywhere for a decent sized coffee cup... One that wasn't too big or too small and finally found one.
But getting decent, pretty succulents in the back of beyond place that we live in was difficult, and they had to healthy, different colored, textured and sizes so that the over all look comes out lush and pretty and not just a bunch of greens!
So long story short- ordered some online, some from Delhi, and a couple of okay ones at an ancient church's backyard...
Got enough to make the garden and got started.
Different textured gravel added interest and my little critters arrived just in time for the presentation (the evening before!!)



Can you spot the tiny rabbit with the pink years hidden behind the foliage? And the little hedgehog and squirrel?
The different textures and colors of the succulents went so well together, with the white picket fence adding a whimsical look to the whole arrangement.
I also added a big piece of textured lava rock to have a point of interest in the arrangement.

I was so super excited with the whole arrangement that I HAD to make one for myself too...
So here it is:




This one has a bridge and a little pond with pretty swans and of course my little hedgehog and rabbit!
I spray painted the gravel blue. to give the lake some color...

And of course one little arrangement for the living room in a small coffee cup!



This one has a tiny little house, a picket fence, a bench and a lamp-post!
Didn't add any critters (animals) here, just used a couple of red lady birds.

Now a few tips for all who want to get their hands dirty with pretty succulents:
They are pretty easy to take care of- No direct sunlight... put them somewhere where they can get the mild morning or evening sun...
Water sparingly... just a small spray or splatter every couple of days or even weeks.....the soil should dry out between the watering.
Not more, because over watering is what kills them the most.

Next on my list is a small terrarium... got the succulent bug big time, now!
will keep you all posted.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

January 2018-fairytales

Todays is already the 18th and I have been swamped with work and commitments that have nothing to do with Art and everything to do with the man that I married and the responsibilities that come with it. And its been a kind of a frustrating start to the New Year ,because I had a lot of things lined up... and lots of things planned.
But I hope to get to them sometime soon and hopefully things will fall in place.
Ever the optimist, I am!
Anyways I had made a teenie water color illustration because I wasn't able to take out the time and though I am sharing it here, I feel its not good enough to make as a calendar.
Actually its photographed with a phone camera, and not very well taken, and I havent had time to scan it in a good resolution, so it didnt inspire me enough to make a calendar out of it...
Here is the water color (little fantasy illustration) that I made...
Loved the concept, but it needs a bit of tweeking.
will work on a few more similar ones and keep u all posted.
here's a look at what I had made:


So then as the clock was ticking and the days were passing by, its already the 18th,
I just took an older illustration that I had made during my Inktober stint... (made 30 illustrations with pen  and ink- here)

and converted it into a calendar with a whimsical quote:



Just download, save as Desktop Calendar and enjoy!
And for your pinning/sharing pleasure : just the lovely quote!


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Adios 2017... and welcome 2018 with a new painting

I have been in this new station for 5 months now, but still feel unsettled and restless..
Like one says...my "mojo" was missing!
I had all my paints out and all my brushes laid out...
My half finished paintings all displayed to get me going but I just wasn't getting a move on...
And then I gotta a push.
A National level Painting/sketching competition was  just the incentive needed and though I uploaded all my old ones for the competition, I was just itching to try out something new as well.
So here's what I did in 3 days flat....
Worked with fast drying acrylics and painted in the nice winter sun warming me up from within and without... and of course, endless cups of adrak ki chai (ginger tea)!
So a little peek into my last artwork of 2017.





Sunday, December 24, 2017

10 Fun Treats to Make for Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!
As my kids have their school break, my sons was insisting that we make something fun for Christmas tomorrow.... and I looked up easy, fun, kid-friendly Christmas treats to make on the internet...
So many different, fun things popped up that I thought why not compile a small list of Christmas Treats for my readers as well?
So 10 different, fun, Christmassy treats for all my favourite people.
Have fun trying them out this christmas, or save them up for next time!

1- Pesto Christmas Tree Bread Sticks (link)
Absolutely delicious and looks fabulous too!



2- Pull apart christmas tree (link)
Fun to make and sooooo much fun to pull apart and eat!



3- Christmas shortbread cookies (link)
Colorful and vibrant that kids will have fun with!



4- Easy Christmas tree brownies (link)
Looks absolutely scrumptious!



5- Strawberry Christmas Tree (link)
slice it half, and you see a strawberry inside!



6- Santa Hat brownie bites (link)
Absolutely adorable.



7- Red Velvet Banana Bread (link)
luscious and gooey... you cant go wrong with red velvet can you? and top it that with christmassy forsting! yumm.....



8- M and Ms Christmas Cookie Bar (link)
Cut them into bite size chunks and you are good to go...



9- Holly Jolly Jello Shots (link)
So easy to make and they look like such awesome party treats!



10- Chocolate dipped ginger cookies (link)
Chewy and chocolaty at the same time, and soooo festive to look at!


These were fun to group together... and me and my boys will probably be making quite a few of them soon... maybe a couple tomorrow on Christmas Day itself...
will definitely share them with everyone.
I hope this inspires you all to get cracking have fun in the kitchen with these pretty treats.
Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday food for the soul: Hariyali Chicken Tikka in the Airfryer

Its Friday...yippee!! The weekend is nearly upon us and more than that, its the holiday season!
Kids are going to be on a school break from tomorrow...
Yeah, I know, I know.... I'll have next to NO work done from now on for two weeks!! But we've got quite a few things planned with them, so hopefully it'll be a good time for all of us!
I had put up this chicken hariyali tikka on my Instagram, quite sometime back, but here is the recipe for all of you to try this weekend! You can even grill it (bone in) on the tandoor and believe me it tastes divine and absolutely melts in the mouth.




HARIYALI CHICKEN TIKKA in the Philips Air fryer:

Ingr
500 gm chicken breast (boneless) cut into small chunks or squares

For the marinade:
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
juice of 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
1/2 tsp ground garam masala
1/3 cup hung curd (curd that has been hung in a muslin cloth so that the extra water seeps out)
OR
plain Greek Yoghurt (which is already thick in consistency)
2 tbsp cream
2 tbsp oil

Butter or ghee for basting the chicken while grilling

Instructions:

  1. Grind all the ingredients of the marinade (except hung curd, cream and oil) together. 
  2. Take chicken in a large bowl, add the above ground ingredients to it, add in the oil, cream and curd and mix well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight or at least 5 hours.
  3. The next day, take the chicken skewers that you get with the grill attachment of the Airfryer. lightly oil the grill attachment as well as the skewers.
  4. Take the marinated chicken which should have come to room temperature, and thread them into the skewers, leaving a little space between them to let the heat circulate.
  5. If you want you can also add a sliced piece of green and red peppers between the chicken chunks. I didn't.
  6. In the meantime , preheat the airfryer for 2 minutes.
  7. As only 4 skewers come with the grill attachment, you will have to grill them in two batches.
  8. Once the skewers are ready, put it the basket and spray with oil, or baste with ghee/butter.
  9. Set the timer or 20 minutes.
  10. Check after 15 minutes and turn the skewers.... If they are still looking undercooked or are not grilled golden, add another 5-7 minutes to the timer.
  11. Mine got ready and crisp in 20 minutes.
  12. DONT overcook because then they become chewy and dry.


Serve piping hot with onion rings, fresh salad, a chutney/dip of your choice, a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chat masala.....
yummmm...



You can also use this marinade for grilling your chicken in the normal Grill Oven.

For you to pin, and get back to, later:


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