Monday, December 31, 2012

Guavas for me

We spent an idyllic Christmas at our family's country house in Shantiniketan. The weekend was filled with endless cups of tea and chatter as we basked in the winter sunshine on the verandah, wrapped in layers of shawls.

And just as I did as a little girl every winter, I asked our gardener Ram to pick me some delicious raw green lovelies from the abundant and obliging guava tree in the front portico.

The fruit was exactly the way I like it-- dense and crunchy-- and made for three afternoons of happy noshing dipped in light pink rock salt and chilli powder.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mama's daily produce inspection

Hubby and I are in Calcutta for Christmas and New Year.

Mama has been in a feeding frenzy since we arrived yesterday. Today, she's making my favourite watery tiger prawn coriander-turmeric curry for lunch.

In preparation, she had all the daily produce purchase laid out for inspection and quality-check.

The local fishmongers have a bonanza of tiger prawns right now-- look at these striped beauties :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In my Sewing box: Needlepoint Bag

This seems to have been a year where I’ve actually finished a whole bunch of sewing projects for a change! Instead of flitting around from one Herculean venture to the next, I’ve taken on small, manageable projects with gratifyingly short timelines, and a definite end in sight.

I started this needlepoint design by Beth Russell at the end of the summer and completed it soon after I returned from Montreal. Beth Russell's needlepoint kits come with the canvas pre-printed with the design (this one inspired by a mural at Castell Coch in Wales), along with the requisite wool/floss. So once I separated and labelled all the wool colours, I hummed along with the sewing at a steady pace.

Once the needlepoint was finished, I oscillated between making it into a pillow, like I had done before, to frame it by itself, or to convert it into something more utilitarian. In the end, I settled on using the needlepoint as a panel in the front of a simple zippered bag. 

I used unbleached, woven linen to frame either side of the needlepoint panel on the front, and on the back of the bag. For the inside lining, I used vintage, printed cotton fabric in a light, celery green, and finished off the bag with piping in pale, silvery-grey grosgrain ribbon, and a buttercream tassel on the zipper pull.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adieu Montreal!

Images Boréales Galerie

Hubby and I were so enamoured by all the artwork at Images Boréales, a gallery of co-op Inuit art in the old city, that we stopped in for a second time enroute to the airport, and picked up a gorgeous basalt figurine and a few arctic handicrafts. And no, no polar bear skins in our luggage!!

Governor's House: Château Ramezay Museum

We spent our final morning in Montreal at the former governor's residence-- Château Ramezay-- which is now a museum dedicated to the city's history.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Les Touilleurs

I made the requisite pilgrimage to Les Touilleurs-- the temple of cookware for chefs and budding gourmandes in Montreal. I was like a kid in a candy store, but restrained myself admirably and left with a couple of hand-made Québécois maple wood utensils and locally woven linen kitchen towels.


Hubby transfixed by the Arsenal of the Mont-Royal Fusiliers.

Public art

An incredible mural in a Mile End parking garage by an artist's collective.

Architectural signature

We continued walking through the Mile End and Plateau neighborhoods and spied Montreal's signature architectural element-- the elevated external stairs-- everywhere.

Masala à Poisson du Bengale

At one of the spice stands at Jean Talon market, a Bengali paanch phoron and turmeric mix was included in a medley of international spices (along with Turkish, Cajun, and Provençal) for cooking fish! :)

Produce a-plenty at Jean Talon market.

Marché Jean Talon

We started our last full day in Montreal at the famous Jean Talon farmer's market. It is one of four municipal markets all around the city. There are permanent stalls with fresh seafood, meat, cheese, spices, and baked goods set up along the periphery of the market, and the fruit and vegetable vendors setup under tents in the middle.

© Copyright 2012 Shubhani Sarkar