Photography Instincts: Water Droplets Captured My Way (Part 2)

Last time it rained here in Delhi, it turned out to be a stormy night followed by an equally rain-laden day.

But little did I know that the storm would leave behind a beautiful and serene picture.

It took me barely five steps outside my home to feel the petrichor and witness the lushness of freshly washed and perfectly clean leaves right after the rains in my small garden. And here by garden I mean a collection of plants in some thirty odd earthen pots which is the only way to add some beauty and fresh air to our lives in a multi-storeyed establishment. 🙂

Amid all this view of nature’s beauty, my eyes fell on the sole leaf of a plant that carefully balanced rain drops on its shiny surface.

Delicate and picturesquely beautiful is all I could describe the view to be, a picture of fine balance that could be ruined by the stroke of a feather or the lightest blow of the wind.

As for my camera that is usually stocked in one corner, low on charge and dust bearing these days, an instinct on my part to click a photograph or two charges its batteries almost magically.

Therefore, without any further delay I photographed this absolute beauty painted by the Rain Gods before it vanished and left me with just another leaf on just another plant in my home garden.

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Rain Drops on a Leaf

Isn’t this beautiful!!

It seems that ‘A Homemaker’s World’ just got a little bigger, spreading its wings beyond the four walls of the home and kitchen from where my previous posts on Water Droplets Captured My Way were published.

Have a Happy Time Photographing and Expressing!! 🙂

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Dessert Desires: Choco-Nut Fudge Balls

Hi friends, it’s great to be back after a break, writing for my very own space yet again.

This time I tried making this super quick and easy, and absolutely to-drool-over kind of dessert, the chewy and gooey choco-nut fudge balls.

My personal take on the fudge balls is that when these are had within hours of making, the texture is soft and chewy on the outside and crispy from the nuts inside. When stored for a couple of days, these taste no less than some exotic chocolates because the chewiness of the condensed milk is taken over by the crispness of a yummy nutty milk chocolate. 🙂

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It’s definitely a chocolaty treat for the kids, but age is just a number when it comes to the love for chocolate. 😉

Since these turned out absolutely delish, I wish to share the recipe with you all.

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup – Condensed Milk
  • 2 tbsp – Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ cup – Butter
  • 1 tbsp – Powdered Sugar (as per taste/optional as sweetness from condensed milk is sufficient)
  • ½ tsp – Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup – Chopped Almonds and Walnuts (can be roasted for extra crispness)
  • 1 tbsp – Crushed and Roasted Almonds (for coating on the balls)

Method:

  • Heat a non-stick pan and add butter and condensed milk to it and mix well
  • Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract and powdered sugar
  • Cook the mixture on a low-medium flame for about 4-5 minutes
  • Keep stirring continuously until the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan
  • Remove from flame, add the nuts and mix well
  • Let the fudge cool down for about ½ hour
  • Once cooled, make balls of equal size (This recipe makes 12-14 balls)
  • Roll each of the balls in the crushed roasted almonds

The Choco-Nut Fudge Balls are ready to eat immediately for the chewy-chocolaty feel, and best stored for 2-3 days for the exotic chocolate texture.

Hey, I even found these fudge balls perfect to decorate a Nutella Swirl Cake I recently made. The cake looked gorgeous! 🙂

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Hope you and your kids enjoy having these fudge balls.

Illuminating My World Through Bangle Candle Holders

With the Diwali Fervor setting in all around the world, here are some glass bangle candle holders I made for Diwali. Hope you like these and try making some for your home as well.

I am sure these are are going to make those conventional diyas look more colorfully vibrant and divinely illuminated.

Wishing all my readers a Happy Festive Time 🙂

A Homemaker's World

Hello there!

Here’s another craft DIY by A Homemaker’s World. This time its candle holders made from glass bangles.

There was this big box of old yet colorful and glittery bangles lying around my home for quite some time. In Indian traditions we consider broken bangles inauspicious for any further use. The bangles I had were a mix of broken and unbroken, yet old ones. So i carefully pulled out the whole ones and disposed off the broken ones.

I really wished to make something bright and colorful with these bangles, so decided to make a few candle holders.

I started by placing 12-15 bangles in a beautiful sequence as is usually worn on hands, a mix of 2-3 colors of bangles and a few glittery ones. I cut a round shaped cardboard to make the base of the candle holders. Next, I started gluing the bangles one on top of another in the sequence…

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Celebrating Ganesha’s Arrival with Art

Ganesha Chaturthi is around the corner. The festival of welcoming the elephant God home is celebrated in most parts of India and is especially popular among the people residing on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent.

It is a 10 day long festival, during which Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom and prosperity, is welcomed to various households. After worshipping his idols for these 10 days, starting with Ganesha Chaturthi, the idols are immersed in water bodies, symbolic that the elephant God fills the house with happiness and prosperity, and takes away all the negativity with Him, only to come back the next year, with the same fervour and the same purpose.

As the air is imbued with the excitement around Ganapati celebrations, the media is already abuzz with articles related to the festival, the best pandal (Read: temporary shrine) in town, the best place to get modaks (Ganesha’s favourite sweet) to offer to Lord Ganesha, the new eco-friendly Ganesha statue, the best Ganesha sand art, Ganapati Goodies, and the list is endless.

While some people around the world find different ways to impress the Lord of Good beginnings and others try to take business advantage from the current buzz around Ganapati celebrations, I express my love and devotion to my favourite Lord through this simple, yet close to my heart painting.

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Being an ardent deity of Ganapati, His painting was the first that I made when I picked the paintbrush after years (may be only after the school art classes). This painting is extremely special to me and beautifies one of the walls of the Pooja (Read Prayer) room of my house.

Hope you like this!

Close to Nature: Picnic, Promenade and Photography

Purely for my love for photography, I am sharing some pictures from my nature walk with family to the Hauz Khas Lake, which we concluded with a refreshing cup of masala tea at Chaayos to give our aching feet and tired souls a caffeine kick.

Well, the visit to the lake was one of those random plans made early morning because we just wanted to break free from boredom of the daily routine. So we decided to make it into a mini picnic. Instead of going out to eat at one of the theme based lounges and bars, which are in abundance at the Hauz Khas Village, we decided to go the ‘Aloo Parantha and Achaar Picnic’ way (Read: ‘Potato Stuffed Indian Flatbreads with Pickle Picnic’ way), with Kurkure packets as the all time favourite in-between meal snacks and some cans of Coke. Perfect! 🙂

It’s so lovely to just relax on a winter afternoon, close to nature, with family and absolutely no formalities and complete lazing around. Just to clarify, this sojourn I talk about is from the last winters.

Rare are the occasions when we get time for some real outing with family. A simple and absolutely enjoyable date with loved ones during a time when everyone else seems to be rushing to that new restaurant, that newly opened branded showroom in the mall, etc.

So we started off by taking a small walk around the Hauz Khas Fort, which gave us a glimpse of the historic architectural delight. Followed by the much awaited ‘Aloo Parantha and Achaar’ Picnic, the Aloo Paranthas courtesy my lovely sister and homemade mango pickle by mommy dearest.

Finally, we made our way to the Hauz Khas Lake, a nature walk with the lake on our left side and dense foliage on the right side. It was a lovely time away from the commotion and pollution of the city life.

The best part came when the day was nearing its end and the soft glow of the sun at dusk time made the lake waters sparkle with its golden rays. As we sauntered around the periphery of the lake, taking in its beauty at that hour, my eyes fell on flocks of ducks and geese that were either languidly swimming in the lake or rushing to the shore to find some food that their audiences kept feeding them at regular intervals.

I managed to capture some photographs and sharing the ones I loved the most with you all.

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Our walk ended with a relaxing cup of evening tea, a few family photographs, lots of talks about how wonderful a day it had turned out to be, and oodles of praises for the delicious Aloo Paranthas by sister dear.

Hope you liked these!

Dessert Desires: Mango Fudge

What to do when you have some ripening mangoes. I decided to try something new this time and started to look out for a recipe. I crossed my fingers that hopefully my search leads me to a recipe that goes straight into my recipe book as one of the all time favourites.

Also, while trying out a new recipe, Mom’s instructions on how to be careful with food and how not to waste food keep doing rounds in my mind. These instructions are very valid and I make sure to take them really seriously. I don’t know why I mention this amid the excitement of trying to cook something new, but probably the jitters of a new dessert making experiment and the thought that I might fail at it, lead me to keep revising this in my mind. 🙂

Okay, so I finally found and successfully made a dessert out of the over ripe mangoes. This actually turned out to be an extremely easy and interesting Indian sweet, the Mango Fudge (Read: Aam ka Kalakand).

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Mango Fudge Set for Cutting into Desired Shape After Cooling

Time to confess, I am a big fan of Kalakands and milk cakes. And for me to have made some myself, with complete justice done to those ripening mangoes was like icing on the cake.

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Aam ka Kalakand aka Mango Fudge

Here’s the recipe if you wish to try making this as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ltr Milk
  • 2 Cups Mango Pulp (without threads, so prefer to sieve the pulp before adding to the milk)
  • 2 tbsps of Yoghurt
  • 1 Cup Sugar (Alter quantity as per taste)
  • ½ tsp Cardamon Powder
  • Some Saffron Strands

For setting:

  • Lightly greased deep plate/aluminium tin

For Garnish:

  • Roasted/Unroasted Nuts (Almonds/Cashew/Pistachios)

Method:

  • Boil milk in a thick based pan
  • Add mango pulp and yoghurt
  • Keep stirring gently and allow the milk to curdle
  • Continue to stir and allow the liquid to evaporate and to avoid sticking at the base
  • Once the liquid evaporates, add sugar and mix gently to allow the sugar to melt
  • After the sugar has melted completely, you can see the dessert starts looking granular
  • Add the cardamom powder and saffron strands for flavour
  • Allow the mix to cool and transfer it in a slightly deep plate or tin
  • Garnish with nuts. I used almonds
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the fudge to set completely
  • Once set, cut the fudge into the desired shapes and serve

Handy Tips:

  • If the milk doesn’t curdle even after adding the mentioned quantity of curd and mango, add 2 tbsp more of curd to facilitate curdling
  • The step of making the liquid after curdling to evaporate completely takes the maximum amount of time (about 30-40 minutes), so be patient 🙂
  • The granular look of the thickened milk after adding sugar is exactly what is desired for that perfect kalakand, ready to be taken off flame and set to cool

The sweet-tangy taste of the mango and the chewiness of the fudge makes it a drool worthy sweet/dessert.

Do try making this for your loved ones!

The Henna of Celebrations

In India, the festive and wedding seasons are around the corner and so is the time for celebrations. And the word celebrations brings with it fun, entertainment, food, dancing, singing, culture specific traditions and rituals, dressing up, decorations, and above all thanking God for all the positivity around with lots of offerings in the form of prayers and fasting. I am sure to have left out a long list of things that are an integral part of Indian traditions apart from the aforementioned ones.

But one thing I personally love and can never forget is the tradition of putting Henna (Mehendi) designs on hands and feet during all these celebrations. Be it weddings or festivals, henna forms an important part of celebrations in the culturally diverse land of India.

Tattooing henna designs is such a craze in India that during festive time a visit to even a local market would expose you to a number of henna artists ready to show their skills on your hands and feet for a charge, of course. In fact, it’s a windfall time for the henna artists around this time.

Even women and girls are near experts when it comes to henna tattooing in many households and can dye hands of family and friends in henna with panache and in no time.

People say that it’s very auspicious for women (even the grooms for their wedding day) to put henna on their hands and feet.

Though, putting henna on hands and feet of women has religious link ups, many elders say that henna can change your fate lines and bring good luck. 🙂

Well, as I grew up I came to realize what it really meant when elders said about the fate changing qualities of henna. They say that our entire life’s fate is written in the lines of our hand and feet. Therefore, for me putting henna is nothing but a way of dyeing your hands and feet in beautiful designs and forgetting about all your troubles for those celebratory moments and enjoying them to the fullest.

It’s also a way of distressing and taking a break from the humdrum tasks (especially during festivities), I believe. The gorgeous designs and the fragrance of henna are relaxing for many. The comparison among girls about whose henna design is the darkest and whose husband loves her most, is a common humour related to henna tattooing among Indian women.

As a kid I remember being super excited around the festive season because Mom would put a new henna pattern on my hands. As we grew up, I and my sisters took to making some henna designs after imitating from magazines and now the Internet. 🙂

I love doing henna designs myself. 🙂 Here are a couple of designs I made for some festivals last year and desperately waiting for this year’s festivals to get down to some henna tattooing.

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I know these aren’t the best and there are people who are much better at this. But the idea was to rev up the festive fervour and bring in some feel of celebrations.

Hope you liked reading! 🙂