Details in Hand Embroidery and Crochet


 Here is my entry for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge.

Dictionary meaning of Detail is: specific feature, attribute, characteristic or element of an item or fact.

Whether in Nature or man made items, to create details involves extra time, effort and craftmanship. I salute all artists, weavers and craftsmen today as they  work on creating finer details in their hand made items.

Parsi Kor  borders showcase exquisite embroidery. Highly priced or kept as rich heirloom pieces, these borders are done with a cross stitch. A  variety of coloured threads in silk or cotton are used. The borders are then attached to sarees or wedding gifts like table linen.

Parsi Saree with traditional Kor / Border

Parsi Saree with traditional Kor / Border

Traditional Kashmiri designs are another example of detailed work.  Men and women, both work as Karigars or weavers. Thread colours used here are white (safed) and turquoise (firozi). Common motifs used are: paisley, delicate chinar leaf, saffron, narcissus and lily flowers. Just as in Nature, twirling creepers and lines add delicate element.

Kashmiri embroidery

Kashmiri embroidery

In crochet and knitting the details of design and stitch add that extra element. The picot stitch can be used in the border or in the body pattern (as I am using here). Picot adds a bit of charm, especially when used in borders to create a pointed effect on the line.

Crochet: Picot stitch

Crochet: Picot stitch

 if you want to produce something above the normal, just work on the DETAILS !

World Palate Recipes: Mumbai Style Vada Pav ( Burger)

World Palate Recipes: Mumbai Style Vada Pav ( Burger)

Mumbai is a city which never lets anyone go hungry, a city that introduced the ‘iconic’ Vada Pav as its humble, satisfying street food. Maharastrian cuisine is zesty, spicy and masaledaar and the Vada Pav fits this concoction. Train travellers and Vasaiwallahs  popularly ate it as ‘ breakfast on the go.’  Today, with a hundred over kiosks and street stalls in Mumbai, the Batata vada and pav  are immensely popular among college students, office workers and at Shiv Sena political party meetings. Truly, this street food has captured the hearts of every Mumbaikar!

Vada Pav and Samosa at street kiosk, Mumbai

Vada Pav and Samosa at street kiosk, Mumbai

Served in a burger style with the vada (potato ball) sandwiched between sliced fluffy, white buns that are laced with dry garlic chutney.  A fried green chilli tucked in adds the fiery element of Maharashtrian cuisine.

Some of the most famous Vada pav kiosks are found near Sivaji Park, Dadar, CST Railway Terminal, Dadar’s Ruia college, MithiBai college, at  Chowpatty and Juhu beach. Let’s try an easy preparation in our  kitchen.

Batata Vada ingredients

Batata Vada ingredients


4-6 medium size potatoes

2-4 green chillies , finely chopped

fresh coriander and curry leaves (optional)

salt to taste

3-6 pods of garlic (optional)

1 inch ginger

green chillies with stem ( for frying)

2 onions chopped into quarters (optional)

4 white bread buns sliced in middle

Salted butter as needed

Oil for frying as needed

For Batter

1 1/2 cup gram /Besan flour

2-3 tbsps. rice flour (optional)

salt and chilli powder as per taste

water ( about 1 cup, as required)

Prepare a green chutney of your choice.


Boil and peel potatoes. Mash them lightly add salt to taste. Crush ginger, garlic, chillies in a mortar and add this paste to the potatoes. Throw in chopped coriander and curry leaves. Add a dash of turmeric (optional). Mix lightly and make balls. Set aside.

Batata /Potato balls and fried green chillies

Batata /Potato balls and fried green chillies

Fry the green chillies in hot oil, taking care they may splutter and pop out on you! Set aside.

Mix the batter with dry ingredients and add water slowly, to make a thick pouring consistency batter. Heat the oil, drop a tiny amount of batter to check if it rises /fluffs. Now dip /roll the potato balls in batter , coating well and drop them gently into the hot oil. 3-4 balls can be fried at a time. Don’t worry about tail ends, let them fry, and munch them later. Set aside balls on tissue to soak on extra oil ( if particular).

Lightly butter a thick Tava or flat pan. Roll the sliced pav and heat them on both sides till light brown.

Deep frying batata vada

Deep frying batata vada

Assemble the prepared items on a paper plate ( for a street food effect)-

1-2 fried chillies, chopped onions at one side, apply chutney to the inside of the sliced bun bread. Tuck in a vada. Tap the top half of bread into place and press lightly, so keep in place. Serve and enjoy with friends.

Mumbai street food: Vada Pav

Mumbai street food: Vada Pav

I take a lot of time and interest to make my blog. Please do not copy or paste my photos and material. Kindly contact me.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer











Focus 12 : Markets as Fun, Outdoor Classroom


Ask any young child if he or she wants an indoor or an outdoor classroom. ‘Outdoors!’ comes the instant reply. Even adults are known to be more attentive and engaging in an outdoor planned environment.

Can you recall one of your own experiences?

Many years ago, as a primary teacher, I took a Grade 3 class to the Serangoon market, Singapore. It was not just an outdoor field trip, but a planned Math lesson, with students bringing their worksheets.  Mathematics on the street, without calculators! Ever wondered how the uneducated street vendors quickly calculate prices even for 350 gms.? After completing interactions with vendors and doing additions, students then relaxed drawing scenes from their visit.

Many everyday problems require quick, approximate answers. Street-Fighting Mathematics teaches a crucial skill that the traditional science curriculum fails to develop.”
Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics, Harvard University

Once as a tourist in Toulouse, France, I noticed a Kindergarten class at the local street market. Teachers and volunteer parents were at hand. And what were the students engaged in? With peels of laughter and some noses tuned up and squeaky, they were exploring textures and smells of various vegetables. On their worksheet columns they had to draw ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ vegetables. For a back to school activity, teachers bought fresh vegetables to make ‘Vegetable Soup ‘ or Soup au Pistou.

Kindergarten and Primary classes often have thematic play learning areas to simulate real-life activity. eg. market store, house corner, hospital etc. Thus after an outdoor field trip, children can transfer their learning in a simulated, creative classroom environment. Can you hear the young children play  ‘I want to be the grocer’ and ‘I will be Mummy, going to the market?’

Check out story books for children: One Bean, The Tree is a Plant, The Tiny Seed, The Cherry Tree.

http://the market mystery / read aloud /youtube

Source: Internet. Kindergarten Dramatic Play area Market scene

When children go with their parents or elders on a market visit they can engage in multi sensory activities, reducing the boredom of walking around aimlessly or running between stalls. Parents can use this opportunity to teach their young children to touch /feel/pick up vegetables, check the price, talk to the vendors, learn about plant growth and care, likes and dislikes etc. Imagine an education centre with their very own farm and market! The process from growth to care and farming tips, to the plucking and pricing of the produce to be put up on the market stall. One HUGE learning game! Not only will the diet, awareness, physical and mental activity of the school improve , but it can be a great community involvement, besides hands-on learning.

Talking about Art students – Many times we see painters set up their canvas at a river side, near monuments or in green rice fields. Have you seen someone take centre stage at a market? Isn’t it a great package to unfold about culture, food, clothes, colours and people?

A Village Market scene. Source: Internet. Cameroon

What about cooking schools and fresh markets? If you’ve been to Italy, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand or any other country for a cooking class, a visit to the local market is certainly a MUST! My own experience goes back to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Along with 6 other guests and the hostess , we were taken by tuk-tuk to the local market to buy necessary vegetables and ingredients for the class. As we picked up fresh green leafy vegetables, chillies and rice – we were told their Thai names and uses in food.






Sydney, Australia boasts of a very popular harbour side fish market and cooking class. You guessed right! Guests are taken to the fish market to learn about the varieties, before heading to the exquisite culinary experience.



Here’s a recap of how students (and adults) benefit from a learning outdoor at a market:

1. Children get outside and more active
2. Involves hands-on thematic activities
3. Creates opportunities to learn how to handle outdoor risks safely
4. Connects children to nature/farms/people/ community in ways making deeper connections
5. Teaches children about cause and effect through sensory activity
6. Provides a holistic development and love for eco systems.

Students play chess at a Farmer's market in Alamos.

Courtesy: Internet. losalamos/ Students play chess at a Farmer’s market in Alamos.

All you teacher and parent readers, I do value your comments! How did you like this post? What is your experience?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer


Focus 12: Types of Markets


Markets are a common place, where goods are purchased and sold. Generally located centrally, markets need to be easily accessible by people and transport, thus soon becoming a hub of activity.

Different markets are set up for different needs: livestock, fresh vegetable and fruits, flowers, textiles and clothing and sundry items. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, Asian Wet markets, New Zealand Art and Craft Sunday markets and Jaipur’s camel market are some examples. The type of market depends also upon the geography, logistics, the area of land cultivated and the people living nearby.

Some markets are covered, others work on open streets. Some even exist on waterways! Some are work at fixed place, some are ‘on the go’ operated using trucks or buses.

Indoor Covered Markets

In most big cities, the local municipal authorities designate an area for selling fresh produce, flowers, meat and poultry etc. The care and maintenance, infrastructure facilities for loading /unloading bays, toilet and food facilities are taken care of by the governing body. They are well covered and thus operational for longer hours and all weather conditions. The Asian Wet Markets, Mercato in Spain, Chatucheck market in Bangkok and the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul are popular.

Courtesy: Internet /La Bouqueria, Barcelona


Covered fresh produce market in France

Street Markets

Street markets work an a fixed day and fixed street. They may be seasonal in the colder countries. Depending on the weather, street markets sell seasonal items like winter clothing, summer fruits, varieties of handmade breads, bakery products and baskets. Watch out for the general chaos, traffic, and debris on the street, especially in densely populated countries.

Floating Markets / Boat Markets

When a country or province is criss- crossed by canals and water ways, like in Venice, Bangkok, Srinagar or Kerala, much of the community and livelihood depends upon the use of these water ways. In Bangkok, the Ayyuthaya kings developed connecting the canals and improving life along the banks. On Dal lake, Srinagar, is India’s only floating market where the graceful boats are bedecked with the valleys flowers and fruits.

Flea Markets

Flea markets are a great place to buy second-hand stuff, cheap stuff and old goods. Probably they began as tourists disposing their collections. However, flea markets around the world exist in every nook and corner of a city and have regular business on a particular day of the week.

Singapore Flea market, tucked in a lane near Serangoon a quiet place. Items are placed on the street itself on cardboards or cloth. One can browse old antiques, junk maps for reuse, collectibles like pipes and screws and pens, variety of paper, tea pots, old clothes and hats.

In recent times, there are more than one Flea market catering to particular items. Check out, before you head to one.

Take a look at ‘what’s hot’ in the Flea market in Goa, India.

Livestock Markets

Don’t worry if you are not buying a camel, goat or sheep. Enjoy a trip to the nearest livestock market and wander among the large cages housing livestock. It can be a great place for children’s education too. Beware of the stench of animal fodder and poo!

My  visit to Al Ain ( U.A.E) camel market was a wonderful experience in Arabic culture and offered a closer look at wobbly legged camel babies. Beware! this is a dusty, noisy place with the distinct smell of camels and other livestock. This traditional souq, situated near Bawadi mall is very popular with the locals. Guides offer to take you around for a small fee of 10 -20 Dirhams, narrating camel stories.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets or direct grower’s markets are found in most countries from America, Europe, India to Sri Lanka, Australia and more. The aim is to cut off the middle men, creating opportunity for the grower /farmer to directly sell his produce on a weekly or daily basis. In India, Rythu bazaar is one such model.

As a tourist in the small town Picton, New Zealand I visited a Farmer’s market. What delight! Fresh baked breads, assorted cheese cuts, hand-made candles and soap  were the novelty, other than the usual pumpkins, avocado and fresh seasonal berries.

Fresh vegetable stall at market

Fresh vegetable stall at market

Online Markets

In keeping up with technology, welcome to the online bazaars or markets. They cater to an ever-growing demand, mostly from a younger and educated population. Maybe cheaper, easier service just using the finger tips! Gone by are the days of picking up a basket, taking a brisk walk down the street, meeting people on the way and experiencing the freshness and activity typically seen in markets.

Flower Market

A visit to a flower market is always a refreshing experience. There’s always hectic buying and selling, pruning and caring for flower bunches, a wide display of colours in every hue and the faint fragrance hanging in the air. It’s not just fresh cuts like tulips, chrysanthemum, lilies one can buy – bouquets, garlands, garden plants, seasonal bulbs planted in trays and other decorative garden items beckon the visitor.

I’ve visited the Ghazipur flower market, Delhi, Dadar flower market in Mumbai, flower markets in Europe and Amsterdam. Truly, one can just sit with a paint brush and paper, trying…only trying to match Nature. For a narrative on Delhi Flower market see here.

Pak Klong Talad is Bangkok’s biggest wholesale flower market. Its crowded, colourful, hectic and a rush on all the senses. People throng the market just after midnight, as truck loads arrive. Flower bunches need quick care and action for maintaining freshness till 3.00 to 4.00 am. Early morning is the most hectic time, when business is brisk.

What other kind of markets have you visited?  What was your experience?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer




Focus 12: What is the Clothing Style of Your Country?


A country is often recognised by the clothing its people wear. Some countries have a traditional costume like the Scottish kilt, the Korean hanbok, the Punjabi shalwar or the rugged denim jeans worn by cowboys.

Clothing serves as a protective cover against weather whilst also giving the body necessary privacy. Clothes have adapted with time, weather conditions, lifestyle, type of work performed and fashion. Some countries lead the fashions, some strive to keep their traditional dress.

                    ‘Clothes maketh a man. ‘

                    Clothing speaketh about the country’

Different clothes tell us different stories. They are like pages of history and geography, communicating not only the weather conditions and historical influences, but speaking of finer elements like type of fabric, its colour, artistic weaves etc. For example the  varying Ikat designs of Indonesia, Orissa and Cambodia, the Scottish and Irish Tartan checks as compared to those of Chennai, India. Each design is unique to each country. Clothes also tell us about the wearer’s status and work performed. The labourer or street vendor will wear a casual attire , maybe or coarse and durable material as compared to an elite customer who may prefer to dress in more stylish and fancy clothing.

Let’s focus on clothing we see at our local markets. Do they tell us any information about that country?

  1. The Saree – from India

Who said the saree is a cumbersome, long and uncomfortable piece of clothing? Most women wear this 5 metre colourful cloth ‘the saree’ with ease and aplomb whilst doing a dozen different tasks – driving a scooter, carrying baskets on their head or sweeping the street. Just as the saree can dress up the Indian bride or business executive in expensive silk and chiffon, it is also used by the common woman on the street who would prefer an easy, washable and quick dry fabric.

Indian women wearing saree and carrying loads on their heads in market

Indian women wearing saree and carrying loads on their heads in market


Sari clad vendor in Rythu bazaar.

Sari clad vendor in Rythu bazaar.

2. The Kenyan Kanga and Djellaba

 Clothes must suit the temperature and weather. Loose flowing fabric is worn in most African and Middle Eastern countries. Some are multi-coloured to distract or highlight the wearer from the harsh sandy environment. Yet, at times soft pastel or earthy, sand colours are used for Kaftan’s in men’s clothing.

Courtesy: Internet A Kenyan women in bright coloured loose fabric

Courtesy: Internet A Kenyan women in bright coloured loose fabric

3. The Abeya or Burqha worn by Muslim women

The long, black, head to toe Abeya or Burqha is the traditional attire worn by most Muslim women, mostly in the Gulf countries, when they leave home to go outdoors. Men wear the Kandor. This outer garment shields the wearer from the harsh sun and desert sand. An Abeya can be as simple or as stylish!  Expensive embroidery, lace work and beads adorn ceremonial wear, and a simple one is worn casually.

Burqha and veil used in Gulf regions

Burqha and veil used in Gulf regions

4. Chinese Qipao and Cheogsam

The qipao, cheogsam, Mao suit are Chinese clothing styles. A cross collar, the right lapel over the left and a sash around the waist are highlights of this traditional and periodic costume. However, in recent times locals wear them only during festivals, preferring rather to don the shirt/pant/jeans for ease while doing daily tasks.

Chinese Qipao dress

Chinese Qipao dress

5. Folk or country costumes

Rural or countryside costumes are rustic in style made from extra durable cotton or denim fabric, especially in colder countries. In Europe women wear long skirt, tight at waist and a loose covering blouse. Different region boast their particular style. Head gear like scarves, caps, hats worn keep out the wind and cold.

Italian traditional rural costume

Italian traditional rural costume

6. Headgear from Different Countries. 

The Kasbati, the ceki, the fez and finally the soft mulmul white scarf  are all typical Turkish headgear, varying through the different historical times. Today, most Turkish women cover their heads with the white scarf ties tight around the head and neck, at times adorned with fancy pins or brooches.

Turkish women making fresh food at marketplace

Turkish women making fresh food at marketplace

7. The Yemeni and African ‘Kheffiyah’ 

Men cover their head, tying the chequered cloth in a triangular way. Colours preffered are mostly brown, black, red or cream. One end of the Keffiyah hangs loose over the back. During a sandstorm or intense summer heat, the scarf is used to loosely shield nose and mouth

Traditional headscarf worn in the Middle East Countries

‘Keffiyeh’ – Traditional headscarf worn in the Middle East Countries

7. Clothing in Kazhakstan and Countries with Cold Climate

Brrr….rr the cold wind blows in the Northern regions. Keeping warm is necessary as you work indoor or outdoor. Women are covered in head scarf and winter woollens as they sit on the side street in Kazakstan selling bottles of milk.

Milk vendors - Kazhakstan

Milk vendors – Kazhakstan

Winter baazar and street stalls and pushcarts selling winter wear are commonplace in most markets of Europe, New Zealand, China, Nepal and many other countries with cold weather. People working outdoor wear appropriate winter clothing.

Stall selling winter woollies

Stall selling winter woollens

……And so the clothing stories go on from one country to another. Designs, fabric pattern, wearing styles. Styles to suit the weather, work and wearer.

What is the particular clothing of your country?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer


World Palate Recipes: Street Food of Mumbai (Bombay)


Mumbai, (earlier Bombay) the city conjures a zillion images to the mind. From the vibrant, ever busy people, crowded trains and dabbahwallahs, Bollywood posters looming large, to the hawkers selling street food, push carts laden with mangoes and the iconic Red bus and black and yellow taxis, Mumbai has the stench, squalor and zest and pride!

Mumbai is a living, breathing city! A city whose people make it all happen.

Iconic Red bus and yellow top taxi, Mumbai

Iconic Red bus and yellow top taxi, Mumbai

To feed its millions of people, the city boasts of hawkers at every nook. Food sold at street kiosks is more convenient than a tight space at an Irani restaurant for the Mumbaikars. Its cheaper, tastier and fresh. Eating out is almost a culture – first are the early morning white-capped Vasai wallahs, train commuters and beach side joggers who satisfy hunger with a quick bite of vada pav or maska omelette. As the sun sets and crowds gather at the three beaches (Chowpaty, Juhu and Versova),dozens of street peddlers and hawkers get busy, preparing and instantly serving the hungry young crowds.

Vada Pav, Bhel Puri, Paani Puri, Jhunka Bhakr, Kanda Bhajji, Papdi chaat and Sev… tantalising treats for the taste buds as you walk the crowded streets. Braving the summer heat and a weak stomach, I decided to plunge headlong into a trip down memory lane to satiate my taste buds.

Vada Pav at Dadar

This is a MUST TRY! A top favourite with Mumbaikars, this simple, substantial dish is popular as ‘on the go breakfast’ by the train commuters and the Vasai wallahs who come into Mumbai suburbs in search of various work at factories, offices and container ports.

Sivaji Park and Gokhale Road, Dadar, are the best places to indulge into the buttery iconic Vada Pav, a Potato savoury dumpling sandwiched between soft, fluffy buttered bread. A spicy, fried carbohydrate rush!

Bhel Puri, Sev Puri near Versova Beach and Juhu Beach

Care for a tangy chutney spiced with fresh coriander chutney and spoonfulls of fine sev (fried gram flour vermicelli)? Head to Mumbai’s beaches at sundown. Along with the amateur football players and kite fliers, these are the best places intown to taste  Bhel Puri, Paani Puri, Sev Puri. For a healthy drink ask for fresh tender coconut water from adjacent hawkers. Loaded with plenty of mineral goodness, coconut water is a refreshing drink and contamination free.

hawker selling tender coconut

hawker selling tender coconut

Most of these tangy snacks are eaten for their taste, rather than nutrition. Indians, by large also like to eat with their families or friends, so an outing to enjoy the sea breeze will mostly end up savouring some street snacks.

Cutting Chai and Makhan Toast

Even I, as a Mumbaikar stumbled off guard, when the stall owner asked me ‘Madam, cutting chai ? Ya poora cup?’ Well, it only meant whether I wanted my tea strong and cut by half, as consumed here. The small glass reminded me of a vodka shot glass. Large aluminium tea kettle, strewn paper cups thrown into a nearby dirty, plastic bucket and the smell of strong boiled tea leaves and a hint of ginger completed the street picture. Cutting chai can be taken  more often, as one cup is divided / cut into 2 or 3 portions.

Tea stall in Mumbai

Tea stall in Mumbai

Falooda, Kebabs and Ramazan Treats at Haji Ali and Bandra Mosque

Mumbai is a cosmopolitan and very liberal city, a home to many communities like Jews, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs along the very vernacular Marathi speaking man and the outer Mumbai rural population. Thus festivals, cultural programmes and food are all laced with a tinge of  communal harmony.

Come Ramzan (Ramadan) the popular Mohammed Ali road, Haji Ali Dargah, Byculla, Crawford market witness a change of food scene. In preparation for Iftar ( breaking of fast at sun set), streets are laden with fresh fruit cuts – watermelon, mango and kharbuja. Meat balls on sticks are wood fired on makeshift gas burners or charcoal bhatti.

Kebabs at street corner, Mumbai. Courtesy: Internet. static.guim.

Kebabs at street corner, Mumbai. Courtesy: Internet. static.guim.

Hawkers outside Colleges and train stations.

Indulging in chai discussions, preparatory talks for exams,  women meeting outside the same train station every day is a common practice.  Where else to relax with friends and food? Right on the streets outside most colleges ( SNDT, Mithibai, Parle, Ruia, KEM medical) dozens of hawkers set up semi permanent stands, mostly by day. Profit is counted only after the ‘hafta’ or bribe payment is given to the police watchmen, the area’s kingpin and municipal workers who make their regular rounds at the sites. The unwritten law goes ‘Live and let live’…Mumbai is a city for all.

The rich man, common man and beggar on street.

Food is for all. Come stand and savour it with the warm and simple Mumbaikar.

What is your favourite street food in Mumbai? Where did you eat?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer







Be like the perfumed flower, that gives out its own perfume to 

                make other’s happy, but, takes nothing from anyone.’


I LOVE flowers, and I must have them everywhere. In my garden, on fabric for dresses, cushions or bedspreads, gorgeous floral bunch at the table or prayer altar, flower garlands in my hair. Flowers also make the best birthday gifts for dear and near. The colour and fragrance of flowers is soothing, refreshing and mood uplifting. Nature speaks to us in the form of flowers – warm spring weather gives new life to closed winter buds, reminding us of passing of time and changes in life.

Each flower is unique in its colour, fragrance and shape. Are you so busy in life’s activities that you don’t stop a moment to smell the flower? Sadly… you missing out on the the essence of Creation!


Past few weeks, at the onset of spring (it’s almost summer now!) I am learning to crochet small projects like flowers and butterflies.

YouTube and many crochet websites like and are helpful.

In tune with Nature

In tune with Nature

When time is limited time one needs to plan and organize small projects. Working on dainty doilies, flowers or caps, making squares proves easy. Repeating the same pattern means less thinking too. Stock up and rearranging can be done at a later date. Just keep at it.

Row of crochet flowers

Row of crochet flowers

Make use of your time, create a hobby and follow it with passion.Practice, practice! Why not bring a smile to someone’s face by gifting your crochet flowers?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer



Crochet: Spring and Summer Flowers

World Palate Recipes: Egg-xtra Special Mother’s Day Breakfast

World Palate Recipes: Egg-xtra Special Mother’s Day Breakfast

      Why not treat Mother an egg-xtra nutritious breakfast? Whether on Mother’s day or a Sunday, or on holiday when mother is visiting. I was treated to one such yummy breakfast, specially made with love and attention to details and brimming with nutrition.

Breakfast is the first meal of the day, and should ideally be packed with goodness to survive and combat the day’s nutritional needs. So don’t skip this important meal, rather make your choices with awareness.

Eggs are easy to cook, versatile, and very nutritious, they make a healthy option (for those who eat them). Packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals, both egg white and the yellow yolk can be consumed, though the yolk has cholesterol. There are many varieties of eggs, the most popular one is the chicken egg, other gourmet eggs being that of quail, goose and duck.

            Top tip… A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.

A healthy breakfast plate

A healthy breakfast plate


2 large or medium eggs

salt and pepper to taste

5 spoons of milk ( high fat tastes better!)

2 tbsp. water

1-2 tbsp. olive oil / other oil of choice

heavy bottom pan, egg whisk and bowl.

Garnish /Side

Half soft ripe avocado

5-6 sprigs of asparagus

herbs of choice

4-5 mushrooms

wheat crackers (optional)

Dollop of Hummus (optional)

Frozen Berries or summer fruit

1 cup low-fat yoghurt


In a bowl, crack the eggs ( leave out yolk if any cholesterol issues), discard the skin. Add few drops of water and milk, salt and pepper and whisk gently, taking care to incorporate air. Do not over whisk, or peak the egg whites stiff.

Heat up a heavy bottom pan or skillet. Add some olive oil or butter or other oil. Do not over heat pan. Gently add the egg mixture and keep stirring, folding in the eggs as they begin to cook. Reduce flame as desired. Keep folding in the mixture till nearly done, switch off flame. The heat in the pan will cook the eggs further, but keep them fluffy and soft. Toss gently on to prepared plate.

In another heated pan, add olive oil. Break and discard the hard bits of asparagus. They are NOT fun to chew upon while enjoying breakfast. Toss the asparagus into the heated pan, drizzle with more oil, add herbs, salt and pepper. Cook till just bit tender and chewy. Do not over cook. Set aside. Now sauté the sliced mushroom in a similar way.

Garnish the plate with slices of avocado, dollop of hummus ( or thick yoghurt), scrambled eggs and dress them up with cooked green asparagus shoots. Serve with toast or wheat crackers.

To a bowl of yoghurt, add some frozen berries or fresh-cut summer fruit. The colours will highlight the serving and bring extra smiles of contentment to Mother. ‘Ah…what a satisfying meal and start to the day’.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer






Guest Post: Extensive Kutchhi Embroidery in Ahmedabad’s Market


My young niece recently visited Ahmedabad’s famous shopping street, the Law Gardens. Revati is a budding architect, prolific reader and a writer for the magazine Urban Vaastu. Not the archetype shopper and bargainer, she still brought back bags full of colourful Kutchhi embroidered clothes as well as stories.  Thanks Revati, for sharing your experience at the street market.

Street shopping in Ahmedabad. Courtesy : Internet

Street shopping in Ahmedabad. Courtesy : Internet


‘If you think money cannot buy happiness then you do not know where to shop!’ This is a patent phrase every shopaholic is well versed with and more so, believes whole heartedly in it. This happiness intensifies manifold when one buys a particular item at half the quoted price. Welcome to the art of street shopping where the primary requisite is a combination of the sheer skill of bargaining and mammoth patience.

The Law Garden area in the city of Ahmedabad, western India, is a street side shopping haven and a ‘must visit’ for enthusiastic tourists and locals alike. It is an evening market where the shop owners can be seen unpacking and arranging their clothes for display after the sun begins its sluggish journey towards the west. The melancholic sun forms an ideal backdrop for their long grueling evening ahead.

‘Low Garden’ as the area is famously known in the native Gujarathi language offers a variety of Kachchhi embroidery work. This traditional threadwork on fabric is done by the artisans of Kutch, a region in the state of Gujarat and is thus called Kachchhi work. Kutch, lies around 400 km away from the city of Ahmedabad. This beautiful work can be seen on a range of fabrics and an assortment of clothes like ghagras, jackets, blouses and accessories like clutches, slings and slippers to name a few. It also displays stunning ensembles of the popular ghagra choli or chaniya choli, which is a traditional flowing skirt and short blouse, very popularly worn, especially  during the Navratri season while playing garba. Garba is the traditional Gujarati dance.

Embroidered dress materials with mirror work. Courtesy: Internet

Embroidered dress materials with mirror work. Courtesy: Internet

Kutchhi work is usually done on cotton or silk fabric. The embroidery involves the use of silk or woollen thread in fine stitches to create elaborate patterns, and draws its inspiration from romantic, architectural and human motifs, as well as Persian and Mughal arts. The colors used are mainly green, indigo, deep red, black, yellow and ivory. The embroidery is also distinctive in its use of mirrors and beads, placed strategically in between patterns.

Kutchhi embroidery on bedspreads. Courtesy: Internet

Kutchhi embroidery on bedspreads

History traces the origin of this Kutch embroidery work to mochis, shoemakers who used to work on royal textiles and decorative objects. Over the years it has grown to become an artwork of international repute. Kutchhi embroidery has never lost its sheen and in fact the colorful craft has considerably gained popularity over the years. It has survived owing to the constant influx of new designs and innovations along with new merchandise such as waistcoats, purses, bags, sandals, skirts, scarves and belts. Home furnishings and fashionable attire to suit modern wear also incorporates this embroidery.

Let’s take a look at the street market scenario:

This rich artwork is displayed within tiny (mostly shabby) 8′ by 6′ shops in the Law Garden area. The owner sits on a raised platform which exhibits the entire spectrum of his products. The tarpaulin sheets act as dividers between the shops but one can seldom notice them peeping under the riot of coloured cloth pieces on display. Bewildered? The designs, patterns and colours are so varied and intricate! It becomes difficult to vividly remember the patterns you have purchased or viewed. The floral motifs combine beautifully with lines and geometric and nature inspired forms to create a design with bright hues. An important fact to be borne in mind is that these products at Law Garden are open to bargaining since it is machine work designs and not hand work. The traditional hand worked cloth is understandably expensive and demands a more respectable selling place than a roadside shop. Nonetheless, the machine work products are gorgeous for a person who craves for a piece of  Kutchhi ethnicity albeit, on a shoestring budget, in their wardrobe. That is me!

As I began my shopping escapades, I was awestruck with the beauty that man could create on a mere fabric. Each region has its own specialty and it is always undoubtedly worth possessing. I must have appeared an obvious novice to this region, armed with a cap and a water bottle to beat the heat. Finally, after a bit of window shopping, I mustered the courage to actually ask the shopkeeper to show me various clothes and quote the price.

This is where the most entertaining part of the evening began. He quoted a price almost 4 times the reasonable rate and since my face must have registered the shock he quickly added, ” You choose first. Then we will decide the price.” Bemused at his calm authoritative manner I was determined to beat him at his own game. After selecting a certain product we began haggling over the rate. I offered something way below his quoted price and pat came the reply, “Tell a price that even we can afford. This is not possible. Tell me your last price.” This went on for a few minutes after which I gave in and said I was willing to stretch by a hundred rupees. He began packing the dress and I heaved a sigh of relief. Alas, I had emerged victorious against a skilled player who never misses a day of practice. He handed it over and said, “Let’s agree at a price between mine and yours. Give me 400 rupees.” The smug triumphant look disappeared from my face and I succumbed to the fact that I had lost the battle.

However, I repeated the same procedure in all the shops and passed with flying colours a few times. The pleasure one gets after bargaining and finally purchasing a product at a pre-conceived price can seldom be understood by the brand conscious people. The time when you pretend to leave and the owner calls you back to re-negotiate the cost is one of the trickiest part of this charade. If you are not effective in acting your part you will not be called back and that dress or bag which you had set your heart upon cannot be yours! Or else you will have to swallow your pride and walk back to the place and buy it at whatever rate he asks for. However, in any case, this is an experience of its kind and rather entertaining. I must confess that I have never been a shopaholic in my life and detest bargaining and street shopping in the heat.

However, the market at Law Garden seemed to exude a charm that even a person like me could not resist. Thus, I can happily state that after a couple of hours, I had two bags full of clothes and accessories and a third full of MEMORIES.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) Please see copyright disclaimer

Focus 12: Feel, Smell, Eat What’s in Season at the Market.



Farmer’s markets, supermarkets and street markets often say the seasons. Come summer, colourful fruit and flowers deck up stalls. Come winter, crunchy nuts, root vegetables and preserved food find their space. There is always an air of excitement and curiosity that beckons one to buy that ‘first’ stock of season’s produce.

Season’s show Nature’s mood. They add colour and variety to our life. Our food habits, cuisines and traditions often evolve around the season.

“A thriving household depends on the use of seasonal produce and the application of common sense.”
                                           Olivier de Serres (1539-1619)

Europe’s spring and summer markets, set up on sun filled streets are particularly popular. Colours that warm you up -Punnets of red strawberries, golden melons, green guava, leafy vegetables, yellow lemon. Bunches of freesia, lilies, geranium, marigold add that extra hint whether at table décor or strokes of an artist’s brushes.

In India and south-east Asia, mounds of tangy brown tamarind pods, green yellow lemons, sour amla (gooseberries) fill the markets. It’s the season to make pickles and chutneys.

Tamarind Pod. Courtesy: Internet

Tamarind Pod. Courtesy: Internet







Mango mania becomes the talk of town during tropical summers. Markets stock up crates, cardboard boxes, pushcarts, door to door sellers with this ‘king of fruit.’

Seasonal Banganpalli mangoes sold on a pushcart

Seasonal Banganpalli mangoes sold on a pushcart

From the orchard to the market. Every seasonal fruit and vegetable makes its way into regional cuisine. Jam, tomato puree, dried fruit compote, fruit tarts, jackfruit wafers, juices and summer drinks – the kitchen knows best what’s in season.

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot?  Not just eat it, but taste it?  You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie.

Astrid Alauda.

Markets aren’t just about food. They are a wonderful showcase of seasonal culture and clothing too like the Christmas markets. Colourful winter woollens, handmade crochet shawls and quilts, balls of lambs wool, acrylic wool and yarn all find their spot in winter stalls, roadside markets from Tibet to Mexico!

Stall selling winter woollies

Stall selling winter woollens


Stall selling wool items

Stall selling wool items

Christmas markets are very popular. Whether its ginger ale, apple cider, crunchy roasted hazel nuts or hand-made products like soap, wax candles, delicate lace and quilted dolls ….the market show must go on!

At spring time, what do you buy at the market? 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer




Guest Post: Wandering Around in Ho Chi Minh City and Market


As a guest post, here is a delightful fruit tasting experience narrated by  my warm and vivacious friend, Kiran Shah. Kiran recently returned from a story telling conference in Vietnam and agreed to write-up a guest post for me. Thanks Kiran.

Our friendship blossomed in Singapore, she a story-teller, me a teacher.  Kiran has conducted story telling workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, India, Vietnam and in Australia, her new home. Contact her at

  Wandering around in Ho Chi Minh City, February 2016

The Vietnamese work day starts early at 7.30am. I was staying at a guest house opposite a university, tucked away from the tourist belt. At 7am, I walked around in search of breakfast and to explore the area. The traffic was heavy, with scooters and motorbikes leading the way. Other vehicles trailed behind, all moving perilously though somewhat harmoniously. I was impressed by the 2 sets of traffic lights to suit both road users.

Speed on scooter while going to work

Speeding on scooter while going to work

 People were dashing as I strolled leisurely along the main road at first. They were much too busy to smile, except for the delightful bicycle repairer who was happy to pose for me. Look at his travelling box trolley.

Vietnam bicycle repairer

Vietnam bicycle repairer

Food was everywhere- in the market and the street. Whether it was fish openly cooking in pots in some rich curry, or baguettes (a legacy from the French), or soupy noodles with fresh herbs and meat. As people pulled over to frequent the carts or other eateries dotting the pavement for a quick bite or a takeaway, I ventured into a little lane as the vegetable and fruit sellers beckoned. Never have I seen such tiny garlic nor so many varieties of fresh fish.

Fresh seafood on sale in Vietnam market

Fresh seafood on sale in Vietnam market


But what attracted me was a fruit I had never seen before! Of course I had to buy one with the help of a customer who spoke English! She called it Vu Sua (meaning milky breast), botanical name Chrysophyllum Cainito and also called milk fruit or star apple.

An apple with a reddish tinge? Or was it a soursop? This star apple or Vu Sua was juicier and sweeter!

Guava and star apple fruit

Guava and star apple fruit

All I can say was I wished I’d bought more. Absolutely divine!

Cut star apple ( Vu Sa)

Cut star apple ( Vu Sua)

Watch this video to find out how it looks like:

Hope this inspires my readers to sample exotic fruit and share some interesting anecdotes. Till then, relax.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer



Landscapes – Natural and Man made


In my entry for Daily Post Photo Challenge :Landscape, I bring out two  perspectives, natural and man made.

The dictionary meaning of landscape is:

  1. The detailed view of geographical terrain like rivers and mountains.
  2. A branch of Art dealing with representation of natural scenery like trees, grass, river streams etc. (landscaping)

The word itself originated from Dutch or German ‘landskap‘ (wherein terrain or region is land and its state is skap).

Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.’        

John Ruskin

Mussandan, lies at the northern most tip of Sultanate of Oman. It’s geography is stunning! The rugged Hijjar mountains rise up almost 2,000 ft. from the sea level. A small strip of coastline separates them from the emerald blue waters of Straits of Hormuz (Persian Gulf). Many an archaeological site is hidden in this barren landscape.

Dolphin watching at Mussandan, Oman

Dolphin watching at Mussandan, Oman

In contrast, the man made landscaping in the Gulf region is very specialized and time consuming. The extremes of the climate immensely affect the performance of the plants, often which wither away. Gardens and plants also need a high level of maintenance and the soil irrigation. Transforming the beauty of vast expanses of sandy terrain in to a lush green landscape dotted with Date palms comes at a steep price and effort!

Landscaping of a residential compound

Landscaping of a residential compound


All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) Please see copyright disclaimer