Monthly Archives: May 2014

Block Quilt :Ohio Star and Nine Patch


 Block Quilt : Ohio Star and Nine Patch

This quilt was made about 10 years ago from scraps and old bed sheets bits of pieces from family members – a recycling project. My mother has since been using it for her holiday home in Pune, India. Since then it’s been treasured and used by all us all visiting her holiday home, a sense of joy to find our little patches as if in a game.

This block quilt has 6 blocks : Two 9 patch squares and two Ohio stars and two evening / Christmas stars.

Basic Nine patch – 4 base colours preferably in similar shades or contrast with similar prints in floral or checks. Arranged here in available fabric choice.

Block quilt - 6 blocks

Block quilt – 6 blocks


Ohio Star -4 corner squares in one bold colour. Centre square in contrast colour. Half triangles in contrast colours make one square. Carefully sew pointed tips to touch each other inwards.

Evening Star – Cut out 8 diamond shaped pieces. Sew together adjacent edges to form star shape. Align the pointed ends carefully. Add 4 corner squares in contrast colour or print.

Evening star block

Evening star block


Ohio star in blue

Ohio star in blue

Sashing and binding: Solid colour or white 6″ border all around each block. This adds width and uniformity to each block. A printed blue /white sashing in 6 ” width finishes off the entire quilt together.

Additional, sashing in indigo blue binds the entire quilt, and gives necessary length and width.


6 block quilt

6  block quilt



World Palate Recipes -Turkish Eggs( Menemen)


Simple, hearty eggs – The Turkish way

Turkey is a food lover’s paradise!

Turkish cuisine is one of the three great cuisines of the world – other two being Chinese and French. The Ottoman Sultan’s chefs, were specially brought to the Istanbul palace from the mountain regions of Bolu. At the Topkapi palace, they devoted themselves to creating an elaborate unrivalled menu! The Ottoman traditions like weaving, agriculture and family business changed the social culture of Turkey. Turkey’s rich and diverse geography produces seasonal fruits, vegetables, olives, wheat, barley, fish, goat’s milk – a treat for the chef.

Geography defines cuisine – fish from the coast of Marmara and Aegean sea, Anatolia is the bread basket, the Balkan mountain goat and sheep give milk and cheese products, fruits in cooler northern regions. A traditional Turkish menu, at home, bus terminal or a luxurious restaurant will include : meatball Kofte, Shawarma, Kebap, roasted aubergine, lentil soup, chicken /mutton biryani, Shakshouka, Mehmet broad beans, banana milkshake, fried Haloumi cheese with olives, Turkish eggs or Menemen. Trays filled with colourful pastries and puddings are dessert menu. 

Now, enjoy it just like the Turks do – families gather together at tables, pass plates and smoke traditional hookah. ‘Laugh and be merry, it helps digest the food’ goes the saying.

Turkey’s famous sweets are: Baklave, slurpy Turkish ice-cream, Pistachio Halve, Tahini Halve, Lokum sugar cake or grain based puddings, sitting pretty in colourful containers on bakery shelves. No meal is complete without a traditional pot of Turkish kahve, or coffee and almond filled dates.

ShubhanAllah! God is kind and merciful.

DSC03811 (2)

Careful! the slippery ice cream may run just miss your fingers.

For more:

Here is my home version of the ever popular Menemen. Served to us on the terrace cafe during a tour of Istanbul, we enjoyed generous Turkish hospitality. Feta cheese, olives, slices of ham and fresh-baked cake are perfect accompaniment. Don’t forget a pot of kahve , Turkish coffee

Scrambled eggs or Menemen (pronounced Meh-ne -men), is a classic Turkish breakfast, influenced by European and Asian cuisines. It is heavily drizzled in olive oil and flavoured with spices. Dollops of fresh goat’s milk yoghurt, black olives and Feta cheese, ham slices are nutritious accompaniment. Seasonal fruit like oranges, apples, plum (Elma )and  apricots (Kayisi) and fleshy figs (Incir) are perfect sweet note to end upon.

Recipe : Turkish scrambled eggs or Menemen


4 eggs

1 piece chopped red bell pepper

1 piece chopped yellow bell pepper

3 tsp. olive oil

1 medium red onion sliced into rings

1 medium tomato

Red chilli flakes ( adjust to taste)

Fresh ground pepper ( 2-3 peppercorns)

Feta cheese 200 gm ( or less)

kosher salt /pepper to taste

Iron wok /skillet is ideal / thick bottom pan

Garnish : Green and black olives, Feta cheese, fresh parsley or mint leaves


Warm up the olive oil in a heavy bottom frying pan. ( Do not over heat oil !) Add the onion and stir till soft brown, add chopped green or red peppers and cook further. Add diced , seasonal tomatoes and simmer for about 5-7 min, or until most of the moisture evaporates. Sprinkle some chilli flakes and ground pepper.

In a bowl, lightly whisk eggs and slowly fold into pan mixture, gently stirring. You don’t want to over cook your Menemen – it will go crumbly, it’s better to have it a bit on runny side. Drizzle plenty of olive oil – it’s good for your skin and health.

Once the eggs are scrambled, crumble white Feta cheese on top.  Take off the heat. Garnish with chopped parsley or fresh mint and few pieces of peppers to decorate further. Menemen must look bright and colourful!

Menemen - Turkish scrambled eggs

Menemen – Turkish scrambled eggs


Here is another recipe I found in the Women’s Era, Indian magazine:

Turkish Vegetables with an Indian twist, by Roma Ghosh

Okra Turkish style
300 gm okra/ bhindi  – medium-sized
salt to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pepper powder
1 onion – medium sized finely chopped
1 tomato medium-sized cut into small pieces
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Wash the okra and wipe with a kitchen towel to remove the water. Discard both ends of the okra Wash the okra and wipe with a kitchen towel to remove the water. Discard both ends of the okra but keep the okra whole. Make a slit in the centre and keep aside. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion pieces till translucent. Mix in the tomatoes and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the okra and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat and mix the remaining ingredients. Cover with a lid and cook till the okra are tender. Remove and serve hot with bread, Feta Cheese and bowl of yoghurt.


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

Istanbul – Cultural musings from a Bazaar

Istanbul – Cultural musings from a Bazaar

 Istanbul – Cultural Musings from a Bazaar


Bazaar, a Persian word, means a trading market. Turkey has long been famous for its textile and agricultural trade. During Byzantine and Ottoman rule, caravans traversed this historic route, across two continents connecting Asia and Europe. Turkish bazaars then, were famous for spice, cloth, gold bracelets, leather goods, books and even slaves!  Today, the bazaar offers an insight into Turkish history. Almost like a museum!

Istanbul, they say, is the tourist capital of the world. It’s unique geographical position, several sieges that changed its history and the straits of Bosphorus, that served routes for trade and navigation, make Istanbul a culture lover’s paradise. For the Grand Bazaar or spice market, draws thousands of tourists, and the quiet Aarasta Bazaar set in the backdrop of the Blue mosque evoke scents and smell of brisk trade.

In the SultanAhmet area, the Aarasta Bazaar is a small, quiet market. Open seven days of the week, it beckons every tourist that passes through its stone arch. Souvenirs, carpets and rugs, Turkish sweets and Ottoman robes line the shops. Locally known as Sipahi Carsisi, the shops, boast antique wooden architecture. They once housed horses and sentry (sipahi) of Ottoman Caliph’s. Trot, trot…clog can almost hear the horses hoofs!



The first shop tucked into the stone arch is a heavily dotted with turquoise blue ware. Ceramic vases, plates, perfume bottles  with flowery nakshi or designs crowd it’s shelves. Can you spot that big glass bead with an eye design? Popularly known as Nazar boncuk or ‘evil’ eye, locals hang it at door entrances – of homes, shops and office, in children’s closets and in cars. A common sight all over Central Asia, it probably originated in the Mediterranean. It was hung on ships and tail fins of airplanes. No wonder, it’s guards the bazaar entrance. 

DSC03761 90px-Nazarboncuk_Turkish_Apotrop_eye_DSCN8621

Turquoise blue, the national colour of Turkey, is the colour of Bosphorus waters. Trade and social activity depended upon this strait, hence its revered. Blue ceramics have a blend of Ottoman arabesque with hints of Chinese elements – probably the Ottoman rulers traded spice and cotton textile with Chinese and in turn, inspired them with blue pottery of Ming dynasty.


Blue ceramic jewellery store

Blue ceramic jewellery store

The next shop lined with tiles will charm any tourist. The geometric designs and floral patterns date back to Seljuk rulers and later the Ottoman period. These ceramic tiles have a white base and high glaze, making them very durable and exquisite. From the 16th century onwards the town of Iznik is synonomous for tiles. Palace walls and hammams are covered in tiled patterns almost forming a carpet.

Want to turn your home into a palace ? Just order a boxful of Iznik  tiles. They will be delivered to your doorstep, anywhere in the world!


“Want to become a Caliph for a day ? Dress like the Ottoman rulers” suggested the young shopkeeper in jeans and blue shirt. My turquoise blue Indian Shalwaar /Khameez attracted attention, and he asked  “India?” or “Pakistan?” Where you come from ?


Turkish men and women wear a shalwar, loose trousers with a long flowing tunic. It’s an ideal dress for the scorching summer. However, the younger generation prefers western wear and jeans. The Pasha caps and Fez caps remind one of bygone years. Made in faux tuxedo or velvet / suede they made a pretty picture, perfectly balanced in a colourful vertical column. Look at the royal colours – indigo blue, gold and scarlet red. For an aristocratic touch add a glitzy decoration. Tassels are a must on the Fez. During Ottoman rule, military people were ordered to do away with cumbersome turban tying. They adopted a Western style – a sign of Ottoman modernity. Today, the height, shape, colour of the Fez is more a fashion statement, often dictated by European influences.

I was lucky to pose with local Turkish women some who wore colourful head-scarves. Whether in rural areas or urban high streets, scarf designs and tying methods make fashion, changing often to suit the wearer.

More textile shops filled the bazaar. Turkey has been home to Anatolian ethnic designs. Long flowing gowns, broadly cut kaftaans with sleeves stitched horizontally, delicately embroidered winter coats with paisley designs or floral motifs and woollen trousers or salwar hung on dispaly. Different historical periods demanded different clothing designs. Nakkashane, a Persian word for design or pattern, wer intricately woven using silk thread. Dyed in various inks for a suitable colour and turning to nature for inspiration – the artisans reached zenith during the Seljuk rule and Ottoman rule. Later western influences changed long tunics into short shirts and baggy trousers to straight cuts, adopted for military uniforms.

Nature inspired flower designs are found on almost every aspect of Turkish life – ceramic ware, carpets, clothing, linen and even sofa covers.

Food is the way to a man’s heart. Not only did the Sulieman’s chefs in Topkapi Palace prepare the most elaborate menus, but rustic, earthy women in every household worked long hours to knead bread dough and skewer meat and fish. The bazaar boasts of a fifth generation sweet shop. From milky puddings, coloured chewy lokum, or varieties of rolled pistachio and nut filled filo pastry and halve – tray laden shelves glisten like ruby and emeralds. Turkish delight and baclava are not the only sweets every tourist must savour.

Tray filled Turkish sweets

Tray filled Turkish sweets

Then, how could I satiate myself with at least a dozen different chewy halve to choose from?

Just then, passing vendors sold fresh seasonal fruit ( or fresh squeezed) juice on hand-carts fitted with age-old hand machines and spout. Fruit thus is important item on family menus: strawberries and cherries in spring, summer produces Anar or pomegranate and peaches, and in winter apples and oranges hang in the home garden and orchards.

For more visit my World Palate recipe section – Turkish Menemen.


Leaving the bazaar, I am happy to take back a page of history, some recipes, and ethnic souvenirs. Conversations with friendly local shopkeepers gave insightful tips about their culture, no book can offer. It was truly like visiting an open-air museum!

Have you had an interesting tour of local culture at any market ? Do share. It makes this blog a richer place. 


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

World Palate Recipes: New Zealand Carrot Cake(2)


World Palate Recipes – New Zealand (2)

Carrot Cake – An additional recipe from New Zealand.

Recently on my visit there, a dear friend Jennifer quickly busied herself in the kitchen. I followed her to inspect her quick movements  – beating eggs, followed by grating carrots with hand-held grater then sifting the flour and spices. Finally, before serving us dinner, she popped the mix into the oven. Voila! warm aroma of a delicious carrot cake for dessert.

Is this a traditional English or American cake ? When and why did it become popular? What are the basic ingredients ? Or is it a Venetian invention of a popular Jewish recipe, as claimed ? A Polish friend of mine remembers her grandma often made a steamed carrot pudding /cake. So it’s a timeless classic.

In the mid 1990’s with sugar rationing it became expensive. Soon local grown carrots became is good, healthy substitute. Also imported dried fruits were pricier. Carrots probably found their way into puddings, juices and exotic meals. Cake basics are : flour, grated carrot, spice and dried fruit, moistener like yoghurt or oil and healthy eggs. Carrot cake is perfect for a coffee morning or if topped with zesty orange icing – makes for a wonderful birthday cake, suggested my friend.

The Edmonds Cookery Book has been part of every New Zealand home for the past four generations. The first edition published in 1908 by Thomas Edmonds after Edmonds Baking Powder became hugely popular. A 50 page booklet of economical, everyday recipes, this book is often given as wedding present to the new bride. My friend is a big fan of these simple recipes too..

Thanks for sharing your recipe book with us.

recipe carrot cake

And thanks for treating me to a delicious, moist carrot cake served alongside home-grown grapes.

Enjoy and feel free to post your comments and share your recipes.



Creating a Gallery with Readers Contributions


Pictures tell stories. And sometimes powerful ones too!

Let’s do this together !  Readers, please send me ONE photo of a market scene – fresh market, supermarket counter, vendors pushing their carts  or maybe even a toppled vegetable cart! Include a short caption or verse , if you wish.

My next blog post will be a collage of reader’s contributions.

When there are NO words, one is compelled to search the picture /photo for something that sparks interest or expression, the creative brain get’s activated.

So get going- see, click and send.

My email is:


Gallery of market photos

World Palate Recipes -Snacks, Delhi Specials


Street food is unique to every country or region. Whether it is tapas  in Spain, or satay in Malaysia,  samoosa and fish cutlets in Mauritius, or doner and kebap in Istanbul – street food offers a cheap, quick and easy way to meet friends and savour the regional delights. Delhi is no exception. Summer or winter, street food changes with the season. The best places to eat are in Chandni Chowk, Karol Baug market and Connaught Place. The most popular snacks are :Gol gappas, Chaat, Samosas, Paneer rolls or Tikkis. These savoury items drizzle in oil and masalas making the food – tangy and mouth-watering. Healthier versions include a fruit chaat or baked samosas. Often road side kiosks and vendors sell toasted Bengal gram and peanuts, lightly flavoured with masala and topped with finely chopped onion, coriander and lemon slices. Crunch, crunch, yum !!


My friend Dr. Mridula shares her Delhi special recipe called Kulle Chaat.

A combination of sweet and tangy, fruit and vegetable – a perfect snack. Mridula is not only a fantastic cook, but also runs her own Pathology lab. A doting mother and wife, she is always experimenting with new recipes and perfecting old ones! Thanks dear.


Recipe – Kulle Chaat or Kulia Chaat

preparation time     30 minutes
 cooking  time       10 minutes
Kulle Chaat- snack

Kulle Chaat- snack

        3 potatoes, boiled
         3 tomatoes, ripe, firm
         1  kheera or tender cucumber
         1  boiled sweet potato
  For garnish and presentation:  2 halved oranges,
                                                          1 peeled and slit banana
                                                           1 large slice of  mango
   For the topping: 1/2 cup – boiled, small,  white chana (chick pea)
                                  1/4 cup boiled green peas
                                thin juliennes of  ginger  – 1 tablespoon
                                 fresh  pomegranate (anar daana) seeds  -1/2  cup
                                chopped  coriander   –  1 tablespoon
                                lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
                                black chaat masala, salt to taste
1.    Cut potatoes and tomatoes in halves  and  kheera  in  2 inch pieces.
2.    Scoop out the  centres, forming baskets (kulle), and prepare them to stand on plate.
3.    Mix boiled chana and  peas,  add  salt and  chaat masala, lemon juice.
4.    Fill  the  vegetable baskets  with the above mixture. Top with ginger julienne, coriander leaves and lots of  anar dana pearls. This gives a very colourful texture to this chaat.
Colourful garnished Kulle chaat

Colourful garnished Kulle chaat . Courtesy: Internet

Similarly prepare baskets with  orange halves, mango slices,  banana slit length wise or boiled sweet potato. Stuff the filling and garnish as above. Served as snack.
Contributed by Dr. Mridula Gami
On another note, crispy, hot pakoras are all-time favourites with Indians. Downed with masala chai on a rainy day, these crispies can also be served with as cocktail accompaniments. Street vendors frying these crispy dumplings in large, black iron wok is a common sight in Delhi.
Iron wok to fry vegetable Pakora

Iron wok to fry vegetable Pakora

Let’s experiment with a variety of vegetables: cauliflower florets, onion rings, spinach leaves, slices of raw banana or egg-plant.
Recipe : Assorted Pakoras / Bhajjiya
Ingredients: 1 cup chickpeas (gram) flour – (called Besan in India) ½ cup Rice flour (optional) – this makes it crisp 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder ½ spoon ajwain (or fennel /carom seeds) – aids digestion 3/4 cup  water or as reqd. oil for deep-frying Assorted vegetables cut into thin rings or slices
  • Sift the chickpeas flour into a medium bowl. Mix in the rice flour, coriander and ajwain, coarsely ground, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour. Gradually pour the water into the well and mix to form a thick, smooth batter.
  • Over medium high heat in a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil, it should not overheat and become smoky.
  • Coat the cauliflower / potato/ onions/ corn in the batter and fry them in small batches until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
  • Serve hot with tomato sauce or mint chutney.

Use the left overs in lentil curry the next day. I am sure there WON’T be many leftovers !:).

Pakora - spinach, egg plant,potato, onion, cauliflower. Garnish of marinated onion and ginger julienes with toasted sesame seeds.

Pakora – spinach, egg-plant,potato, onion, cauliflower. Garnish of marinated onion and ginger juliene with toasted sesame seeds.


Recently found a similar themed blogsite with great snapshots: