Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Housing Books

As a very young child I was sure I'd grow old in a cottage by the sea somewhere, surrounded by cats and books...  Now well into adulthood,  I have decided  I am allergic to cats. As for the

cottage, it is there still, somewhere in my dreams... Have remained true to atleast one of  the child- hood resolves though.  The one about books. 
Over the past few years I have collected books of all kinds.. add to that hubby dearests treasured tomes and  subsequently the brats mini library.  Before I realised there were more books around than  I could manage.
After months of persistent tackling we have been able to display  and store most of our collection effectively.....well almost..!
Here are a few pictures  from our mini library, which for lack of space,  has spilled out of my study into every corner of  the house by now.

Located  this fantastic little planter at a furniture sale.   This one was among the last pieces at the store.  Owing to a broken wheel,  I was able to pick it up at throw away prices. It has housed my paper backs ever since.  A little kitschy perhaps, but loads of fun none the less..!

The sofa in the living room anchors a pile of books on  a teak wood platter from Rajasthan. The basket on the left is used to protect  well thumbed  volumes inherited from my mom and grand mom.

A  ladder bought with the intention of being used in a library eventually, is put to use in the meanwhile storing  books. The piece can be converted into a chair with additional storage at the base- which allows me to use it differently from time to time.


 The book rack in the study  carries more than its fair share of load.  It is put to good use storing my sons collection of clay toys from India besides books.


Bay windows in most of the rooms have allowed me to create designated  `reading corners in the living room and bed room.  The spaces are cosy and light-filled, with  plenty of books available at hand at all times including our `current reads'.


Ever since my six-year-old decided he was too old for his rocking horse , the toy has stored my copies of Elle decor and Nat Geo ( left).  A Balinese teak bowl stores old  copies of the List and `Good things'.


Book stands from antique and flea markets display some of my favourite coffee table books in the living room and study.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yummylicious! : Dan-dan noodles

On depressing, rainy, winter days I often find my self craving greasy, fat laden food ... Instantly uplifting.. ! .Noodles of all variety fit my description of the ultimate comfort food. 

It was cold, depressing and raining as I stumbled on a lovely place that served the right `Dan- dan noodle' this afternoon. Needless to say, I came back satiated and very happy with the discovery indeed.. 
Dan - dan noodle -- so called because they were sold in pots braced on  bamboo poles by noodle vendors--  are a popular street food from the Sichuan province of China. 

Whatever the provenance, a bowl of  this yummy,  spicy, peanut and sesame laden delicacy is very easily replicated at home and takes a breeze to stir up.

Here is my approximation of the recipe, tailored to suit my vegetarian taste buds.  The same can be tweaked to other palates quite successfully too..
here goes.

Dan-Dan Mein

Serves 2
egg noodles  1 small packet
peanut oil
2 tsp sesame oil 
1 tbsp Tahini or hulled sesame seeds
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp roasted peanuts coarsley crushed
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp spring onions finely chopped
1 bunch of corriander leaves or cilantro
1 tbsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp vinegar
juice of half a lime
salt to taste

Boil the egg noodles until done, drain and set aside.
 In a bowl mix together into a runny paste the tahini, peanut butter, 2 tsp soysauce, 2 tsp vinegar, salt and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. Toss the noodles with the paste and set aside. Heat the vegetable stock, add the rest of the soy sauce and lime juice.
To serve, place a little bit of the noodles in 2 bowls,  pour a little vegetable stock on to the noodles, ( vary the amount of stock as per preference,  I like the noodles semi -dry, so the stock covers just the base of the bowl.)  Top with generous sprinkling of cushed peanuts and roasted sesame seeds,  add as much chilli flakes as you can take, garnish with chopped spring onions and cilantro, drizzle a teaspoon of sesame oil on top and dig in!!!

Until I upload my own, the photo is courtesy  elegantsufficiency.typepad.com/.../ noodles.jpg. 


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