Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Painting with Coffee

I have always been fascinated by the different mediums that are used in art... in all forms!
And the most fascinating has been making art thru the colors infused with brewed tea or coffee.
Sepia toned with slightly flattish colors and as I realised- not a very forgiving medium.
I tried with tea first but it looked too washed out and pale...
Then I tried with brewed instant coffee, and it had a slightly more deeper pigment.
I am going to be trying with a stronger brew of both coffee as well as tea and see how they turn out.
Needs a little practice, I know, but I thought why not share my first attempt here.




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tasty Tuesday: Fresh Coriander Pesto



Pesto originated in Italy and is made with basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil....blended with some parmesan cheese and its one of the most versatile sauces, or in our Indian lingo... "a chutney" that you can use with meats, pastas, sandwich spreads, even as a base for a delightfully different pizza!
Its real easy to make and can be stored for a little while.... so make a biggish batch, and try it out with various combinations.

And now for my twist:
Though the original Pesto should obviously be made with basil leaves and pine nuts...but one can experiment a little with the fresh greens and the nuts... you can use fresh parsely or cilantro (coriander in our part of the world) or even mint....
and the pine nuts can be interchanged with walnuts or almonds.
Though I have heard that the cheese doesnt really go well with other greens except basil... but a bit of processed cheese with my fresh coriander went a looooong way!

We dont get Basil here in my part of the world very easily.... in fact I count myself really lucky the day I find a fresh head of broccoli and mushrooms (exorbitantly priced of course) in the little general store that caters to our needs.... And I grab it before it disappears!
A big bunch of fresh coriander is available all year round, so I thought why not make my pesto coriander based? with pine nuts of course, so that I get a bit of the authentic taste.


CORIANDER PESTO with PINE NUTS
Ingr:
2 cups coriander leaves
2-3 garlic cloves
4 tbsp pine nuts (chilgoza)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup hard cheese (Parmigiano, Reggiano, Parmesan)
or if none of these are available... good old processed cheese!
sea salt and black pepper to taste

-It comes out best if you grind it in a mortar and pestle.... if not then just a quick whirr in the blender will do. The resultant sauce should be coarse, not finely ground.
-Add the grated cheese in the end, just before serving

1- If using the the mortar and pestle, crush garlic with the sea salt+pepper to make a fine paste. Then add the basil leaves and pound the leaves to pulp. Add the pine nuts and grind to smooth consistancy... with a couple of tbsp of water.
In the end add the the oil and mix well.
The Cheese is added in the end.

2- If using a blender, combine the coriander leaves, half the oil, nuts, garlic and salt+pepper in a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds, scrape the sides and repeat.
Add the rest of the oil gradually.... if it seems too thick, you can add a bit more oil.
The cheese is added in the end and mixed by hand, right before serving.

NOTE: Pesto freezes well. If freezing, then dont add the cheese, and pour a layer of oil on top, once its in the container.



Here (in the pictures) I have used the Pesto sauce as a base for the Tagliatelle Pasta.... makes for an amazing alternative to the regular tomato based pasta sauce.

This is the proper meal that I served with the Pesto Pasta :-)
The recipes will follow soon!




I also used this pesto sauce as a base for this yummy Pizza.




This pesto sauce is also as a base for the Chicken Cordon Bleu... the recipe is here:



So what are you waiting for?? Just whirr up some Pesto already...and experiment your heart away!!
And do let me know what all you tried.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

August 2017 FREE Desktop Calendar

Its raining cats and dogs here and I was thinking of making this month's calendar on the monsoons of India....
Then I got a chance to bid on a pretty interesting project yesterday, and the client had a particular illustrator's style in mind.
Its a pretty simple style, not too complicated to emulate and very whimsical.
So I thought why not kill two birds with one stone?
make a sample illustration for the bid and make this month's calendar before it gets too late and I get caught up in life and its myriad problems...
Yes I am still in a whirlwind and pretty distracted state these days, but I have to get things back on track ASAP...
just not getting the feel and rhythm of the new place. Still feeling unsettled and out of depth.
But I've procrastinated enough I think, I have been barely managing to get one post out in a month, where I have been posting nearly 4-5 times in a week when I am on a roll.
My new studio has been set up, the painting are out... the colors and brushes are arranged but my mood is still on a break.
Oh well... getting there, by and by.
And the first step of course is to get the music pumping and post this month's desktop calendar!
I know its a little simplistic style, but I hope you like it!  :-)


Just right click, save and set as desktop image :)

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