Chicken Roast

Chicken Pattichathu 5
Ingredients (Serves 6 - 7):
Chicken                   --   1 kg, approximately
Onion                       --   3 big, thinly sliced
Crushed garlic      --   1½ tbsp
Crushed ginger     --   1½ tbsp
Shallots                    --   15 - 20nos
Black pepper          --   1½ tbsp
Turmeric powder --   ½ tsp
Chilly powder        --   1½ tbsp, adjust accordingly - this level is above medium spicy.
Fennel seeds          --   ½ tsp
Garam Masala        --   1 tsp
Tomato Sauce        --   2 tbsp
Soya Sauce              --   1 tbsp
Coriander leaves   --   6 - 8 stalks, chopped
Mustard seeds        --   1 tsp
Curry leaves            --   1 sprig
Salt                              --   as required
Oil                                --   2 - 3 tbsp, I used coconut oil
Chicken Pattichathu 6

Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder, crushed garlic, crushed ginger, pepper, chilly powder, garam masala, crushed fennel seeds, salt, roughly chopped shallots and one onion thinly sliced. Keep it aside for half an hour.
Cook the marinated chicken with half a cup of water in a pressure cooker / a wide pan until the chicken is well done. Cook with the lid open  until the gravy is semi thick consistency.
In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the curry leaves and the remaining two onions, thinly sliced and fry until the onions are golden brown. Add the tomato sauce and the soya sauce and saute for a minute.
    Chicken Pattichathu 1              Chicken Pattichathu 2
Add the cooked chicken to the fried onions and mix well.
     Chicken Pattichathu 3                Chicken Pattichathu 4
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Serve  hot with rice / chapathi.
Chicken Pattichathu 7
Recipe Courtesy: Partially from Magic Oven

The Lacquer Legion Crisp: Striking Striped Nails

After missing the last couple months of The Lacquer Legion, I'm back to join the fun for today's prompt, "crisp." I'm so glad to be getting back into the swing of things with my nail art—I really missed The Lacquer Legion in particular!

Happy as I am to be back at it, however, I'll admit that I had a bit of a hard time with this theme. For the longest time, I could really only think of crisp apples or fall leaves, and I wasn't feeling quite confident enough in my freehanding skills to go that route. In the end, I decided to embrace the idea of crisp, clean lines and just go nuts with some colors that inspired me.

There wasn't much rhyme or reason to this design: I just used a combination of straight Nail Vinyls and a striping brush to randomly apply stripes of varying widths on a white base. I also tried to pick super contrasting colors to show the (mostly!) crisp lines of all the different stripes. I didn't even realize until about halfway through the process that the colors are very witchy/Halloween-y, so I'll just pretend that was on purpose!

The polishes I used are as follows:

Everything is topped with Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat.

I really like how this turned out and I'm going to enjoy wearing it this week (yes, I'm a crazy person and I did this to both hands—it took forEVER), but I'm not sure it was quite the "crisp" look The Lacquer Legion ladies had in mind. I expect to see lots of gorgeous fall manicures when everyone else's designs get posted, so I hope there's room for some stripes in the mix, too!

Thanks for looking!

Amateur Manicure Featured on Seattle Refined!

I recently answered some questions for about current nail art trends and techniques, and the article went live today! Please check it out if you're interested in what I had to say.

Also, I just have to mention that I didn't know until I saw it live on the site that the article would co-feature one of my biggest nail art heroes ever, Sarah from Chalkboard Nails! I was already excited enough to be asked to participate, but being mentioned in the same space as Sarah is a big-time fangirl moment for me. I'm not worthy!

Mango Mousse Cake

This one was a real hit and I never had expected it to be. That forced me to have it here now. I did not actually plan this to take a place here and hence hadn't clicked any step-by-step pics. Now that I am sure to have this prepared many more times, I will definitely update this post with more pics.
Mango Mousse Cake 1
Genoise Recipe:
All purpose flour --   1 cup
Baking powder      --   2 tsp
Salt                             --   ½ tsp 
Eggs                           --   6
Sugar                         --   1 cup
Vanilla                      --   1½ tsp 
Milk                           --   1/3 cup
Butter                       --   3 tbsp
I halved the above recipe for the mango mousse cake.
Line the 8" cake tin with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt 2 - 3 times. Keep aside. Melt the butter and add it in the milk and keep aside.
Separate the egg yolks and the whites.
Beat the egg white at a high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, few tbsp at a time. Continue to beat until the egg whites form a peak stage. Add the yolks, one at a time and beat until the mixture falls like a ribbon.
Add the vanilla and mix well.
Divide the flour mixture into 3 and add a portion at a time into the egg mixture using minimun speed or you can also fold using your spatula. Mix until just combined.
Scoop 2 -3 tbsp of the batter into the milk mixture and mix well. Add this back to the batter and gently fold to mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top springs back when touched.
Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
Mango Mousse Cake 4
Mango mousse:

Heavy whipping cream --     2 cups
Powdered Gelatin            --   3 tsp
Cold water                          --   5 tbsp
Mango puree                     --   2 cups
Powdered sugar               --   ½ cup , adjust according to the sweetness / sourness of the puree

Sugar Syrup                       --   ¼ cup sugar & ¼ cup water; you can substitute with any light juice of your choice.

Mix the mango puree with the powdered sugar, keep aside.
Prepare the sugar syrup by adding the sugar to water and let it boil for 2 – 3 minutes. Keep it aside and let it cool.
Chill the bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for an hour. Add the heavy cream and whip until soft peaks.
Soak the gelatin in the water for a few minutes. Heat the gelatin mixture just until dissolved. Bring it to room temperature.
Strain and add the gelatin mixture to the mango puree and mix well.
Add the mango mixture to the whipped cream and fold until well combined.
It is good to prepare the mousse when it is ready to assemble the cake. Else, the mousse might get set in bowl.
Cut the cake horizontally into 2 equal layers. Keep the first layer of the cake in a 9inch spring form pan.Make sure that the cake is in the center. Brush it nicely with sugar syrup / any favorite light juice.  Pour half of the mousse on top of the first layer. Fill the sides of the cake(we have an 8 inch cake in a 9 inch pan) and smoothen the top. Place the other half on top of the smoothened mousse. Brush it with the syrup and then pour the remaining mousse on top of this layer and let this also fill in the sides. Smoothen the top and also make sure that you have enough room for the glaze on the top of the pan.
Cover it with a plastic wrap / aluminum foil and chill it for 8 hours / overnight.
Mango Mousse Cake 2
Mango Glaze:
Powdered Gelatin  --   3 tsp
Cold water                --   ½ cup
Mango puree           --   ½ cup
Powdered sugar     --   3 tbsp , adjust according to the sweetness / sourness of the puree
Soak the gelatin in ¼ cup of cold water. Add the sugar to the remaining water and heat it until the sugar is dissolved. Add the soaked gelatin to the hot sugar syrup and mix until the gelatin is dissolved.Heat more if required.Add it to the mango puree and let it cool to room temperature. Strain and pour it onto the chilled mousse. Keep it back in the fridge for another couple of hours and allow it to set.
Mango Mousse Cake 3
Decorate as per your wish.
Recipe Courtesy - Mango mousse: A cup of cake

Stamped Holo Hexagon Nail Art

It's been a while since I've done a full-on stamped manicure. Like, a very long while. I'd like to say that I was just in the mood for other things, but that's only partially true: I also became kind of disillusioned with my plateaued stamping success. I've talked before about making an effort to improve my stamping skills, but I eventually reached a point where even when I tried my best, I just never felt like I could quite get the results I really wanted.

Well, I'm happy to report that there's been a new development: I have some new tools that are finally helping my stamping efforts be successful and, more importantly, fun.

I heard a while ago that Messy Mansion was releasing some new stampers, and when I watched the intro video about them, I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on some of those soft stamper heads. Soft stampers (sometimes called marshmallows) have always worked best for me, and these looked even softer than any I'd seen before. These new heads are crazy popular, so it took some doing (read: impatiently stalking my email and Messy Mansion's site for signs of a restock), but my lucky day finally arrived a couple of weeks ago and I was able to order sets of the medium-soft and soft stamper heads.

I'm sure you've already guessed that my comments about these things are going to be glowing, but just in case there's any confusion: these stamper heads are THE BEST! Without question! I almost want to store them in a lockbox, because they are already just that precious to me. The two sets I got (the softest ones) are so soft and sticky and wonderful, and they pick up & transfer images absolutely perfectly. I opted for the sets that come in the tins, and I'm also leaving the heads in the little plastic cups used during the manufacturing process when I'm not using them, just for maximum fuzz protection. (Cat hair: it's an epidemic, y'all.)

The set pictured above is the medium soft set, and that's what I used to stamp this hexagon pattern from one of my MoYou London Sci Fi plates. I never would have attempted a full-nail geometric pattern like this with my other stampers, because there was just too great a chance for wobbly, warped results, but as you can see, everything came out almost perfectly with the Messy Mansion stampers. The softness made me feel like I could really take my time and get the image transfer just right.

Needless to say, I can't see myself using any other stamper heads in the future. Well, that's not entirely true: I may use my firmer ones for creating stamped decals, but that's about it. Otherwise, I'm a devoted Messy Mansion girl now.

Oh, and I really should give a mention and some credit to the polishes I used for this look, because they certainly helped, too. The base is ILNP Kings & Queens and the stamping is ILNP Cosmic Barney. Such perfect holos, both of them!

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this design, or about stamper heads in general—which one(s) do you love and use most? Are you going to pick up any of Messy Mansion's new offerings?

Thanks for looking!

Idichakka Thoran / Tender Jackfruit Stir Fry

Idi Chakka 3
Ingredients (Serves 4 - 5):
Idichakka/Tender Jackfruit --   ½ kg, cubed
Turmeric powder   --   ½ tsp
Red chilly powder  --   ¼ tsp
Green chillies           --   2 - 3, depending upon the taste
Shallots                       --   3 small
Shredded coconut  --   ¾ cup
Mustard seeds          --   ½ tsp
Dry red chillies        --   2
Curry leaves             --   1 sprig
Salt                               --   to taste
Oil                                 --   as required
Idi Chakka 1
Cook the cubed idichakka with turmeric powder,chilly powder and salt adding enough water.Make sure that it is not over cooked. Drain the excess water. The frozen ones we get are in this form except for salt.
Crush the idichakka using a pestle or a mixer.Keep aside.
Crush the green chillies, shallots and the shredded coconut and mix this well with the crushed idichakka.
Heat oil in a pan,add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add dry red chilies and curry leaves and saute for couple of seconds.
Add the crushed mix and let it cook until dry and the raw smell of the shallots go off. Do a taste check and add more salt if required.
Serve with rice.
Idi Chakka 2
Recipe Courtesy: Amma

Muringa (Drumstick) Leaves Curry

Muringa leaves curry 2

Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4):
Muringayila (drumstick leaves) --   1 ½ cup
Toor dal                     --   ½ cup (optional)
Salt                               --   to taste
Shredded coconut --   1 cup
Green chilies            --   1
Cumin seeds             --   1 tsp
Turmeric powder   --   ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp(for dal)
Red Chilly Powder --   1 tsp + ½ tsp(for dal) - adjust according to your taste - this much is medium spicy
To temper:
Coconut oil               --   2 tbsp
Mustard seeds         --   ½ tsp
Shallots                      --   2
Red chilies                --   1
Separate the leaves from the stalks, wash and keep it aside.(This is the time consuming part J)
Grind together the coconut, green chillies, cumin seeds and turmeric powder. Keep aside.
If adding toor dal, cook the dal with ¼ tsp turmeric powder and ½ tsp red chilly powder.
Muringa leaves curry 3
Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it sputter. Add in the sliced shallots and red chilies. Saute until the shallots are translucent and then add in the leaves and salt. Saute until they start to change the colour.
Add the cooked dal, if using.
Now add the ground paste to the mix and add required amount water (around a cup). Keep stirring and let it just start boiling. Switch off the flame and remove from the stove.
Muringa leaves curry 1
Serve hot with rice.

Black and White and Blue All Over Splatter Nail Art

I definitely didn't intend to take such a long break from blogging, but between vacation and being sick afterward (isn't that always how it goes?), I've had almost no time or energy lately to even paint my nails, let alone blog about them. So, my apologies for my absence—but I'm finally back today with some new nails to share!

I decided to ease back into nail art with a technique I hadn't tried before, but that I hoped would be pretty easy: a splatter design. I've seen splatter nails around quite a bit and they always appear pretty straightforward, so how hard could they be, right?

Well, I didn't quite think things through, because while the actual splattering was super easy (dip a drinking straw into your polish bottle and then blow air through the straw onto your nails in short, quick bursts), the cleanup was... kind of a nightmare. I quickly taped off my cuticles before I started the process, so that helped a little bit, but I still spent about three times as long on the cleanup as I did on the actual manicure! I will definitely be using some peel-off base coat around my cuticles when I try this technique again.

Because, unpleasant cleaup aside, I really like how this turned out and will absolutely be using this technique again. Random and asymmetrical, but still cohesive—a great combination, in my opinion. And as I've demonstrated a few times before on this blog, I'm a sucker for black & white + one additional color, so. I was destined to love this, I think. The final design also looked nice with a shiny finish, if that's more your thing, but I felt like a matte finish was the way to go for these particular colors.

Here's what I used:

Thanks for looking—I hope to be moving back toward a more regular posting schedule from this point forward!

MQ Vienna Fashion :: 11.9 - 14.9. 2014 :: amateur FashionShow feat. Christopher Sturmer :: 13.9 um 15Uhr :: Afterparty und Ausstellungseröffnung :: Deaf like a Lemon :: von und mit dem Künstler Christopher Sturmer :: ab 17Uhr im Showroom Block44 in der Reindorfgasse 44, 1150 Wien

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Lookbook SS2014 :: Fotos :: Sandra Bernhard, Model: Anastasia / Mother Agency

Review :: Artist in Residence August 2014 :: Kunstfestival Perspektiven Attersee

Fotos: Sandra Bernhard, Model: Anastasia/ Mother Agency
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