Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Healthy Recipe: Mango Parfait with Chia seeds


Summer is at its peak and here I am taking advantage of the most popular summer fruit – Mango. So I kick-started the mango series with a healthy recipe today. Mango Parfait is one of the healthiest desserts I have made till now. It is simple, quick and healthy. And it can be served with breakfast and dessert. It can also be a post work out meal or a healthy mid-day snack. The combination of mango, granola and yogurt was just perfect and refreshing. And it is also a great way to introduce chia seeds to the family because it is packed with valuable nutrients. Try out this recipe and let me know what you think. This recipe again didn’t fail to impress me and you will find me making more of these in future. I have skipped the quantity of certain ingredients and leaving up to you to decide depending on the size of the serving glass.


Ingredients

Chia seeds – 3 tbsp

Almond milk – 1 cup

Honey - 2 tblsp

Vanilla extract- 1 tsp

Mango Puree

Granola or muesli

Greek Yogurt  

Fresh mango cut in small cubes and chilled



Method

1.       In a bowl, combine the almond milk with chia seeds, honey and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
2.       Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
3.       Mix once more, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (for best results, refrigerate overnight).
4.       Remove the bowl with the pudding from the fridge about 15 minutes prior to serving.
5.       Layer parfait glasses with granola at the bottom, then top it with Greek yogurt, mango puree and lastly almond milk with chia seeds. Repeat the layers if the glasses are big. Then top it with diced fresh mango and garnish it with again with granola or muesli and mint or basil.
6.       Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

  
Add caption

Tips:

·         You can subsititute almond milk with coconut milk

·         Add toasted shredded coconut to the milk and as garnish

·         You can also use chocolate chips for garnish.

·         You can combine strawberries, cherries, banana or any other fruit of your choice.




All the above pictures are copyrighted Ticked by Inspirations




Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Recipe for the month: Moussaka

Moussaka, the traditional Greek comfort dish, is my all-time favorite dish that never fails me and guaranteed to impress everyone. I have to admit this is not an easy recipe and it requires ahead planning but totally worth all the effort. And it is a recipe you have to give it a try. The flavour of different layers of eggplant, meat sauce, potatoes and the white cheesy sauce makes this dish divine. This is a great choice of recipe when you have a large gathering at home because this can be made in advance.  It's a perfect weekend meal and you can forget about the calories for a while. One bite of this dish and get ready to swoon. So here is the recipe


Ingredients
·         3 eggplants cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (lengthwise or across)
·         2 medium size potatoes sliced 1/2 inch thick slices
·         salt
·         1/4 cup olive oil
·         500 to 650gms minced lamb/beef (I used lamb)
·         salt to taste
·         ground black pepper to taste
·         2 onions, chopped
·         1tbsp ginger minced
·         1tbsp garlic minced
·         1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/4 teaspoon chilly powder
·         1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
·         1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

·         For the Béchamel Sauce
·         3 egg, beaten
·         100gms butter
·         3 cups milk
·         1 cup water
·         1/3rd cup all-purpose flour
·         salt to taste
·         pepper to taste

·         1 1/2 cups  Parmesan cheese




Method
1.      Lay the slices of eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture. Then in a skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil. Fry the eggplant until browned. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
2.      Pan fry the sliced potatoes and set aside on paper towels to drain.
3.      In an empty vessel put the washed mince and let all the moisture dry off.
4.      Then In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and add the minced lamb, salt and pepper to taste, onions, and garlic and ginger. After the meat is browned, sprinkle in the spices. Pour in the tomato sauce and mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
5.      To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Lower heat; gradually pour in the milk and 1 cup water, whisking constantly until it thickens. Season with salt, and white pepper. There must not be any lumps. Then set it aside to cool. Once it has cooled down add the cheese and stir. Then beat up the 3 eggs and add to the white sauce and set it aside. 
6.       So now we have to layer the eggplant, minced meat, potato and the sauce.
7.       Arrange a layer of potato in a baking dish which is greased at the bottom. Cover the potato with half of the meat mixture. Then arrange the layer of eggplant, cover this layer with the remaining meat mix. Pour the béchamel sauce on top.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
8.       Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).


Process of layering in pictures:









Tips
·         Make the meat sauce and béchamel sauce the previous day and rewarm it when assembling the dish.
·         Add mushrooms and spinach for variation. 
·         If you lack time, use the instant béchamel mix. I do it when I lack time!
·         Leftovers can be stored and refrigerator in airtight container and tastes even better the next day!


Above pictures are copyright Tickled by Inspirations






Monday, May 7, 2018

Artist of the month - Natasha Farrar

There are endless possibilities for all the creative minds out there in the world of art. Have you ever thought what a life of an illustrator would be like? You wake up every morning and just draw…too good to be true right? But that is exactly the life of an illustrator. And I believe the work of an illustrator always wins people’s hearts. One such illustrator who won my heart is Natasha all the way from Sydney. There is this soft, simple innocence that oozes out from her illustrations. Her drawings are whimsical, cute and cuddly. Have a look at her illustrations and let’s hear more from Natasha herself!


A brief about yourself. 
Natasha Farrar

I have lived in Sydney all my life, and spent most of my childhood drawing, playing the piano and making up stories with my toys. I studied Fine Arts for a couple of years but transferred to B.Music/B.Education (hons) with the intention of becoming a music teacher. I loved music and teaching! But got wildly distracted by some great opportunities whilst working in a chocolate shop, and focused on that for a few years before finally changing my focus back to picture book illustration! I illustrated a couple of books in 2016 for Little Steps Publishing. Now, I have a beautiful little girl who is about to turn one, so now I draw whenever she's sleeping. Basically, my life revolves around drawing, music, chocolate and babies. What more could one want!


How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?

As mentioned, I studied Fine Arts for a couple of years, and have done a few short painting courses over the years. I studied picture book illustration through USyd's Centre for Continuing Education, but most of my style and technique has come through experimenting at home (and during school classes...)




How would you describe your illustration style?

Whimsical, girly, cute, and lots of scribbly lines!



What's your inspiration for your work?

Children and family… I love the imaginations kids have and how they can spend ages playing with something that adults would consider obsolete (like cardboard boxes)!


What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

Trying to capture individual faces and their spark in my simplified drawing style.


What is your creative process like? and what keeps you motivated?

Haphazard! I'm constantly starting multiple projects at once and am constantly having to check back that I'm not forgetting anything! I'm doing lots of custom illustrations for individuals at the moment. I get really motivated by their story and the reason for getting a painting done for their loved ones. They're all so sweet and I am constantly feeling privileged to be part of something that's really special for them



Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your work?

 I love commissions! You can check out the Commissions page on my website or email me for more info. I also have a Red Bubble store.



What is your favorite art piece that you have done till date?

I painted this hot air balloon one when I had just gone part time at work to focus more on illustration, and was changing my drawing style. So it marks a very particular point when things started to come together! 

Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring illustrators who wants to pursue a similar career.

Enjoy the process! Join a community like Heidi's Character Design Weekly Challenge on Facebook- it gives you great motivation to keep drawing and also find some like-minded people in the world!



Thank you Natasha for sharing your art inspirations with me and my readers! 
If you wish to follow her work please click here 




Above images via Natasha Farrar


Monday, April 23, 2018

Home Tour: Saritha’s residence in Netherlands


Hey everyone! I got busy with family for the past few weeks that needed my attention but I am back to blogging now.  I am so glad to resume to what I love because I missed you all. But I have to say I not going to be consistent with my blogging for the next one month because of my family commitments that needs my attention… Meanwhile I am here with another beautiful home tour. This home is from one of my favorite travel destination, Netherlands.


Saritha Ashok has converted her home into a cozy retreat and strives on minimalism, because of her constrain in space. She focuses on living a clutter-free life and as a result making her space peaceful home airy and surrounds herself with soulful elements like flowers, candles and books. I love how she puts together different elements to create beautiful vignettes.

 Let’s hear more from Saritha herself on her inspiration for her décor style and enjoy her home tour!   

I am Saritha Ashok and I am from Kerala in India. I live in a small town in Netherlands called Leiden, with my husband and 12 year old son.  



When we moved here, on the decor front I decided I will keep it all bright and clutter free and minimalistic. I do slip at times, but I think I have managed to stick to it mostly. I can’t say that my decor style belongs to a specific category. I think it’s a mix of country cottage/farmhouse with hints of boho and Indian traditional. I love to decorate with earthy and handmade accents. Most of our furniture in this home was bought from used furniture groups online and most of the decor accents are flea market finds. I also carried a few of my favorite pieces from India. So you can call it a “thrifted home” :)  


My favorite piece of furniture in the house currently is the blue sideboard. It is an old piece that I painted and it looks stunning now, if I may say so. My favorite space in the house has to be the living area. I spend a lot of time on the couch enjoying the view of the canal outside! Also, we mostly have our meals here (not on the dining table, I confess).  



My decor tip would be to keep it simple and minimal. You can add pops of colour using flowers, candles or even books! Plants can also add a lot of character to any space. And do not hesitate to experiment, because I think that is how you develop your own style. “






Thank you Saritha for opening up your cozy retreat to us.
If you wish to follow Saritha's home décor inspirations, hop on to Instagram and click here to follow.

I will be back with more home tours... Stay Tuned!



All the above pictures are copyrighted.








Thursday, March 8, 2018

Eggplant Cheese Spread Bruschetta / Paneer-bhaingan bhurji


Today’s food inspiration is for the vegetarian lovers out there. This is the first time I tried paneer(cottage cheese) and eggplant combo and it turned out beautiful together. It’s spicy (bearable) and absolutely fabulous on baguette slices and it is a great appetizer to any party or event. This recipe is adapted from Food Fashion Party, a great food blog that I have been following over the years. Thank you Asha for this amazing recipe. It’s a perfect comforting dish for your weekend night. Try it out and you will know exactly what I am talking about!




Click here for the original recipe. It is adapted from Food Fashion Party.

Serves 4 to 6

Method:

·      Frozen paneer(cottage cheese) – 250gms (Click on the original link if you want to make fresh paneer)

·      Basil Pesto – I used to readymade bottled one ( didn’t have time to make the fresh one, but do click on the original recipe link to make Basil Pesto)

·      Eggplant - 1

·      Oil – 2 tbsps.

·      Cumin – 1tsp

·      Red Onion finely diced – 2 tblsp

·      Finely sliced green chilie - 2

·      1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste – 1tblsp

·      Tomato large chopped - 1

·      Salt – 1 tsp.

·      Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp.

·      Chili powder (hot) – 1 tsp.

·      Garam masala – ½ tbsp.

·      Finely chopped parsley – 3 to 4 tbsps.

·       Shredded mozzarella - 2tbsps.

·      French bread, sliced diagonally

Method:

  1. Brush the eggplant with oil and bake it for 30 minutes in 200 degrees Celsius. Let it cool for 15 minutes once it’s baked and then finely chop it and set aside.
  2. In a pan add oil, brown cumin. Then sauté chopped onion till it softens. Then add green chilies, ginger and garlic paste and sauté for 15 seconds. Then add tomatoes, turmeric, chilie powder and salt and sauté for one minute. Add 1 or 2 tbsps. of water to cook the spices. Keep sautéing for another few minutes. 
  3. Then add chopped eggplant, garam masala and cook on low flame for 5 minutes. Then add the crumbled paneer and fold it well under high flame.
  4. Turn off the flame and add chopped parsley.
  5. Scoop the dish on to an oven proof serving bowl and sprinkle mozzarella cheese and bake till the cheese melts and turn brown.
  6. Arrange the sliced bread and pesto on a platter and serve the dish along with this.




All above pictures are copyrighted Tickled by Inspirations



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Home Tour of Kapila Banerjee’s home from India

Home Tours are my happy segment. They tell us so much of the owners taste and their personality. Kapila Banerjee’s home in India screams ethnicity, earthy and bright tones.  I got distracted as I was browsing through the pictures, right from the wall colour to the ethnic and vintage furniture and beautiful lamps. My eyes were also glued to her beautiful vignettes displayed on her coffee table and other corners. Kapila’s love for aesthetic décor and her love for travel can be seen in the curios that she has collected over the years. And her love for plants is blended well in her space. Her home is a true reflection of her taste… So let’s hear more from Kapila herself and view her home. Enjoy the home tour!
beautiful tablescape

“I was born and bought up in Indore -MP Heart of India. Right from my childhood art was part of me. Back then in college days I developed interest in interior designing. This led me to learning basics through the formal diploma in interior designing. While I could not purse it as a profession but the interest continued right from the time when I did the decor of my parental home to my own house after marriage. Being happily married to Sonal for 14 years and counting, we are proud parents to twin daughters. We have been moving places due to work demands. Sonal currently is on a overseas assignment based out of Yangon, Myanmar. I returned back with my girls to Indore from Nairobi, Kenya.

My apartment (2500 square feet space) is a mirror reflection of my passion around art, home décor and paintings. Both I and Sonal are passionate and appreciative about beautiful art pieces and unique furniture. My daughters aged 9 have also developed a taste for decor of their own in specific style which reflects in their room. The artifacts in the home have been collected over the years. Each place we stayed or went on a vacation we did add on to our collectibles. Decor in my home has rich influences of lifestyles and cultures from few Indian states, certain African countries and the Far East influences which we gathered due to Sonal’s current stay at Myanmar.

lots of wood and metal elements that go hand in hand

There is a very dominant presence of metal and wood in every room which shows a nice blend of ethnic with contemporary lifestyle in the house. My love for hand painted artifacts is also prominent with some of my own works. Every nook and corner of the house has a little space to spare with different moods. I love fresh plants and flowers all around. I have a small cozy sit out in the balcony surrounded by well-groomed plants. I prefer natural light hence I like using light curtains and some of them are my old sarees reused. I like using vibrant and warm colors, one key highlight is the camouflaged décor in the living room wall paint and the furniture’s around the room which has blended elegantly. You shall also find glimpses of African decor in the house which is a nostalgic remembrance during my stay at Kenya for few years.
a warm corner to chill

her beautiful balcony



Favorite spot in my home is the family room along the balcony space. This is one room where I spend most of my time with kids and extended family. Day bed corner is the most comforting zone with natural light and fresh air along with greens from the adjoining balcony.

beautiful wall colour that goes well with her ethnic décor 

My advice to all decor lovers out there is to try new things from the old and antique decor pieces .Be updated on new products , specially the once which help you to keep the house organized. Use fresh plants they just add so much life and vibrancy to any corner. Play with lights to get different visual impacts. It’s finally not about the size but the space utility.”
her cozy living room

Another beautiful vignette

her girls bedroom


Thank you Kapila for giving us a fabulous home tour and giving us many inspirations to take away. 

All above images are copyright Kapila 




Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Espresso Chocolate Lava Cake


Dark chocolate is my husband’s first love when it comes to the type of chocolate. So I got this easy recipe from “The White Ramekins” that just popped up on my Instagram feed on Valentine’s Day. It has all the perfect elements to make this lava cake decadent. It is rich, chocolaty and gooey inside!! There is espresso and dark chocolate infused perfectly in this dessert. You can add peanut butter as per the original recipe if you wish to give that perfect salty texture as well. So if you are a peanut butter fan you should click here for the original recipe from “The White Ramekins”. It’s easy and quick to make… it has few ingredients and requires a few ramekins or custard cups.  This is that perfect dessert for that romantic night or just to treat yourself after a long day or a hectic week! My only regret is that I couldn’t photograph the chocolate lava running out of the cake to give you the complete picture. Nevertheless do try out this no fail recipe and let me know how it turns out!


Recipe Adapted from The White Ramekins


Ingredients


1.       Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped – 200gm

2.       Butter, chopped – 100gm

3.       Eggs 2

4.       2 egg yolks, extra

5.       Caster sugar – 100gm

6.       Plain flour – 35gm

7.       Vanilla extract – 1tsp

8.       Instant Espresso powder – 2 tsp

9.       Cocoa Powder for dusting – 2 tblsp


 Method

1.       Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease 4 ramekins with butter and dust with cocoa powder.

2.       Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate and butter are smooth.

3.       In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and espresso powder. Then fold in the chocolate mixture. Once the chocolate mixture is blended well, then fold in plain flour to combine gently.

4.       Pour the mixture into prepared pudding moulds until it is just covered.

5.       Place moulds on a baking tray and bake for about 10-15 minutes. The cakes should be firm on the outside and dry on top, but still a bit wobbly in the center.

6.       Gently run a knife around the cakes to loosen from the mould and flip onto a plate and dust with cocoa powder.



Tips:

·         Garnish with strawberries or raspberries.

·         Serve it with whipped cream, ice cream or ganache instead of cocoa powder





All the above pictures are copyrighted Tickled by Inspirations