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Monday, February 28, 2011


Malgudi Days

kothimira rice.

Indian Columnist and Novelist

Shobha Rajadhyaksha known as Shobhaa De is an Indian columnist and novelist, who is often known as India's Jackie Collins. She was born as Shobha Rajadhyaksha to the Saraswat Brahmin family of Maharashtra on the January 7, 1947. She completed her graduation from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and obtained degree in Psychology. In this article, we will present you with the biography of Shobha De, a well known Indian writer.

Shobhaa De is one of India's best-selling authors. She is the author of thirteen books all of which have topped bestseller lists in India, where she has revolutionised commercial women's fiction and redefined the mass-market bestseller. She is recognized as an important social commentator and an authority on popular culture.
Shobhaa De is the author of the following books: Socialite Evenings (1989), Starry Nights (the original title of Bollywood Nights 1991), Sisters (1992), Strange Obsession (1992), Sultry Days (1994), Snapshots (1995), Second Thoughts (1996), Surviving Men (1997), and Speedpost (1999).  She has also written the autobiographical Selective Memory: Stories from My Life.

In the beginning of her career, she worked as a model and made a name for herself. Thereafter, she thought of changing her profession. Then, she pursued her career in Journalism. She brought out three magazines namely Stardust, Society, and Celebrity. Presently, she is working as a freelance writer for a couple of newspapers and magazines. To know the complete life history of Shobha Dey, read on.
These days, she is staying with her second husband Dilip De along with their children in one of the posh colonies of Mumbai. Most of her writings focus on different aspects of urban India. The erotic matter that she has written in the past has become the subject of controversy. She has also been actively involved in writing scripts for various TV soaps like Swabhimaan.
At present, she is working as a columnist and writes for a fortnight magazine "The Week". In this periodical, she writes on varied issues concerning the society. She speaks her mind in her writings. She often expresses her dissatisfaction with respect to the behavior exhibited by the present day generation. Many a times, she has been held responsible for accelerating the pace and bringing about a sexual revolution through her writings in the column "The Sexes" of the magazine "The Week". She has also written a couple of erotic novels.

Tips for Beautyfull Eyes

Nikon D3100 14.2MP

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cooking Tips

  • Wash cabbage heads, pat dry then wrap well in plastic and place in freezer a couple days before you plan on making stuffed cabbage rolls. Thaw the cabbage heads in the fridge one full day before preparation. When the cabbage is thawed the next day, you’ll find the cabbage leaves will come off the head easily and roll nicely. Another method you could try: Microwave cleaned cabbage head on low heat setting for 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel leaves off. If you find the cabbage leaves aren’t as supple once you’re down a few layers, reheat for a few more minutes as needed.
  • Fill a box with peaches and cover them with newspaper to speed up the ripening process. To store in the freezer, slice the washed peaches into chunks, sprinkle on some lemon juice and pack them in freezer bags. A pound of peaches equals 4 cups sliced peaches.
  • If you have a cut or wound on your hand, wear rubber gloves when preparing uncooked meat. The meat can transfer bacteria into the wound and that’s bad news. It’s also a good idea in general to cover hands that have a wound or sore when preparing any kind of food item so you don’t inadvertently transfer ickies to your family when they eat the food.
  •  Make kits to keep all your kitchen stuff organized. Example: Measuring kit – Why go back to the drawer 80 times to get a teaspoon while you’re making cookies? Just pull out the measuring kit, use what you need and put it back when you’re done.
  • The trick is a steel pot filled with the cans or bottles, enough ice to cover the drinks, fill with water and stir in a bunch of table salt. Put the whole shebang in the freezer and voila! chilled drinks in 3 minutes.
  • Southern Plate’s Handy Dandy Casserole Chart: It is meant as a handy helper, giving you ideas and a formula to create your own casseroles.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Malgudi Days

Barda golalu

Chitra K. Vishwanwath

More often than not, I am greeted with blank looks whenever I mention the words 'earth architecture'. But forget mud huts and even the Great Mosque (Mali's masterpiece of traditional earth building). Despite it being an ancient building material, designing with earth these days is not as humble as it may appear, especially in urban settings. This unseeming paradox is one that Indian architect Chitra K. Vishwanwath - a well-known veteran of the profession - has worked with for almost two decades. Along with her firm belief that mud is possible in urban settings, her works show that the proof is in the pudding: earth is just as versatile and aesthetically pleasing as your run-of-the-mill, high-tech, designer eco-material - as well as answering that unspoken question on everyone's mind: why bother with earth?

TH: When did you build your first earth building, and could you describe some of its features?
Chitra K. Vishwanath: I graduated in December 1988 and after a one-year stint in an office in Bangalore, I started one of my own with the support of my husband Vishwanath. In the first five years of our practice we did just two mud buildings and rest were economical structures based on Laurie Baker's innovations.
There is not much to say about the first two mud buildings but a lot about our house which we completed in 1995.
We decided to use earth as a primary material after looking at the site and incorporated a basement to procure the needed mud. This is now our mantra every time we design: look for the possibility of getting earth for the building - which is usually best done by incorporating a basement. This house of ours is also a laboratory of ideas: ideas on material use, spaces suitable for different climates, biodiversity, water and food. So far, it has no need for fans, recycles water, harvests rainwater and has a facility to turn waste into fertilizer. What we love about our house is that it is always growing on us and fosters innovation as a partner, thus it is always a work in progress. After completing our house in 1995, all the work we have done is ecological and 99% using earth.
Residence for Pratibha and Sanjay SinghPhoto: Residence for Pratibha and Sanjay Singh; To the front door with the rainwater harvesting tank in the foreground hidden by the climber and the typical North Indian landscape (all done by Sanjay who is from Bihar)
 Residence for Pratibha and Sanjay SinghPhoto: Residence for Pratibha and Sanjay Singh; interior atrium (skylit) with a tree growing in the middle - which is also the living room
TH: What are some of the inspirations that steered you in this direction?
CKV: Inspirations have been many and always depends on how one looks at it. The philosophies and methods of Laurie Baker, the Indian Institute of Science and its innovations in mud construction and all the different works at Auroville have been my teachers, but to be able to put it in action in the fast-growing city of Bangalore - will compel me to claim it has been just our persistence and firm belief that mud is possible in urban settings. Also, the contribution of our engineer friends who have helped us realize our visions is paramount.
Residence for Nishwath and PrakashPhoto: Residence for Nishwath and Prakash; Skylit dining space of the house, looking toward kitchen

TH: What is an interesting recent project that you've been working on?
CKV: Now the office has grown from a one-woman show to eight partner architects and people from other professional spheres - all working on many different projects. I work on few and one of the recent one is a small resort near Satpuda Game Reserve, in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
This project has been interesting personally because it was in a different context. Here we had to learn from contending with a restricted range of available material and still make the place unique. We were lucky to have a very enthusiastic contractor who is also a trained architect, Vikesh Agarwal. His team worked wholeheartedly and we worked extensively on "cob" walls for the rooms, and we also built partly with rammed earth.
There are many other projects happening in the office which are all very interesting in terms of their nature of client brief, construction method and materials and finally the design per se. We find every residence to be a fresh challenge.
We are currently doing a marketplace for rural women, an orphanage / reading centre, an eight room resort in Coonoor, on 150 acres of abandoned tea estate, a school for blind children and numerous residences.
Besides Architecture Biome (as the new office is known) is also involved in giving strategic consultancy towards issues of water, sanitation (we just built 10 bamboo based EcoSan toilets in flooded districts of Bihar), alternative energy and consulting for other architects in making their projects ecological. As Biome we also conduct workshops for school children, college students and do training in rainwater harvesting and building techniques.
biopoolPhoto: Biological Pool or "biopool" at Our Native Village Eco-resort; tney are are swimming pools in which water is cleaned by means of microorganisms and plants. They also harbour bio diversity and are like good old village ponds.
TH: How would you characterize the green building movement in India, in terms of past and recent developments, and in comparison to North America or Europe?
CKV: The Green Building movement is taking big strides in India and most informed architects are looking at ways and means to make right choices.
Our vernacular and historic architecture has always been very sensitive to nature. We can see many examples of innovations of water harvesting, cooling, ventilation and use of local materials in them.
In the recent past works by the likes of B.V. Doshi, Charles Correa and Achyut Kanvinde too incorporated material, climate and culture in their projects and for all of us practising now there is much to learn from them.
Currently, there is an improved awareness with both architects and clients of the negative impact on the environment buildings can make and there is interest in both to work towards sustainability. Many times the decisions of being green makes business sense in terms of reduced cost of water, energy and maintenance aspects and in a lighter vein they are also taken in light of the attention these projects would receive in the media - and this is a lot to do with how Western press would see our works!
Indian architecture has a very strong language historically and has held its own, while the British incorporated elements and created a synthesis. As we embarked on building our nation after independence we were in a hurry. Though we have some good works by foreign as well as Indian architects, what happened was that as India built large educational institutes and many infrastructure projects, it also built many sorry buildings in concrete and bricks.
With the advent of the information technology (IT) and service sector, our buildings started aping whatever was happening in the West. So, now we have a profusion of glass and steel in our buildings which consume enormous amount of energy to maintain, while the materials used are also energy-intensive to manufacture.
With advent of LEED certification, Indian architects have now got an impetus to follow a new trend. So there are many Platinum, Gold and Silver-rated projects in India, which on hindsight can only be improved upon - since as the Noble Laureate Amartya Sen puts it, we are "argumentative Indians." So with the advent of LEED we will surely see a movement of Indian architects to come up with ratings which are contextual to India.
Finally, in a very serious vein, if LEED is so concerned about energy and sustainability I wonder why does it rate buildings with the names of materials that take enormous toll on people, energy and environment to mine them? Instead of Platinum, Gold and Silver, its best buildings should be given "Mud", "Wood" and "Stone" ratings.
chitra vishwanath detailDetail
TH: Why do you think earth-based building is important in urban settings? Does incorporating earth into the building process significantly help to reduce the ecological footprint of a house?
CKV: Since I am more aware of the Indian context I will answer from this perspective, because it also brings to focus that most eco-solutions will be based locally though they will certainly have global consequences.
In India most buildings are made with bricks. These bricks are fired with wood, gas being very expensive and also very rarely available. This wood is sourced from nearby forests since we have almost no sustainable plantation for firewood purposes. These brick making industries come up in villages outlying a city and thus also take away agricultural land. Many times the soil used is of good quality for agriculture. In this way, loss of arable land and therefore food works its way into bricks, making it a less-than-sustainable material. Also, these Asian brick-making industries are contributing to a growing ozone hole over New Zealand.
When the bricks are made non-locally, they must be transported via long distances into the city - adding to air and noise pollution and other health hazards, including accidents. On the global scale, this long-distance transportation of materials within an oil-based economy means consequences like war in Iraq and the melting of glaciers... the list could go on.
In all of this, let us look back as to use of earth: with the use of earth from below your building area, the transportation is reduced, you are using soil from where no food will be grown, thus reducing the footprint in totality.
Similarly, the energy used in most of Indian construction is human labour, thus the work feeds  people and not a manufacturer. Building with earth in this context makes sense and is common sense.

Beauty Tips

Vulli Sophie

Friday, February 25, 2011


Malgudi Days

Paala Kova

India's First Woman Photo Journalist

Homai Vyarawalla (born 1913), commonly known by her pseudonym "Dalda 13," is India's first woman photojournalist. Starting in late 1930s she retired in the early 1970s. In 2011, she was chosen for the second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan by Govt. of India.
Early life and education
Homai was born in Navsari, a Mafussil town in Gujarat. Her father was an actor from the Urdu-Parsi theatre. The family was poor and her parents packed her off to Bombay for further school and college studies. Homai took an Honours degree from Bombay University and a Diploma in Art from J J School of Art. As a very young woman, she fell in love with another photographer called Maneckshaw and married him. She lived happily ever thereafter. Maneckshaw had a tremendous influence on Homai as a photographer. In an interview which Homai gave to Preeti Verma Lal, she recalled, 'I remember my first shot as a photographer, in 1938. A group of women from the Women's Club in Bombay had gone for a picnic party and I photographed them. My first published pictures were in the Bombay Chronicle  a whole range of pictures, for which I was paid one rupee in cash for each.' In the early days Homai would take photographs and her husband Maneckshaw would spend hours in the dark room at home to get the right colours. In the field of photography and photo-journalism Homai and Maneckshaw complemented and supplemented each other.
She started her career in 1930s and thereafter received noticed at the national level when she moved to Mumbai in 1942 with her family, before moving to Delhi where in the next thirty years she shot many political and national leaders, including Gandhi, Nehru, Indira Gandhi and the Nehru-Gandhi family working as a press photographer. At the onset of the World War II, she started working on assignments of the Bombay based The Illustrated Weekly of IndiaAfter her death of her husband she moved to Vadodara in 1973. magazine which over the years till 1970, published many of her black and white images, which later became iconic.
In 2010, the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (NGMA) in collaboration with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts presented a retrospective of her work. 

As a great pioneer in the world of Indian photo-journalism, Homai Vyarawalla came out with great photographs starting from 1938 for over a period of 35 years till 1973. The lasting beauty of her photographs - 'whether utilitarian or inspirational' - can be summed up in one brilliant phrase of the great American poet Robert Frost: 'Art should strip life to form.' Viewed in this light Homai Vyarawalla was a great creator of photographic art in our country. Though the creative world of her works of art sprang from life, yet at the same time it represented a unique world of its own, serenely detached from the surrounding cauldron of clutter, clatter and confusion. Consequently her works of photographic art have preserved for posterity a beautiful slice of life that might otherwise have been dissolved in the constant flux and flow of reality in the never ending river of time.

It is difficult to find words with which to pay tribute to the indescribable genius of Homai Vyarawalla. Always moving in joy and child-like simplicity, she produced her great photographs in an effortless and exquisite manner, which always reflected and radiated the ecstatic quality of her soul. Her work will continue to speak and proclaim for centuries.    

Her Photographs:
Pandit Nehru besides a 'Photography Strictly Prohibited by order' signboard at Delhi's Palam airport.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru greets American first lady Jacqueline Kennedy at his residence with the traditional 'tilak' (vermilion mark) on the forehead. In 1969, Jacqueline Kennedy was on a private nine day visit to India and stayed with Nehru-Gandhi family at Teen Murti.

                            Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at an Indian village.

                                                Homai at work, shooting Indira Gandhi. 
                                             At an exhibition, with children.  

                                          Nehru spinning khadi on a modern charkha. 
Homai's "favourite photo". Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Ambassador to Russia, received at the Delhi airport by brother Jawaharlal Nehru.  
                                            Indira Gandhi near Jawaharlal Nehru's body at Teen Murti.
                 At Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, where Nehru's ashes were immersed. 
                          At Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, where Nehru's ashes were immersed. 
                                      Helen Keller with her friend Polly Thompson, in Delhi. 

  Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay meet the German Ambassador during their visit to Delhi soon after they conquered Mount Everest.

Kitchen Tip Quickies

  • Whole tomatoes can be washed and frozen in containers or plastic bags. When you are ready to use simply thaw and the skin will slip right off and they are ready to be used in cooking.
  • When you get a good price on lemons, make big batches of fresh lemon juice at once. Freeze in measured 1/4 cup amounts so you can just take out the freezer bag or container to thaw when a recipe calls for lemon juice. You can also pour juice in muffin tins, freeze, then take them out and freeze in freezer bags. Make sure to freeze in measured amounts.
  • Next time you make meatballs, try this tip: roll meat mixture into a log then slice off even sized meatballs. Time saver!
  • Perfect tiny meatballs tip: Use a melon baller.
  • Buy fresh chicken breasts in bulk then wrap individually before freezing in large freezer bags. You’ll be able to grab the exact amount of chicken breasts you need without having to pry them apart.
  • Keep a roll of painters tape handy in the kitchen, it’s great to seal bags and such, re-sticks over and over (even stays sticky in the freezer).
  • Line refrigerator metal racks with large washable placemats, they catch all the spills and wipe up easily.
  • Use a piece of bread with butter or oil to grease your casserole dishes easily.
  • Wrap fresh herbs in slightly damp paper towels then seal in an airtight plastic bag and store in the refrigerator, these will keep fresh for a long time!
  • Try cooking vegetables in chicken or beef broth instead of water, delicious!

GPS Navigator

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Malgudi Days

Verusenaga Annam, Sabudana Vadalu & Masala Uppu Chekkalu

Business Woman Of The Year 2010: Zia Mody

Zia Mody is a prominent Indian legal consultant and active member of the Baha'i Faith. She is considered an authority on corporate merger & acquisitions law, securities law, private equity and project finance. She is currently a Senior Partner of the Law Firm of AZB & Partners which has its offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore in India. Zia Mody, who has been chosen The Economic Times Businesswoman of the Year 2010, said she will be happy if the recognition serves as “an inspiration to someone and demonstrates that there is less of a glass ceiling and that you can follow your dreams”.

Mody's initial education was at Elphinstone College, Mumbai. She went on to study law at Selwyn College, Cambridge University, followed by a masters degree from Harvard Law School. She passed the New York State Bar examination, and qualified as an attorney in the State of New York. She worked for five years with Baker & McKenzie in New York City, before returning to India. She started her own practice in Mumbai in 1984, which she merged twice with other firms to form AZB & Partners, now India's second-largest law firm, where she is a senior partner. She is also a member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India's Standing Committee on Mutual Funds, and of the Capital Market Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.Mody is the daughter of well known Indian jurist Soli Sorabjee and is an active member of the Bahá'í faith and a Board Member of the New Era High School.Mody is a mother of three teenage daughters and is married to a business tycoon. They live in Mumbai, India.

Zia has been awarded 'Business Woman of the Year, 2010' by Economic Times and also been selected as one of the world's pre-eminent commercial arbitration specialists by The International Who's Who of Commercial Arbitration and The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2010. She has also been awarded the 'Business Woman of the Year' by the Financial Express in the category of 'The Best Knowledge Manager'. She has been selected as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Indian Business by Business Today (a prominent Indian business publication) in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. She was selected as one of India's 100 Most Powerful CEOS by the Economic Times in the year from 2004 to 2008 and as one of India's 15 Most Powerful Women Leaders by the Economic Times in 2010. The American Lawyer has identified Zia Mody as being one of 'country's leading stars'. She was nominated as one of the world's leading practitioners by The International Who's Who of Private Funds Lawyers 2006, 2008 and 2009. She has been awarded the 'Lawyer of the Year 2009 – India' at the ACQ Country Awards for Achievement. She has been featured in Asian Legal Business, 2009 edition as one of Asia's top 25 M&A Lawyers.

Zia was appointed as a director of 'The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited' in January 2006 and has also been appointed as a member of the World Bank administrative tribunal by the World Bank in 2007. She has been vice president and a member of the London Court of Arbitration since 2008.The Asia Pacific Legal 500 and Chambers Global have ranked Zia Mody as among the leading individuals in the mergers & acquisition sector, private funds, private equity, litigation and infrastructure sectors, and Zia has been identified as a Highly Recommended Lawyer by Global Counsel 3000.

Tips to Glow your face

Rebecca Minkoff Nikki Hobo

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kalpana Chawla

Indian-born engineer Dr Kalpana Chawla became the first professional astronaut of Indian origin when she was launched in to space on the shuttle Columbia Nov 19, 1997 at 2:46 p.m. E.S.T. Who would have thought that a young Indian girl with her feet firmly on the ground would one day fly into the heavens? While for most people outer space is uncharted territory, for Kalpana it became a reality. Just the second Indian to venture in space after Rakesh Sharma's flight thirteen years ago, she became a celebrity back home in India. 

Kalpana Chawla was born in Karnal (Haryana) in 1961 to Banarasi Lal Chawla and Sanjyothi. Her interest in flying was inspired by J. R. D. Tata, a pioneering Indian aviator and industrialist. Chawla has two sisters, Sunita and Deepa, and a brother, Sanjay. Being the youngest the family members gave her the nickname "Montu." In 1983, she met and married Jean-Pierre Harrison, a flying instructor and aviation writer. She became a US citizen in 1990. Her motto was: Follow your dreams, and the brave heart fulfilled it.

'What-you-dream-is-what-you-become' neatly describes 36-year old Dr Kalpana Chawla's soaring leap from Karnal, Haryana to deep space. The skies had always tempted her, as was evident from her school environment project at Tagore Bal Niketan, made up of colourful charts and models depicting the sky, stars etc or her paper on Mars, written in her eleventh standard. Egged on by her father, Banarasi Lal Chawla - a refugee who made his fortune selling soaps - she joined the Karnal Flying Club. But she flatly over-ruled his suggestion for opting 'medicine' as a career and stuck to her only love - aviation. 

Since 'aeronautical engineering' was more or less considered a male-domain, her professors' at the Punjab Engineering College vainly tried to push her towards the conventional options - electrical or mechanical engineering. Succeeding against all odds, she became the college's first aeronautical engineer in 1982. Convention again dogged her next step to USA when her father insisted that "going to Chandigarh from Karnal was good enough, don't go further. It's time you got married and settled down here." Kalpana, however, asked her sisters for support and made it. 

Flying was still a distant luxury till 1984, during her post-graduate studies at the University of Texas. It was only when she secured a higher stipend during her doctorate studies in aerospace engineering - which she completed in 1988, from the University of Colorado, that she could take up flying again. She not only got her commercial pilot license but also qualified as a flight instructor. 

Hired by MCAT Institute, San Jose, California, as a Research Scientist to support research in the area of powered lift at NASA Ames Research Center, California, in 1988, Kalpana was responsible for simulation and analysis of flow physics pertaining to the operation of powered lift aircraft such as the Harrier in ground effect. She modeled and numerically simulated configurations that include important components of realistic powered lift aircraft, both in hover and landing mode, using Navier-Stokes solvers on Cray YMP supercomputers. In 1993 Dr. Chawla joined Overset Methods Inc., Los Altos, California, as Vice President and Research Scientist to form a team with other researchers specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems. She was responsible for development and implementation of efficient techniques to perform aerodynamic optimization. Smooth Take-off. 

She was eventually selected by NASA in 1994 as an astronaut - one of the final 19 from 2962 applicants. All along, she did have a gut feel that she would be chosen due to her technical background and a " strong desire to go out in the blue yonder." Within a year of joining the Johnson Space Centre in March 1995, she was assigned to work on technical issues for the Astronaut office, EVA/Robotics and Computer branches. Kalpana, finally, realised her dream by becoming a mission specialist on the crew of the fourth US Microgravity Payload flight - mission STS87 which took off on Nov' 19. Just the second Indian to venture in space after Rakesh Sharma's flight thirteen years ago, Kalpana's Columbia sojourn lasted for 15 days, 16 hours and 33 minutes. The experiments she carried out will ascertain the impact of weightlessness on several industrial materials. 

Her family always believed "she would do something extraordinary some day," as Kalpana had no interest in make-up, hairstyle or cooking like her contemporaries. When her elder sister got married, she wore the same suit for three consecutive days saying " it did not matter at all." Her aunt, Amrit Kaur, is proud of her year-and-half rigorous training regime at NASA where "they would leave her in the jungles without food and water to survive on her own." Kalpana, as usual, topped with flying colours. 

All through her string of achievements, she has not forgotten her humble Indian roots. Along with her parents, she also invited her former school principal, Vimla Raheja , to witness the Columbia launch. She also requested her school to send her a souvenir to take along. They did send - a T-shirt. For a girl with hobbies like back-packing and hiking, Dr Kalpana Chawla's dream journey had just commenced. Tragically, Kalpana was killed in a shuttle crash in 2003.


Common Tips


Shred any leftover carrots onto a salad or some cottage/ricotta cheese. The carrots will add a bit of vitamins and crunch. 


If you want to jazz up a regular old chocolate cake, break out the coffee!
Using a regular box of chocolate cake mix, make it up as per the instructions, except replace the water for cold coffee.
If you don’t have any coffee made up, just add a tablespoon of instant coffee to the water for making the cake and mix well.
When substituting margarine for butter in recipes, make sure that you do not substitute them for “light” butter/margarine or butter/margarine that is in tubs. 
These products are whipped more with or without water and they will contain less fat by volume, therefore your recipe will not have the desired results once it is completed.

The holiday season is over but you still havefamily is coming and going.
It is hard to remember what you are going to make for dinner tonight let alone for a few days while you have guests.
I put a white board on my refrigerator for just this occasion. I make a list of the dates that I am responsible for making meals.
As I plan I write the menu items on the board for the day that I will be serving it.
This will also prompt me to think of any other grocery items that I am missing that I would need to put on my shopping list.

Before you serve an angel food cake, place it in a tightly sealed container and freeze it for an hour or two.
When you remove the cake from the freezer place it on a wire rack to defrost for a few minutes.
Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in to 2” slices while it is partially frozen.
Freezing the cake will keep the cake firm and minimize crumbling.


Everyone knows that the first batch of pancakes that come off the griddle are always the ones that you throw out.
To ensure success on the first try, apply a thin film of oil to the preheated griddle.
Remove any excess with a paper towel as too much will make your pancake crusty and uneven in color and height.
After cooking your first batch of pancakes, using the paper towel that had the extra oil on it, recoat the griddle.
Wait a minute for the griddle to come back to temperature, and cook your next batch of pancakes. Repeat until all cakes are cooked.


Malgudi Days


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First Indian Women Doctor

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi (30 July 1886 – 22 July 1968 Madras) was an eminent medical practitioner, social reformer and Padma Bhushan awardee in India. She was the first women legislator in India.Muthulakshmi Reddy, was appointed to the Chennai Legislative Council in 1927. For her, this nomination marked the beginning of her life-long effort to "correct the balance" for women by removing social abuses and working for equality in moral standards. 

She was one of the women pioneers who stood for the cause of liberating India from the British. She was a women activist and a social reformer too. Muthulakshmi had many firsts to her recognition. She was the first girl student to be admitted into a Men's College, the first woman House Surgeon in the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital, the first woman legislator in British India, the first Chairperson of the State Social Welfare Advisory Board and the first woman Deputy President of the Legislative Council and the first Alderwoman of the Madras Corporation.

Early life

Muthulakshmi Reddi was born in the princely state of Pudukottai of Tamil Nadu. In spite of various constraints faced by girls in India of her time, she could complete her higher education, and was admitted into medical profession. In 1907, she joined the Madras Medical College, where she achieved a brilliant academic record. With several gold medals and prizes to her credit, Muthulakshmi graduated in 1912 to become one of the first woman doctors in India. Soon thereafter, she came under the influence of Annie Besant, and then of Mahatma Gandhi.

Her father was S. Narayanasami, an Iyengar and the principal of Maharaja's College. Her mother was Chandrammal, born to the Isai Vellalar community. S. Narayanasami broke with tradition and sent Muthulakshmi to school. The child's enthusiasm for learning was so great that Muthulakshmi's teachers decided to instruct her in subjects beyond those approved by her father. At the onset of puberty she was obliged to leave school, but tutoring continued at home. Chandrammal wanted to search for a bridegroom but Muthulakshmi had different aspirations. She expressed a need to be a different woman from the common lot. She pitied women for their subordination to men and inwardly rebelled whenever she heard people say that only boys needed education.

When Muthulakshmi passed the matriculation exam she applied for admission to Maharaja's College but her application was not welcomed by the principal at the time or the parents of other students. Her gender was a factor and so was her background. The principal thought she might "demoralize" the male students. The somewhat enlightened Maharaja of Pudukottah ignored these objections, admitted her to the college, and gave her a scholarship. Her father suggested she become a school teacher but she had higher aspirations. She entered Madras Medical College, completed her studies in 1912, and became house surgeon in the Government Hospital for Women and Children in Chennai. She later married Dr. D. T. Sandara Reddy on the demand that he promised to "always respect me as an equal and never cross my wishes." In 1914, when she was twenty-eight years of age, they married in accordance with the 1872 Native Marriage Act.

Influences on Muthulakshmi Reddy

During her college years, Muthulakshmi met Sarojini Naidu and began to attend women's meetings. She found women who shared her personal concerns and addressed them in terms of women's rights. The two great personalities who influenced her life were Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Annie Besant. They persuaded her to devote herself for the upliftment of women and children. She worked for women's emancipation at a time when women were confined in the four walls of their room.
Political career

She was nominated to the Madras Legislature as a member of legislative council in 1926, and became the first woman to be a member of any legislature in India. When she was elected as the Deputy Chairperson of the legislative council, she became the first woman in the world to become the Vice-President of a Legislature. She was the prime mover behind the legislation that abolished the devadasi system in 1929 and played a keen role in raising the minimum marriage age for women in India. In 1930, she resigned from the Madras Legislature as a protest following the imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi. Under the influence of Gandhi and Periyar E.V.Ramasamy, she argued for the removal of devadasi system that was widely prevalent in Tamilnadu at that time against stiff resistance from the Congress lobby led by Sathyamoorthy Aiyar. She was the founder-president of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA) and became the first alderwoman of the Madras Corporation.

Dr Reddy was actively involved with several orphanage homes and women’s welfare organisations, and initiated measures to improve the medical facilities given to slum dwellers. In 1930, she founded Avvai Home, a home for destitute women and orphans at Besant Avenue, Adyar. As an MLC, she introduced a scheme of free education for girls up to class eight.

Adyar Cancer Institute

During her address at the Centenary celebration of the Madras Medical College in 1935, Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy first expressed her desire to start a hospital for cancer patients. With the overwhelming support of like-minded people, the foundation stone for Adyar Cancer InstituteJawaharlal Nehru in 1952. The hospital which started functioning on June 18, 1954, was only the second of its kind in India and the first in south India. It is today a world-renowned institution offering treatment to nearly 80,000 cancer patients every year. 

Awards and Books

Her book named My Experience as a Legislature recounts her initiates in respect of social reforms taken by her in the Madras Legislature.
Government of India conferred on her Padma Bhushan in 1956 in recognition of her meritorious services to the nation.

Nalla kaaram

Beauty With Rose

The Missing Mail

Malgudi Days

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Friday, February 18, 2011

Top Chef

Padma Parvati Lakshmi (born September 1, 1970) is an Indian American cookbook author, actress, and model. She has been the host of the US reality television program Top Chef since season two. In 2010, Top Chef was nominated for an Emmy Award and won for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.

Padma Lakshmi was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu India to a Keralite father who was a Pfizer a nurse who specialized in suicide prevention.She grew up shuttling between her grandparents in Madras and her mother in New York. She was her parents' only child from this marriage. Her parents separated when she was one and divorced a year later. Both parents later remarried, and Lakshmi has a younger half-brother and a younger half-sister. The latter formerly worked as an actress and classical dancer but is now pursuing a career with children with special needs. In an interview in The Guardian, Lakshmi said, "My father had quit his job as an executive at Pfizer to manage her career. That was kind of like rubbing salt in the wound. I didn't understand why he wanted that relationship with her, and not with me." executive and his first wife Vijaya,

In 1984, when she was 14 years old, Padma was in a car accident in Malibu, causing an injury to her right arm that required surgery, which left a 7-inch scar between her elbow and shoulder. The incident happened on a Sunday afternoon as Padma was being driven home from a HinduVogue, saying, "Being in a car crash was like an exhilarating hallucination, an unbelievable moment that oddly remains one of the most beautiful images in my memory." The car left Padma with injuries that included a fractured right hip and a shattered upper right arm. temple in Malibu. She remembers a flash of orange, looking over to see the large car upon her. Padma describes the event in the April 2001 edition of


Lakshmi went to Workman High School in the City of Industry, California. Lakshmi is a 1992 graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, where she received a B.A. with honors in Theatre Arts.
She speaks English, Hindi, Italian, Spanish and Tamil.



Lakshmi's career began at age 16, when she was discovered by a modeling agent in India while sitting in a café. As she has stated, "I was the first Indian model to have a career in Paris, Milan and New York. I'm the first one to admit that I was a novelty."

She has modeled for top designers such as Emanuel Ungaro, Ralph Lauren, and Alberta Ferretti and appeared in ad campaigns for Roberto Cavalli and Versus.She was a favorite model of the photographer Helmut Newton, whose photographs of her often highlighted the large scar on her right arm.
She has appeared on the cover of RedBook, Vogue India,FHM, Cosmopolitan, L'Officiel India, Asian Woman, Avenue, Industry Magazine, Marie Claire (India Edition), Harper's Bazaar, Town & Country, and Newsweek. Lakshmi also posed nude for the May 2009 issue of Allure magazine.
Movies and television
Lakshmi had a comical supporting role as the lip synching disco singer Sylk in the 2001 American movie Glitter with Mariah Carey. She starred with Amitabh Bachchan and Jackie Shroff in the 2003 Hindi action film Boom as Shiela Bardez, one of a trio of super models accused of stealing diamonds. Lakshmi was last seen on screen with Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott, as Geeta in Paul Mayeda Berges' 2005 film The Mistress of Spices. She will be starring in Deepa Mehta's upcoming film, Komagata Maru which was earlier titled Exclusion.

Lakshmi made a 2002 guest appearance as alien princess Kaitaama in "Precious Cargo", the 37th episode of the science fiction TV series Star Trek: Enterprise. She was also hostess of Domenica In,Italy's top-rated television show.She portrayed Sean Bean's nemesis in the 2004-2005 iTV TV series Sharpe's Challenge. In 2006, Lakshmi appeared in ABC's TV series The Ten Commandments with Dougray Scott, Naveen Andrews, and Omar Sharif. She took over as host of the popular TV cooking competition series Top Chef in 2006 during its second season and has continued every season since then.
Since her Tamil pronunciation is spot on, in an interview she was asked whether she will do any Tamil films in future. Lakshmi said such an offer would be cool and she also said that she would love to meet Kamal Haasan.

Music video

In 2009, Lakshmi starred in the Eels video for the song "That Look You Give That Guy" playing the love interest of Mark Oliver Everett.


Her first cookbook Easy Exotic was awarded Best First Book at the 1999 World Cookbook Awards at Versailles. She was host of the Food Network series, Padma's Passport, which was part of the larger series Melting Pot, in 2001. She also hosted two one-hour specials on India and Spain for the British culinary tourism show Planet Food, which have been broadcast on the Food Network in the US and internationally on the Discovery Channels. Her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, was released October 2, 2007.
There’s a saying in tamil about good cooks: ’Her hand has a sweet aroma to it,’" says Padma Lakshmi, host of the hit Bravo reality show Top Chef, suggesting that the ability to create wonderful meals is a gift that cannot be taught. Then she confesses that her own dishes are sometimes disappointing when she makes them for people she doesn’t like.

Moong Dal Pakoda

Storing Onions

Living only a short distance from Vidalia, Ga. where these wonderful onions are grown, I have enjoyed these onions for years. Here are a few tips for storing your onions.

You can store your onions for up to six months without freezing by wrapping your onions separately in paper towels or foil and storing in
your refrigerator.

There are three ways you can freeze your onions. Freezing changes the onions texture, so frozen onions should be used only for cooking.
  1. Chop and place onions on a cookie sheet in the freezer. When frozen, remove and place in freezer containers or bags, and seal. This allows you to remove the amount you want, when you want.
  2. You can also freeze whole onions. Peel, wash, core and place onions in a plastic bag and freeze.
  3. You may also slice your onions and saute them in a little butter, cool and then freeze in freezer bags. I do this for winter soups, stews and casseroles.
Drying - Chop onions and dry in oven using lowest setting and remove when thoroughly dry but not brown. Store at room temperature in airtight container.

To bring out the true sweetness of the onions when eating raw, place onion in the fridge, skin on, for one hour before using. In a hurry? Place the onion in a bowl of ice water for about 15-20 minutes, remove and drain on paper towels.

The tried and true way to store your onions when in season is the old panty hose trick. I sort my onions by size, drop them in, tie off at the top of each onion and keep going until each leg is full. When you need a onion, just cut below the knot above the onion. Make sure you hang your onions in a well ventilated area. I hang mine on my screened back porch by my kitchen so I have quick access to them.

I hope this info will help you enjoy your Vidalia onions all year long.

Happy Cooking! Very Happy