Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall { Seasonal Entertaining at home. Part-II }

Rang Decor Readers were introduced to the first of the {Seasonal Entertaining at home} posts few weeks back with how I usually put together a table for guests during Fall.

Continuing our Food & Entertaining Series with our Guest Blogger Manju Mahadevan.

Manju is the blogger behind Cooking Curries, a food blog dedicated to cooking from scratch, avoiding processed food, eating more organic, seasonal, local food and introducing and developing a more cleaner habit into everyday eating.

A food philosophy that I believe in, so I knew she would be the perfect fit to Guest Blog about Seasonal Entertaining for Rang Decor.

Manju loves experimenting with seasonal produce and giving it an Indian spin with a touch of spice.

So here I am handing over the post to her…

Garam Masala Butternut Squash Crostini with Cilantro-Sage Chutney

When Archana asked me to make something as a fall feature – something that was fall and Indian-inspired, it was right up my alley. Especially so, as this season I have been experimenting with the seasonal produce and trying to spice it up a little bit.

This Garam Masala spiced Butternut Squash Crostini is the perfect example of an appetizer for fall entertaining that has an ethnic element to it. I have combined the squash topping with the sage chutney drizzle – a classic combination of squash and sage.

The garam masala spiced butternut squash has potatoes in it too and is inspired by the very traditional samosa filling that is usually made with potatoes and peas. A nice and crusty sourdough makes for the ultimate bed for this spicy flavorful topping and chutney.

Garam Masala Spiced Butternut Squash Crostini with Cilantro – Sage Chutney – The Recipe

1/2 loaf sourdough bread
2 - 3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced cilantro
For the Butternut Squash Topping
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 thai green chilli, minced
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp crushed ginger – garlic
2 yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup cubed butternut squash
1/4 cup water
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
crushed black pepper, to taste

For the Cilantro – Sage Chutney
1/2 cup cilantro
7-8 sage leaves
1/2 Thai green chilli
1/2 tsp powdered cumin
salt, to taste

To make the Butternut Squash Topping
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, when they become fragrant, throw in the onion, green chilli, turmeric and crushed ginger Рgarlic. Saut̩ till the onion turns color.
Now add the potatoes and the squash and mix well. Add the water and cook covered for a few minutes till the potatoes are soft. Cook for some more time, keeping the pan uncovered, till all the water evaporates.
Add the garam masala, salt and pepper and mix well. Remove from heat and keep aside.
To make the chutney
Grind all the ingredients in a food processor with a little water to form a smooth paste with a chutney like consistency.
To Assemble
Slice the sourdough bread at an angle to form the crostini base. Heat a skillet and toast the bread slices with a little butter on either side.
Top each slice with a little of the squash topping, spoon over some chutney and arrange in a serving plate.
Sprinkle the minced cilantro on top before serving.

Thank you Manju! 
Hope you try this simple recipe this season while entertaining at home. 

Stay tuned for some festive ideas coming soon!

(Images by Manju Mahadevan and are copyrighted)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Creative Connections: Karthik Vaidyanathan

I am back with a new Creative Connections post!

My first interaction with Karthik Vaidyanathan was way back in 2009 when I received a mail from him about a query related to our Bangalore penthouse home. He was in the process of doing up his own new home in a traditional style.

Few weeks later he sent me photographs of his new home which was featured in Rang Decor Readers Creative Spaces and till date remains on of the most popular posts on the blog.

Karthik Vaidyanathan works in the broadband and cable television industry but with great passion for interior design and Indian crafts. 
His home showcased his Chettinad heritage and the inclusion of various traditional crafts of India.

Soon Varnamhis creative venture took shape in the form of home decor accessories made of traditional hand-loom fabrics. 
Over the next few years he found his true calling in working with the artisans of Channapatna, a small town few hours from Bangalore which is known for it's wooden toys and lacquer work.

Varnam's philosophy, ' VARNAM (colours) is an ode to colourful India. Our attempt has been to bring our own aesthetic sensibilities and design philosophy to traditional crafts. The idea is to reorient our crafts to the modern context by ensuring that each design has a utilitarian value and thereby relevant today. There is a constant dialogue with our artisans on current market trends in terms of finish, utilitarian value, attention to detail, etc.  In doing so, we hope to enhance the sense of pride amongst our master crafts-people for their skill and ensure that these crafts continue to thrive. '

Today Varnam has a flagship store in a beautiful lush neighbourhood of Indiranagar in Bangalore and is a social enterprise interpreting the 200-year-old Channapatna toy-making craft in the home and lifestyle, women’s accessories space, giving tradition a contemporary twist.

My Creative Connection with Karthik happened over time while watching him make progress in this creative journey and his sincere attempt to promote a dying Indian craft.

Of all the years I lived in Bangalore I did not get an opportunity to meet him but as luck would have it, last year when I visited India, I decided to make a quick stop at his store and meet him.
So here is a store tour of sorts.

Kolam painted at the entrance welcomed me in…

Oh yes, we smiled a lot!

Beautiful carved details.

Some clever display of Channapatna knobs…

Owl Book ends

The best-selling Lacqer work bangles and cuffs. Inbam Series

Hanging lamps in vibrant colours.

Karthik's latest range of bow ties.

Goobie Night Lamp.

Meet Mr. Karthik Vaidyanathan.

Some interesting organisation in the store.

Flowers adding beauty everywhere.

Varnam has won many prestigious awards like the Kyoorius Design Awards 2013 in Design Craft and Packaging, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Design Excellence award for its ‘Oinkston tableware’ series 2013 and the CII Design Excellence award for visual communication and packaging 2014.
Award winning packaging design!

It was great to relive the memories of catching up with Karthik and taking you all on this colourful tour of his store.

Varnam has a whole range of new products and events coming up, so do connect with them on their Website Varnam
Varnam on Facebook
colorsofvarnam on Instagram

( Images by Arch and are copyrighted)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fall {Seasonal Entertaining at home}

The mellow time of the year when we wind up all the frenetic activities of summer and move inwards, both physically and metaphorically.
A time to reflect on the tasks accomplished, to slow down and follow the rhythm of the season.

As the evenings become cooler and progressively darker. It's the time to gather around a table with family and friends and share the season's bounty.

Ayurveda: The System of traditional Hindu medicine recommends eating seasonally. Fall brings with it a range of fruits and vegetables for us to enjoy. The fleshy pumpkins, winter squashes, the apples the pears, the ruby gems of pomegranate.

I try to incorporate the season produce when I entertain at home during fall.

The warm spiced-cider or mulled wine to sip while sharing laughter and conversations.

At home I like to have a good mix of appetisers. A cheese platter with an option of hard, semi-soft and creamy goat cheese. Fresh juicy fall Bosc-pears and Pomegranate. An assortment of seasonal & regular crackers. A platter of Indian savoury snacks like Khakhra, Plain salted Papdi with dips consisting of a green chutney, mixed spicy pickles and marinated peppers.

I like adding touches of traditional table setting with an Ikat table cloth, a Bengal Kalsi for a flower vase and brass plates for serving. Light warm twinkling tea lights.

Chrysanthemums spell Autumn with their golden shades.

While entertaining the main Indian philosophy of 'Athiti Devo Bhava'  or The guest is equivalent to God comes into play.
Make our guests feel at home, share food and happiness.
The care taken to put things together will show on their happy faces.
So have fun, enjoy your family and friends.
Share and savour this soothing season!

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,—
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And every thing was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band....
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky....
~George Cooper

( Images by Arch and are copyrighted)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

On the Potter's Wheel : Diana Fayt

A brand new feature under which you will be introduced to some of the most inspiring and talented Ceramists & Potters out there.

Today on the Potter's Wheel is Diana Fayt.
An artist whose work has been featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly, The Journal of Australian Ceramics, American Craft, Sunset Magazine and many prestigious publications. She needs no introduction but let me make a humble attempt.

Diana is a painter, a sculptor, printmaker and a clayer.

Her work is intricate and detailed and through her signature process of etching in clay she brings alive birds and rabbits playing in the forests, intricately rendered botanical specimens, exotic sea creatures  below antique sailing vessels, primitive marking allude to atomic structures and everyday objects that blur the lines between form and function.

Hare & Clover 
Square Platter


Diana is greatly inspired by the intricate Scrimshaw work and has many creations showcasing the underwater magical world in this technique.

Mishima is another etching technique she is highly proficient in and this is a beautiful example.

Scoops & Spoons

Canteen Vases for Heath Ceramics 

Diana's has collaborated with Anthropologie on these beautiful serve ware pieces and you can purchase it here.

Diana's talent has been expressed in various mediums and block print is one of them. She draws greatly from her Hungarian heritage. The block print patterns are inspired by Hungarian Kalocsai embroidery.

Her studio assistant Louie!

Carved blocks.

When she is not creating her beautiful pieces, Diana teaches technique and inspires creativity in workshops around the world at destinations such as, Clay Push Festival, Australia, Santa Fe Clay, Arrowmont School of Crafts and Metchosin School of the Arts and via her self-created online e-course, The Clayer.

She currently lives and works in the Sierra Nevada, Foothills of California with a sweet pooch named Louie.

Here is a glimpse into her home.


Hope you loved reading about the talented Diana Fayt as much as I enjoyed showcasing her work.

You can connect with her on Facebook: Diana Fayt Ceramics
Instagram: @dianafayt
or take her e-course: The Clayer.

( Images by Diana Fayt and are copyrighted)