Posted on June 13th, 2014
So, what is a good photo? Is it the perfectly composed image with the absolute right exposure i.e. technically immaculate photo or is it the one with more intangible qualities i.e. one which evokes emotions, tells a story etc.? While few may argue that without a technically accurate photo, it is hard to achieve the latter, I think that even a moderately ‘right’ photograph which achieves the desired result is a great photo. When it comes to technicality, even exposure could be subjective. Sometimes referred to as expressive exposure, the photographer manipulates tonal values and colors to achieve certain aesthetic ends. It all depends upon what the photographer is trying to convey.
Recently when few of the prominent Instagrammers were asked the same question, below were few of the responses:
“A good photo is a visual sentiment which has the ability to touch the mind of others.”
“Images that restore our own memories, cultural references and the sense of being human – those are the ones which moves us.”
“For me, a good photo is one that speaks to me, that tell me a story …”
“What makes a good photo to me is the ability of a picture to capture an emotion, mood or thought which speaks beyond the image itself and communicates the human condition – its speaks not of a lonely man but of loneliness.”
So, nobody talked about technical aspects of photography. The fact that a photo provoked emotions, feelings, mood or imagination was a winner hands down and I completely agree with this viewpoint. After all, a great picture should not only state facts but also go beyond that. In terms of food photography, according to me, a great photo is the one which not just evokes your taste buds but also tells a story. If a photo manages to transport me in a little dream, then I know that I love that image. Conveying an emotion, feeling or mood is what excites me.
The photos in this post were taken at a nearby cafe. I go there often to relax, read and have a small bite. The afternoons there are quiet, not so busy. Sitting at the communal table with my book is what I do most. Time seems to just slow down. Light music in the background, faint sound of the coffee machine, a relaxed rustic setting, smell of freshly baked bread and ground coffee transports me to my little Parisian dream. A feeling which I wanted to document through photos. Though I am a complete beginner at this, I am excited about it and that is the way I want to go.
Having said that, I agree that we all have different sensitivities and we all have a different story. There is no certitude about what a good photo is.
It’s easy (almost cowardly) to be a grump, to complain
about everything and be negative
It’s harder (and much more admirable) to wear a smile all the time,
to be happy and laughing constantly,
to find grace and tiny bits of joy in any situation…
and it is those who laugh and smile all the time that are most
worth being around..
NEVER STOP SMILING.
By Franki Elliot
I pasted this beautiful quote on my wall to remind me every morning, as soon as I get up, that today is going to be a beautiful day and I need to welcome it with a big smile. Smile, a simple act but with astonishing powers of healing, is a very cost effective natural anti depressant.
“Use your smile to change the world. Don’t let the world change your smile.” I am learning to smile at everyone around me. I smile indiscriminately, I smile widely, I smile continuously. Whether people look at me or not, I smile at them. Although very few respond to my smiles, I have already started to feel better.
I wonder why smiling is difficult anyway when it is the simplest joy one could give themselves without depending on others or without spending a penny. I was told that by the 17th century in Europe it was a well-established fact that only people who smiled broadly, in life and in art, were the poor, the lewd, the drunk, the innocent, and the entertainment. Want to be seen as upper class and as a person of good character? Don’t smile. For this reason, both the creators and the sitters of portraits had good reason to keep the smiles out of the resulting images, which explains why we don’t see photos of famous figures donning a grin in their official portraits.
Although nowadays, thankfully things have changed for the better and we think of smiles as being indicative of happiness, humor, and warmth. I hope people are still not stuck in the 17th century and find a reason to smile more often.
Smiling is not just a universal means of communicating, it’s also a frequent one. As per statistics, more than 30% of us smile more than 20 times a day and less than 14% of us smile less than 5 times a day. In fact, those with the greatest superpowers are actually children, who smile as many as 400 times per day! This is the reason why we all forget our worries and tensions around children and become part of their world, full of smiles and giggles. Smiling is contagious and I promise myself to smile more.. wide and bright.
A question which very often becomes part of a heated discussion is that whether during difficult times, one should sport a smile irrespective or whether it is absolutely ok to show that you are feeling low and not guard your emotions. I don’t know the right answer. I was more for the latter but more and more I am beginning to feel that the former is way more helpful to not just lift your mood and energy but also to heal your inner child. I am not saying suppressing your emotions is the way to go but to smile and keep calm knowing that the difficult would be over soon and invest all your energy in making that happen might be helpful in dealing with the situation.
A negative thought attracts negative energy and a positive though attracts positive energy. A smile is just the beginning in your efforts to attract positive energy.
So here is a reason to smile more. A simple and gorgeous breakfast, preferable in bed to make your day start on the right note, relaxed and bright. It is gluten free as well, so a big pot can serve all the family members including any gluten intolerant members. Top it up with your favorite fresh fruits, figs, blueberries, gooseberries, all work very well. I have it with oat milk but I reckon any nut milk or even soy milk would also taste good. Starting with a wholesome bowl of goodness is the perfect way to kickstart your day and pls don’t forget to have it with a big wide smile. Happy days!
“I might not be able to define love
I don’t know how to measure it either
My answer might not fit your definition
Yet I feel love and I feel it very strongly
The feeling has only gotten stronger over the years
A feeling of beautiful warmth you bring to my heart
A feeling of loneliness deep down inside whenever we must be apart
A feeling of gladness that comes from the sight of that one happy smile
A feeling of comfort I have when I know there’s somebody there all the while
A feeling of such special caring, a feeling of magic and fun
A feeling of wonderful oneness I share with the one and only you
A beautiful quote which I read the other day: “When I tell you..I love you, I don’t say it out of habit or to make a conversation. I say it to remind you that YOU are the BEST thing that ever happened to me.”
I cherish every moment spent with you. When I first met you, I never realized how much you would end up meaning to me. You turned my world upside down. You inspired me to do things which were beyond my imagination. I love you, not only for who you are, but for what I am when I am with you. Your contribution to my life has had an immense impact on who I am today. If I am proud of myself today, it is because of you. You are every reason, every hope and every dream I have ever had. And no matter what happens tomorrow, everyday we are together, it will be the greatest day of my life.
I treasure the moments when you hold me tight as if no tomorrow. You make me go to sleep on your shoulders when I am restless. You protect me from the unknown of the outside world. My parents can sleep in peace knowing that their only daughter is safe and secure till the time you are holding my hand. They are proud of my choice. You are my hero and after being together for more than a decade, it still feels like we just met yesterday! I have completely fallen for you. Everything you do, everything you say, everything you are. You’re my first thought in the morning, you’re my last thought before I fall asleep, and you’re almost every thought in between.
My friend once told me: “If he makes you laugh, kisses your forehead, says he is sorry, makes an effort, holds your hand, works hard, attempts to understand you, then believe it or not, he’s quite perfect!” I think you are all of this and more and whether YOU believe it not, I know how awesome you are. Thank you for making my life beautiful. A song by John Legend plays in my mind right now:
Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh
This post is an open expression of my love and appreciation because I am proud to be with you and want to share with everyone today that very few people actually love you and those who do and believe in you, hold on to them. Appreciate them. One of the best feelings in the world is being with the person you want to share the rest of your life with. Life is difficult, but when you’re willing to hold on despite the problems and uncertainties, you’ll know for sure that it will all be worth it in the end.
“Respect people who find time for you in their busy schedule. But love people who never look at their schedule when you need them!”
Now I know what true friends mean. I cannot thank God enough, for gifting me such amazing friends. It is hard to imagine life without them now. They have been there for me every single time I needed them. They hear me when I need to say so many things, support me when I need someone to be on my side, hold my hand when I need guidance, hug me when I need some love and care, give me strength when I am feeling low, laugh with me when I want to share my happiness, they make me smile!
Everytime I want to thank them for being who they are, I am either speechless or so emotional that tears don’t stop rolling down my cheeks. Today, I want to tell them that they are very very special people in my life and I will attempt to do everything it takes, to keep our friendship special. I will always be there for them, wherever I am in this world. Below is a small poem which I read long time back and which touched my heart. I dedicate it to all of you guys..a small token of my appreciation. If any of you are reading this post, you know it is for you and that I truly mean every word from the bottom of my heart. I love this quote by Jane Austen:
“I couldn’t find the right words
Nothing seemed to rhyme
To write something for you all
I think it will take time
Because when you have friends
That are very hard to find
There’s so much to say
Because you make everything alright
So I will tell you right now
exactly what I need to say
To show you how much I appreciate
You being there everyday
You’re worth more than anyone
even a million pounds
Because you always know what to say
When I am feeling down
You make me smile big smiles
And my days so very bright
And when I lose my way
You find me in the night
I sometimes wish I could explain
How much you mean to me
But its just not possible
To list a billion things
So I just wanted to say
I love you so so much
And I hope you never leave me
Promise to stay in touch”
In Julia Child’s words: “No one’s more important than people. In other words, Friendship is the most important thing, not career, not housework, or one’s fatigue. And it needs to be tended and nutured.”
Friends have become such an important part of my life that I like to grab any opportunity to spend time with them. Catching up over some tea and dainty looking sweet bites, is indeed a fabulous opportunity to have fun with your girlfriends. It is easy to put together and also looks very stylish and chic. Last time when I organized a tea party, it was a huge hit among the girls. We chatted, laughed and enjoyed the afternoon while munching our way to glory the pretty tartlets, homemade scones with devonshire cream and raspberry jam, cucumber and dill sandwiches along with some premium teas from my favorite tea retailer Ronnenfeldt.
Last week, I was excited when a really old friend called to say hello and to tell me that she was visiting my city for a couple of days. She is one of the closest I have. I get reminded of the famous quote from Sex and the City: May be our girlfriends are our SOULMATES and guys are just people to have fun with! Would you agree?
This friend of mine is a creative soul and loves pretty, beautiful things around. I like her excitement and enthusiasm about small little details. She finds pleasures in simple things around us and her strong interest in aesthetics is always so refreshing. So when she was coming over after ages, I needed to do something more. Apart from putting together a small afternoon tea, I also made some tea favors for her. Got some crafty notebooks and a cookbook from her favorite author as tea favors. I collect cutouts from magazines which I often use to wrap gifts. To make these pretty and vintage looking favors, I wrapped the gifts with some local brown paper, pasted a vintage cut-out and added some crochet hand made flowers and a rough twine. The favors were ready in no time and looked beautiful! They would sure be a talking point of the party.
I also love setting up the table when I am expecting guests. All my friends also have that creative gene in them and hence they tend to appreciate a pretty table more. An effort appreciated is never a task and no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. So normally, the first thing which gets me excited about hosting a party at home is creating the mood around the table with different centerpieces, flowers vases, candles, frames, crafty ideas etc.
I used fresh blooms around the table to welcome spring and brighten up the grey tones of the table. Just some mason jars, small ikea buckets filled with roses, baby’s breath fillers and some pretty greens created magic around the table. If flowers were not that expensive in Dubai, I would fill my house with fresh flowers every single day. But I tend to forget that I live in a desert and everything here is imported so we don’t have the luxury to just pick flowers from the wild or grow them in our gardens. Well, not complaining..we still have access to things from around the world even though they come at a price.
Came across this cute quote the other day: “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy tea and that is one of the same thing!” I loved it. Sipping tea in a quiet corner with a good read is my favorite thing to do. They say that tea makes it easier and is so true! I need tea to change things I can and need wine to accept things that I can’t!
A conversation around a tea table is so much lighter, fun and creative at the same time. I believe in the power of tea. And thankfully, most of my friends do too.
Coming to the scones. Last time I tried scones, they came out little dry and not so crumbly. However, I came across this recipe from BBC Good Food and the scones were perfect. They were moist from inside and crisp from outside. They were crumbly and just melted in my mouth. This recipe is a must for all scone lovers who are little afraid of making them at home. The recipe is a classic scone recipe but one could twist it to their needs. Every time I use this recipe, the result is consistent and the scones are devoured by everyone.
So, we had a fun afternoon. As expected, the hand wrapped gifts were a highlight. She refused to open the favor because she thought that they were too pretty to be unwrapped. Well, I can only hope that she likes the inside as much as she liked the outside.
Afternoon was spent remembering good old days, laughing at our own stupidity while growing up, some confessions and of course wishing for the world to be a better place to live in with lots of good and genuine people in our lives, healthy and beautiful living. Such beautiful moments spent with amazing people strongly emphasizes the fact that growing old can be fun..if you do it with the right people!
I hope you’ll enjoy the scones and thank you once again for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed looking around. For more pretty updates, you could find me on Instagram, Facebook.
I would also love to hear from you about your friendships, favorite scone recipe or your idea of table settings..so do drop in a line in the comments section.
PS: I cannot find the author of the above poem online. So, in case the poem belongs to you, pls do let know as I would love to connect with you.
Has been ages really. I have not been cooking or writing for the longest time but have been doing a lot of other exciting stuff which I am going to tell you all about. Life is definitely very unpredictable. What one plans is only part of the journey. The twists and turns makes the journey more interesting and sometimes challenging. When I started blogging, I thought, this is going to help me when I open my dream cafe. However, after blogging for couple of months, I wanted to become a chef. But soon after that, I realized my passion lies in photographing food and telling food stories through photos. Since then, I have been learning a bit about photography. I bought a new DSLR camera, bought few books on photography, bought some camera gear and not to forget the food props (I can actually spend all my money buying these!!!). My excitement and passion then took me to London for two months whereby I joined the London School of Photography.. yay!!!
Two months in London were awesome! I had great fun, made some amazing friends (for life) and loved the courses at LSP. I will always cherish the fantastic time I had in London. Learnt a lot in terms of photography trends, kinds of photography and the industry in general. London is definitely far ahead in this field and it is a dream for any amateur photographer to learn and shoot the food culture in London. As soon as I got back, I did my first commissioned photo shoot…yay once again!!! Being my first photo shoot, I was nervous yet super excited. The day began at 10 in the morning and finished at 8 in the evening but how time flew, I have no idea. One of the memorable days for sure. I did have a stiff neck the next day but no complains at all:)
As I continue to explore this space, I have two amazing middle eastern recipes for you to try. The salad is mind boggling if you like simple yet robust flavors. The hummus recipe is brilliant in terms of texture and consistency. I resisted making hummus for the longest time but now NO to the store bought hummus for sure! Definitely give them a chance…you won’t be disappointed.
This is one of the quick salads which is one of the favorites in our house. My partner absolutely loves it and why not? It is a substantial meal which some crispy bread complemented by juiciness of the tomatoes and freshness of the basil. The salad is packed with flavor from the fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and is super easy to make. Perfect for summer. For me, it is my comfort food without loading up on calories and yet feeling satisfied.
The original recipe comes from Tuscany and is called Panzanella which uses leftover bread. Italians always find a way to use their leftover breads! They also put sliced red onions, cucumber, roasted pepper etc. They all are brilliant in salads. I actually prefer the simplicity of this salad and hence have omitted them in my version but you could add them if you like. Hope to hear back from you if you guys like it as much as I do!
Today I am going to talk about a lovely lady who is super talented, has lots of passion for food and life and of course is gorgeous looking! She is well known in the culinary world and everyone who loves cupcakes in Dubai definitely knows her. She launched the popular Kitsch cupcake store, a homegrown concept, and is one of the first ones to start the cupcake craze in Dubai. Yes, I am talking about the lovely Dalia Dogmoch Soubra!
I have been inspired by her for a long time now. She is a successful entrepreneur and does everything with style. I love that she follows her heart and is always looking for inspiration and new challenges in her life. When I met her for the first time, late last year, she was looking to take another step in her career and write a cookbook. And now, the cookbook is out!! I went to the launch couple of days and was once again inspired by her. The cookbook looks as gorgeous as her and is full of yummy recipes which are not complicated to make. The recipes range from labneh omelettes to salty banoffee pies. I got a signed copy of her cookbook and look forward to trying out more of her recipes.
The first recipe I made from the book was French Crêpes with Sour Strawberries. The crêpes turned out just perfect..not too sweet which I like. They were silky, smooth and delicate. I like my crepes with slightly crispy edges so kept them on the pan for few seconds more. It was my first attempt at french crêpes and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, thrilled to see the paper thin crepes coming out of the pan so beautifully. This recipe definitely goes into my cooking repertoire.
In case you haven’t yet bought the book and looking to get your hands on it, the book is available at Bloomingdales Dubai, Bookworld Kinokuniya in Dubai Mall, Jashanmal bookstores, Tavola and Kitsch Bakeries. For readers based out of Dubai, you could buy her book on amazon. Get more information about her cookbook on her blog D’s Kicthen.
I also installed this new recipe card for easy printing and filing and hope you’ll like it:) Enjoy!
There are few things in life as delicious as tacos, and as handheld food they’re great for sociable eating: whack all the elements on the table and let your friends build their own. Continuing on the Mexican flavor, I thought I’d share one more recipe with fresh and zingy flavors which I make very often. It is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s 15 min meals.
Jamie makes the tacos with pork but I make it with skinless chicken breasts.. a healthier option for everyday cooking. It tastes amazing and I like the fact that there is no cheese or any heavy sauces or dressings on the tacos. Just some spicy chilli sauce stirred into low fat natural yoghurt to give the tacos some kick. You could pair it with some freshly made salad or serve it DIY sytle. My better half loves it and I get brownie points for making it healthy and tasty meal.
Those who know me, know that I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver. His passion for cooking is inspiring. His constant effort to improve unhealthy diets and poor cooking habits, particularly in schools, is admirable. I own most of his cooking books and watch all his shows. He never fails to mesmerize me with his cooking..simple yet big flavors! Try this recipe if you are a Jamie fan or if you are not, you might become one!
I absolutely love everything Mexican..the vibrant colors, friendly people, spicy food, guatemalan avocados, beautiful pottery, stunning beaches etc. Mexican cuisines is one of my favorite. I love going to Mexican restaurants where the atmosphere is fun, energetic and vibrant with mariachi music playing in the background. I can gorge on the freshly made guacamole with some extra lime and chillies topped over corn chips for hours. It is an ideal way to spend an evening and catch up with friends over some great Mexican food served with lots of horchata and margaritas.
I have been meaning to host a Mexican theme party for long and would love to recreate that fun atmosphere with some vibrant decor. I recently tried making horchata at home and turned out great! After the success of horchata, next was margarita. I love a good margarita..everyone’s favorite fiesta beverage. Now that summers are fast approaching, nothing like an icy, citrusy kick of a margarita.
Margaritas are great for entertaining as well. It’s a drink based on tequila which is derived from the Blue Agave plant native to Mexico. Tequila has every bit of nuance as a fine wine or single–malt scotch. A bottle of tequila also goes far, making it an affordable way to entertain, especially with the yummy accompaniments like chips, salsa, guacamole and ceviché.
Made with freshly squeezed lime juice and 100% agave tequila, margaritas are naturally sweet and sour, strong little drinks. I used agave nectar, which is a natural sweetener derived from the same plant as tequila, in place of the standard simple syrup for this recipe. The liquid from the agave plant is heated, reduced, and filtered into something that looks a lot like honey, but thinner and smoother. We don’t see it on many main grocery shelves, but it is a mainstay of the health food stores, because of its low glycemic index. I got mine from the Organic food and cafe.
I flavored the traditional margarita with the citrusy juices of grapefruits and blood orange. Not only the margarita was delicious, but the color was beautiful. The sweetness of the blood orange compensated the slight tartness of the grapefruit. The agave blended well with the tequila’s flavor and was sweet enough to take the edge off of the fresh lime juice. It dissolved quickly in the drink and had a much rounder flavor than, for instance, straight sugar syrup. I am also thinking of making a frozen version for next time.
1. Slice off a small piece of lime and run the wet edge of the slice along half of the rim of your glass. Dip the top of the glass into the salt at a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt. Consider lining the rim of just half your glass with salt so you can control how much salt you taste with each sip.
2. Place glasses into freezer to chill.
3. Fill a small cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the tequila, grapefruit juice, blood orange juice, agave if using, lime juice and Cointreau. Put on the lid and shake for 30 seconds. I am adding blood orange for its sweetness and color but if your grapefruits are sweet and ruby red color, then you could skip the blood orange.
4. Remove glasses from freezer and strain the liquid into your glass over ice.
5. Add soda water if you prefer some fizz. I love it.
6. Garnish with lime slices or grapefruit/blood orange slices.
And now some exciting news..a GIVEAWAY!
I love good cookbooks and have a fabulous Mexican cookbook to give to a lucky reader. Mexican- healthy ways with a favorite cuisine by Jane Milton has many wonderful authentic recipes..love the Eggs Rancheros and Carnitas recipes from this book. Don’t miss it!
HOW TO ENTER
Required Entry: For a chance to win leave a comment below, whatever you’d like. (The required entry must be done otherwise any extra entries will not count.)
WANT MORE CHANCES TO WIN?
PLEASE REMEMBER: Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted. If you already follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, let me know through a separate comment, since this counts as an entry.
Giveaway starts on 5/16/2013 and will run until 6/12/2013 at 11:59 pm GMT.
The contest has been closed now and the winner will be announced shortly.
The winner of the contest is NEHA G!!!! Congratulations!! Pls send me your address so that I can ship this yummy cookbook to you as soon as possible.