Thursday, 6 December 2012

Organic Terrace Garden

We, my husband Ranjit and I started small with a few herbs and roots, from there we ventured to ornamental plants and Bonsai's, eventually leading to Organic Vegetable gardening. I have always been excited to grow my own food, just that now its more of a necessity than pleasure, considering the fact that I still haven't located an organic vegetable store here in Kochi. If you know about one, please leave a comment with the details of the store, I would be eternally grateful.

The fruits are the result of Ranjit's love, care and his exceptionally good green thumb. The only effort that I took, was to have read this article, about this awesome initiative by the Kerala Government to provide the residents in cities with grow bags and seeds at subsidized rates. When I called the Horticulture Mission Perumbavoor, I was told that since I'm not living in a city, the scheme is not available to me. I was not going to give up coz I had a terrace and I knew that they had to include me in the scheme. I then called Kochi Horticulture Mission (For details contact: Agri-Horti Culture Society: 0484-2362738; Better Kochi Response Group: 9895404108.) and was told, if I register my name, I can go collect the plants on the date given by them from an address in Kochi town. Got myself registered and after three weeks, got 20 growbags full of potting soil and seedlings each of Ladys finger, tomato, brinjal, green chillies, beans (payar) and seeds for red spinach (cheera) (which we haven't planted yet).

Good news about Kerala becoming a completely organic state in 5years time. I just hope the plans actually work out...

These are a few pictures of our healthy Organic Terrace Kitchen Garden. :)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Food Photography Excercise: A View from Above

The pictures of the overhead shots by Aparna are just awesome... That chocolate bar is just amazing. They really got me excited for this exercise... but the excitement lasted only till I started clicking.... I was so out of my comfort zone.... I actually took an effort to do food styling and understood that I have a long way to go.

I'm not very happy with any of these pictures. I didn't even feel like posting this but then I realized if I don't link in for this exercise, I'm not going to learn... The tips I got in the previous exercises have been very helpful...So here I am trying to pick out the few decent shots to share and learn to make it better....

Grissini - Italian Bread Sticks   Aperture :f/3.5  Shutter Speed : 1/80s   ISO :320

Grissini - Italian Bread Sticks     Aperture :f/3.5  Shutter Speed : 1/80s   ISO :320
Vegan Cashew Yoghurt Starter     Aperture :f/ 6.3  Shutter Speed : 1/15s   ISO :320
Tomato Sambal       Aperture :f/5  Shutter Speed : 1/25s   ISO :320
Tomato Sambal      Aperture :f/4.5  Shutter Speed : 1/30s   ISO :320
The more I look at them, the more I feel like, maybe I could have just moved it a bit or taken the shot from even further up... so many things going through my head... I just am not satisfied at all...

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Food Photography Excercise: Less is More

This is the second exercise in the food photography series started by Aprana of My Diverse Kitchen. I was happy that this month's theme was "Less is More", which comes naturally to me. I never really use specific props for photography; I just click with the stuff that I see around. I'm working on this lazy attitude. It's just that by the time I'm done cooking, I'm too tired to take pictures, all I wanna do is eat.

I recently read a few articles which suggested keeping the props ready before you start cooking. So once you are done cooking all you have to do is take pictures. It's easier said than done, I have never imagined a shot before hand, all my imagination and creativity comes into action while I'm taking the picture and that is exactly the reason why I feel it's tiring. I should start planning even before I start cooking.

Though this is the usual way I take pictures, I realised one can be creative with just bare minimum stuff. I have been trying to push myself to use more props to take attractive pictures but this exercise changed my perspective. I have started to appreciate the minimalist approach towards food photography.

All pictures are taken with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8.

Aperture :f/3.2   Shutterspeed : 1/80s   ISO : 200

Aperture :f/2.8   Shutterspeed : 1/25s   ISO : 500
Aperture f/2    Shutterspeed : 1/400s    ISO : 200
Aperture f/5    Shutterspeed : 1/100s    ISO : 200

Aperture f/3.2    Shutterspeed : 1/160s    ISO : 200

One other thing I realised looking at all the pictures above, is that I really need to find a way to diffuse light and use some kind of reflector to eliminate shadows.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Chambakka/ Rose Water Apples

Look close,  a bird had been feeding on them
As kids, ours summer vacations in Kerala where spent running around with kids my age and picking fruits from trees. Mulberries and Rose Water Apples or most commonly known as Chambakka were like our daily snack which we picked by hand and enjoyed them right away.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Food Photography Excercise: Aperture and DoF

This is an awesome photography exercise series started by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. I'm glad that I found it on time through Spicy Chilly. I've mentioned that my husband gifted me a SLR: Nikon D90 at a point where I was not ready for one. It has been a real tug of war in my head while using the camera. For the first few months it felt like a task to take pictures. I kind of reached a phase where I just didn't wanna use it. It would have been easier to use it like any other camera in auto mode but as far as I have read, it was kind of useless having an SLR and not exploring other options, so I started with manual mode coz I knew if I start with auto I will never learn. I've had and still get those completely dark or white pictures.

I've stuck to my rule of shooting in manual mode and never really used auto mode (ok may be once or twice in a hurry). Now I feel so comfortable with words like DoF, aperture and shutter speed, they don't scare me anymore; guess I've come a long way. Though I still love my Point and Shoot, I'm just starting to like my SLR. I hope these exercises would make me fall in love with photography somehow. I love photographs- I can spend hours devouring beautiful pictures taken by others but to take one on my own, I can find a hundred excuses not to. I'm getting over this phobia or whatever it is, one step at a time and this exercise is one of those little steps.

This is my entry for the exercise series. Truth is I didn't like both the pictures. I would have preferred it at f/3.2 or f/4, well I didn't take a picture at that aperture but that's my assumption. If I had to choose from both I'd choose the second one.

Details of the pictures below

Left :   Aperture: f/2       Shutter speed: 1/400 sec   ISO: 400
Right : Aperture:  f/ 5.6  Shutter speed: 1/40 sec     ISO: 400

I take pictures in an open Veranda just outside my kitchen. I used a tripod and the lens is Nikor 50mm f/1.8. I do not know much about photography, just understanding the technical terms feels like a huge achievement right now. So I'd suggest that you hop over to Aparnas's blog and she has some really good information to help the beginners.

I hope to get some valuable feedback so I can do better next time. :)

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Bliss of Ignorance or Ignoring to be Blissful?

My oxygen deprived brain (I've been having breathing trouble for a while now) has been haunted by many questions over the last few weeks, which can be summed up with this big question.  

"Have I been basking in the Bliss of Ignorance or have I been Ignoring Facts just to be Blissful?"

I wonder, what is the cause of this sudden surge of consciousness? Maybe it's the lack of oxygen, did you know? - The Sannyasi's (the real ones) go up in the Himalayas to meditate because the lack of oxygen at high altitude slows down the brain- easy way to meditate :). Most likely, I'm just exaggerating the situation to be death bed like and trying to be all goody-goody.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


27th February 2012

We had planted two of the plantains of which one didn't survive re potting and we replaced it with a new one. The bigger one which survived has been growing well. We keep trimming it's leaves to Keep it from growing taller. So far the strategy has been working fine.

Plantain 1 January, 2012

Plantain 2 January, 2012

Monday, 20 February 2012


21st February 2012

Though we potted three of them last year, only two survived. We fertilized the soil with organic fertilizer and re-potted them into smaller pots.

CB-1 Jan 2012

CB-2 Jan 2012

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mom's garden

As long as I can remember I've seen my mom planting Roses and Dahlias. My dad loves gardening too... The wide grin on their faces and the way their eyes brighten up just talking about the harvest the fresh Karela /Bitter gourd, Palak/ Spinach, Tomatoes etc from our own kitchen garden, is priceless.

When I was in school all I did was water the plants once in a while. I remember trying to grow coins and even salt. Probably, since the coins never gave me any money tree, and I found out that salt comes from the oceans I never bothered to grow anything apart from what was required for experiments in the laboratory until I got married.

I have a small terrace garden now but with barely a few floral plants-bougainvillea and the other one, I don't even know the names. Unlike me my Mum's garden is full of flowers. These are just a few pics I took when I was at home last month.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Live life my way and you'll die with no regrets ;)

I got the link to this article through a friends facebook update. The article is based on the Blog post from the blog Inspiration and Chai. As I was typing to update my FB status with this link I realized it's almost as long as a post, so here I am writing a post.

The blog's name made me wonder if the author is into Yoga. The past few years that I've been into Yoga, I've come to realize that most foreigners who love Yoga love Chai too. Well I haven't read the blog enough to conclude if the author is a Yogi since she is a nurse I'm sure she is a Karma Yogi. This is getting off topic; let's get back to the death bed. ;)

Monday, 30 January 2012


30th January, 2012

I just re-potted it recently. I had cut it as per the plan below.

I agreed to do a post on how to start with Bonsai or Bonsai for beginners as requested by a few friends and readers. I haven't forgotten about it but somehow find it hard to write about a subject which I've just started to study. I assure you when I collect enough valuable information I'll definitely write a post.

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