Monday, March 14, 2011

new steps

Praveen and I were so pleased with ourselves yesterday....our experiments and ideas are starting to bare fruit, This is using a design I created when I first moved here, it is on all our table linen and bedsheets, I have wanted to use it for some time but having tried every which way was limited by wanting the sketch quality of the leaf applice to offset the hand stitch, when quiet by accident I came across a computerised embroidery shop in Ajmer
AND, and this is a BIG AND
the guy who runs it is brilliant, gets what we are looking for, very careful with details and packs and returns everything we take to him very efficiently. A true gem.
The motif is the Peepal leaf or Bodhi leaf, that of the tree that Budha gained enlightenment under....what an aspiration to stitch into every piece of work?
So all is not finished, you have to use your imagination, it will all be detailed with the running stitch. We are using a textured Khadi handloom, and a finer khadi handloom for the motifs and very pleased because this work embodies our ideal of creating as much work locally through our designs and production as we can.
Handloom creates more work than mill made cloth and it targets the rural poor here in Rajasthan, one of the areas in the world where there is a high mortality rate associated with long term under nutrition of the rural communities.
The new ladies we are working with will start on these, not too difficult but a good place to enphasize the importance of attention to detail and quality. I think we will have to say we are closed to new ladies for a little is quite a process bringing people up to scratch. I was just going through some old work and came across some squares stitch by Hemkanwar....I would consider here our premium stitcher and a great lady, smart and reliable [just quietly she is working on a new jacket idea at the moment and I am bursting to see how it comes out] Boy is there a vast difference between what she did for us 18 months ago and now! It is worth hangng in there with people but expensive basically, in the early days things can be produced, in good faith, that are not 'IT' but over time we get there.
I think having more of a range of items will also help as we can build people up to the more demanding work....ohh so much to think of!!
and an old, old lady was asking for something for less able hands to do!! with no husband she needs an opportunity too...what to do?
Oh and something to set on the tablecloth....This is a recipe for Eggplant I picked up off the TV.
I immediately changed some of the cooking methods but thought it close enough to the orioginal to still associate the recipe with the Indian cooking show "Lock, stock and two smoking Tikkas" I have further cahnged the marsala or spice mix and added tomatoes to the gravy....not sure if I am close enough to claim an association with that cooking show, or far enough away from the original to claim it as my own???
so here is my some what original take on Archari Baigan of "Lock, stock and two smoking Tikkas'

  • Grab a few small eggplant, cut then almost in 4 leaving some at the stem end and put salt inside, leave for 20 mins to drain then wash well
  • put in pot of water and boil until soft, drain carefully [original recipe fried in mustard oil]
  • Make marsala- dry roast and grind together [all seeds]
  • 2T corriander
  • 1T fennel
  • 1 t cunin
  • 1 1/2t fenugreek
  • 2 t mustard
  • 1/2 t nigella
  • my next twist 2T either cashews or peanuts [gives a richer creamer consistancy
  • then add 4t green mango powder/ amchor
  • 1/2 t tumeric
  • 1/2 t red chilli powder
  • back to the pot
  • in pan put hing or asifidatita
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 3-4 cloves
  • and olive oil [another step away from traditional]- sizzle a second or two
  • put 1 teaspoon of marsala inside each eggplant and carefully place in pot with the olive oil [uncommon to use olive oil in Indian cooking and really it often gets lost with the spices but it is a match made in heaven with eggplant and does add to the richness of flavour here]
  • Sizzle carefully until the skins on the eggplant start to brown and caramelize - watch like crazy as will burn easily
  • sprinkle 1 to 2 T marsala, sizzle a bit and add
  • 2 or 3 cropped tomatoes [new idea here]
  • perhaps 1/2 sugarif tomatoes not bursting with falvour
  • cook until it makes a gravy WATCH caefully I always burn it at this stage!
  • Really tasty- serve with cocnut rice, dal and salad- divine

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