A couple of days ago I saw this post by SA where she was tagged by someone else to answers six fun questions. She, in turn, tagged me to answer the same questions. I’ve never been tagged before for anything like this. In a way I think this is an incredible way to connect with other bloggers and get to know them on a more personal level. So here are my answers to those questions, hope you all enjoy them!
One beauty product you would recommend to your girlfriends:
I know I was asked for just one but I’m going to go a step further and provide a few of my favorites here. I have a weird relationship with makeup and beauty products. On most days I don’t put on any makeup at all. However, I do love makeup because of its creative and artistic value. I like playing around with makeup to see how a little this and a little that can completely transform a face. For the sake of fulfilling this part of my creative inquisitiveness, I do own a good amount of products.
The first one I absolutely recommend to anyone is Benetint from Benefit Cosmetics. This is a rose hued cheek and lip stain lasts for hours and is very sheer and natural on the cheeks. It provides a very sexy but innocent flush to the cheeks and was originally created in the 70s for an exotic dancer. It is my absolute favorite blush product because of how natural it looks. Here’s what it looks like:
Another one I highly recommend is Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. I’m not a foundation wearer except for special occasions but this is definitely the one I’d always wear whenever I have to. It is very lightweight and it feels like you’re wearing nothing on your skin at all. It gives the skin a natural, dewy finish and stays on for 16 hours or more. In fact, the longer you wear it, the more natural it looks as it blends in perfectly with your skin.
The last product that I’d absolutely recommend anyone is the Fair Trade Honey Shampoo by Lush. This shampoo is suitable for all hair types and is made up of 50% honey. It is very moisturizing and leaves the hair incredibly shiny and smooth. Not to mention the very unique, seductive fragrance!
Three books everyone must read
I have too many favorite books but I’ll try and recommend three here:
Anne of Green Gables: This is a classic children’s book published in 1908. I fell in love with it as a child and I continue to read it even today. Set in Prince Edward Island, Canada, the book depicts the simple life that makes me wish I was born then. Anne Shirley is an imaginative, witty, talkative orphan who is adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla. It is at once funny and incredibly tender.
Odd Thomas: One of my favorite writers has to be Dean Koontz and his Odd Thomas series is my absolute favorite. Odd Thomas is a character anyone will fall in love with. He is indeed odd. He’s a young fry cook in a small town with a particular talent. He can see and talk to ghosts, which includes some famous personalities such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. While this book is about the supernatural and crime, there is something immensely cute and witty about it at the same time. It is one book that has to be read to be believed.
Dying To Be Me: On the non-fiction side, one of my recent favorites is this one by Anita Moorjani. It is her personal story of battling with cancer for four years and ultimately going into a coma when she was near death. Her near death experience provides some very good insights on the other realm and provides answers to life’s big questions such as life’s purpose and if there is life after death. Anita wakes from the coma and surprisingly her 4th stage cancer completely disappears from her body within 5 days!
Favorite online shopping site
Unfortunately I do not have much to say here because I don’t shop online. I did try it out once or twice about 5 years ago but somehow it never appealed to me. The only two websites I tried 5 years ago when I was in India were Fashion and You and GourmetCo.in for fancy cheeses and coffee.
Favorite phone app
Again, I hardly use my phone for anything other than calling and texting. The only two apps on my phone are Instagram and Pinterest. I do like Instagram and use it on a somewhat regular basis. Pinterest only comes in handy once in a while when I need some creative ideas.
One dish you are really good at making and its recipe
I do love baking and cooking and sometimes I spend too much time thinking about food, cooking food and then eating! Not that there’s anything wrong with it. The one recipe that I think I’m really good at is artisan bread. It is a very lengthy, involved recipe that takes about 30 hours but the results are absolutely amazing. In fact, for over 2 months now I’ve been baking my own bread. I do not buy it from the bakery anymore. So if any of you have some time to kill, do try out this bread recipe.
Artisan Style Roasted Garlic and Herb Bread
1 cup- Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 cups- all purpose flour
1/4th teaspoon- yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon- salt
1 teaspoon- mixed Italian herbs
2 cups- water
1 head of garlic
a drizzle of olive oil
1) Start by roasting the garlic. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C. Cut the head off an entire head of garlic without removing the skin to expose the individual pods. Place on an aluminum foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Bundle the aluminum foil to form a parcel, place it on a baking tray and bake it for 20-25 mins till the garlic is roasted, mushy and soft. Allow to cool.
2) In a large mixing bowl mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, herbs and yeast well. Remove the garlic from their pods and mix it in with the dry ingredients. You can also slightly mash the roasted garlic if you prefer. Pour in 2 cups of water and mix well to incorporate all the dry ingredients. If there’s still some dry flour in the bowl, pour a little water one tablespoon at a time and mix it all in. You should be left with a wet, sticky mess of a dough. Cover with cling film and leave it on the counter for 8 hours. The dough should more than double up in volume, you should be able to see air bubbles on it and it should be jiggly when you shake the mixing bowl slightly. Once that is done, place the whole bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for as long as 24 hours. I usually keep it for 16 hours to allow the flavors to develop.
3) The next morning remove your dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour your working surface and pour out your dough. It will be very stringy and still quite sticky at this point. With the help of a spatula, a scraper or a large knife, fold the dough over onto itself 4 to 5 times while sprinkling a little flour on it to stop it from sticking to form a rough ball. Place in a large bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it to rise on the counter for another 2 hours.
4) Half an hour before you are ready to place the bread in the oven (about 1 and a 1/2 hours after you leave it to rise) preheat your oven at 450 degrees Celsius. Place two racks in the oven, one in the middle and one at the bottom. Fill a deep baking pan with water and place it on the lower rack. I used an oven safe soup pot to bake my bread in. You can also use a ceramic dutch oven with a lid or a very deep round baking tray instead. If you’re okay with not having a round shape you can use just about any shaped baking vessel as long as it is very deep. Place your chosen baking utensil on the middle rack when you switch on the oven.
5) After the dough has been rising for two hours, carefully remove the hot baking vessel from the oven. Pick up your dough carefully and drop it in the hot vessel. You can also just turn over the bowl to drop the dough in. Sprinkle additional herbs on top if preferred. Cover the vessel with aluminum foil or with an oven safe tight lid if you have it. Place it on the middle rack in the oven. The pan with the water on the bottom rack will be producing steam in the oven by this point.
6) Bake the bread covered for 20-25 mins. Remove the bread carefully from the oven and remove the foil or the lid and bake it uncovered for an additional 20-25 mins till the top is brown and hard to touch. When you tap the crust it should sound hollow. Remove the bread from the vessel. If the bottom of the bread is still not browned, place the bread back in the oven on a simple baking tray for 10 minutes and it will be browned evenly.
7) Allow the bread to cool for at least an hour before you slice it.
Some of my favorite movies are Into The Wild, Mud, Aankhon Dekhi, Udaan and Dallas Buyers Club. I love Indie movies of all kinds and if it hasn’t made it to the theaters, I’d definitely watch it!
I don’t know many women bloggers who haven’t already been tagged for this but I would like to tag my friend Felicia to answer these questions in turn!