For the Love of the Taj

For the Love of the Taj

A portrait of Emperor Shah Jahan + Mumtaz Mahal.

artist: unknown

Thought I'd share some images (a mix of phone + dslr pics) of my trip to the Taj from late last year as I haven't uploaded/posted most of these yet. It was my first trip back as an adult after visiting it with my family many years ago.
from left: my father, sister, mums, and I. 

from left: my father, sister, mums, and I. 

This incredible mausoleum dubbed 'The Crown Jewel of India' was built as a testament of love + served as a memorial to his late beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, by the grief stricken Emperor, Shah Jahan. It's such an incredible story and if you aren't familiar with the details you can read more about it here + here.  
Happy Valentine's Day, lovers! 
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olms 2016 year in review

olms 2016 year in review

I apologize, in advance, for this lengthy post but I just feel like I need to share what is on my heart as the year draws to a close.

Looking back at the year 2016 has me filled with such extreme emotion when it comes to this little venture of mine, called Oh Little Mustard Seed.

We have achieved the unachievable, in countless ways, with a tiny seed of an idea which was planted in our hearts after a moving service at our local church at Crossroads. I knew I wanted to give back, to their global + local missions efforts, by doing something I was passionate about (which turned out to be my love for cooking + the shared table – a sure-fire recipe for success, in my book! ;P).

I am happy to say that because of YOU + YOUR support of OLMS I was able to achieve + exceed my “I’m In Campaign” goal (for all you fellow Crossroad-ers, you know what I’m talkin’ about!) before the year is even over. This is HUGE, friends, and a testament to what happens when you take a step of faith, however daunting that jump might look like for you, in to the unknown. It was a scary number (at least it was for me, in my current situation) when I first put it down on paper, because I thought to myself — “yea, right, how can you give back x amount of dollars when you can barely get by fueling this small business.” I started to listen to the crazy voice in my head that said — “well, you’re not doing xyz; or, your not doing that; or, look how successful this person is by doing xyz.” Sometimes, you have to take your eyes off the things/distractions around you, re-focus, and set your eyes on the things ahead — the things that are your calling (not live life by the world’s definition of what success looks like). Success comes in many shapes and forms and I like to celebrate each and every tiny victory, however small, because there are mountains to be cleared each and every day.

We have made lots of mistakes along the way (ok, tons) and have learned to do better, to have more grace, to pray harder, to give and give and give some more, to put our focus on Him, and not on ourselves or what others may say or think about us — to not compromise on our mission at hand. We have met some truly amazing + kind folks along the way on this journey, and have been able to participate in events across the city, which we love (like the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic and the City Flea). I was even able to visit my extended family in India this year (through a provision that was made available to me by participating in the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classics’ Recipe + a Dream competition - thanks, P + G!!) and got some much needed food inspiration all the while experiencing our varied cultures and cuisines (which, I must say, I have taken for granted much of my life).

I still don’t know what I’m doing at times (scary) or where OLMS will take us (or where we will be in 2017), or how we even got to this point, but day-by day we are being renewed by your thoughtful comments, words of encouragement and overall awesomeness. Thank YOU.

Just remember — “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.”

cheers to every tiny victory.

bring it, 2017!

x

mandira

#fightthegoodfight #passionproject #smallthingsdonewithgreatlove

illustration, above, by Joya Logue

Ginger-Elaichi Chai {Ginger-Cardamom Tea}

Original Post Dated Oct. 12th, 2015

This post is dedicated to my mama as it is her birthday today. What an opportune time to launch this blog in which I am so ever thankful for her and for all of the memories surrounding our family’s table. She is a remarkable cook and without her influence I would never have stepped foot in the kitchen. Love you.

Most evenings in our home were met surrounded casually by our tiny kitchen table where my mama would make chai right before my father came home from the office. She would put the kettle on the stove as the sun’s last light streamed through the lace-curtained windows surrounding our kitchen and we would talk about anything and everything over a cup of chai and some chaat (varied savory Indian snacks). Around this time, like clock-work, Ginger our house cat would saunter down by the gate eagerly anticipating my father’s arrival. You could see the ocean in the distance, the sky turning all shades of pink and orange, and everything seemed like pure magic at this hour. Glasses glistened, the bougainvillea appeared almost ablaze with an orangeish glow and the smell of freshly ground cardamom steeping in a pot, loose tea leaves filled the house with such a warm and inviting aroma, it was intoxicating and perfectly calming all at once. Everything seemed to be still, so serene. Nevis sunsets have a way of taking your breath away and I always made time to enjoy the few moments to indulge in its full glory before it all vanished before my eyes, forever. Every time I make chai at home, I think of that time. A time where the worries were less and the day’s end meant a time for a new beginning. A moment to pause, to give thanks, to reflect. Here is a recipe for ginger elaichi chai for two. Hope you enjoy its comfort. I have also included a recipe for the more popular chai latte (if your feeling like making something a bit more indulgent). x

Prep time

5 mins

Cook time

5 mins

Total time

10 mins

Make this warming and aromatic chai alone or try the chai latte version (below) for a diff. twist on a classic.

Author: Mandira Jacob | ohlittlemustardseed.com

Recipe type: Drinks

RECIPE FOR Ginger-Elaichi Chai (Ginger-Cardamom Tea)

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 2 black tea bags (or loose tea leaves, if you have them)

  • 5 cardamom pods

  • 3 cloves

  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

  • 1½ inch piece cinnamon stick

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • Sugar to taste

  • Half and half

Instructions

  1. Add 2 black tea bags (or loose tea leaves), cinnamon stick, cloves, freshly grated ginger and honey to a teapot. Using a mortar & pestle, break open the cardamom pods, reserve the shells, and add them to your teapot of spices. Grind the black fragrant seeds found within the pods with your mortar & pestle and it to your pot too.

  2. Fill a kettle with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add to your teapot of spices. Cover and let the tea steep for a good 2-3 mins. Mix well before straining tea in to teacups. This recipe should make exactly two teacups.

  3. Add sugar (to taste) and pour in half and half until desired milkiness. Drink immediately & serve with your fav. chaat or biscuits.

Recipe for Chai Latte

I don’t have a fancy emulsion blender or latte machine so here’s what I do instead:

Use the same recipe, above, for preparing the elaichi chai.

Serve with a homemade cardamom whipped cream.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

To prepare:

  1. Using a hand mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. Add the ground cardamom and sugar (to taste) to the whipped cream. Beat, again, on high until well incorporated.
  3. Dollop over your prepared chai.
  4. Add a sprinkling of ground cinnamon on top.
  5. Serve immediately.

Prepare to be wowed by your barista skillz. :)

QUICK TIPS –

Before serving your chai, try pouring hot water in your teacups, swish around, and discard. This should help keep the chai you are about to add to the cup even warmer.

Stumped on which brand of black tea to use? I usually mix it up between these fav. brands: Twinnings Assam Strong & Mighty, Lipton Loose Tea or their regular Black Tea , or Brooke Bond’s Red Label Orange Pekoe.

 

 

Recipe by ❊ oh little mustard seed ❊ at http://www.ohlittlemustardseed.com/2015/10/12/ginger-elaichi-chai-ginger-cardamom-tea/