new blog.

hey guys, i’m now i’m blogging at landofnams.com

click on over for my new posts! 

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blog maintenance.

Namrata Singh//cape peninsula

i’m in cape town exploring what is one of the most beautiful places in the world. i’m also spending a few hours doing blog maintenance on the advice of some people who know what they are talking about while p is interviewing people today. so i leave you with this beautiful flower we saw when driving around the cape peninsula. i can’t wait to show you the photographs of the rest of this place. 

25th october, 2011

cape peninsula
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cupcakes: how to edit your baking recipes for the altitude

Namrata Singh//carrot cake cupcakes and maple cream cheese frosting. 

i finally got around to baking here for the first time for some friends last week. the most exciting part about it was that i visited kadies and found neon pink dusting powder. i used my usual smitten kitchen recipe and they tasted delicious but didn’t look as delectable as they normally do because i was in denial that we live on the highveld and therefore should have adjusted my baking practices according to our altitude. 

Namrata Singh//carrot cake batter

because of the lighter air pressure foods (and my lungs, i can barely run 5 kilometres i can barely run) respond differently than us low altitude dwellers are used to. so, the first thing you need to do is decrease your amount of leavening agents by about 15-25% percent per 5,000 feet. in jozi we are at 5,751 feet so i now take out about a quarter of the baking soda (i.e. take out 1/4 teaspoon for every teaspoon the recipe calls for). you also need to increase the amount of liquid to counter the dryness….add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid per cup of flour (note: in baking, eggs do not count as liquid but butter does). the internet also recommends decreasing the amount of sugar by 2 to 3 tablespoons per cup of sugar but i say ‘pshaw’ to that. 

the last recommendation is to raise the cooking temp by 20 degrees F or 11 degrees C (math people i know that 20 degrees F does not equal 11 degrees C in a direct conversion) and slightly shorten the cooking time. i can’t help you with that, you’ll just have to poke your cupcake with toothpicks to figure out exactly when to take them out. 

while they weren’t as lovely of a color or perky as they normally are i was able to hide the imperfections with the heavenly frosting.  and they were absolutely delicious which made up for what they were lacking in looks. and now i hope you can use my misadventure to avoid having one of your own!

ps. for you fellow americans baking soda is called bicarbonate of soda here and confectioners or powdered sugar is called caster sugar and both can be found in the plenty even at the most basic grocery stores (which is not the case for you poor berliners). 

24th october, 2011

baking recipes Johannesburg
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fashion fridays.

Namrata Singh// in our living room

i realize that this outfit is a bit plain and a bit of a cop out since i already featured the shirt and necklace this week in a post about neighbourgoods. my reason for using it anyway is that i should focus on local african designers as much as possible. and to make up for my lack of creativity i have a little extra for you: my nails. in a pathetic heroic attempt to save money since we are dropping hard earned cash for cars sometime this month i decided to do my own nails, (p, my parade please).

i wore this outfit to lunch at my friend bing’s house (she cooked and hosted a delicious lunch with some other ‘real’ bloggers- heather, martina, sine and clare) and to my first photography class. i learned a ton at both. a very successful day in south africa.

glasses: garrett leight via shopbop

necklaces: ruby, skermunkil, and i don’t remember from an nyc flea market

shirt: take care clothing via neighbourgoods

black bandeau: h&m because see-through shirts need bandeaus

jeans: mavi via the mavi store in hackesher markt (berlin), they were like 2 for 1. i don’t really like them though because they get super loose after one wear.

and le manicure. i got my inspiration via this pin on pinterest. i think it turned out okay. it is a feat to properly photograph your own nails though.

Namrata Singh//homemade mani


grey: opi in moon over mumbai

gold glitter: opi in only gold for me

top coat: essie in no chips ahead (i only mention because it works preeetty well)

i am off to cape town for the week with p tomorrow and i am incredibly excited to see the city that the whole word talks about (and by ‘see’ i mean ‘drink my way through several wine farms’). i hope your weekend is fabulous and restful. bis nächstes mal meine kartoffelköpfe!!

21st october, 2011

fashion friday skermunkil design shopbop garrett leight Take Care Clothing manicures Johannesburg
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things to do in joburg: wolves cafe (adorable, unlimited internet in an internet challenged country)

Namrata Singh//wolves cafe 

if you’ve ever lived or visited south africa you know this country is a bit internet challenged. never before had i had a thought about how many bytes of internet i use. i was blissfully sucking all the magical internet i pleased through my various apple devices. since arriving here we’ve been surviving on an overpriced stick (who uses internet sticks?) from vodacom. i had to think twice before clicking on each gawker recap video of real housewives of new jersey radiolab podcast. so you can see how pathetic my life was becoming. at present we have no stick and we are waiting for our relocation service to get its act together for proper internet at our house and i thought i was out of luck for a whole week. think about it. a week. without. internet. after having an existential crisis and deciding that yes, in fact if i do not have internet then life is meaningless i ordered p to set out to find a place with unlimited internet.

IF cafes here or even hotels have complimentary wifi they usually have daily limits on it. if you didn’t know how quickly you go through 75mb you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. never fear, wolves café to the rescue.  it is located in illovo on the corner of corlett and oxford road (right next to oliva).  first of all it is ADORABLE with adorable little bunting flags strung up everywhere and delicious baked goods. as you can see, i said f**k you to my newly slightly slower metabolism and had a red velvet cupcake and latte. best of all, i lazily sat for hours using the free, unlimited, delicious internet. they also sell some adorable wares including pieces by skermunkil design. they do sponsored movie nights sometimes and this week the film was Dirty Dancing, so in addition to having delectable treats it is clear that they are tasteful cinephiles. if you are looking for a charming (and yes, trendy) place to enjoy some solitude and internet then wolves is a good bet. 

20th october, 2011

wolves cafe Johannesburg internet
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our first dinner party in joburg

Namrata Singh//caramel cake

in berlin we loved to entertain on the trusty long black ikea dining table and in joburg that hasn’t changed. so last week we decided that the house was in a state of ordered chaos ready for our first dinner party in south africa.  on sunday I spent the whole day cooking a french menu while p dutifully painted the bathroom and put up pictures.

i like this menu because if you have your sh*t together theoretically you can cook all of it beforehand and keep it warm which is perfect for entertaining. in fact, the coq au vin, mushrooms, onions, and soup all taste BETTER the more time they’ve had to stew. the menu:

soupe à l’oignon (french onion soup) from smitten kitchen

coq au vin (chicken in red wine) from the incomparable julia child

champignons sautés au buerre (butter drenched sauteed mushrooms) via julia

oignons glacés a brun (brown braised baby onions) via julia 

french mashed potatoes from tasty kitchen

caramel cake is from woolworths*. oh snap! that’s right i didn’t bake for our precious guests. and i bought a cake from a huge department store.  it’s ok i’ll they’ll get over it.

 *for people who don’t live in rsa, woolworth’s is a whole new world down here.

Namrata Singh//bud vases

i managed to clip a few flowers for our test tube bud vases (thanks mo). i could only get a few simple ones since i knew where they were in the dark and i didn’t have time to do the song and dance of turning on the outside lights on (our property is an acre!).  the french onion soup turned out well enough but since our day was chaotic i didn’t manage to heat up the broiler to a high enough temp by dinner time to get that delicious burned crispy look on top. 

Namrata Singh//soupe à l’oignon

we got use our wedding stuff for the first time so it was fun to set the table. (and um, we’re still working on our thank you cards. gulp.)

Namrata Singh//table setting

the other tragedy is after the first course i guess i started drinking a little too much wine (hehe)  and forgot to take pictures of the subsequent courses. so instead, i’ll leave you with one more gratuitous shot of that delicious cake.

 

Namrata Singh//good enough to eat 

the night was a success as our guests were hilarious, the food was gone and we were a tad hungover the next day.

19th october, 2011

OurHouse dinner party recipe Johannesburg
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recipe: vegetarian bibimap dinner and bento lunch

Namrata Singh//korean style bento lunch

last week as i was organizing the kitchen i came across a package of gochujang sauce that p brought back for me from south korea when he was covering the g20 summit in seoul last year. then i thought wistfully back to the huge south korean spread my friend bo’s mom made for us when we visited her in philadelphia a few years ago and became inspired to create my own bibimap for dinner…and for lunch the next day! bibimap is a traditional korean dish with rice as a base and many different vegetables (and often beef) mixed in.

when i have time i like to try my hand at the japanese art (ok, i’m using the word ‘art’ loosely here) of bento. i prefer the boxes by black & blum, because it really is an all in one, with a container for sauces or dressings and a fork/knife. so i made enough to insure that i would have enough for my bento lunch.

i used a combination of recipes that i found online (herehere,here, and here). there is not much skill involved in this recipe, mostly patience as it takes a while to prepare the many different vegetables. 

to make this post less chaotic i’ll list each topping, its ingredients and how to make it separately. this was plenty for two people, a generous lunch the next day, and i still had to throw away some. 

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bento recipe vegetarian bibimap black and blum
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things to do in joburg: neighbourgoods market

Namrata Singh//neighbourgoods market sign

this weekend we visited the neighbourgoods market. it was just lovely! it is located on the corner of juta street and de beer street, in downtown joburg. it runs on saturdays until it dies out around 3 (we were there until 4). hot tip: when using a satellite navigator in joburg, typing in an intersection gets accurate results more consistently than entering a regular street address…but more on that in another post! it is not unlike the Arts on Main market, in that there are delicious foods and such.

Namrata Singh//plants in a bag at the neighbourgoods market

the crowd is sexy, the food is yummy, and after you’ve had a few belgian beers or margaritas you might find yourself dancing with some new friends. the market only opened a little over a month ago so you should visit before it becomes oversaturated and cliché soon. i heard from a new friend that renting a stall is only about three or four hundred rand per day, so i’m thinking of selling my cupcakes or other baked goods if i can ever get it together. i think an exploratory visit to kadies is in order!

Namrata Singh//sexy people at the neighbourgoods market

as noted, local fashion designers and artisans fill the stalls of these markets, so I found this white shirt from Take Care Clothing and that tube necklace from Skermunkil Design Studio, (you can find her blog here to find out where to buy her awesome pieces).

Namrata Singh//loot from neighbourgoods

i am so inspired by ladies like them…creating beautiful pieces for affordable prices, running their own businesses and not letting things like Fear of Failure stop them. for me, one of the biggest appeals of going to these markets is seeing people selling their wares…it is like they are baring a piece of their soul and saying: Hello. I made/designed/created this. I’m standing here and hoping that you like what I made and want to further my business and creativity by buying one. although the designers probably don’t think about it like that since they are used to doing this type of thing a lot, for me watching it is a profound experience. one of the reasons we made the decision to move to joburg was so that i could decide what it is i want to do with the rest of my life. i am forced to not work for a while as a holder of a dependent visa, and I don’t want this time to be for naught. i want to make the right decision for my career path, and not let fear keep me from making the right one.

17th October, 2011

Johannesburg Take Care Clothing baubles jhb neighbourgoods market skermunkil design fas fashion
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fashion fridays.

okay i’m doing it. fashion fridays. disclaimers: 1) i don’t claim to know anything about fashion, except that i like it. 2) i’m just learning how to use my camera, and take pictures of my outfits so bear with me! maybe i’ll be too shy to do this again and 3) i must apologize for my look of fear-masked-by-determination in this photo, i’ll get it one day. ok, let’s get started shall we?

i wore this to watch the south african ballet perform sleeping beauty at joburg civic theatre.

sunglasses: miumiu via galeries lafayette. i had a bad day at work and they made me feel better like p couldn’t no one else could

tank: h&m. that is because jcrew recently decided to make their tanks out of shit very thin material. bad move jcrew. i loved your tanks. 

neon maxi skirt and necklace: anthropologie. i got that ish on sale, yo. 

bag: alexander wang via shopbop. because mr. wang is a bad*ss. and now by the transitive property, so am i. 

bracelet: adia kibur via shopbop.

alright, i hope you have a wonderful, relaxing weekend! singh: out. 

14th october, 2011

fashion fashion friday alexander wang shopbop adia kibur anthropologie
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springtime bonus post.

Namrata Singh//one of the many new blooms in our garden

it is springtime in the southern hemisphere so i thought i would share one of the many new flowers which are popping up around our estate yard. it looks like a veritable botany garden out there. i’ll share some of the more exotic flowers as summer gets closer. 

13th october, 2011 bonus post! 

johannesburg flowers OurHouse jhb
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