Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
I was honoured to be featured in Homemaker Magazine, written by the artisan British designer Julie Dodsworth:
Julie Dodsworth is an artisan British designer who works and lives on her narrowboat Calamity Jane on the Grand Union Canal. England. She is known for her folky designs which take the heritage of the waterways with a beautiful romantic twist.
As I journey along in my Homeware world new and very different opportunities unfold . Nothing was more out of the ordinary than when I was asked to speak the prestigious national conference for the Women in rural enterprise a little earlier this year. Pushed right out of my comfort zone I gave it my very best. I was extremely flattered to be standing before so many talented ladies – so many of them fellow artisans – turning their trade and crafting skills into a business .
My reward for my endeavours was the lovely friendships I made that day . Amazing hardworking ladies with fantastic ideas , products and services.
One such lady was Lajina Leal . Lajina and I soon became friends and I learned of her new business – Cooking and teaching Indian dishes in the recipients home. The magic is without doubt Lajina herself who from her northern Indian roots has developed a secret spice mix for Homemakers like you and I to make very easy and delicious curries at home.
In true Homemaker fashion Lajina offered me a curry lesson – who could refuse! The date was set and on a very rainy Wintery morning the ‘magic’ arrived on my doorstep armed with mangoes , coconuts , lots of secret ingredients and all manor of pots and pans.
Chatting away, chapatis a- flapping ( a Homemaker write up in its self!) , chopping and sizzling , Lajina was soon in full flow .
The afternoon sped by and my little kitchen was soon transformed into Northern India gourmet heaven . But as I stood ( and pathetically tried to help) this lovely lady I soon realised that Lajina had an hidden ingredient . She asked ‘What did I like to cook ? How much time do I have to shop, prepare and cook ? What is in season locally for me? Would I add salt , butter , sugar to my cooking ?
I soon realised that we were creating something tailor made to my lifestyle, taste and limitations. Just as mix my paint adapting to the limitations of production, Lajina was cleverly adapting her timeless recipes to my my table .
I was left with a new skill set, a chance and confidence to try new dishes and beautiful meal to present to my other half that very night.
Lajina was soon on her way home and I took Sky our dog for a little walk on a water drenched lane. Returning home I opened my front door I realised my home was full of the spices of the day and the warmth of the stove .Lajina s ‘sunshine’ take on life seemed to fill our home and I knew this would be a day I’d always remember.
And Lajina s hidden ingredient? The way she mixes the spices for sure but more than anything she was the cook who specialised in listening. The ability to be interested, change and adapt was the most delicious ingredient of all.
Lajina Leal, Founder, Lajina Masala
Lajina had a Corporate Career as an Accountant for many years and whilst discussing an impending redundancy in an Indian restaurant with her friends, they persuaded her to set up an Indian Cooking School.
The fun started in October 2013 and the business has grown from strength to strength.