Thursday, May 19, 2022

Recipe time: Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

Chocolate and banana, is there anything better than this heavenly combo??

Chocolate Banana Cake appeals to most people I know and this is a recipe I make frequently because it always disappears quickly! It is simple to make and my favourite way to use up overripe bananas so they never go waste! (makes me feel heroic!).  The melted butter along with ripe bananas makes the crumbs super moist and melt-in-the-mouth feel. This recipe doesn’t require a mixer, an easy one bowl recipe, good for your health, makes a great go-to breakfast or snack and doesn’t require a frosting!

I am sure you will enjoy making this recipe because it has all its goodness and super quick to make! Let me know if you do try!

• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup cocoa powder
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 to 3 bananas (more ripe the better!)
• 3 tablespoons sour cream
• 1 tablespoon milk 
• 2 eggs
• 6 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup chocolate chips

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C), grease and line a loaf pan.
• Whisk all the dry ingredients- flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
• Mash the bananas in a smaller bowl, and stir together with the sour cream, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
• Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl, add chocolate chips and fold together just until combined.
• Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

• Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, and then remove it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.  

Above pictures are copyrighted Tickled by Inspirations.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Artist of the month - Majid Al-Amri

Majid Al-Amri, a prominent abstract artist in the art circle is making waves with his beautiful work. I came across his amazing work across the art galleries here in Muscat. I loved the way he plays with the colours, lines and shapes and create images that I want to look at. I find his work playful, deeply personal and poetic through the brush strokes and colours he uses. The use of abstraction is his way to communicate his emotions and ideas about life and nature.

Have a look at his beautiful paintings and let’s hear more from Majid who talks about his art journey.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?

My name is Majid Al-Amri, a graduate from Sultan Qaboos University, specializing in Art education. My journey as an artist started from a young age. I learned art by myself and further studied art at the age of 18 at Sultan Qaboos University.

How would you describe your art style?

I describe my artistic style as different from the tendencies of the Omani society towards art… because I tend to abstract art… and I strive to reach an artistic style that suits me.

What's your inspiration for your art work?

The source of my inspiration in my artwork varies from time to time… but most of the time I derive from what I see around me.

What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

The most challenging aspect of my artwork is how I can express something through abstract art... and how to convey my feelings and ideas to the recipient through my work.

Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?

People can buy my paintings by contacting me through my Instagram account or through the art gallery if the painting is displayed in an exhibition.

What is your favorite art piece that you have done till date?

My favorite piece of art is called motherland

Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career.

My advice to everyone is to continue making paintings in their own style… ones’s unique style is what the audience is looking for.

Thank you so much Majid for sharing your inspiring journey with me and my readers and we look forward to seeing more of your work.


Click here to follow him on Instagram and get updates of his work.


Stay tuned for more artist inspirations in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Tea Time with Alaknanda Kumar

 Alakanda Kumar, a creative consultant by profession, is making a mark in the world of décor topped with her passion for photography. I have been following her work for a while. It is absolutely pure joy to see her work and experiment with colours, vignettes, creative ideas and vignette. If you follow her work you will also find her home so tastefully done up. Every corner in her home has a story to tell. Her aesthetic touch is what keeps her work unique and her eye for photography is an extension of all the beauty she sees around.

To know more about what drives Alakanda, please read the interview where she speaks about design, culture, interiors, textures and more

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

 When not satiating the shutterbug in me, I find myself juggling between my job as a creative consultant and chasing my preteen for homework. Born in a Konkani-Managlorian family, I spent a fair share of my childhood in Gujarat (which had a big influence on my hobby), before moving to Mumbai. Though a science graduate, I pursued my passion for arts and built a career in graphics and design.


2. Where do you get inspiration to do up your home?

 Growing up in Gujarat, the vibrant colours and rich textures that embodies its culture was etched into my mind. Having a strong fascination for bold and contemporary Indian art intrigued me to try my hands on it. And that's how painting became one of my hobbies. During my early years in 80s when there was no Pinterest, home interior TV shows and art and decor magazines served as the greatest source for an ultimate design. Today we have inspiration just a click away. 


3) What's your favorite décor style?

 I have always found myself trying to strike the right balance between Indian and contemporary styles. As much as I adore white and open spaces, I tend not lean towards minimalism or even maximalism. That said, I keep experimenting with different styles.

 4) What's your favorite décor element or accent in your home?

 It’s hard to zero-in on a single element. Candles and cushions are like wine and cheese; they complement each other so perfectly that you’d be hard-pressed to leave them out. Another element that I swoon over are mirrors. A perfectly placed mirror doesn’t just add glamour and pique interest, but accentuates a sense of space and maximizes light. Thanks to my penchant for pottery, I always find myself styling my space with earthy accents like vases and figurines.


5) Do you have a favorite corner or space in your home? And why is it your favorite?

 As much as we adore our home, we all have that corner where we could retreat to our little cocoon after an exhausting day. Mine is a space in the living room that is our reading nook. The beauty of this corner is that I could be lost in a book or in the tunes my son plays on his piano and not strays away from what’s happening around in the house.

6) Any tips or advice for décor lovers out there?

 - I believe that your home is a reflection of your personality, and if one starts understanding this, every nook and cranny of your home will brain out the artist in you.

 - Before discarding any old furniture or accent, think if it can be repurposed. An old, rickety wooden window could be an excellent wall piece (I tried that ;) )

 - If your place is too cluttered, one’s mind would be overwhelmed with all the elements, and hence, my advice would be to do less with more.

 Thank you so much for sharing your journey and sharing some amazing tips of home décor. Looking forward to seeing more inspiring work from you.

If you wish to see more of her work and get more updates, please click here to follow her on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more tea times stories!!

All the above pics are by Alaknanda Kumar

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Artist of the Month: Samantha Mathew


Samantha Mathew is a talented architect, based in the US, who rekindled her passion for art while decorating her home. She is a self- taught artist and she was born with creativity in her blood. Her paintings have a story to tell and reflect her interest in nature, landscape and everything vintage. I found her work aesthetic and appealing to look at. Her work draws your attention to the beautiful details and the gorgeous calming colours she uses. She sees the beauty of little details and adds to her work that exudes joy with a magical touch.  

Have a look at her beautiful paintings and let’s hear more from Samantha herself who talks about her journey and her inspiration

Be Still


Come & Dine With Me

Bright & Beautiful

Blooms of Hope

I'll be with you always

Dressed in Bloom

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Samantha, an architect by training and I live in Austin with my amazing husband, Jeff and two precious girls who are now 4 and almost 2. I’ve lived most of my life in Oman and some in India (I’m originally from Kerala) and been in the US since 2013.

How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?

I’ve always loved to sketch, paint and dabble in anything creative and am extremely passionate about design! I did not have any formal training as an artist, except for the standard art class in school. But those classes laid the foundation and taught me the basics in various sketching and painting techniques.  I used to also hold onto picture books with pretty illustrations in it, and would try and paint them when I had the time. I realised early on that God had blessed me with a creative gene as I received plenty of affirmation from my art teachers, friends and family. My art teacher was highly invested in anything I produced, displaying them in his room, around the school and at art exhibitions. But I only ever thought of art as a hobby. I went to architecture school, pursued my goals of becoming a licensed architect and hardly picked up a paint brush for anything unrelated to school or work for the next 10 years.

When Jeff and I moved into our first apartment, I was very excited to do some decorating and make it feel more like home. I started looking for some meaningful art for our stark lifeless walls. Not finding what we wanted in our budget, I decided to paint a few myself. And THAT rekindled the old lost passion once again! I did a couple for our own home, and then happily jumped at opportunities to do a few more for family and friends. They were positively thrilled. 

As the 2020 pandemic began, I chose to take a break from work to be fully available to my little ones. Though I've been blessed to have this opportunity to spend so much time with them, I began to feel drained and was in desperate need of a creative outlet - something to occupy myself with on a flexible schedule - and I found therapy behind the easel again. If I’m not painting, I’m either organizing or designing spaces.


How would you describe your art style?

This is a hard one. Honestly, I’m not very good at identifying different art styles but I do know that I am naturally more drawn to painting landscapes and objects in a realistic way toning down the colors to a soft, earthy palette. I love the rich character of vintage art and sometimes like to dye my paper or canvas to recreate that look, before I paint on it.


What's your inspiration for your art work?

Painting is therapeutic to my soul and draws me closer to God, the Creator of all things beautiful. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature- from tiny delicate flowers to a beautiful cloudy sky. I love being able to study and capture on paper in my imperfect way, glimpses of His perfect creation.  I also have a thing for old buildings, interesting doorways, arches, stone masonry, cobblestone streets and anything covered in blooms! I work primarily with acrylics, watercolours and charcoal, experimenting with light, shadow, fluidity and texture as I go.


What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

Since I get to take out my brushes only when the kids are asleep, I get just a few hours in a day to paint and I try to make the most of it. Acrylics dry very quickly, so I’m always trying new ways to keep them wet longer, so I don’t waste too much paint between painting sessions.

Making time to pursue creativity amidst the demands of motherhood gets challenging at times, but I just take it one day at a time.


What is your creative process like? and what keeps you motivated?

My head is always brimming with ideas for future paintings and collections and so I write these ideas down whenever I have an inspiring moment.  I usually listen to my favourite podcasts, music, or an audio bible and it keeps me focused, relaxed and inspired as I work. I am most productive and motivated in the early morning hours, when the whole house is sleeping and it’s just me and my canvas.


Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?

Yes  I do! I’m currently taking one commission a month and you can either DM me on Instagram or contact me at about it and I will be happy to bring your vision to life! As of now, I only ship to places within the US. 

I also sell my work on or do occasional sales on Instagram itself.


What is your favourite art piece that you have done till date?

Ah, another tough one! But if I had to pick, I would say that the “Come and Dine with Me” painting hanging in our living room is my favourite. It was the first painting I did, after 15 years and the first time I tried working with acrylics. 

I just love this scene of the risen Christ, appearing to His weary disciples who were out the entire night fishing, with no luck whatsoever and inviting them to a breakfast that He'd just prepared for them. I didn’t have a reference image for this piece and I just love how it all finally came together.


Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career.

I don’t consider myself the best person to give much advice here as my path is pretty unconventional for an aspiring professional artist. But as in any field, the only way to get better at something is with lots of practice! So make time to pursue creativity- if it is through sketching or painting, do a little everyday even if you don’t feel particularly inspired or stimulated. 

And most of all, believe in yourself and in your work!

Thank you so much Samantha for sharing your inspiring journey with me and my readers and we look forward to seeing more of your work.

Stay tuned for more artist inspirations in the coming weeks!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Tea Time with Meenakshi Kapoor

Hi everyone… I know I have not been consistent with my blog as I got sidetracked with a few projects in hand and pursuing my passion and learning in food photography. Please click here to see my work and to know more. I am back now with a new series called “Tea Time Series” where I will feature and introduce a creative whose work I follow and admire and I am super excited about this.

Kick starting the Tea Time series with Meenakshi Kapoor, a Mumbai based interior designer, who is the creative force behind the inspirational blog, called “Behind that House”, who took Instagram by storm with her mind blowing reels, beautiful posts and styling videos. I have been following her work for a long time and I have seen her grow consistently and taking up new challenges when it comes to home décor styling. Her Insta blog is truly a visual décor therapy.

The most striking aspect about her work is her unique, beautiful and elegant styling tips which always have a pop of gorgeous seasonal blooms and plants. Her easy to do DIYs and her simple tips on décor are another striking feature of her work, which gives wings to your imagination when it comes to home décor. She always aims to provide a fresh perspective to her audience when it comes to styling and DIY projects.

So grab a cup of tea and let’s get to know more about Meenakshi

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I studied Chemistry and computer networking and worked at The Taj for few years before I realized my inclination and fascination for furnishing fabrics and interiors. So after a long hiatus in my career while I raised two beautiful children and designed 4 different homes.... I joined DA designs as an interior designer and started blogging about my passion for styling and decor simultaneously

Where do you get inspiration to do up your home?
I find inspiration in the everyday, when I take a walk or when i travel. It could be a leaf a flower a pretty window a medieval arch or even a tiny coconut fallen from a tree or just about anything.

What's your favorite décor style?
I don’t have a favorite style. There’s always something to learn and explore about every style that is defined in books and there’s so much to experiment with and evolve from. I feel it’s an ongoing process and mixing styles along with adding unique pieces of art to create something new each time is what keeps me ticking.

What's your favorite décor element or accent in your home?
I love my plants the most as they always add life to any corner or space.

Do you have a favorite corner or space in your home? And why is it your favorite?
Yes, my balcony. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and switch off.

Do you have any tips or advice for décor lovers out there?
Don’t go overboard when you go shopping for furniture or decor. You will definitely be tempted to buy furniture from one store as it’s the most convenient thing to do but allow yourself to explore and play with different styles. Also with decor accents have fewer but unique pieces of accessories that speak to you. Creating vignettes is a great way to start styling corners of your home.

 Thank you so much for sharing your journey and tips with me and my readers! We look forward to more design and home décor styling tips from you!

Please click here if you wish to get in touch with her and follow her amazing work.

Stay tuned to the Tea Time Series!!! Stay safe!

The above pictures are copyrighted. Please do not reuse.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Easy Basbousa Recipe (Semolina Cake)

The Covid situation and the choas around left me so uninspired lately... Trying to be sane and making sure that we all stay afloat , not getting sucked into it is not easy... I hope everyone reading this is safe and taking good care and precautions. Let's all continue to move forward in hope that there will be better days ahead, so please find strength in the wait...

In the midst of this chaos allow me to distract you with a simple recipe for today.

Basbousa Cake is a well known middle eastern dessert made with semolina, flour, coconut, yogurt and nuts, soaked in a flavorful simple syrup. The coarse semolina flour gives the cake its signature sandy texture, it is super moist and has a melt-in-your-mouth texture. It’s a one bowl recipe and a great one to bake with your kids or family. I love recipes with coconut flavor and texture and this is one of my current favorite and I hope you get to try it out.


Semolina Cake

·      2 cups semolina

·      1 cup plain yogurt

·      1 cup granulated sugar

·      1/2 cup ghee, melted

·      1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

·      2 teaspoons baking powder

·      2 teaspoons vanilla extract

·      1 teaspoon salt

·      3 tblsp flour

·      3 eggs


Simple Syrup:

·         1 1/4 cup sugar

·         1 1/4 cup water

·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract



·         1/3 cup chopped nuts (sliced almonds or chopped pistachios or hazelnuts) I used Pistachios



1.      Preheat the oven to 200C.

2.      Line a 10" cake plate with a baking paper circle cut to size and brush all the edges with a little melted ghee. You can even bake this in a brownie tin or rectangular baking tin.

3.      In a large bowl, whisk egg and sugar till combined. Then add yogurt and whisk a bit. Then add to it ghee and continue to whisk and then add semolina, coconut and flour, salt and baking powder to the batter and fold it well with a spatula

4.      Mix until just combined. Do not over mix or your cake will be tough.

5.      Tap the cake pan gently on the table to ensure there are no cake bubbles present and everything is even.

6.      Bake on the centre rack of the oven for 15 minutes.

7.      Move the pan to the top rack and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the centre of the cake is set and it is starting to turn golden brown.

8.      During the last 10-15 minutes, prepare the simple syrup. Combine the sugar and water and in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.

9.      When the cake is done, remove from oven and Pour the hot syrup over the hot cake.

10.  Cover the pan with foil and allow it to sit for at least half hour to soak in the syrup. Once it’s soaked sprinkle with chopped nuts and serve.

Tip: You can flavor the simple syrup using either 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 2 teaspoons orange blossom water or 2 teaspoons rose water, or 1/2 of a cinnamon stick or crushed cardamom.

Above pictures are copyrighted Tickled by Inspirations