The Scent Is Divine

Toasting a big batch of spices for homemade Sri Lankan curry powder tonight. (We dark-roast our spices before grinding.) I think my favorite part is when the fennel starts to toast up, that nutty licorice scent is divine. 🙂

Kavi Helped Make Me a Logo!

I think it looks pretty good! I could put this on a sticker that I’d use to seal a marshmallow package, or on a business card.

The colors are taken from Feast — we’re not wedded to them, but will probably go with something along these lines. Though could be convinced otherwise, maybe.

We’ve taken design as far as we can go, so keeping these basic elements, what might we do to improve it?

(Kavi says you should be nice to her in your critique. Feel free to be mean to me, though. Right now we are debating whether it’s tilted a little to the right or not. I think it is. :-))

Designing a Logo for Serendib Press

Kavi and I spent a while this evening working on logo design for Serendib Press. It was a collaboration, but she did most of the actual work!

  • the first sketch is hers, based on me talking about what I wanted to be in the image
  • the second is mine — I wanted to try filling out the scene a little, straighten the edges, etc.
  • the third is where Kavi took over, and I just served as the client, giving her suggestions — I can do some of the things she can do in Procreate, but not a lot of it, and she’s much much faster
  • the fourth is after we took out the outside border so we could straighten it, and added a window for balance, and gave the stars more presence, like steam rising out of the kettle
  • the fifth is we started playing with color, using the colors on the cover of Feast as a jumping off point, for cohesion

I’m going to ask for critique in the next post, so we can iterate a little further, but for this post, I wanted to show the collaboration process. And also brag on my kid a bit.

I told Kavi she’s getting paid for her work on this. What do you think a 13-year-old logo designer should get — same as adult? A percentage? Inquiring minds want to know!



a) If you order any print book (paperback or hardcover) today or tomorrow, you’ll get:

– a free handmade soap or set of bath salts (indicate your choice in comments below first, so I can make sure it’s still available)
– 3 delicious handmade mulled apple cider marshmallows
– 3 Serendib postcards

– total value $15

b) LOCALS-ONLY (because it’s too expensive / complicated to deal with shipping otherwise):

– individual soaps, bath salts, or set of 3 marshmallows ($5) — comment below to order these for porch pick-up, and I’ll confirm here.


Just comment here on which soap / salts you want, so I can track and confirm I still have enough, and then I’ll send you to the Shopify site to place the order, or arrange local payment / pickup.

Order two books, you get to pick out two bath treats, etc.

Until Sunday night, or while supplies last. 🙂


Books available:

-A Feast of Serendib (hardcover or paperback)
– Bodies in Motion (literary fiction, immigrant stories, hardcover)
– The Stars Change (SF novella)
– Perennial (a little garden romance)

(please note if you’d like books signed and/or dedicated to someone)


Veggie scent: Melbourne Calling (eucalyptus, mint, avocado)

– veggie seed packets: pumpkin (5 left)
– veggie seed packets: corn (4 left)
– veggie seed packets: beets (4 left)

– veggie seed packets: peas (4 left)

Flower scent: Asclepius in the Garden (naiouli, eucalyptus, and mandarin)

– flower seed packets: dahlia (2 left)
– flower seed packets: sweet peas (2 left)
– flower seed packets: sunflower (2 left)
– flower seed packets: poppy (2 left)
– lilac and lilies (5 left)
– jasmine (11 left)

– orange creamsicle (set of 2 small) (3 left)

Bath Salts (enough for 3 baths):

– lavender (5 left)

– passionfruit & rose (8 left)

Mulled Apple Cider Marshmallows, sets of 3 (30 left)

Mulled Apple Cider + Honey + Jaggery

Um, Mary Anne, maybe you are slightly pushing the capacity of that particular pot. 🙂 10 second video of bubbling mulled apple cider + honey + jaggery. (It’s the honey that makes it bubble up so high…)

(Flash sale later today, comment if you’d like to be tagged into it. Seed packet soaps, apple cider marshmallows, books. Always books.)

Hamming it for the Camera

I’ve been making a little bit of an effort to actually cook dinners this week, for Kevin’s 50th birthday week — we did pasta with a pork ragout, bangers and mash with a nice onion gravy and roasted Brussels sprouts, and in this case, pork fried rice (with lots of veggies snuck in) and chicken with broccoli.

(Usually these days I’m running so harried that they’re lucky if I cook one proper dinner a week, so I’m not sure the family quite knows what to do with all this bounty, but no one is complaining.)

Kevin loves Chinese food, and while I can follow a recipe fine, I’m still very clearly a novice on this front when it comes to improvising — but the fried rice turned out pretty okay. Practice. Using the wok and the super-hot big burner on our Wolf range definitely helped (the range came with the house, or we’d never have splurged on it, but glad it did!)

We added a mid-week family dinner this week, with candles and setting the table and checking in with the kids, which Kevin suggested and I think is a nice option for helping us get through e-learning. Makes me slow down a little bit too, which is undoubtedly good for me.

I’m mostly sharing these photos because the kids realized I was taking a picture of them and immediately started hamming it up for the camera. 🙂

Confectionery Experiments

Late night confectionery experiments. I wanted to try honey in my mulled apple cider marshmallows. Good! I think I’m going to make one more batch in the next few days, trying jaggery instead of white sugar. More complex flavor = good. I’m also wondering if I can use apple cider instead of water in the syrup-making stage — is that going to cause any difficulties, do you think? If I can amp up the apple, that would be great…

It’s Certainly a Treat

I bought myself a present back in March, to celebrate the cookbook launching: a new mixer in cobalt blue, with a glass bowl. I have to admit, the Cuisinart I had previously is actually a little easier to use — the components aren’t as heavy. So I’m not sure I’d recommend the Kitchen-Aid for general use. But if you want something pretty that you’re happy to leave sitting out in the kitchen, don’t mind that it’s a little heavier, and love watching your marshmallows and batters mix up in the glass bowl, it’s certainly a treat.

As for me, now I have a back-up, which is good for when I’m production cooking. Not a lot of that right now, but when the pandemic is over and we re-launch the cookbook with lots of events, I think both mixers will be in heavy use. Maybe I can have Kavi or Anand on one and me on the other. 

10 seconds of soothing mixer action, for apple cider & honey marshmallows.

Bountiful Result

Today’s assemble-your-own lunch board. A little random, because we had some leftover roast pork and Yorkshire pudding that Kevin made the other night, along with sautéed pea pods and roasted broccoli. ALSO a few leftover chicken wings from takeout the other night. So all I did was put it all out, slice some apples and pears, cut up some cheese, and pull out the pumpkin & ginger muffins. Pretty bountiful result. 🙂