An Indian Dinner



Happy Saturday to you!

I’m a little jet lagged, having just recently returned from London. I’m excited to share some highlights of our trip once I’ve had a chance to download and compile all my photos. I actually went away with just my tiny Leica and the download cord, but no battery charger. So dumb. Don’t you just love packing?

Those of you that follow me on Instagram though have seen several of my holiday snaps there already. The old iPhone (and I do mean the old one) takes a pretty good shot in a pinch.  OK so, wait…I’m off track already, bloody hell…the London post will be arriving shortly (it is coming from overseas after all!)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos from the Indian Dinner table I set at ‘Casa Paley’ shortly before we went away.

890A8441We were excited to be having very dear old friends over for dinner and inspired by the spate of beautiful late May weather in Santa Barbara (before  “June Gloom” arrived, right on schedule as I’ve been informed, June 1st) I thought it would be fun to serve up a big old curry with all the fixings.

09ea16a6bd9e11e299e522000a9e28c4_7My Instagram shot of the cookbooks we used:

“Mangoes & Curry Leaves” (gorgeous book, somewhat complex recipes),”Tangy Tart Hot & Spicy” by Padma Lakshmi (easier recipes) and “Vij’s” from my favourite Indian restaurant in Vancouver-even though they don’t take reservations which drives me insane. Maybe because I’m mentioning his cookbook I might not have to wait outside the next time.  Do you think??? Hey, It could happen. If you know him, please put in a good word for me 🙂

I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of the food but this is what we served:

Vij’s Family Chicken Curry (OMG-SO good. and I’m not just saying that because of the no reservations thing. Swear)

Prawns in Coconut Marsala

Sauteed Arugula & Spinach with Tofu (because we couldn’t find Paneer)

Ginger & Jalapeño Basmati rice

Green Beans with Toasted Coconut & Cashews

Cucumber Raita

Shredded Carrot, Cranberries & Cilantro Salad (Gorgeous & delicious-so wish I’d taken a photo) from Padma’s book

Huge crispy Poppadoms, Naan bread and lashings of spicy chutneys


890A8452Different flavours of salts on the table are always a nice touch.

I found the porcelain and copper “burning match” votives “At The Table” in LA  years ago.

890A8462I actually have a “Salt” post in the hopper as we speak. Keep an eye out for it. I know. Exciting, right?!

890A8457As usual, I like to really mix it up, so here we have a huge vintage Suzani used as the tablecloth (that’s how much I love/trust these friends 🙂 )  little silver votives from Pottery Barn, Cristofle silverware, vintage ocean liner water goblets, black & white striped cotton napkins from “Paradise Lane” in Sri Lanka, and all the black & white dishes are from Target. The roses are “White Iceberg” and “Hot Cocoa” from my garden.

Here’s the recipe for the curried chicken:

photo 2 photo 1photo 3

Taken from “Vij’s” cookbook with love and respect… and patience.

What?? I’m not hinting at anything!

890A8520Christofle silver vase (a present for our 25th wedding anniversary last month)

For another Suzani inspired table setting check out this older post HERE -I just noticed that it was also done in May, in 2011. Goes to show how much Spring inspires us to bring the colour indoors (you might also recognise that suzani from my recent post about updating our conservatory) Vintage textiles are such a worthwhile investment, aren’t they?!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend






  1. We love Vij’s and have enjoyed meeting him…he has the most amazing eyes!!
    I have both his cookbooks…don’t you just love how the house smells when you are cooking one of his curry dishes?
    Vij’s lamb popsicles are my favourite.

    Rangoli for a take away is fun if we are heading for the ferry…
    Time must fly as I thought you were in Boston visiting your son and here you are globe tripping in the UK…
    your table is stunning Slim!
    June Gloom must be what we experience here in Victoria too….perhaps it’s a coastal phenomenon.

  2. You don’t have to “find” paneer. You can make it in a jiffy. Just heat a quart of milk almost to boiling, and juuust as it starts to bubble, stir in a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. The curds will separate from the whey. Drain into a sieve lined with a clean cloth, squeeze out as much water as you can, then lay the cloth bundle on a plate and put a weight on top of it. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours. Paneer. Almost as easy as scratch yogurt.

  3. Been to Vij’s in Vancouver, and yes, wondrously delicious food. Thanks for the recipe and the table is beautiful!!

  4. THANKS for sharing your recipe!! I needed that! Gorgeous table…makes the food look even better! franki

  5. Per usual, the table setting is beautiful!

    I wish Vij took reservations too. By the time we get seated for dinner, I am without, fail a tad drunk. That’s ok. 🙂
    Love this chicken recipe. Incidentally, I have discovered that it freezes well (sans cilantro & sour cream).

  6. Looking forward to your salt post. I took a cooking class and tasted the most heavenly salt. It’s called Black Truffle and it’s divine. Also looking forward to more of your London posts. I hope one of them is Beatle-themed!

  7. I always wonder how Padma stays so slim while eating all of the contestants’ food on Top Chef! I am going to make her carrot and cilantro salad – it sounds so light and refreshing!

    Thank you for the photos of your lovely table. What fun dinner it must have been!

  8. Oh, what an inspired divine diva goddess you are! I feel such a connection with you and everything you do, because you write like you are just sitting at the table next to me and we are gabbing!! What a adventurous spirit (my club, too), and creative spark. Thanks for sharing all that you do…you are so fun!!!. Oh gosh, is Indian food the best or what? PS I have those same quilts, got them in Ahmedabad. Gujarati quilts, fabulous!!

  9. Oh, thank goodness I’m not hungry, or I would be screaming…..Delicious and gorgeous. Happy Anniversary–the vase is beautiful.

  10. Lovely, as always, Slim. Btw–I thought of you the other day….did you know that your boyfriend Sawyer/Josh Holloway has a new tv show in the autumn? It’s called “Intelligence” and he looks yummy! Google it to see the trailer…he plays a hunky secret agent type. You’re welcome 😉

  11. Hi Slim,
    I’m afraid it’s not a coastal thing with the weather. Alas June has been Jekyll and Hide here in Toronto too. Cold, slightly warm, brrr first thing in the morning 6ish, a tease of sunshine mid morning, bit of rain, a tease again of sunshine, cloud….but your posts bring absolute sparkle regardless of the weather! Thanks for the warmth and the fabulous humour!


  12. Never been to Vancouver, never been to Vj’s, never had to wait outside for a seat. But, boy, do I love your table and would be happy to have a peanut butter sandwich in that atostphere. Seriously gorgeous setting!

  13. I think Vij makes his wife stand and wait – sans reservation !! His non-reservation reservation policy is an infamous as his food. Great lookin’ table there SP. xoL

  14. My daughter and I parked right out front of Vij last Saturday. No one around and we were early so popped around the corner to poke in some shops. By the time we got back ten minutes later the lineup was insane!! Wish I’d skipped the nice new blouse and stayed for the meal.
    I love your table!!

  15. Oh Slim your posts inspire me beyond! The table is gorgeous, that Christophe Vase is to, too gorgeous!
    VJ’s sounds delicious and legendary. This recipe is going right into my file! Yum!
    Art by Karena
    Giveaway from Splendid Sass!

  16. Your table SOOOO beautiful. Indian my fav. ,will have to have it soon.Your dinner no doubt delicious ox.

  17. We’re in London NOW, just missed you! Indian food is fab in the UK but probably not as good as yours! Your table settings are always gorgeous. You should put together a book of them.
    Stacey xo

  18. My absolute favourite Vij’s recipe. It is a quick easy dinner. I always cheat and use deboned chicken thighs, don’t tell Vij. If you make it you should also make his Mint Mango Chutney as well as his basmati rice in the same book. Next time you are thinking of lining up at Vij’s put your name in and then go for a stroll around South Granville, by the time you get back and have a seat at the bar your table will be up in no time flat. You can also try at his food truck on Georgia Street just near Thurlow. Great Indian street food. Thanks once again for a wonderful post.

  19. Cannot cannot live without Indian food. Before I had childre my husband and I used to eat each week at a quite basic restaurant in South Melbourne called the Bombay Tiger. Then post children starting cooking it myself. Quite happy to prepare a huge feast for just the two of us. Do not have those books though. Most of mine are on the UK side (people like Madhur Jaffrey and Anjum Anand. That chicken curry looks brilliant. Will try it.

    Love your little wooden salt thingies. V rustic.


  20. i grabbed my bowl of rainier cherries, clicked on my fav blog and lo and behold, YIKES! wth?!…your photo of a bowl of cherries as the header!…is there voodoo in that chicken vindaloo????

  21. You truly must love and trust these friends to use your beautiful Suzani on that table. It is gorgeous and what perfect accessories you topped it with. Beautiful!

  22. Gorgeous feast for the eyes as always Slim! So excited to see your London photos…

  23. Ah yes, …. Vij’s & Rangoli: 2 of Vancouver’s famous foodie treasures!
    Always, always, always worth a visit & the enduring the infamous line-up, usually in the West Coast’s “unremitting damp” (polite words for the London-esque constant drizzle). So … bring a jolly brolly just in case!
    It’s true – Vij’s beautiful eyes, Mrs. Vij’s culinary expertise & their wonderfully gracious skills make this restaurant as memorable as the food & decor.
    Several years back, I saw Vij’s rated as THE BEST Indian restaurant in North America (in the New York Times no less!). It truly is fabulous AND fun …and that is saying something, because there is a huge South Asian population here on the west coast….so the competition is stiff.
    In addition to the always fantastic food here, my favorite waiter works at this restaurant … Actually, I amend that last statement to say that ALL the wait staff here are excellent! (I love how they use iPhones/iPods to take your order), and bring around little foodie bites to tempt you while you await your meal.
    I am glad you enjoyed your time here -good luck on getting a reservation, though. I concur with CANUCK’s strategy: order a fun cocktail or a bottle of wine at the bar while waiting for your table… Enjoy & chat up your neighbors … West Coasters are a ‘laid-back’ lot & usually happy to share more of the secrets treasures of the city.
    I didn’t know about their Food Truck until I read through the comments -so I’m off to check that out….. Gotta grab my Hunter wellies & favorite brolly… Cheers! 🙂

Would love to hear from you!