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





Morocco, Montecito and The Master


Slim Paley Photo



The short, but ever so sweet & sultry dose of  heat we enjoyed here in Santa Barbara a week or so ago has fired up my passion for exotic locales…

and searching for images of Carmen Miranda for the previous post only helped seal the deal!


I’ve secreted away all my cashmere, stored my winter coats, bid a hearty “a bientot” to heavy boots until September &

I’m celebrating the arrival of warmer weather by sharing a recent little Moroccan Soiree at “Le Souk Slim’s”

(What? You’ve never seen a white-washed shingled Souk before? Sheik, Baby- you need to get out more!)


I’m even going to spoil you for choice by offering two different selections of music to accompany;

.‘Tu As Ma Vie’


“Rock The Casbah”



.The Amanjena hotel, an Aman Resort, Morocco



We  could all just buy these and pretend we’re there :)


Pottery Barn Lanterns 





I never think of Morocco without thinking of Yves Saint Laurent and the beautiful, beloved home  he shared there with his long time partner Pierre Berge.

(and the amazing YSL silk caftan floor length coat I found in a vintage shop once that I bought even though it was ten times too big for me-

and you know when a caftan is too big- that’s big) oops- I digress…

St. Laurent’s ashes were scattered in Marrakech in the Majorelle Garden, a place he often visited to find inspiration and refuge.


Now I can’t wait for the new documentary L’Amour Fou”  (Click here to watch the trailer- it looks fantastique!!)


“…one day I will join you under the Moroccan palms…” Pierre Berge at St. Laurent’s funeral.


.     v

via Decorative


Meanwhile, back in Montecito,  I served this deeelicious old stand-by from Food & Wine Magazine,

accompanied by cous cous and miniature Caesar salads on endive spears (The Romans were friendly with North Africans weren’t they?!) 


Slim Paley photo (taken from Food & Wine Magazine, August 2008)



Paging Paul Bowles for inspiration;



Definitely a book to be reread

Paul Bowles spent over 55 years of his life in Morocco


The Amanjeni

 “Bucket Tagine List”?


....Slim Paley Photo

For the table, I chose my favourite Suzani, which is absolutely gigantic, and folded it in on itself a couple of times.

 All the flowers, lavender and mint are from my garden.


Our  ridiculously orange roses I’ve renamed “Are Those Real??” popped just in time…

.Slim Paley Photo



Le Recipe;.

As you can see, I add golden raisins and slivered toasted almonds to the couscous.

If you find your couscous a little on the dry side, you can add a cup or so of Lychee syrup- yum!


.Slim Paley photo

Nuts, olives, honey with lavender, and lots of citrus and roses help to set the mood…oh ya, and fruity champagne drinks!


Slim Paley Photo


Slim Paley Photo

You’ll  probably recall this lavender pudding from just a few posts back  but don’t be a hater, it belonged here :)



…and don’t forget sweet mint tea for dessert.



Marrakesh/Marrakech… either way, I want to go!



If your schedule doesn’t gel with a trip to North Africa, or even a Moroccan inspired evening soon, you may always grab a quick dose of Casbah here;

The Morocco based ; My Marrakesh




OK, I better go tend to my Sheik now…



Choosing Favourites


Slim Paley photo

If absolutely forced to choose a favourite colour combination I would have to go with what I’ve compiled for this post.  Rich dark brown, or even black, combined with linen beige, dusty rose, and just a touch of rusty claret or burnt sienna thrown in for good measure (you weren’t expecting just two colours, were you?!)  I’ve  begun with photos of perhaps my favourite room in our home, the master bath.  The mahogany cabinetry and floor are softened by the linen colour of the walls and wardrobe curtains, as well as the dusty rose fabric on the chaise and window seat.  What happened to my window seat throw pillows? I’m wondering the same thing myself as I look at this photo (note to self- look for missing pillows)

In summer, creamy linen slipcovers can be thrown over the upholstery to achieve an even lighter feel.  A narrow band of ebony around the edge of the floor is my touch of black.  The towels are hung on a most unusual antique I found many years ago in Chicago.  It’s made of rich dark wood and I would have thought it was used to hang bed linens or table clothes over, but it has hooks running along the lowest rung and a heavy pewter lined base, as if to hold wet boots or umbrellas. In any case, it now makes one fabulous towel rack!  The large pedestal sinks are original to the house (c.1895) although not to this room.  I raised them to a more comfortable height by adding the ‘globes’ to the legs (the globes are wood and refinished in enamel) and tilted the mirror over the mantle just slightly for more of an old-fashioned look. The fireplace is also original.

Slim Paley photo

The mahogany herringbone glows in the firelight.

Slim Paley photo

Slim Paley photo

A cozy mix of my colours, sans rose, in a sitting room


Love this look

a touch of soft rose and warm wood on the Orient Express

Let’s sit and have a champagne cocktail, shall we?!

Monique lhuillier’s entire  collection in predominately claret and black is absolutely DIVINE, including the hair and make-up.

I love this bedroom  (apologies, a torn out page, with no credit)

This little shoe hanging by the bed holds eyeglasses (or chocolate bars :) )


Slim Paley Photo..

Monique lhuillier

Slim Paley photo

Hot Cocoa Roses from my garden.


Slim Paley photo

Black linen, rose silk and pink marble in one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever stayed in, The Amanbagh, Rajisthan.   .


Warming up a room in London.


A moth works my colours to perfection!

Chanel Fall 2010 (The Shanghai show)

Slim Paley photo



Alexander McQueen Final Collection.

Fabrics from Shumacher


Slim paley photo.

From my collection of Suzanis




I’d love to  just jump right into this photo…

From the cover of Australian Vogue Living

A detail from a mantle in my home.



I joyfully welcome other colour combination suggestions for future posts!

And may I add – How much of The NEW BLUE have I seen in just the last couple of days?!  Kind of crazy- tempted to post again Kidding (sort of…)


Over it?



-Bad Mid Century furniture

-”Hollywood Regency”


-People saying  “I want Clean lines” fifty million times on design shows. booooorrrrrring

-Waiters asking if you are “done working on that” in supposedly nice restaurants

- The Kardashians. WHO are they??? WHY do they have a show? Do they even have a show?? WTF?

-TV “Reality” shows EXCEPT for Survivor!, Flipping Out, Top Chef, Kitchen Nightmares and Million Dollar Listing :)

- Democrats VS Republicans.  Brutal.  Where’s the LOVE people??



-Suzanis in every magazine I see. (please stop it, so I can pull all mine back out again)

-So many designers and shops (even Restoration Hardware) copying Axel Vervoodt all of a sudden.  At least I bought his first book in 2002, which makes it infinitely more acceptable for me to copy him than all of these Johnny-come-latelys jumping on the  reclaimed barnwood band wagon now. 

Back-off to Mid-Century-land folks.  Show’s over.


Chintz.  Over it.  It’s so Mario Buatta New York Eighties. 

That is until  you see it on a sofa or wallpaper in say, Marella Agnelli’s home and all of a sudden you would gnaw every metal grommet off your leather chair with your own teeth to acquire that old world elegance, coziness and history the right touch of subtle  chintz can give a room.


I think I’m sort of over refrigerator drawers in islands too.  Is that weird?  Maybe it’s because I can never remember what’s in which drawer. Or where the damn drawer is for that matter.  Just give me a good old fashioned fridge that I can stand in front of for 5 minutes with the door open trying to remember what I was looking for. At least that involves only one destination.


-Zebra rugs. sorry.  Zebra rugs. It is what it is-Luv ‘em.

-and whilst I’m over here in Hell for being a  heinous Zebra Rug Lover, I’ll also admit I still love coral-yes I do. 

-Collages. Collages are FABULOUS. And best of all, everyone can make them!

-Scrapbooks – see above.  But NOT those super naff ones, I mean like Peter Beard’s, but without dead animals.

- The Musee Nissam De Camando in Paris. Most interesting, undiscovered, quiet little museum in Paris.

musee nissim de camondoMusee Nissam De Camando’s kitchen.

-Antique rock crystal chandeliers

-Original Hundi lanterns from India. They’re perfect, easy,timeless and go with almost any style. They’re the Jimmy Stewart of lighting fixtures.

-Sea Grass. Like Hundi lanterns-It just works.

-I will never end my love affair with Campaign furniture.

Campaign Furniture

Group_2-BOOKS. Can never have enough.

bookshop, Cambodia,

Used Book Shop in Cambodia  (read carefully :) )

-Traveling.  Let’s go!

shopkeeper, India, Slim Paley


PS.  I reserve the right to amend or add to the above lists at any time.

They’re MY Lists.

PPS.  I would love to know what YOU are over, semi-over or married to for life??

PPPS. There’s no judging here :-)