Our real women series gives us chance to delve into the personalities of the wonderful ladies we shoot with and celebrate every detail that makes them who they are. Every beautiful lady we shoot with takes us through her story and captures us with the different facets of her life. For that perfect summer read, we are thrilled to collaborate with one of Delhi’s finest hostess Doreen Hassan who we believe is a legacy in herself. Zariin takes the perfect opportunity of theme-ing the shoot around Doreen’s latest book, Saffron and Pearls which elaborates on Doreen’s art of throwing elegant dinner parties and her deep connection with the city of Hyderabad which has a deep connect with who Doreen is and the heirloom recipes she cherishes.
What prompted you to write the book?
Honestly, it was my son Sahil who brought this dream of mine to life. I had my collection of tried and tested recipes and was just procrastinating putting them together, until one morning a year and a half ago he said,”Mum let’s do this book!” And here we are!
The book prompts that the Hyderabad that you grew up in, is fading away. Would you still yearn to live there if given a chance?
Hyderabad is the city of my birth, my childhood and wonderful memories. Delhi has been my home for the last 40 years and I think we have managed to create our little world here. So no I would not move back to Hyderabad but as they say, once a Hyderabadi always a Hyderabadi!
You surely seem to be the hostess with the mostess. Please share key essentials for hosting a formal dinner.
A calm mind to start with and advance planning are the key essentials. I have dedicated an entire chapter in the book to hosting a successful party – please do refer to it.
Often we struggle with the mundane same-old dining table looks. Can you share a quick table make while hosting a party?
Fresh Flowers and candles never fail to impress. Play with colours and always let the focus be on the food!
Dinners in Delhi have a reputation of not beginning until 11 pm sometimes! What are your thoughts on this? How much importance do you give to appetisers while hosting a lavish dinner? What is your favourite go to appetiser that never ceases to impress?
We belong to a different generation where our dinners are done by 10.30!
I do not focus too much on starters as I like my guests to enjoy the main course and not fill up on appetisers.
Pathar ka gosht is the one starter that always impresses my guests!
How important is music in setting the ambience and tone of a party? What kind of music do you play for an eclectic guest list party at your place.
Very soft Background music – maybe a mix of instrumental and some much loved tunes.
Music is a very personal choice and really depends on the group you have gathered. At
a dinner one wants to talk and engage in some interesting conversation.Music should never be so loud that your guests feel the need to shout and talk!!
You have a lovely big family. In the prevailing times of nuclear family, can you list the joys of a joint family for us?
Always having each other around, watching your children and their children grow up and most important learning to live with different age groups and appreciating and sharing thoughts, ideas, food and lots of chatter and laughter!
How is your personal style rooted to where you belong?
My personal style is very simple as most Hyderabadis do not believe in being ostentatious and keep things extremely subtle and simple!
Pearls in Hyderabad have a long history. Are they a part of your personal jewelry collection?
Yes most definitely they are…I love my pearls and have the good fortune of owning some beautiful pieces!
What do you think of Zariin’s pearl collections?
Beautiful and very wearable
Tell us about the wonderful ladies shooting with you.
Both these beautiful girls are my daughters-in-law and both of them ironically have the same name – Neha!
Photography : Ishita Singh
NOTES ON THE BOOK, Saffron and Pearls
For the Hassan family, Hyderabad is not just where their roots lie; it is also the city that informs the way they lead their lives. Known and loved for their legendary hospitality for over four decades, Doreen and Peter Hassan have preserved a way of life, a culture and a cuisine with great affection and pride. Like generations before them, the Hassans continue to honour Hyderabadi traditions in their cosmopolitan home in Delhi, passing their love for food, family and friendships to their children and grandchildren. Central to much of this is the fact that Doreen Hassan has, over the decades, archived priceless family recipes from both her husband’s storied Hyderabadi family and her own traditional Goan one. The result is an astonishingly rich record of culinary history, which speaks of a city that absorbed influences from across the world and made them its own. It is this treasure of recipes that forms the heart of this book. This is not a collection of Hyderabadi recipes that stops at the biryani, kababs or saalans; this is a collection that captures the vibrant soul of erstwhile Hyderabad and Doreen’s own journey from not knowing how to cook to being ‘the host with the most’. Saffron and Pearls is a personal story – a tribute to the city that the Hassans call home.
NOTES ON THE PUBLISHER, HarperCollins India
HARPERCOLLINS INDIA OVERVIEW
Through the years, we have published writers from the Indian subcontinent, and across the globe, with approximately 200 new books every year and an active print and digital catalogue of more than 1,000 titles, across ten imprints. Publishing works of various genres including literary fiction, poetry, mind body spirit, commercial fiction, journalism, business, self-help, cinema, biographies – all with attention to quality, of the manuscript and the finished product – it comes as no surprise that we have won every major literary award including the Man Booker Prize, the Sahitya Akademi Award, the DSC Prize, the Hindu Literary Prize, the MAMI Award for Best Writing on Cinema, the National Award for Best Book on Cinema, the Crossword Book Award, and the Publisher of the Year, twice, at Publishing Next in Goa and, in 2016, at Tata Literature Live, Mumbai.
WHY HARPERCOLLINS INDIA
Over Twenty-five years of publishing India’s finest writers and some of its most memorable books – those you cannot put down; ones you want to finish reading yet don’t want to end; works you can read over and over again only to fall deeper in love with.
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