Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homes Of The Billionaires 2010 (Forbes)

Oprah Winfrey
Montecito, California

Net Worth: $2.4 billion

Rank: 400
The self-made media mogul paid $50 million in 2001 for the 23,000-square-foot Georgian-style home she calls the "Promised Land." Although renovations were underway when she purchased the estate, Oprah simply altered the plans to ensure they matched her style. With the chaos of construction behind her, she now enjoys the home's mountain and ocean views in peace.

Oprah's Mansion

Donald Trump
New York, N.Y.

Net Worth: $2 billion

Rank: 488

The blustery real-estate-magnate-turned-reality-TV-star may have the Billionaires Club's shortest commute: he lives in the 32,000-square-foot triplex penthouse of his Trump Tower office building. The monument to marble and gold was renovated after Trump's third wife, Melania, gave birth to his fifth son, Barron. The tyke's room has a d├ęcor inspired by Louis XIV.

Trump Tower

Warren Buffett
Omaha, Nebraska

Net Worth: $47 billion 
Rank: 3

The world's third-richest man still resides in the 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom gray stucco home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. The home has everything the 79-year-old needs, including his very own handball court that he uses to keep fit. An intruder armed with a fake gun tried to break into the modest, ungated property in 2007 but was ultimately thwarted by security.

Bill Gates
Medina, Washington

Net Worth: $53 billion

Rank: 2

Gates' 66,000-square-foot compound is built into a hillside on the edge of Lake Washington, near Seattle. Its enviable amenities include: a 60-foot swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 2,500-square-foot gym and a 1,000-square-foot dining room, which seats 24. For a personal touch, out-of-shape visitors can skip the 84-step hike to the ground floor and opt for an elevator ride instead.

Lakshmi Mittal 
London, England

Net Worth: $28.7 billion

Rank: 5

In 2004 Mittal paid $128 million for his 12-bedroom townhouse in London's luxe Kensington district. Mittal's mansion, tucked between Kensington Palace and the Sultan of Brunei's spread, has an indoor pool, Turkish baths and garage space for 20 cars. The super-home is also embellished with marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal.

Larry Ellison
Woodside, California
Net Worth: $28 billion

Rank: 6

Over the last few years the Oracle co-founder has dropped $200 million by some estimates on near a dozen properties in Malibu to create a custom compound. His 23-acre estate in Woodside, pictured here, is inspired by the Japanese city of Kyoto and is reminiscent of a 16th-century imperial Japanese palace. It reportedly cost upward of $200 million to build.

Michael Dell
Austin, Texas

Net Worth: $13.5 billion

Rank: 37

Built in 1997, Dell's 33,000-square-foot hilltop manse sits on a 20-acre spread close to where he founded his eponymous computer company. The eight-bedroom house equipped with a conference room and both indoor and outdoor pools is known locally as "the castle" thanks to its high walls and tight security.

James Packer
Sydney, Australia

Net Worth: $3.5 billion
Rank: 258

The young media heir was raised at the Packer family compound in the tony Bellevue Hill suburb of Sydney. The centerpiece of the five-property spread, which stretches nearly three acres, is Cairnton, the main house, bought by Packer's grandfather in 1935.

Steve Jobs

Woodside, California

Net Worth: $5.5 billion
Rank: 136

The tech superstar owns Jackling House, a 30-room historic-though-dilapidated Spanish Colonial home set on six acres. Jobs has tried to demolish the 17,000 square-foot mansion for many years in order to build smaller, newer digs, but Woodside residents have fought hard to keep the original structure intact. No matter. Word is Jobs and his family haven't lived in the house for years.

Lev Leviev
London, England

Net Worth: $1.5 billion
Rank: 655

In 2008 the world's largest diamond cutter decamped from Israel to the posh North London suburb of Hampstead. Leviev's $65 million home, called the Palladio, is an extravagant 17,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom estate replete with an in-house nightclub and a gold-plated indoor pool.

Ralph Lauren
Montauk, N.Y.

Net Worth: $4.6 billion
Rank: 173

America's original fashion mogul bought this stone and wood beach house situated on 5.5 acres in 1981. The rustic, cozy home, which boasts a clay tennis court, once belonged to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

George Lucas
Marin County, Calif.

Net Worth: $3 billion
Rank: 316

The acclaimed Star Wars filmmaker lives and works on his famed Skywalker Ranch. The 5,156-acre spread, which has its own fire brigade, houses Skywalker Sound, Lucas' post-production company (Cast Away, Million Dollar Baby), as well as five acres of olive trees and a herd of longhorn cattle. Lucas displays his Hollywood memorabilia--the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones, Charlie Chaplin's cane--inside the 50,000-square-foot main house.

Steven Spielberg 
East Hampton, N.Y.

Net Worth: $3 billion

Rank: 316

Called Quelle Farm, Spielberg's 12-acre summer retreat sits on Georgica Pond, the A-lister playground of Ron Perelman and Calvin Klein. The Hollywood kingpin and his wife play host to a retinue of top stars and their families each summer, including the Clintons and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Mukesh Ambani
Mumbai, India

Net Worth: $29 billion

Rank: 4

Mukesh Ambani isn't just building a home in Mumbai: he's constructing a family skyscraper. This 27-story lavish tower known as Antilla has been in the works for years and is being built with an attention to detail. Inside, no two floor plans are alike and each space uses different materials, such as one bathroom's Gingko-leaf sinks whose stems guide the running water into the leaf basins


(from w/o consent -  an acorn is a chav)

Friday, September 11, 2009

World's Most Expensive Spices

What Are The Two Most Expensive Spices’ In The World?

Saffron Botanical name crocus sativus, is the most expensive spice in the world. Derived from the dried stigmas of the purple saffron crocus, it takes anything from 70,000 to 250,000 flowers to make one pound of saffron. Moreover, the flowers have to be individually hand-picked in the autumn when fully open. Fortunately, only a little needs to be added to a dish to lend it color and aroma; too much makes the food bitter and possibilities that  large quantities of it can be toxic.
Records detailing the use of saffron go back to ancient Egypt and Rome where it was used as a dye, in perfumes, and as a drug, as well as for culinary purposes. It reached China in the 7th. century and spread through Europe in the Middle Ages. The town of Saffron Walden, where it was once grown commercially, takes its name from the plant. Now, however, most saffron is imported from Iran and Spain which is recognized as producing the best quality, but it can also be found in Egypt, Kashmir, Morocco and Turkey.

Pure Vanilla The second most expensive spice in the world derived from the pods of the only edible Orchid. Pure vanilla, with its wonderful aromatic flavor, is the most widely used flavoring in pastries, confections, and other desserts. It is the second most expensive spice in the world, next to saffron, cheaper synthetic vanillas on the market today do not come close to competing with pure vanilla.

Cardamom The third most expensive spice used frequently in East Indian, Scandinavian, Arabic and Central African cuisines. It is an essential ingredient in Arabic coffee and the scent is most enticing.

How much do they cost? It's best to search the Internet for the best buy.

See Spices Here  Spices and Use (source: Recipehut)