Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hazelnut Cold Coffee

The last week just zoomed past, for me the fun begins on Wednesdays itself, when I attend my Marathi Sugam Sangeet Class. This week we learnt Nij re nij re bala it is such a beautiful Angaee geet or lullaby that I sang it to bed and was up at 3.30 am with the song still playing in my head. I lay in bed looping it until 6 am. Woke up and did all my Thu morning chores to it.

Thursday evening is my most favorite, it is my Bharatiya Shastriya Sangeet class with kids aged 7, 9 and 13, 3 women in the 40s and the eldest is 60 plus and that does not include Mrs. Dabke, my Guru! Yet this class is absolutely fun. We are incorrigible gigglers. Last week the kids in between singing picked up some spectacles that were lying around and wore them on their noses to give us the bespectacled 40s and 60s company. It was hilarious, to watch Dhruv wearing 2 pairs one on top of other. In chorus we sang sa, ga re, ga pa~~~ dha, ni, Sa~~

Friday I sat down for riyaz for 2 full hours and followed it on Sat morning for another 2 hrs. Thru the day I moved around the house, cleaning, cooking, gardening, clicking pictures for the blog and more...

Saturday night went to a Kathak recital by Ntriyadarpana Foundation, it was an excellent experience with Paullomi Mukherjee Naik compering the show as she educated the audience on the nuances of Kathak and the characters played by her students. The brightest performance was by Vidhi Sampat whose abhinay and nimble footwork as Abhisarika captivated me. All the other girls were all decked up in Solah Shringar and were quite entertaining in their individual acts. I must bribe my friend Ashita to invite me for such concerts more often as these are non commercial focused on learning performances.

On Sunday I was too tired to cook as it was late the previous night. So we went to my favorite not a Dhaba but Punjabi homestyle outlet in Belapur called Bimal Paratha House. Guys you must visit this place. They chopped the sarson for us after we placed the order for Sarson da saag and Makai ki roti. Everything is always absolutely fresh, tasty and laden with ghee! Loved the indulgence as I was off rice and roti thru the work week.

Well today was a hectic day too even though I worked from home. So here is a treat I just made and posting as the Monday night turns to Tuesday.

It's a simple recipe but does wonders for my tired body.


300 ml chilled milk
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon nutella
Sugar to taste

Put everything in a shaker and serve in a tall glass.

Sipped slowly. Reflecting on how I love my life, this is the life I want to live and enjoy!

Now I am off to bed. Good night!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Marathi Popti Or Bengali Paturi, Nah It's A Casserol !

Many years ago I had briefly mentioned about Popti on this blog. I have not been able to make the real thing but here is a modern Popti. Is it or is it not?

In and around Alibag winter is when Val is harvested. The celebration of the harvest is with this special dish called Popti, it has hardly any spices and is cooked on wood fire. The Val fresh and young are stuffed into a terracotta pot lined with leaves and cooked in its own juices. The smokiness of wood fire takes it to a sublime level.

Popti is never eaten alone, its always for a party. The pot is kept in the center and everyone sits around the pot warming themselves idyllically in the warmth of the now dying embers of the fire on which the Popti was cooked. I have never experienced this Popti making on our farm in Thal but the elders tell many a stories from their childhood of flipping on Popti and then having farting competitions following it, the notorious Val doing the magic.

When a group of us blogger friends had visited Bengali Mashi's Kitchen last year, I had loved the veggie paturi. It was bundle bursting with flavours, sharp from the mustard and the tender Val beans cooked to perfection along with delicate spinach wrapped in a banana leaf. However as per the Bengali tradition the paturi was fried in mustard oil. I had commented that I would have preferred it steamed. It was on my mind for a while to try at home.

Yesterday I was at the APMC market and found tender Surti papdi. I was pondering on making Popti or the Paturi. For the Popti I don't have a terracotta pot and no wood fire. The Paturi without banana leaf is not a Paturi after all. So I decided to give the idea of making two similar dishes a modern twist. Ah! and it did fit so well for the event Preeti is hosting on her blog, an attempt to fight plagiarism is a positive way.

The flavors of this dish are classic Bengali and yet the cooking technique I used is inspired by the Marathi Popti.

If you love simple healthy food full of flavors that burst in you mouth and textures that tickle your palate this one is a pleasure.


1 bowl Surti papdi or any type of tender beans in a pod
1 large bunch spinach, chopped fine
3 tablespoons mustard seeds
4 green chillies
¼ fresh coconut, grated or sliced
¼  teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons mustard oil
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste.

Remove the string of the Surti papdi or anyother bean pods you are using. Check that they are fresh, young and worm free (none of the pods should have holes or brown marks). Wash.

Clean and wash the spinach, chop fine. My 2400 ml casserole filled up with it.

Grind the mustard seeds, green chillies, coconut along with salt to a paste.

Mix together the bean pods, ground paste, turmeric powder and sugar. Put it all in a casserole, cover with lid and microwave for 15 mins. The spinach will wilt and leave a lot of water and the bean pods will cook in those juices. The next 10 mins microwave without the lid, so that the water evaporates.

Finally heat the 2 teaspoons of mustard oil to smokiness and drizzle over the baked casserole. Mix well. Serve while warm.

I am sure you will enjoy the same happiness of a Popti done in the farms of Alibag; indoors at your home or are you already in Bengal?

This post marks a change on this blog that I have delayed for too long until my picture was blatantly lifted. Did you see the watermark? It is the stamp of my ownership. This is to stop copying!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Bloggers' Buzz in London and A Fight Againt Plagiarism

My blogger friend, Preeti of Isingcakes and More and three other Londoners and bloggers came up with this idea of a day long event for bloggers. Here is the schedule. 

It is a meet for passionate food bloggers and foodies for sure and if you are in London you cannot miss it. Check out the Bloggers' Buzz blog for further details.

We bloggers are connected by a passion for food, photography and culture. Networking with like minded people is something bloggers world over love to do. At Bloggers Buzz they have a masterclass on the Ethics of food blogging. I am sure this will be a very informative class, to build awareness and also strength among bloggers to fight plagiarism.

Sometime ago, Purva's Food Funda liked my FB page and invited me over to her page. The first thing that shocked me was she had my Vala cha Birda picture (the steel banana plate pic) in her album called "My recipes"!

I was furious, yet calmly asked her to either credit my pic to my source post or remove it. That is my right under the copyright law. Instead of taking action on it after couple of days she left a comment on my wall saying being a Marathi I was pulling her down instead of providing support!

There was no apology in the thief's words even when caught red handed and that irked Preeti so she came all out to support me. Both Preeti and I reported the photo and the page for Copyright Infringement to FB. The photo was gone, don't know if the thief removed it or FB. 

Meanwhile, this thief  instead of shutting up decided to show her unpolished behavior abusing Preeti and sending messages and appealed to our "Marathi Asmita". Yes we are Marathi and I was left with no choice but to tell her off very rudely. It did not end at that. She delete her comments on my wall but here is my post for proof of the harassment.

Well we did not expect anything to happen after this. The shameless thief still keeps stealing saying one of her readers has contributed the pictures to her page. See this album. She does not take responsibility of cleaning up the so called "contributions" and by the way all uploads are by the page owner her self, note that. Now all this happened in Oct 2012

Next what followed is scheming roguishness after so many months of quite which we least expected from two women who must be at least college educated. In Jan 2013, Purva, first invited Preeti over to her page, then she told her off publicly and wrote a nasty message. Later the co-owner of the page and partner in crime Manisha Rane wrote to Preeti. That message is so foul that I refuse to put it up here. I am warning these two women to stop harassing my friend Preeti else I will have to report them to authorities. I know they are my regular readers even if anonymous and they are certainly not going to miss this post.

Jyanna Ingraji kalat nahi tyanchya saathi ha nirop:

Maze kuthele hi kaam, likhan, photo ani kalpana hya mazya malkichya aahet. Tya mazya parvangi shivay koni hi vaparu nayet hi vinanti. Ani jar ka parvangi shivay vapar zala, tar legal battle sathi tayar raha.

I have seen some other fans of my blogs using my pictures on FB pages. Please stop it. It takes lot of passion, time and energy to procure ingredients and other material, to take enticing pictures it takes original thinking and creativity. It takes a lot of my personal time every weekend to post even a single post on my blogs. I do this first for my self expression and then for the love my readers shower on my work. Remember this blog is for free you do not pay to access my work. As readers you must support me by at least taking my permission before you use any of the content. I appeal to the goodness in my readers.
Rhea and Ketan have started a FB group "Food bloggers Hall of Shame" where ethical food bloggers show solidarity in curbing the plagiarism that is eating into our energies time and again. We join hands to take action against anyone who uses any of our content without the explicit permission of the blogger. I have a page with my Ownership notice on this blog and all my blogs and request anyone who wants to use my content to read it and seek permission by writing to me at annaparabrahma@gmail.com.

Edit at 23:10 IST

This is how Preeti, being a teacher that she is shows the way to ethical food blogging and she is even rewarding people who are creative and innovative. Go over to check out what she is giving away as a Prize for Ethical food blogging.

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