Category Archives: ENTERTAINMENT

How to prepare Unniyappam for Nercha (religious food offering)

St Gregorios is a Kerala saint. His death anniversary, on November 2nd, is celebrated by devotees who are settled in different parts of the world. There are Churches with St. Gregorios as a patron saint in many places in India and abroad.
During the festival, the devotees bring unniyappam as offering to the Church. And the unniyappam is distributed to all who come to the Church.
Unniyappam is a fried rice snack with jaggery and sugar, prepared in a special mould. My mother’s generation were experts in preparing Kerala dishes. So they prepare hundreds of unniyappam as offering to the Church.
I learned unniyappam by trial and error method. Searching for recipes on the internet and taking tips from mother and aunties.
This year two weeks before the festival, I made a trial version of unniyappam, so as to get myself prepared for the main day when I have to fry more than a hundred unniyappams.
My friend Manju visited me just a few minutes after I finished preparing the unniyappams. She liked it so much so that she asked me to share the recipe on youtube.
I am sharing the trial version itself.  Newly married girls who are preparing unniyappams on a large scale for the first time, will find the video useful.

The video is shaky and not of high quality since this video was not initially taken for publishing. I hope the video gives some helps you prepare the large number of unniyappams.

In cities like Delhi, where the devotees lack time, they have found some tricks to prepare large quantity unniyappams quickly. I will share the recipe here.

Ingredients

Rice flour – 2 Glass (All purpose rice flours available at Kerala Stores)

Jaggery – 250g (I used a dark brown, chocolaty taste version. Hence the colour and taste were good)

Coconut – 1 full (cut into small pieces)

Sesame Seeds (Til) – 2 tblsp

Ghee – 5 tblsp

Robusta Banana – 4 Nos

Oil – 1 litre

Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp

Method

Melt the jaggery in 1 glass of water. Mash the bananas in a blender. Mix the jaggery and mashed banana.

Roast the coconut in 2 tablespoon ghee, until golden brown.

Mix the coconut, sesame seeds and baking soda in the batter.

Keep aside for 45 minutes.

Keep the unniyappam mould on one gas stove burner. On another keep a frying pan with 2 glass oil.

When the mould is hot add 1/2 teaspoon ghee in each mould. Now fill the moulds with oil. Let it get very hot.

Now pour the batter. If the batter is thick, add warm water or melted jaggery.

When the unniyappam turns brown at the bottoms turn them using a fork or a thin skewer. When both sides are a bit brown, transfer them to the frying pan.  Fry until the unniyappam is Crisp and brown. Remove on a plate spread with tissue paper.

With 2 glass of rice flour, I prepared 50 unniyappams.

 

Celebrating Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri


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Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri was celebrated by organizing a Diwali Mela organized on the weekend before the festival from Oct 13th to 15th.  A lot of Diwali shopping could be done at the stalls. Especially at the stalls by NGOs who sold Diwali items made by the underprivileged and visually handicapped children. Children participated in competitions and enjoyed in the play area.  And there was a lot of food and entertainment.

Dilli Haat Janakpuri celebrates all the festivals with lots of entertainment for people of all age groups. Dill Haat Janakpuri opened two years back and during every religious, national or state festivals there is all-around entertainment.

One of the highlights of the at the Diwali celebrations were the lamps and decoration items made by:

  • Underprivileged children
  • The visually impaired
  • Traditional artiste in villages

Painting competition

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Painting Competition

There was a painting competition for children for FREE!!. Children of any age group up to the 12th standard could join. And they could win prizes and scholarships.

Diwali decoration by Underprivileged Kids

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Lotus-shaped Diya made of disposable spoons

There was a stall of Nidaan Foundation (an NGO) which sold  Diwali decorations made by the underprivileged kids. There were little clay pots painted and decorated colourfully. One star attraction was the Diwali lamp or Diya which looked like a lotus. Priyam Mathur of Nidaan Foundation said that the Diya was made from disposable spoons. Another decoration was a wall hanging with icecream sticks and a Ganesha statue on the frame.

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Clay pots painted and decorated by underprivileged children.

Two in one light and scent

Fragrance oil lamps

This was really cute. When the electric blub is lit and the lamp gets heated then the oil, poured on the top, emanates beautiful scent. There was also the candle version instead of the electric one, where you can place a candle inside the electric bulb.

Wooden crockery from Nagaland

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Wooden crockery from Nagaland

There was beautifully polished wooden crockery made from Teak wood. The crockeries were carved by local artisans in Nagaland. There were also trays made from jute.

Khadi wears for women

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Khadi dresses at affordable rates

The khadi dresses are affordable with prices from the range of Rs 500 – Rs 1200. The Khadi wears are manufactured and sold by a lady entrepreneur.

Diwali lighting made by visually impaired kids

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Beautifully carved diyas made by visually impaired children

There was also a stall of Diwali items made by the students of Akhil Bharatiya Netrahin Sangh – a school for the blinds. There were beautifully carved and painted diyas. The entire Diwali decoration shopping can be done here as there are Candles, lamps, dhoop aggarbattis and pooja items.

Songs and entertainment at the Amphitheatre

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Music being played at Amphitheatre

All the while the amphitheatre played loud music that kept the Haat lively. 

Kids play area

Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri
Children playing at the Dilli Haat

To keep the children entertained there are a few play items.

Overall the Dilli Haat in Janakpuri is a good place to hang out with family during the Diwali holidays. The vast expanse of the Dilli Haat has got unique architectural buildings. To beautiful landscaping and the amazing architects is a beautiful blend of nature and architectural skills.

Related Posts:

Nonstop festivity at Delhi Haat Janakpuri

Meet Sophia Banks who styled Priyanka’s most googled 2016 Oscar Outfit

Priyanka Chopra’s Oscar outfit, styled by Sophia Banks, was the most Googled Oscar Dress of 2016. Choosing the right kind of dress and accessories takes months of preparation and hard work. Sophia Banks has worked with Celebrities like Amber Heard, Sharon Stone and John Travolta. Here is an interview with Sophia Banks, where she talks about her work with Priyanka Chopra; her professional life and her future projects:

Tell us something about yourself?

I moved to the USA, Launching a fashion boutique was the next step for me, it was called ‘Satine’ and quickly became award-winning Hollywood hotspot. Satine was written up in all the fashion magazines, shopped by celebrities  and because of its fashion forwardness, step me up as a ‘Trend Forecaster’ from which started my career as a fashion consultant. I began to consult to top fashion lines and design for them. One of my favourite projects was for fashion house Rodo where I was flown to Italy to design shows.

As well as styling I have been recently working as a director on fashion Commercials.

Which all celebrities have you worked with?

Of course Priyanka Chopra.

Amber Heard, Sharon Stone, John Travolta, Leighton Meister, Shay Mitchell, Erika Christensen and many more..

Sophia Banks the stylist of Priyanka Chopra
Checking out an Outfit with Priyanka Chopra
As a celebrity stylist, what are your responsibilities?

When I first start working with someone I create a style guide for them which we follow for them as a guide. I also create a trend book for them for the season.

Then I help shop and buy their entire wardrobe. I also search the world for the best dress for ever red carpet event so they make it in press all over the world.

For a lot of my clients, I do all the costume for films, TV and commercials as well.

It is my job to set a goal with them such as be a style icon or get most googled fashion dress of the year and then reach that goal.

How did you choose the famous Oscar dress of Priyanka Chopra that was the most googled outfit of 2016?

It was so amazing working with her, she is such a wonderful, kind, beautiful person who works so incredibly hard. We always had such fun choosing dresses.

For the Oscar look as it was a big deal we were very involved in the selection of the dress. We of course requested many gowns and flew to Montreal where Priyanka was filming to do a fitting with about 40 gowns in tow.

We then did the fitting and the white was a top option along with many others but it needs alterations.

What is your opinion about Priyanka Chopra?

I think she is an amazing, beautiful and incredible woman. She is also such a hard worker, she is always flying somewhere to shoot something between the USA and India. Her success is an example of what happens when you give everything it takes towards your goal.

I also love her attitude to life, she is super fun loving and easy going. We always had fun together.

Sophia Banks who Styled Priyanka Chopra
Sophia Banks in a television interview
Have you been to Priyanka Chopra’s home Country, India?

Yes I have, I am originally Australian, and so I have travelled to India and all over. It is one of my favourite countries, I love it there. It is a spiritual place for me, there is something special once you land.

Do you have future plans to work with in Bollywood or with Bollywood Celebrities?

Yes I am in talks with new clients right now and am excited to work with some amazing Bollywood talent. I am also working on my first script and am possibly looking at filming in India, so I think I have a lot of future there.

Christmas Rum Plum Cake

The specific demand for Christmas Rum Plum Cake caught in the heads of the Indian population possibly in the last two decades. During School days friends used to ask just for Christmas Cakes. And mothers used to painstakingly prepare a variety of rum-less cakes without using any electronic kitchen gadgets. The eggs were whipped manually. The eggs were whipped directly out of the refrigerator, because eggs froth better when cold. The batter was mixed with hand and the mixing went on for hours. Sometimes Dads offered a helping hand. The most common cakes were the plain cakes with vanilla flavour, and cardamom.  Then there were marble cakes with vanilla and chocolate flavoured layers. There were rainbow and tri-coloured cakes. In those days the importance was given for the softness of the cake. The mother who baked the softest cakes was the best cake baker in the town and she was approached for tips: Does she cook at midnight, or before dawn; How does she whip the eggs; What was the order of adding the ingredients; the egg white was added first, or the yolk;….

Now when cakes can be baked in less than an hours time, with whippers, ovens and YouTube videos, the importance has shifted to the unique taste and flavour of the cakes. No matter how many flavours or icings you do throughout the year, as Christmas approach friends specifically demand for Rum cake.

Due to popular demand I decided to bake Rum Cakes this year.  I soaked fruits and nuts in rum, a month before the Christmas baking began. Experts say that longer the nuts and fruits are soaked in rum, the tastier the cakes will be. Rums softens the fruits and nuts which makes the texture of the cake softer than plain cakes. I just added enough rum which could be absorbed by the fruits and nuts, so after a month the fruits and nuts look a little shinier, but the liquid just disappeared.  Some say that Christmas Rum Plum Cakes cannot be called Rum cakes, because, while baking the rum evaporates in the oven heat. Some experts rate rum cakes based on the measure of rum — little rum, enough rum and lots of rum cake. My cake was rated as ‘little rum cake’.

After experimenting with rum cake I understand that rum is just another ingredients in cakes. Normally, Rum is used very judiciously (1 tablespoon for baking 250 gram flour Cake). But as we Indian, always Indianize a foreign dish, some add too much rum that the fruits and nuts float in the liquid.  Last year I heard a youth telling his friend that he was disappointed after having rum cake at his friends home. He though that rum will drip with every bite. This is over expectation. Rum is just a marinating ingredient. As long as the rum is added judiciously there is no chance of felling intoxicated.

Christmas Rum Plum Cake

How to prepare a Christmas Rum Plum Cake

Ingredients

All purpose Flour: 250g

Sugar: 250g

Salted Butter: 250g

Egg: 5

Tutti Frutti

Raisin

Cashewnut

Dried Ginger

Vanilla essence

Sugar syrup: 2 tbsp

Garama Masala powder(a pinch of cardamom, cinnamon, 1 nutmeg and clove)

Method

Sift the flour and baking powder. Whip the butter for sometime; add the finely powdered sugar. add the whipped egg. Then add the Garam Masala, vanilla and sugar syrup. Now add the maid and mix for some time. Finally add the fruits and nuts.

(Tip: Buy Cashew, Dates, Raisins, Dry Ginger(different for cakes), Tutti Frutti and any other nuts a month in advance of preparation of cake. Cut them into small pieces. Add some Rum and keep aside. The longer the fruits and nuts remain in rum the softer they become. Soak a large amount of fruits and nuts, so that the ingredients are easily available whenever you feel like baking a cake during the festival season. Also the cakes with rum have a longer shelf life of one month, six month and sometimes even one year.)

 

 

How to celebrate Eco-friendly Holi

In an ideal world, the joyous festival of Holi is meant to celebrate the arrival of Spring while the colours used in Holi are to reflect of the various hues of spring season. But unfortunately, in modern times Holi does not stand for all things beautiful. Like various other festivals, Holi too has become ruthlessly commercialized, boisterous and yet another source of environmental degradation and health problem. Hence many consumers are on the look out for Holi Colours made from natural materials and safe for health and environment.

Toxic Elements/Chemical in Holi Colours

According to many research and previous studies related to Holi colour products, the pastes contain very toxic chemicals/elements that can have severe health effects.You can also get tested your holi colour products at NRCLPI ( National Referral Centre for Lead Projects in India) , St John’s Medical College, Kormanagala , Bengaluru.

Few examples of colour and the chemical content with their few health effects on human and environment:

Eco-friendly Holi COlours
Table 1: Holi Colours and their chemical content

Harmful Chemicals in Gulal & Harms of Wet Holi Colours
The dry colours, commonly known as gulals, have two components a colorant that is toxic and a base which could be either asbestos or silica, both of which cause health problems. Heavy metals contained in the colorants can cause asthma, skin diseases and adversely affect the eyes.

Wet colours, mostly use Gentian violet as a colour concentrate which can cause skin discoloration and dermatitis.

These days, Holi colours sell loose, in the market and traders are also unaware about the source of the holi colour products as it comes from a group of networked people/sellers exchanging hand to hand from different parts of the country. In few instants, the colours come wrapped that specifically say for industrial purpose/use or without any origin/manufacture details.

Make your own Eco-friendly Holi colours

Holi festival lovers will be thrilled to know that it is possible to make simple, natural colours in one’s own home. Here are some very simple recipes to make natural colours:

eco-friendly holi colour
Table:2 Ingredients to prepare eco-friendly holi colours

Safeguarding Water

Just on 22 March we all observed World Water Day, across the Globe. In the current scenario, when India and the rest of the world is facing acute water shortage, the water wastage in the name of Holi in the extreme, is also being unjusticable. It is usual or general using buckets of water during Holi but please keep in mind that you are not only wasting water resource, but also polluting it with harmful and toxic chemicals. If a single person uses 2 liter of water on Holi on splashing/playing just imagine the number of liters of water used across India with a billion+ population .

So, make sure we don’t waste and pollute water, which is most needed for our coming generations too.

Tips to celebrate a safe Holi

  • Use homemade natural and safe colours-Learn the art of preparing the colours yourself and enjoy teaching your younger’s and your neighbors too.
  • Use natural, skin-friendly and herbal colours are the ones made by reputed companies using natural products.
  • If you opt to buy/purchase colours, commercially be sure to purchase naturally made products from reputed companies also ensure about the source.
  • Apply a nice layer of oil to your hair before playing Holi so that residue from the dyes does not get stuck to your hair and scalp.
  • Ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times. Wash with plenty of clean water should any colour get into your eyes accidentally. See a doctor if the irritation still persists.
  • If you are playing Holi, apply a thick layer of coconut or any oil on your body and hair until they glisten and you become slippery.
  • Wear dental caps if possible to protect your teeth.
  • Avoid flashing on the face and as well protect your face from the Holi colours.
  • Wear clothes at the maximum to cover your body.
  • Apply an oil/cream of good quality to protect your skin.

Traditional Background

The Holi is an ancient Indian festival of colours symbolizing signs of happiness, joy and growth engaging all ages of people. The celebrations in India cut across section and religious conviction. This festival, now also draws a world attention and many countries are also celebrating the festival of colours and enjoying with sharing of sweets.., love.., peace and brotherly hood.

Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. Holi festival may be celebrated known by different names among people of various states and would be following different rituals & traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit and enthusiasm of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

This festival celebrates the arrival of spring on Fagun Sud Purnima. Also known as Falgunika, people celebrate the changing season and the beauty associated with spring blossoms by spraying colour.

In the Gita (10/35), Shri Krishna proclaims spring as the foremost season and one of his Vibhutis -forms: Rutunaam kusumaakaraha

The ritual of offering roasted grain to Agni – fire-deity is known as Navaanineshti. In Sanskrit, roasted grain is Holaakaa, from which the Hindi ‘Holi’ is derived. Since Vedic times people availed the newly harvested grain only after offering to the devas. This offering of new grain is Holi.

The Bhavishyottara Puran associates Holi both with man and Yagna. Therefore the Yagna performed for man’s salvation is Holi.

About the Author:  
vinay kumarVinay Kumar. C is an Environmental Researcher at NRCLPI – The National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. He is a multi-skilled professional having an excellent track record of managing complex functional projects in various environments.  

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Sad Demise of Malayalam Actor Kalpana

Heartfelt condolence on the sad demise of the veteran malayalam actor Kalpana, 51.

According to sources she was spotted unconscious in her hotel room, in Hyderabad, around 6:00 AM. The versatile actor was rushed to Apollo Hospital where she was declared dead due to a cardiac arrest. Kaplana was in Hyderabad shooting for a Tamil and a Telengu films and for a film award function.

The News shocked the malayalam film industry which was left with a void after her sad Demise. A National Award winning actor, she gave many super hit movies pairing with popular comedy actor Jagathy Sreekumar. Her colleagues remember her as a dedicated and passionate actor who maintained friendly relation with her co workers. Her last film released in malayalam was Charlie. She also did unforgettable roles in new-age malayalam films like Banglore Days.

She was very active outside the film appearing as judge in reality shows on television and anchoring various shows. Her parents were Theatre artists, and both her sisters Kalaranjini and Urvashi and well known actors in Malayalam. Kalpan ventured into the film world as a child actor and both her deceased brothers also acted in movies.

 

Christmas Album from India and the World

Every country and every city have different traditions to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Some celebrate with cakes, wines and turkeys. Different places have customs and culture unique to that area. In Kerala traditionally people prepare appam (pancake) and chicken curry; they also make stars at home.  Here is a Christmas Album with pictures of Christmas celebrations around the world.

Delhi
Delhi-Outline-Map-LMIOn December 25 when the Christians are celebrating Christmas at home with family and friends, the Churches in Delhi are filled with Delhites, of various faiths, who visit in large numbers. Wearing Santas clothes and Caps, young and the old pay a visit to the Churches in the Shivering Winters. They pray, light candles and have cakes, which is considered like ‘prasad’ that is given at temples.

Delhites visiting Church on Christmas Day
Delhites visiting a Church on Christmas Day
Christmas at Sacred Heart Church New Delhi
Thousands of people waiting to enter Sacred Heart Church in Delhi even at 10:00 in the night.
Nativity at Sacred Heart Church Delhi
Nativity Scene at Sacred Heart Church, Delhi

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Midnight Mass
Mid-Night Mass at a Church in Delhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerala

KeralaChristianity came to Kerala in the very beginning itself, when the Apostles of Christ went around the world spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ.  St. Thomas (also know as the Apostle of India) landed in Kerala in AD 52, and worked among the local population. In the past 2000 years, the Christians of Kerala have followed their Christian faith while remaining rooted in the Indian Tradition. Traditionally, celebrations mainly included fasting and prayer and finally celebrating the festival with family by having appam, curry and snacks. The most important part of the celebration is serving the food to the neighbours of other faiths, helpers and the have-nots. Children made stars using transparent colour papers and bamboo sticks. Illumination lights were used to decorate local plants like chembarathi (hibiscus), Mulla (jasmine) and Thetti (Ixora coccinea). With the advent of globalization cakes, artificial Christmas trees and stars and Santa and decorations have become part of the celebrations. Kerala Christmas Celebrations still retain some of the rustic beauty of the yonder years Christmas Celebrations.

Christmas Nativity in a village
Nativity Scene enacted by School Students
Christmas carols in a village
Christmas Carols in a Village

 

Christmas Celebration in an Orphanage
Christmas Celebration in an Orphanage
Handmade Christmas Star
Homemade Christmas Star

Scotland

Scotland 1

The Christmas as we see in movies and stories is celebrated with cakes, wines and turkeys. Here are some pictures of Scotland, the Northernmost Country of the United Kingdom. The cold winters and snow give a picture perfect settings while singing Christmas Songs like “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” and “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”.

 

Scotland
Christmas tree heralding the Christmas Season in Scotland
Christmas Tree
A close-up view of a picture perfect Christmas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas wine
Wines to begin the Christmas Feast
Christmas Turkey and Chicken Roast
Christmas feast is complete with Chicken or a Turkey Roast

Onam Pookalam competition

lifestyletodaynews.com is planning onampookalam competition. On Aug 28th, simply upload your Ghar ka onam pookalam photo, before 2:00 PM, on FB with hashtag‪  #‎lifestyletodaynewsonampookalam‬ and win exciting prizes. If you got a twitter account you can also tweet with hashtag #lifestyletodaynewsonampookalam