A Paucity of Posts

the big dry:

A number of you have written expressing disappointment at the paucity of posts, and wanting the old Kurma back; you know, the chatty, talkative Kurma that publishes a blog daily.

Well, let me tell you, this is the driest month ever since I first started blogging almost 3 years ago.

It’s been over three months since I arrived in Sydney and I have been very busy looking after my father: A great deal of medical stuff, seeing lots of specialists. Plus cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, and shopping.

I’ve recommenced baking bread; the sourdough culture has awoken from it’s sleep in the freezer and is slowly on the road to full recovery.

The end of stoned fruit season has seen me stewing fruits of all varieties – my Dad enjoys old Anglo-Saxon fare. In the fridge at present: a big jar of cardamom and lemon-scented crimson quinces, cassia-laced stewed apples, and whole poached baby late-season plums.

Also on the menu: sago puddings, fresh juices every morning (pomegranate, mandarin, pineapple, etc) plus a variety of biscuits (Anzacs and Orange Shortbreads are the latest in the cookie jar).

jam session again:

My real favourite is jam-making. There’s a big jar of strawberry conserve in the pantry. And the cold wet snap here in Sydney has reminded me to start planting herbs; coriander, mint, marjoram, fenugreek and mustard are all doing well.

My Dad is a great fan of soups, so I have 3 or four varieties in the freezer at any one time, in single serve portions. At present there’s homemade tomato, cream of corn, and minestrone; Oh and also a whole variety of cooked beans ready to thaw and use – Great Northern, Puy Lentils, Cannelini and Borlotti beans, and Chickpeas. There’s even some homemade baked beans (the world’s most efficient cough cure.)

beans:

So yes, I have been a busy boy.

Plus…. I have been inspired to begin four new writing projects. That’s right, four. They are all going well, especially one which has been on the back burner for 20 years.

Ancient wisdom dictates that a gentleman does not disclose his plans lest they be spoiled, so I will not reveal what these writing projects are. When it’s time to share the details, you’ll be the first to know. Yes you. Suffice to say they are exciting projects. That’s all I can tell you for now.

Anyway, here I am, chatting away like the old days. I’ve also been fortunate over the last 10 days or so to be able to catch up with 3 sets of old friends; I went and spent an evening with my old comrade Madhudvisa (pictured, below) last week at a special kirtan, discourse and dinner evening at the home of Rupa and Krishna Rupa in Merrylands. It was lots of fun.

Madhudvisa_ACBSP:

Bhagavat and his good wife Sarva dropped in for an Epicurian Breakfast on their way from Brisbane to country NSW. That’s him in the picture below taken in the Melbourne Hare Krishna Temple Kitchen last year.

kurma and bhagavat ashraya:

Don’t have a picture of Sarva. And I visited Govinda’s Kirtan night with my down-to-earth buddy Parama, sung my heart out and then went upstairs for the famous all-you-can-eat buffet. So no shortage of friendly adventures.

So there we have it. I can’t promise a complete revival of the ‘blog-a-day’ Kurma, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Must go, it’s time to cook dinner.

Cooking with Kurma in Tamworth

There’s only a little over 2 weeks to go for my cookery weekend in Tamworth.

tamworth map:

There’s still vacancies, so hurry to book.

As well as enjoying a cookery class and feast or two, you’ll have the opportunity to stay the weekend and enjoy exquisite 5-star B&B facilities.

And also, you’ll get to meet your host Peter who is a Kurma twin. Pretty scary. People mistake him for me wherever he goes. So you’ll get two Kurma’s for the price of one.

twins:

And you can chill out in their wonderful garden.

gate:

Here’s some details. Hope to see you at a class or two.

The Retreat at Froog-Moore Park

Tamworth’s most sumptuous Bed and Breakfast

www.froogmoorepark.com.au

Weekend Cookery Workshops

Saturday, Sunday 17, 18 May 2008

Bookings and enquiries, phone Sandy 02 6766 3353

Jellies, Jams & Preserves

conserves:

Devadeva Mirel runs a wonderful mail-order organic jam and preserves company.

If I was living in the USA I would definitely order some in. I might still try to get some.

Here’s just a few of the delights from her kitchen:

Golden Crabapple Jelly, Rose Petal Jam, Quince Jelly, Anise Plum Jam, Elderberry Syrup, Saffron Cardamom Peach Jam, Vanilla Bean Peach Butter,
Gooseberry Jam, and Hot & Sweet BBQ Glaze.

Way to Go!

the return of easy rider:

“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather, who
died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming, like all the passengers in his
car.”

– Author unknown, but I’m sure he was Jewish. Like the man behind the wheel above. And gosh, he really looks like my 84 year old father who still drives…

Mc Kurma's

The Big K Burger:

Manjula from Bahrain writes:

“I wanted to know about how to make vegetarian burgers. My hubby likes them a
lot and we don’t eat outside.”

My reply:

Here’s a recipe from my book ‘Quick Vegetarian Dishes’:

Vegie Burgers “With the Lot”

I was searching far and wide for a quick vegie burger recipe, and found a great one, quite by chance, on an Internet cooking seminar for kids. Here it is, slightly improved, courtesy of Jayasri Devi of Crescent City, California. Makes 16 burgers.

2 cups fine oatmeal

2 teaspoons Italian mixed herbs

1 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

1½ cups boiling water

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup very well-cooked chickpeas, mashed

2 cups dry breadcrumbs

5 tablespoons quality tamari or soy sauce

1½ teaspoon salt

½ cup very finely chopped celery

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

oil for pan-frying

burger buns and all the trimmings of your choice

one with the lot: Mix together the oatmeal, herbs and asafetida in a bowl and pour on the boiling water. Mix well and set aside for 5 minutes.

one with the lot: Fold in all the other ingredients thoroughly, and knead the mixture until very well amalgamated.

one with the lot: Scoop up quantities of mix using a ½-cup measuring cup, pack and press the ½ cup full, then shake or tap the cup to remove the thick burger patty. Gently press and form it into a larger, smooth burger patty, and proceed on with the rest of the mixture. Heat oil in a frying pan.

one with the lot: Pan fry the burgers, a batch at a time, until dark golden brown on each side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

one with the lot: Serve on buns with all your favourite ‘fixins’.

Kurminos Pizza

Kjerstin from Lund, Sweden, writes:

“Kurma I like very much your web and blog sites. Can you help? I want to cook a pizza from the beginning. Do you have a recipe to share?”

My reply:

“Yes I have a very reliable recipe for you here. It comes from my very first cookbook, ‘Great Vegetarian Dishes’. Happy cooking.”

pizza:

Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza

This is a crisp-based pizza holding a filling of herb-flavoured tomatoes, with a topping of sliced black olives, peppers, and golden, melting mozzarella cheese

Halava the Great

Some of the most frequent enquiries I receive concern halava – the buttery, warm semolina pudding served at all Hare Krishna restaurants and festivals worldwide. It is a magical, wonderful, edible version of the All-Attractive Supreme Person.

halava:

Here’s the latest:

Lanee from Melbourne writes:

“Hello Kurma, could you kindly help with the recipe for: Apple &
Pineapple Halava I had at Gopal’s .

Also the custard they serve with it isn’t the
same as mine? (Custard Powder, sugar, milk). This is the best dessert ever.
Cheers Lanee.”

The science of halava making: cooking halava at a class in Murwillumbah

My reply:

Yes, halava is certainly a popular recipe! When made in huge quantities and in a meditative state as the Gopal’s cooks do, it always turns out quite differently than cooked in small quantities at home.

Regarding the custard, it is just milk sugar and custard powder. Maybe you could ask them the brand of custard powder. Also they use powdered full cream milk, and I think they use a lot, so it is creamier than with regular milk. If you make it at home and whisk in some full cream milk powder to enrich it, you may get something similar 😉

Apple and Pineapple Semolina Halava Pudding

Semolina halava is the most popular dessert served at any of the Hare Krishna restaurants worldwide. This version of the famous hot, fluffy pudding with pineapple and apples rates high in the “halava-top-ten”. I have cooked halava for 4 or 5 persons and for 1500 persons; either way, following the same basic steps yields equally stunning results.

The secret of good halava is to roast the semolina very slowly for at least 20 minutes, with enough butter so as not to scorch the grains. Steam the finished halava over very low heat with a tight-fitting lid for 5 minutes to fully plump the semolina grains; then allow it to sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluffy, plump grained halava is best served hot, on its own, or with a spoonful of cream or custard. Serves 6 – 8 persons, or a couple of halava addicts.

2½ cups water

1¼ cups raw sugar

140 g unsalted butter, or ghee (1 ounce = 28.35 grams)

1¼ cups coarse-grained semolina (farina) – the more coarse the better

½-3/4 cup stewed apple, drained

½-3/4 cup ripe pineapple pieces, drained

Combine the water and sugar in a 2-litre saucepan. Place over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Don’t allow any water to evaporate from the syrup.

Melt the butter or ghee in a 2- or 3-litre non-stick saucepan and over fairly low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the semolina. Slowly and rhythmically stir-fry the grains until they darken to a tan colour and become aromatic (about 20 minutes). Stirring more carefully towards the end, raise the heat under the grains.

Raise the heat under the sugar water and bring the syrup to a rolling boil.

Remove the saucepan of semolina and butter from the heat, slowly pouring the hot syrup into the semolina, stirring steadily. The grains may at first splutter, but will quickly cease as the liquid is absorbed.

Return the pan to the stove and stir steadily over low heat until the grains fully absorb the liquid, start to form into a pudding-like consistency, and pull away from the sides of the pan. Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and cook over the lowest possible heat for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat, fold in the two fruits and allow the halava to firm up, covered and off the heat, for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot in dessert bowls as it is, or with the toppings suggested above.

Alkaline Foods

alkaline foods:

J writes:

“Dear Kurma, I have enjoyed your recipes over the years. My sister and I are
recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We are young with children. We were told
to follow a mostly alkaline diet to prevent recurrence of the cancer. Do you
have an acid/alkaline food list? Thankyou for your great recipes and have a
nice day. Sincerely, J.”

My reply:

Hello J, Here’s a brief list:

Ranked Foods: Alkaline to Acidic

Extremely Alkaline

Lemons, Watermelon (yes, citrus fruits have an alkaline effect on the body)

……………………

Alkaline Forming

Cantaloupe, Cayenne, Celery, Dates, Figs, Kelp, Limes, Mango, Melons, Papaya, Parsley, Seaweeds, Seedless Grapes (sweet), Watercress
Asparagus, Fruit Juices, Grapes (sweet), Kiwifruit, Passionfruit, Pears (sweet), Pineapple, Raisins, Umeboshi Plums, Vegetable Juices

……………………

Moderately Alkaline

Apples (sweet), Alfalfa Sprouts, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas (ripe), Currants, Dates, Figs (fresh), Garlic, Grapefruit, Grapes (less sweet), Guavas, Herbs (leafy green), Lettuce (leafy green), Nectarine, Peaches (sweet), Pears (less sweet), Peas (fresh, sweet), Pumpkin (sweet), Sea Salt (vegetable)

Apples (sour), Beans (fresh, green), Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carob, Cauliflower, Ginger (fresh), Grapes (sour), Lettuce (pale green), Oranges, Peaches (less sweet), Peas (less sweet), Potatoes (with skin), Pumpkin (less sweet), Raspberries, Strawberries, Squash, Sweet Corn (fresh), Turnip, Vinegar (apple cider)

……………………

Slightly Alkaline

Almonds, Artichokes (Jerusalem), Brussel Sprouts, Cherries, Coconut (fresh), Cucumbers, Eggplant, Honey (raw), Leeks, Mushrooms, Okra, Olives (ripe), Onions, Pickles (homemade), Radishes, Sea Salt, Spices, Tomatoes (sweet), Vinegar (sweet brown rice)

Chestnuts (dry, roasted), Egg Yolks (soft cooked), Essene Bread, Goat’s Milk and Whey (raw), Mayonnaise (homemade), Olive Oil, Sesame Seeds (whole), Soy Beans (dry), Soy Cheese, Soy Milk, Sprouted Grains, Tofu, Tomatoes (less sweet), Yeast (nutritional flakes)

……………………

Neutral

Butter (fresh, unsalted), Cream (fresh, raw), Cow’s Milk and Whey (raw), Margarine, Oils (except olive), Yogurt (plain)

……………………

Moderately Acidic

Bananas (green), Barley (rye), Blueberries, Bran, Butter, Cereals (unrefined), Cheeses, Crackers (unrefined rye, rice and wheat), Cranberries, Dried Beans (mung, adzuki, pinto, kidney, garbanzo), Dry Coconut, Egg Whites, Eggs Whole (cooked hard), Fructose, Goat’s Milk (homogenized), Honey (pasteurized), Ketchup, Maple Syrup (unprocessed), Milk (homogenized), Molasses (unsulferd and organic), Most Nuts, Mustard, Oats (rye, organic), Olives (pickled), Pasta (whole grain), Pastry (whole grain and honey), Plums, Popcorn (with salt and/or butter), Potatoes, Prunes, Rice (basmati and brown), Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), Soy Sauce, Wheat Bread (sprouted organic)

……………………

Extremely Acidic

Artificial Sweeteners, Beef, Beer, Breads, Brown Sugar, Carbonated Soft Drinks, Cereals (refined), Chocolate, Cigarettes and Tobacco, Coffee, Cream of Wheat (unrefined), Custard (with white sugar), Deer, Drugs, Fish, Flour (white wheat), Fruit Juices with Sugar, Jams, Jellies, Lamb, Liquor, Maple Syrup (processed), Molasses (sulphured), Pasta (white), Pastries and Cakes from White Flour, Pickles (commercial), Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Sugar (white), Table Salt (refined and iodized), Tea (black), White Bread, White Vinegar (processed), Whole Wheat Foods, Wine, Yogurt (sweetened)

Much more information:

Here…

And here…

And if you do a Google search on alkaline foods, you’ll get loads of links.

Wishing you all success in beating your cancer, and a long and healthy life.”

Inspiration

krsna the divine flute player:

‘O light supreme, raised so far above mortal thoughts, lend again
to my mind a little of your epiphany and give my tongue such power that it
may leave a single sparkle of thy glory to future men…’

– Dante, from ‘The Divine Comedy’

‘You are the Lord of the whole creation, so if You like You can make my
power of speaking as suitable as they can understand. By Your causeless
mercy only my words may be transcendentally pure…’

– Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, from the poem penned on the ship ‘Jaladuta’, Bombay to Boston 1965