Clearing my Inner Cobwebs

madhura mridanga bhaje:

My son Nitai and I are in Melbourne for a cookery class this Sunday at the famous Gopals Restaurant.

Today, partly as a way of empowerment for my task ahead, and partly because it’s fun, I attended the awesome sunrise chanting session in the gloriously beautiful onyx and marble-clad inner sanctum of the Hare Krishna Temple.

I grabbed the (albeit dodgy, flat) drum and the microphone, as one does, and sang my heart out. The boys were there with their recording devices, so I thought I’d invite you to sing-along with Kurma..

(ps click on the microphone icon – it may take a minute).
(pps slip on your dancing socks).

Sacre Bleu!


French Government Tells People to Stop Consuming Wine

To the anger of the wine industry and disbelief of lovers of a good drop worldwide, the French Government has told its people to stop drinking wine.

The French Health Ministry has made alcohol one of the chief villains in a drive against cancer. “The consumption of alcohol, and especially wine, is discouraged,” say guidelines drawn from the findings of the National Cancer Institute. Read the whole article…

Do Not Read This Blog

BBC NEWSOnline networking ‘harms health’ anybody out there:

People’s health could be harmed by social networking sites because they reduce levels of face-to-face contact, an expert claims.

Dr Aric Sigman says websites such as Facebook set out to enrich social lives, but end up keeping people apart. Dr Sigman makes his warning in Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology.

A lack of “real” social networking, involving personal interaction, may have biological effects, he suggests. He also says that evidence suggests that a lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.

This, he claims, could increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and dementia. More…

Circle of Life #5: "My, How You've Grown!"

As a mother of one teenage suicide-bomber was overheard saying to another: “It’s just amazing how quickly they blow-up these days…” Ok, sorry, very poor taste.

So we’ll get back to the topic: My chilies. There are hundreds of flowers and fruits bursting out on my 6 main plants, and the most profuse are these variety.

My how you've grown!:

According to my total list of 35 possibilities, I am starting to think they could be either Manzano Red or Orange, Burkina Scotch Bonnet, Bishop’s Crown, or any of the Habaneros like Chocolate, Red Savina, or Costa Rica. Time will tell!

Party Time!

Yesterday’s interstate 50th birthday bash on the cliffs overlooking Australia’s Great Southern Ocean was a resounding success.

All the Happy Punters:

Official photos are on the way, but for now, here’s a dinner-time shot of all the happy punters.

Bound for Port Willunga

port willunga:

Pt. Willunga: On the South Coast of Adelaide, South Australia

My son and I are heading to South Australia for the weekend. It’s a client’s private birthday party, and we’re conducting a cookery class luncheon to celebrate.

With its protective reef shelf to the south and a broad bay on Gulf St Vincent, this highly photographed spot was once all about sailing ships bound for South Australia to pick up slate and wheat, but Port Willunga is now all sea change and holiday houses high on the clay and limestone cliffs.

This was a significant site for the Kuarna aboriginal people, as their dreaming warrior and law-giver ancestor Tjilbruke wept tears here, creating fresh water springs up the broad and sandy beach. Our beach house venue is high on the cliffs overlooking the vast Southern Ocean.

The Bishnoi People

You’re right, this is turning into the most sparse Kurma blog month ever. I am doing a marathon effort looking after my Dad and my 12-year old son Nitai, and that doesn’t leave much time for the luxury of blogging. But hey, cup half full, here I am!

bishnoi woman:

Last night I chilled-out in front of a fascinating SBS documentary about the ultra-environmentally-conscious desert-dwelling Bishnoi people of Rajasthan. As the award-winning ‘breast-fed stray faun’ photo above shows, the Bishnoi are serious about quietly practicing what they preach.

An offshoot of Hinduism, their philosophy is as follows:

Never cut a green tree, but wait for a tree to age and die and then use it as timber.

Bury your dead simply, so that the earth assimilates the flesh – and you save too, the wood needed for a casket or a cremation.

Practice cleanliness and a high level of hygiene, for these will guard you from disease.

Protect wildlife – they too play a role in maintaining soil fertility and in holding the balance of harmful and beneficial life forms.

Conserve water for use by man and animals, by building tanks everywhere.

Practice vegetarianism and be addicted to nothing – alcohol, tobacco or even tea!

Do not expect or seek, alms or subsidy, from king or government; believe in self-help!

Let women, those founts of life, wear bright clothes of red or orange and the men white, as a symbol of undiluted devotion to the faith.

If ever you must choose to be violent, may it be in defense of a tree, an animal or your convictions; for this, even embrace death with cheer.

Millet is their staple grain. I watched them pick, thresh, hull, and grind the hearty grains, then knead, roll and bake substantial millet chapatis over cowdung fires.

sprays of millet:

millet time:

grinding millet:

While I’m in the mood, here’s a millet recipe:

Millet Pilaff with Corn, Peppers and Pine Nuts

Millet is a light, versatile and inviting grain with a mild, nutty taste, distinctive without being unusual. To bring out the flavour in millet, the tiny yellow grains are toasted in butter or oil before cooking in stock or water. Millet is a thirsty grain, so serve this pilaff alongside a juicy vegetable dish or soup. Serves 6.

2½ cups water or vegetable stock

½ cup frozen corn kernels

1 cup tomatoes, diced fine

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

2 teaspoons julienned fresh ginger root

2 small green chilies, seeded and chopped

¾ cup diced red capsicum (pepper)

1¼ cups hulled millet

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Combine the stock, corn, tomato, salt and pepper in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer, fully covered, over low heat.

Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add the yellow asafetida powder, the ginger, chili, green capsicum and the millet.

Saute the millet for 3 or 4 minutes, or until it darkens a few shades.

Pour the simmering stock into the toasted grains, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed, and the grains are soft. Set aside for 5 minutes to firm up.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.