Monthly Archives: October 2013

Dashain Celebration

Am I allowed to say that I am tired of Dashain celebration? Unlike in Nepal I didn’t have 15 days holiday to celebrate the festival so juggling work and celebration was bit a tough.

As usual this year too we started our celebration on Asthami. My brother invited everyone for dinner so that was the official start of Dashain for us. Luckily it was Saturday so everyone could relax till late.

asthami (2) asthami (3)asthami (5) asthami (4)  asthami (6) dashain (1)

We played cards and enjoyed the yummy food and partied till late.

The next day was Nawami. That day as per the ritual, in the morning we did our car puja.

nawaminawami (5)Nawami (3) Nawami (2) Nawami (1)

This year we got lucky and we had a priest who did all the rituals for us.

Nawami (4)

Then that evening was our turn to invite everyone. We had done most of the shopping the day before but we still had to run around doing last minute shopping.

dashain

I can’t believe I single handily made a feast for 25+ people; of course AS helped me by doing the cutting but I amazed even myself :).

nawami (8)

The menu was Chiura, aloo tama, rajma, chicken curry, goat curry, mula ko achar, chicken wings, salad, chips chill and some cheese and crackers.

nawami (6)

I am glad everyone enjoyed the food and my effort as appreciated. That day I was busy making sure everyone was enjoying and eating well. It was a fun evening and by the time everyone went home it was close to midnight.

My Jamara in Tika day

On Monday, it was Vijaya Dashami and biggest day of the all. I took a day off from work to celebrate but AS had to go to work. 😦

dashami (8)

I performed puja at home with our home grown jamara in the morning and in the afternoon I went to put tika at one of my friend’s place. His parents are here so it was my start of tika getting blessing from elders and eating bhoj.

dashami (3)

Then in the evening all of us were gathered again at my cousin’s house. We had heaps of fun putting tika on younger ones and getting blessing from the elders. As usual there was a big feast prepared and after that day I had had enough of the yummy food.

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On Tuesday, we were invited to one of my friend’s place for tika and again we ate lots of food. As coming Saturday is purnima, I still have 3 more places to go for tika and more feast.

tika (3)tika (1)tika (2)

While talking to our parents on the Skype, they were even telling us that we are having a lot of celebration like in Nepal. I am glad we could do that but at the same time I am already so tired of eating I am sure I put on quite some weight. My work out to be fit and fine for summer went down the drain in the last few days.

dashain (3)

Nevertheless I had a great time with my friends and family celebrating Dashain.

dashain (2)

Hope all of you had a great Dashain too.

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*Asthami : Dashain *Dashain Tika update *Dashain ko Nakhatey

My long weekend in picture

Last weekend, we had a long weekend as it was Labour Day on Monday. There is so much happening in Sydney right now that we had busy weekend. I am so tired now but glad I managed to do so much. Here are some of the photos from the weekend.

On Saturday, it was the start of Dashain, our biggest festival (for details click here). So in the morning I had to plant my Jamara to start the festival. To learn how to plant your own Jamara, please click here.

Jamara

Around 10am, we headed to Wattamolla Beach to enjoy picnic with family and friends. Wattamolla Beach is located within the Royal National Park and have nice beach perfect to go with family. It was awesome sunny day and we had heaps of fun in water.

Wattamolla Beach  (4)Wattamolla Beach  (3)Wattamolla Beach  (1)Wattamolla Beach  (5)Wattamolla Beach  (7)Wattamolla Beach  (6)Wattamolla Beach  (8)

On Sunday, we went to Helensburgh temple (details here) as it is Dashain now and it seemed like a great idea.. We went there with some of our friends and his family. As always, we had breakfast there, yummy vegetarian South Indian dishes.

temple

From there we drove for over an hour and was in Parramatta, enjoying Parramasala (details here). Like every year, it was fun with lots of food and music.

Parramasala (1)Parramasala (5)Parramasala (4)Parramasala (7) Parramasala (12) Parramasala (11) Parramasala (10) Parramasala (9) Parramasala (8)

On Monday, we went and saw the war ship at International Fleet Review. The review is a celebration marking 100 years since the Royal Australian Navy fleet first entered Sydney Harbour. It was worth the visit as we got to see so many navy ship from many different countries.

International Fleet Review (1) International Fleet Review (20) International Fleet Review (18) International Fleet Review (17) International Fleet Review (16) International Fleet Review (14) International Fleet Review (13)

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Multi-talented

We were watching the show at the festival on the weekend.

Me: God that women is multi-talented, she can sing and dance. And look at the man, he can play guitar and harmonium.They are so cool.

AS: I am multi-talented too.

Me: Really?

AS :I can watch her sing and dance and enjoy him playing guitar and harmonium at the same time 🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S: Do not forget to nominate  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2013

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C Momo

If you have ever met someone from Nepal, you must already know by now that Nepali people are crazy about momo. There are many varieties of momo and a simple recipe for one of them is posted here.

Today I am posting the recipe for C momo, C stands for chill so it is a hot and spicy momo recipe.

Ingredients

  • 20 pieces of steamed Momo (for recipe check here)
  • 2 tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 green chilies halved
  • 1 small red onion cut into quarters and with layers separated
  • 1 red capsicum cut into inch square shape
  • 3 tablespoons Oil
  • 5 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of chilli sauce/ hot and sweet sauce (more if you like hot)
  • 1 tablespoon  Chili paste/ half tablespoon chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Coriander to garnish

C momo (2)

Steps

  • Preheat the oven to 200 0C and bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked and skin starts peeling off.
  • In a pan, heat a spoon of oil and brown the momo. (optional)

C momo (3)

  • Take the momo out from the pan and put aside.
  • In the same pan, add remaining oil and fry crushed garlic and ginger paste.
  • Now add the baked tomatoes and cooked it until it is a smooth paste. If the sauce starts drying, add a small quantity of water.

C momo (4)

  • Now add green chill, onion, capsicum, and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Add ketchup, chill/hot and sour sauce, soya sauce and cook on low heat for few minutes. If the sauce starts to dry, add small quantity of water. Make sure the sauce is not very runny.

C momo (5)

  • Taste the sauce and add salt as requires. Soya sauce makes it pretty salty so watch the amount of salt you add.
  • Add momo to the sauce and stir and close the lid of the pan for 2 minutes allowing momo to heat.

C momo (6)

  • Transfer the momo to a plate and garnish with fresh coriander

C momo (1)

  • Tasty hot and spicy C momo is ready. Enjoy!

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*Aloo chop *Chatamari *Gundruk Aloo Bhatmas Curry

Living in the west with values of the east

This article was published in DREAMS online magazine on 3rd October 2013.

dreams

When I was living in Nepal, I used to be annoyed and irritated by Nepali culture, tradition and values from time to time. Sometimes, I wished that I could run away from all that and live my life the way I wanted. And my wish was fulfilled when I left Nepal to come to Australia.

Having lived outside the country for more than decade now, I know how wrong my thoughts were. These days, I miss our culture, tradition, rituals and values that I used to ignore before. Not only do I miss it, I actually want to be a part of it and hope to pass it on to my kids and grand-kids one day, like my mother and grandmother did.

The festive season of Dashain and Tihar is here, and it is one of my favourite times of the year. This festive time has helped me connect with Nepal, Nepali culture and tradition. Before, I used to wish things could be as good in Australia as in Nepal, but that was just wishful thinking. So instead of being sad and depressed, this time I decided that we would celebrate the festivals with whatever we could.

With the motto, “If the mountain will not come to M, then M must go to the mountain”, we bring Nepali style Dashain and Tihar to Sydney. For the last few years, I have been having a lot of fun in Nepali festivals here.

For Dashain, I plant Jamara during Ghatasthapana, and it is ready for Tika day. During Asthami, Nawami and Dashami, we plan a Newari bhoj to mark the days.

Last year we had Kuchi Bhwey, a Newari bhoj consisting of Baji/Chiura(beaten/flattened rice), Chicken curry, Spinach, Methi kerau (fenugreek and peas), Thulo kerau (big peas), Golbheda achar (tomato pickle), Butan(meat fry), Aloo tama(potatoes with bamboo shoots), and Methi(fenugreek) salad on Asthami.

On Nawami, we followed the tradition and performed a worship of our car. Later we had Samay Baji, a Newari dish consisting of Baji/Chiura(beaten/flattened rice) , Haku Mushya (black soyabean), Chhwela (smoked meat), Puka-la (spicy roasted meat), Aalu achar (cold potato salad ), Bhuti (boiled beans with spices), Khyen (boiled egg), Panchkwa (bamboo shoot, potato, beans mixed curry), Wo or Bara (shallow fried pancakes made of black lentil), Lava-palu (ginger and garlic), Achar (pickle), Wauncha (green vegetables) and Aayla (Newari liquor).

On Vijaya Dashmi, we normally take a day off from work so we can have fun with our loved ones. It is always fun to be blessed by elders with red Tika and Jamara. Following Tika, there are a few days where we get invited for tika, and this normally concludes the celebration of Dashain.

After a few weeks, we celebrate Tihar in full swing as well. I know people overseas normally celebrate only Bhai Tika but I didn’t want to miss out on the other days. So I perform Kag Tihar, Kukkur Tihar, Laxmi Puja and Mha Puja as well.

I haven’t seen many crows around in Sydney, so I decided to print a photo of a crow to perform my puja with. I know it sounds a bit silly, but it helps me to celebrate the festival. I did the same during Kukur Puja, printed the photo of a dog that my parents have in Nepal. If you ever feel like celebrating Tihar in full swing, you may want to follow my ideas.

I love Laxmi Puja as it make me feel happy and there is so much to do. We start the evening by lighting fairy lights and candles. Then I perform Laxmi Puja to the best to my knowledge. I normally print out the Mandap and Laxmi’s footsteps so I can perform the puja. Living overseas, we have to make do with whatever we can rather than missing out in the belief that we can’t do it.

Following Laxmi Puja, we performed Mha Puja with my brother, cousins, and friends. Mha Puja is such a great way to come together and have fun in our Newar culture. For this puja too we used printed mandaps, which made it easy for us to set up the puja. Like in Nepal, we have Shagun (a traditional plate typically consisting of a boiled egg, smoked fish, a “bara”, haku chhoila”  and “aila”, which ends with “dhau”) and bless our body for good health.

And finally, there is the Bhai Tika, which is always a big deal for me. I have two brothers on whom I perform the Puja, and I wanted to make sure it is a great celebration. I and my cousin even learned how to make Sel Roti, so our celebration is a lot like Nepal’s. I prepare for Bhai Tika weeks in advance, making masala (pack of dry fruits & nuts) and buying fruits, snacks and clothes. I prepare Shagun on the day and bake cakes for puja as well. I am always happy to see my brothers enjoying the day with me, and blessing me with happiness and gifts.

Not only celebrating Dashain and Tihar, but we try to do whatever we can to be in touch with Nepalese tradition and culture. Recently, my nephew had his 6th birthday, and it was celebrated with yomari (a newari delicacy made of external covering of rice-flour and an inner content of treacle) mala like in Nepal. One of my nephews was born here in Australia, so we did his chatti and nwaran (naming ceremony) according to Hindu rituals. We celebrate Teej every year wearing red and eating yummy Nepalese cuisine. And whenever possible, we go to Nepal to celebrate milestones like marriage and pasni. We had a traditional Newari wedding which went for over a week, and my nephew had his pasni in Nepal with our relatives and friends.

Even though I don’t have kids of my own right now, I know that they are affected by many thing in life, but their strongest main values are learned from their parents, society and surrounding environment. I know that even in Nepal, with globalisation we are losing some of our traditional values fast, while we adopt easily imitable aspects of western culture. Nepal has a unique blend of culture and customs, and people travel millions of miles to learn and observe these in Nepal. It will be a shame for our kids not to know their own customs, traditions, and rituals.

I hope my effort in bringing our eastern culture to the west will help my kids and their kids to learn more about Nepal, Nepali culture, traditions, rituals and values, so that they know their root and can be proud of it. I have been away from Nepal for a long time, but I still cherish the values that I have learned, and I hope one day, our next generation will do the same.

Happy Dashain and Tihar to all readers. No matter where you are, enjoy it in full swing!!!!

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Raw chocolate with 100% cacao – No thanks

Just a few weeks ago, I was telling you all the benefits of dark chocolate and trying to convert all of you to eating dark chocolate from now on. I must add a warning with that post because I had a taste of a 100% Cacao raw chocolate and it was not what I expected.

As you know I LOVE dark chocolate so one of my friends bought this chocolate for me from a health food store. You can see the packing looks great like any normal chocolate but this one is made from predominately Cacao not Cocoa.

chocolate

Did you know that Cacao is actually a super food? Not cocoa but Cacao; this tasty little bean is full of the good stuff. Cacao is derived from Theobroma Cacao beans, which literally means “Food of the Gods”. Cacao contains over 300 compounds including protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. Magnesium helps to build strong bones and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness. Cacao is also high in sulphur, which helps form strong nails and hair.

The difference between the two is something I never considered before. Cacao refers to the raw form of chocolate, including the tree and bean. Raw cacao powder is not roasted, relatively unprocessed, and contains no sugar or cocoa butter and so retains more of its natural nutrients. Cocoa is the Anglicized version of the word “cacao.” Cocoa powder has been roasted, ground, and sometimes mixed with a sweetener and cocoa butter. Most chocolate today is loaded with sugars, dairy products, sodium, stabilizers, emulsifiers, preservatives, and more.

Knowing all this fact, I thought I would love this chocolate. I had a piece and it is too bitter and too bland to my liking. It would be great if you were after a 100% no artificial ingredient chocolate bar but I have to tell you that it tastes nothing like the chocolate we know. For me it was one of the worst chocolates I have ever tasted.

As you can see in the packing, it says No sugar and 5.0 g fat per serve which means I know it will be great for my body but my mouth wouldn’t allowed me to have another piece.

Just to check how everyone would react, I gave the chocolates to my colleagues, AS and his cousin. All of them agreed with me that they would never eat this chocolate again. Anyway, if you can eat it I am sure it is great for you as raw Cacao bars are filled with nutrients and natural ingredients your body will benefit from.

We were joking that this is the chocolate we should introduce to our kids for the first time. Either they will love it and have all the health benefits or they will never eat chocolates again. 🙂

Just some quick steps on how cocoa bean becomes a chocolate bar

  • It takes six months for cocoa beans to ripen. Harvests take place twice a year
  • The beans, which are covered in a white pulp, are removed from the pods
  • Beans are put in large heaps and covered up to ferment. This takes about a week. and is when the cocoa flavour starts to develop
  • Beans are then dried for a week then taken to the chocolate factory
  • They are then roasted, and separated from their shells in hulling machines
  • The insides of the bean, called nibs, are turned into a liquid or chocolate liquor
  • The chocolate liquor is blended with cocoa butter, and other ingredients and stirred for several hours
  • The resulting thick mixture comes out and is poured into bar-shaped containers
  • The bars are now ready to be packaged and eaten, about four days after the cocoa beans reached the factory

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BEHULI by Sanyukta Shrestha

If you haven’t heard about Sanyukta Shrestha before she is a London based Nepalese bridal wear designer who has been regarded as a fast rising star of the industry having been awarded The Best Perfect Wedding Newcomer Award 2011 & Bridal Innovation Award 2011.  She is the driving force behind the industry’s future as seen by the British media and the industry alike.

Born in Nepal, she has been awarded best designer several times in Nepal and international beauty pageants, since the year she started her design journey at the age of 17.  A graduate of London College of Fashion, she has worked in bridal and retail industry in the UK for 5 years before setting up her own label.  With her beautiful approach on ethical designs, she has brought a breath of fresh air, passion and distinct styling to the British bridal industry.

Her aim is for a new vision for bridal wear, one that combines an eco-friendly approach with the hand-crafted luxury, expected of the most desirable bridal collections & millinery; the whole collection is driven by a ‘LOVE GREEN-BELIEVE IN ETHICS’ ethos. Most of the natural fibres used in the bridal collections are skilfully hand spun and hand loomed by village women in Nepal.

Through blending sustainability with her ethical beliefs, Sanyukta intends to create opportunities for women in this area of the world, by merging and turning their traditional skills into delicate fabrics and exquisite designs. Sanyukta’s bridal collections goes beyond the one special occasion and are valued as collectable pieces of sustainably hand-made, hand woven and hand crafted products. From luxurious silk wedding gowns to exquisite bridal millinery each style within this collection follows ecologically green guidelines, with fabrics from ethical and fair trade certified manufacturers.

Sanyukta Shrestha’s launch of her first eponymous bridal collection in the 2011 White Gallery London created a stir in the wedding industry. Recognition for her work has come from features in leading magazines Conde Nast Brides, You and Your Wedding, Wedding UK, Perfect Wedding, Bridal Buyer, Attire Bridal and also from international press like Vogue Sposa, Sposa Bella and Fashion TV.

Sanyukta Shrestha couture wedding gown Pippa from 2013 collection has been now preserved in Fashion Museum, Bath as a unique piece of art.

She has also been honoured with Highly Commended Brand Leader in Design at Source Awards 2012, The Global Awards for Sustainable Fashion.

Sanyukta Shrestha collections are currently stocked in luxury Bridal Boutiques in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Recently Sanyukta Shrestha team hosted a launch event to introduce press and industry to the new flagship store ‘Behuli‘. Behuli means bride in Nepalese and I am so glad that she picked that name for her store showing her Nepalese heritage.

Behuli is an extension of Sanyukta’s ethos ‘Beauty with a conscience’ focusing on providing luxury bridal wear that is individual and ethical.

The event was attended by many notable people in bridal fashion industry from leading bridal Editors, Fashion directors & stylists, to wedding planners, Photographers & bridal boutiques owners.

I believe in individuality and I enjoy bringing out inner beauty, a reflection of personality of woman who wears my design. For me feeling good is equally important as looking good. My desire has been always to create beautiful designs that are luxurious, indulgent, individual and equally sustainable. Through following ecologically green guidelines for all our production process using only eco fabrics that are sourced from trusted suppliers and hand weaved through the traditional skills of Nepalese village women, we are trying to ensure that the whole creative process of our gowns is ethical and natural. It is ultimately all about creating ‘beauty with a conscience’.  – Sanyukta Shrestha

To know her better please read the following interview from myrepublica.com.

After the Best Wedding Newcomer Award 2011, Bridal Innovation Award 2011 and Highly Commended Brand Leader at the Source Award 2012, your wedding gown has now made it into The Fashion House. How do you feel?

“This is surely one of the happiest moments of my life as a designer. It’s so great to be recognized for doing work that you truly believe in. It is a wonderful feeling and I feel honored. It inspires and encourages me to work even harder to create better work.

What is SOURCE Awards and how important is this award for you?

The SOURCE Awards are Global Awards for Sustainable Fashion, which celebrate and focus the spotlight on the most innovative, inspirational businesses, individuals, and initiatives in the fashion industry, globally. This award is very special as it is dedicated to forward thinking fashion that aims to inspire and change the industry. It is an honor to be named Brand Leader as with all of our work we hope to encourage others as well to move towards sustainable fashion as a future plan.

You are a fast rising star in the bridal industry in the UK. How did you land up designing wedding dresses?

I find bridal the most intriguing part of the Fashion industry. In my whole design career, my desire was always to bring out the personality and individuality of every person who wears my design. To bring out the inner beauty of the bride on the most special day of her life is very fulfilling.

How big the wedding dress market is there and how are your dresses doing?

It’s a huge industry here in the UK. We are very lucky to be in the company of incredibly talented international and national designers who are working together for the industry. I still feel a little bit like Alice in the wonderland. However, it’s a journey that is challenging and inspiring me every day. Our brides are not just limited to UK and Ireland, awareness is growing gradually in surrounding European countries and Canada too.

Yours is a one of a kind sustainable bridal brand. How did you define sustainable fashion? And what are sustainable eco-friendly fabrics?

For me sustainable fashion is all about having heart, good thoughts and tying to do good deeds. In a simple word it’s a ‘fashion for humankind. ’ You have to think of every consequence, every choice that may affect people and our planet. Eco Fabrics are hemp, organic cotton, organic silk, soya, milk to name few.

Explain your ethos – ‘Love green – believe in ethics’.

The Love Green – Believe in Ethics ethos comes from the desire to create beautiful designs that are sustainable, eco friendly and hand crafted. Through using only eco fabrics that are sourced from trusted suppliers and hand weaved through the traditional skills of Nepalese village women we are trying to ensure that the whole creative process of our gowns is ethical and natural. It is ultimately all about creating ‘beauty with a conscience’.

How do you collect fabrics you use? Do you use Nepali fabrics also?

Most fabrics we use are from Nepal, like organic cotton, bamboo, silk, soya, Nettle, hemp etc. Some others are sourced locally in the UK. While new innovative technology fabrics like milk and bamboo silk lace comes from Italy.

How you do you feel owning your own label Sanyukta Shrestha?

Very happy and very privileged!

You started as an official designer in Miss Nepal in 1998? Do you have any plans to do something back home?

First collection I created was for Miss Nepal Beauty Pageant in 1998. Nepal has always been part of my design inspiration and the production process. Yes, I love to design for beautiful Nepalese women of all ages.

Pippa gown

The inspiration behind Pippa dress came to Sanyukta organically when she moved to new house. She explains, “I discovered these 30 years old of history caught up under the floorboards. Refusing to simply discard these pieces of antiquity I decided to aid another metamorphosis by reincarnating these aged papers into a dreamy romantic wedding dress for my collection that is inspired by Wallis Simpson.”

Including issues from the 1982 to 1983, from publications such as The Standard, The Daily Mail, Sunday Mail, The Weekly News, The Daily Express, The Sun and Motorcycle News, Pippa’s perfectly aged paper took the catwalk to truly represent the journey that any up-cycled product can take from ordinary to extraordinary. The Pippa gown gives new meaning to an old world style that takes the vintage to the next level. Aided by Nepalese hand loomed organic cotton and finished with nearly three thousand Swarovski Crystals to ensure that she really dazzles the world, the Pippa gown was launched at White gallery London Battersea Evolution, May 2012. With stunningly extravagant design and such an unusual history the finale of Pippa shocked and awed the audience. With the industry and press alike recognising Pippa as an incredible piece of art as well as statement on the importance of eco-friendly fashion the gown is unique, dramatic and showed a real story that gives a sense of history.

Source: http://www.sanyuktashrestha.com

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