Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

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Friday, 21 June 2013

Learning How To Make Dosas With Dosa Deli

I made this dosa!
I could happily eat a dosa every single day.
For the uninitiated, dosas are South Indian style savory crepes usually filled with potatoes, commonly served as street food or quick bites, and accompanied by coconut chutney and sambhar, a hot gravy containing vegetables.

A couple of weeks ago via Twitter I discovered that Dosa Deli were running a Dosa Making Masterclass. The closest I'd come to seeing dosas being made was on Madhur Jaffrey's recent cookery show, but according to her they took over 48 hours to make. Was she right? I decided to find out...

Dosa Deli are a mobile dosa making company run by husband and wife team Kristian and Amy, who travel around London making fresh dosas at events and markets.

For the class, the first one they'd ever run, they hired a community kitchen in London where around 15 of us came after work to learn how to make dosas.
The evening started over delicious ginger and lime mocktails as they explained the format of the evening, before Kristian taught us the most important bit - how to 'swirl' a dosa.

The basic ingredients needed for a dosa are urad dhal and white rice flour; both which need to be finely ground/blended up. 

Kristian talked us through the 'quick' 24 hour method. 
The dhal and flour are mixed with water and then left to ferment overnight. However the traditional method that Madhur Jaffrey uses does indeed take 48 hours as the batter is left for longer and made using rice instead of rice flour, but I'm assured they taste the same. 
Kristian's sample dosa
After that it was our turn to have a go. I was paired up with Shaun who I'm pleased to say was a perfect companion as like me he's not the most perfectionist of chefs!
My first attempt was a little on the small size...

But I kept going!
Shaun's dosas were nice and big...
We practiced until everyone in the class had creates piles of dosas.

Kristian then explained how to prepare the sambhar to have on the side and an extremely yummy coconut chutney made from mixing coconut and water with a delicious blend of oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves and asafedida which had been pre-fried/tempered. 
I was also pleased to find out more about the strange green vegetable you commonly get in sambhar - it's a soft veg that has sticks in which you can't eat - I never knew what it was called until now - a drumstick, available in ethnic food shops. 
Or if you can't find one, I think rhubarb would be a good alternative.

Next we moved on to making the filling - which was for a classic masala dosa.
These are usually filled with potato but at Dosa Delhi they have potato and butternut squash.
The whole class got stuck in making and eating dosas (they are best eaten hot and fresh).
As we tucked in Kristian whipped up some other tasty Indian street food snacks including idlis which I LOVE. I had no idea they are made from the same batter mixture as dosa. 

I also discovered they are made in idli moulds. The moulds are filled with batter and then steamed in a saucepan. 

Kristian also cooked some yummy bondas, savoury doughnuts which were fried and served with a tamarind sauce.

At the end of the class it was great to see people getting really creative with their dosa displays, I was particularly impressed by these canape style dosas, cut into more managable pieces. 

I was also happy that after my early attempts I too finally managed to create a dosa I was proud of.

By the end of the night, myself, and by the looks of things everyone else, were totally dosaed out! 
I couldn't eat another mouthful...(I did however take some idlis home which I ate the next day at work!)

Dosa Deli don't yet have any other dates for dosa making classes lined up but keep an eye on their Twitter and website as annoucements will be made there. You can also find out where they will next be serving up their dosas near you so you can try one! 


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

I've Got Pansy Coloured Hair

I'm calling my new hair shade Pansy as it has hints of blue, lilac and purple and reminds me of pansy flowers which we had a lot of in our back garden when I was growing up.
Here's the birds eye view...I love the early stages of freshly dyed hair, no roots to deal with.
And here's the the sides...
The back is blue and it also reveals the drasticness of my new cut, it's the shortest I've ever had it.

I've now had my do for a week and I'm still shocked whenever I look in the mirror.
On the plus side my new hair has sparked many conversations with strangers, mainly people at shop tills commenting how nice it is.

But the bizarrest one was that I was outside Selfridges in Oxford Street looking at my mobile when a guy came up to me and told me it was really apt I was standing where I was. 

I turned around and saw I was camouflaged so I asked him to take a photo of me!

My new look marks an all round feeling of newness, I feel refreshed and life seems different. Having cropped hair exposes your actual face, there's nothing to hide behind, it's scary at first but very liberating.

Thank you Fabritz & Jason from Toni & Guy Academy for doing such a top job on my hair again! And all for FREE! 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

My Style...in Cloth Magazine

EEK! It's me in the new issue of Cloth Magazine.
I'm featured alongside four other fashionistas, all talking about our personal style.
  The photos for the shoot were all taken within a two minute radius of Shoreditch High Street tube station which is also two minutes from the famous Brick Lane.
I had them taken on a Saturday afternoon in a 10 minute window of sun between a crazy rain shower and massive dose of hail stones. 
 But you can't tell!!
Look out for this cover should you wish to buy a copy of the magazine.
I absolutely LOVE this issue, the projects are gorgeous. 
My three faves are this stripey dress.
A disco bra.
 And this amazing plastic spoon necklace that reminds me of the plastic jewellery course I did a few years back.

All the pages are beautifully designed and overall it's a totally lovely magazine so go buy a copy!

Cloth Magazine (August, #19) is on sale now!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Quick crafting: Ladybird Shoes

Everyone should own a pair of red shoes. 
I got my first pair when I was a baby. 
When I was seven, I slipped over in a pair and ended up in hospital, and missing weeks off school. My last pair were worn to death until every last bit of the sole had withered away. Sad times - they were very comfortable.
So I recently bought a new pair..only thing was they were a bit too ordinary looking, so I grabbed a black permanent marker pen and drew spots all over them.
I wasn't keen on the bows so I snipped them off, they were easy enough to remove, just held on by a few stitches.
Of course I couldn't leave them like that and they were obviously screaming out ladybird!
I made some from craft foam and glued them to the fronts. (Each piece is double-backed to make them strong).
 Then I wore them to the park.

All in all it took around 10 minutes and they make me feel happy.