A taste of Italy up in Shimla hills

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The Himachal Pradesh capital is now offering a platter of authentic taste of Italy — an Italian thin crust, hand-rolled wood-fired pizzas laced with an assortment of organic herbs grown in its kitchen garden.

The pizza will also have Italian tomatoes or pomodoros imported from Italy. Even the cheese is being imported from Italy.

“We are different from others as our thin crust pizza base is one of its kind as it is smoked in the mango wood oven. Others have electrical ovens which don’t give it a smoky flavour,” Meet Singh Malhotra, The Oberoi Group’s Clarkes Hotel’s kitchen executive, told IANS.

“Even its base is hand rolled and for health conscious guests we offer organic whole-wheat pizzas too,” he said.

Herbs like basil, wild rocket and arugula used in the pizza are specially grown by the hotel in its kitchen garden without using pesticides or fertiliser.

Malhotra said the condiments with a pizza are olive oil which is flavoured with thyme, a herb, and balsamic vinegar.

“We use only the finest ingredients, besides traditional recipe and methods, to give typical Italian flavour,” Clarkes’ general manager D.P. Bhatia told IANS.

He said Clarkes has also introduced a new menu which includes Chinese, Mexican, Italian and homemade pastas, besides traditional Himachali cuisines.

He said traditional Himachali food like khoru, patore, babroo, chaa ghosht and murgh anardana, which have been long forgotten, are popular among the guests.

In February this year, The Oberoi Group of hotels in Shimla and in Delhi introduced Himachali cuisine, which is not only offered in traditional style but also cooked by chefs trained by the “botis” or hereditary cooks in copper vessels.

Bhatia said Clarkes would soon add a street food menu.

It will include foods like keema samosa, patile wale matar kulcha, kachaudi with aloo ki sabzi and bichoo ki chat or stinging nettle chat.

The stinging nettle is commonly grown in the wild in the hills and is known to have medicinal values, said Malhotra.

To catch up the pizzeria fever, Clarkes offers unlimited pizza at Rs.550 per person with a complimentary drink from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

No oven? ‘Bake’ your cake in a pressure cooker

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Electricity going off when your cake is sitting in the oven and is only half-way through can be one of the worst kitchen nightmares. I was in a similar situation last weekend and did panic initially. But I managed to avert a disaster with my good old pressure cooker coming to the rescue.

It was, in fact, a pressure cooker in which cake was baked for the first time almost three decades ago in my humble small-town home with no electric oven. It had been a little burnt from the bottom, with all the raisins failing to beat the gravitational force, and not fully done in the centre. But over time our pressure cooker had started dishing out perfect looking and great tasting cakes, until an OTG finally came into the picture.

We don’t need to actually “pressure cook” the cake, so there is no need to cover it with the usual lid. Just a normal metal or glass cover will do.

Here’s is the recipe for a basic fruit cake ‘baked’ in a pressure cooker.

The raw cake batter inside the pressure cooker (Source: Sanghamitra Mazumdar)The raw cake batter inside the pressure cooker (Source: Sanghamitra Mazumdar)The cake once done, ready to be taken out (Source: Sanghamitra Mazumdar)The cake once done, ready to be taken out (Source: Sanghamitra Mazumdar)cake 3The cake — bottom side up. (Source: Sanghamitra Mazumdar)

Ingredients:

Maida: 1 1/2 cup

Sugar: 1 cup (powdered)

Butter: 1 cup

Tutty-frutty: ½ cup

Raisins: ¼ cup

Salt: A pinch

Baking soda: A pinch

Baking powder: 1-and-a-half spoons

Eggs: 2

Preparation:

Sieve maida with baking soda and baking powder.

Add tutty-frutty, raisins and salt and set aside.

Beat sugar and butter till fluffy.

Add maida mixture to it one spoon at a time and keep beating.

Mix in the beaten eggs. If it gets too dry, add a little milk (be careful with the consistency; the batter for a fruit cake should be thicker than that for a sponge cake).

Grease a cake tin and sprinkle a little dry flour. Once beaten properly, pour the cake mixture into the greased tin.

Now put a wire rack or grid (to prevent burning) inside the pressure cooker and lower the cake tin on to that. Keep the flame low. It usually takes an hour, but keep checking after first 30 minutes by inserting a toothpick.

Turn off the heat once the toothpick comes out clean.

Change in hostel curfew irks students in Delhi

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Women students of a postgraduate hostel of Delhi University have expressed anger at new rules, which have reportedly brought forward the ‘curfew’ timing by an hour to 9 pm. The rules also state that hostel residents cannot interfere in the “management of the hostel”. But boarders said they cannot protest publicly since the hostel readmission process is on and they risk losing their place.

The matter pertains to the Ambedkar Ganguly Students’ House for Women in Mukherjee Nagar. The hostel has 100 seats, of which 50 per cent are reserved for students from the Delhi School of Economics. The rest are for students from reserved categories. “Residents are hereby informed that from August 1 onwards, attendance will be taken 8 pm to 9 pm… No resident shall leave the House premises after giving attendance. If anyone does not give her attendance on account of her physical absence, she will be deemed to be on night out,” reads a notice dated July 29, signed by hostel warden K Ratnabali.

Additionally, a rule in the alleged handbook reads: “Residents cannot interfere in the administration and management of the hostel by the hostel authorities”. According to boarders, the post of provost has been vacant since October last year, ever since last provost retired. “Since then, the warden has been acting on her own whim. We’ve been demanding a meeting with the management but she has been avoiding it,” alleged a boarder.

Warden K Ratnabali did not respond to calls and texts by The Indian Express. In a statement, women students’ group Pinjra Tod said the “denial of university housing is being used as threat to snub dissenting voices”.

NCERT: No increase in price of books

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The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) on Tuesday clarifies that it is not planning to increase the price of the books. “Certain speculative reports about price hike of NCERT books are likely to be exploited by some elements for hoarding and profiteering by creating an artificial shortage of books. No such increase an s likely,” NCERT Director Hrushikesh Senapati said in statement.

The statement comes at a time when it was some media reports said that the council is planning to increase price of its books which raised concerns among various quarters. “All NCERT books are available at its portal for downloading free of cost,” he added.

As per the Economic Times, NCERT textbooks price was last revised in 2012 with the cost of some of them going up by up to 50 per cent. The hike was big as NCERT had revised the prices after 13 years and the printing charges had gone up manifold.

Recently, the secretary to the Union School Education and Literacy Ministry Anil Swarup said NCERT books will be made available to students of all public and private schools. However, choice should be available and option should be given to the school students.

He also said that CBSE has 20,000 schools and 13 crore books are consumed (used) by students. But while the maximum price of a NCERT book is Rs 50, that of a non-NCERT book goes upto Rs 300.

UP Board makes 75 per cent attendance mandatory for students appearing in board exams 2018

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Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad has made 75 per cent attendance mandatory for students appearing in class 10 and 12 examinations. All those students whose attendance is below 75 per cent will be debarred from sitting in the exams.

As per a Dainik Jagran’s report, the government has taken this decision to improve education condition in the state. The UP Board has directed all the officials to inspect these schools regularly to check whether teachers and students are attending the class or not. The official has to submit a report to the UP Board.

Moreover, to tighten the schools head who delay online registration for board exams at the last day, the UP Board plans to stop their salary payments. According to a Times of India report, Secretary of UP Board, Neena Srivastava, said the idea is to avoid any last-minute technical snag in the central server.

The procedure for filling online application forms next year’s exams have started for both private and regular students on July 20. The last date to submit the duly filled form is October 10.

The decision is taken keeping in mind last year’s scenario when several principals did not utilise the one-month period and uploaded the details on UP Board’s official website on the last date. Due to this, the central server faced technical issues.

There are 20,945 schools affiliated to UP Board in the state.

Parents, beware. 3 hours of TV daily may up risk of diabetes in your kids

Being glued to television or video games for more than three hours a day may put your children at increased risk of developing diabetes.

Parents, take note! Being glued to television or video games for more than three hours a day may put your children at increased risk of developing diabetes, a study warns. Researchers found that both adiposity, which describes total body fat, and insulin resistance, which occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin, were affected by longer hours of watching television and using computers.

“Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls, from an early age,” said Claire Nightingale, research fellow at St George’s, University of London in the UK.

Researchers based their findings on a sample of nearly 4,500 nine to 10-year-old pupils from 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester. The children were assessed for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, including blood fats, insulin resistance, fasting blood glucose levels, blood pressure and body fat.

Around a third of the children spent less than an hour of screen time a day, but 28% of the children said they clocked up one to two hours; 13% said their tally was two to three hours; and 18% said they spent more than three hours looking at screens every day.

The study noted that there was a trend between levels of screen time and higher levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite. (Shutterstock )

Trends emerged between screen time and ponderal index – an indicator of weight in relation to height, and skinfolds thickness and fat mass index – indicators of total body fat. Researchers found that these levels were all higher in children reporting more than three hours of daily screen time than in those who said they spent an hour or less on it.

The team also noted that there was a strong trend between levels of screen time and higher levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, and insulin resistance. The trends remained significant even after taking account of potentially influential factors, including physical activity levels, researchers said.

Ladies, having a baby in your 30s may ensure a long life for you

Women who conceive later in life tend to be well-off and educated and have healthier lifestyle, leading to longer life expectancies.

Looks like people, who are planning their family late, may breathe a sigh of relief. Earlier research said, conceiving after 30 may leave a first-time mother childless. But a new study, not only denies the fact, but also brings a good news for the older moms.

The study, by scientists at Portugal’s Coimbra University, said that women who became mothers later in life were more likely to live longer than those who gave birth in their teens and 20s, reports the Independent. “The most relevant result shows that women tend to live longer the older they are when they get pregnant (in particular, for the first child),” it said, according to a paper published in the Journal of Public Health.

Of several factors which determine women’s life expectancy, it said, “The most surprising factor is the age of women at pregnancy, which may provide evidence to promote pregnancy in the early 30s.” A second study, published in the journal menopause Menopause journal, also found that mothers, who gave birth at 33 or older, were three times more like to have certain DNA markers for longevity than mothers who gave birth younger.

But neither study provided an explanation as to why older mothers may live longer. The report further said that according to fertility expert Lord Winston, women who conceive later in life tend to be well-off and educated and have healthier lifestyle, leading to longer life expectancies.

Jamia Hamdard starting MBA course in insurance

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Jamia Hamdard University is starting a new management course in insurance from this academic session.

The two-year MBA insurance programme, which will admit 40 students per year, will focus on both academic and field knowledge about insurance.

The online application form is available on the university website. Applicants who have sat for competitive exams such as MAT, and CAT can apply to the course as the university does not conduct a separate exam for the course.

“The applicant will have to through a group discussion and a personal interview after which the merit list will be made based on the total score of the applicant,” said Shibu John, from the School of Management & Business Studies.

The course will be of four semesters under which the first two semesters will focus on management-related issues and the last two semesters will be on insurance-related topics.

“The programme will focus on systematic and scientific methods with quality research support in the insurance sector. Students will be taught about insurance-related topics, such as health insurance, life and non-life insurance, marine insurance, and agriculture insurance,” John said.

He said that the university has tied up with Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) to get subject experts to teach students.

“We are collaborating with experts who have worked in the field of insurance so that students get to know about the present and future needs of the insurance industry,” he said.

The last date to submit the application form is August 20.

Assam to appoint 877 teachers in colleges, schools in August

Assam government on Monday said it will appoint 877 teachers in schools and colleges across the state within next one week.

Assam government on Monday said it will appoint 877 teachers in schools and colleges across the state within next one week.

“We are going to appoint the teachers by August 7. Out of them, 105 teachers of five new colleges will receive appointment letters from the Chief Minister on August 4,” Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at a press conference in Guwahati.

The new five government-run colleges has been set up in Behali, Dalgaon, Karimganj, Bongaigaon and Goalpara, he added.

Assam currently had only four government colleges — Cotton College, Diphu College, Haflong College and Kokrajhar College, of which Cotton has been transformed into an university.

“These will be model colleges and named after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. The classes will begin immediately in these.

“Construction work for another seven model colleges are going on. As per the new education policy, government will set up all future educational institutes wherever there is a necessity,” Sarma said.

In next year, three more colleges will be set up in Karbi Anglong, Cachar and Nagaon, he added.

Sarma further said government will hand over appointment letters to 626 Headmasters and 146 Assistant Headmasters in high schools across the state on August 7.

“This will address a long pending issue of running high schools without any permanent headmaster,” he added.

The minister informed that 124 retired teachers have been appointed as special inspectors in as many schools, where pass percentage in latest metric examination was below 10%.

 

Assam to appoint 877 teachers in colleges, schools in August

Assam government on Monday said it will appoint 877 teachers in schools and colleges across the state within next one week.

Assam government on Monday said it will appoint 877 teachers in schools and colleges across the state within next one week.

“We are going to appoint the teachers by August 7. Out of them, 105 teachers of five new colleges will receive appointment letters from the Chief Minister on August 4,” Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at a press conference in Guwahati.

The new five government-run colleges has been set up in Behali, Dalgaon, Karimganj, Bongaigaon and Goalpara, he added.

Assam currently had only four government colleges — Cotton College, Diphu College, Haflong College and Kokrajhar College, of which Cotton has been transformed into an university.

“These will be model colleges and named after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. The classes will begin immediately in these.

“Construction work for another seven model colleges are going on. As per the new education policy, government will set up all future educational institutes wherever there is a necessity,” Sarma said.

In next year, three more colleges will be set up in Karbi Anglong, Cachar and Nagaon, he added.

Sarma further said government will hand over appointment letters to 626 Headmasters and 146 Assistant Headmasters in high schools across the state on August 7.

“This will address a long pending issue of running high schools without any permanent headmaster,” he added.

The minister informed that 124 retired teachers have been appointed as special inspectors in as many schools, where pass percentage in latest metric examination was below 10%.