One of the good things that came from the lockdown period in 2020 was how much time people had to pick up new hobbies - especially baking. Many upstarts have found much success in this hobby and some have even turned it into small businesses to survive pay cuts and job losses at the height of COVID-19’s spread. With more people refining their craft, ingredients start to play a more important role; and what better ingredient to pay attention to than chocolate? The ingredient is versatile and commonly used - here’s how to pick the right kind of chocolate for your baking.
Baking (Unsweetened) Chocolate
Considered the most “authentic” version of chocolate, using this immediately contains between 90% to 99% of cacao which is a staple for cooking and baking. As its makeup consists of the least ingredients possible, this type of chocolate is suited to be an ingredient of its own when preparing batter. The batter is usually prepared for cakes, brownies and cookies - intended to serve as the main flavour of your pastry. As this chocolate functions as a component, it is unadvised to serve this type of chocolate as a snack to be eaten by hand.
Still containing a respectable amount of cacao (35% to 55% for semisweet and 60% to 70% for bittersweet), both chocolates are considered the “dark” chocolate that can be eaten by hand or used for chocolate chip cookies, fudge and even more brownies. Bittersweet chocolate contains slightly less sugar than semisweet chocolate, but both are extremely versatile and selected as a staple for many baking dishes. If you want your chocolate to have a significant amount of presence in your dish, while keeping the cacao notes intact, these are your go-to options.
Also read: Have a Sugar Rush at The Chocolate Room
MIlk chocolate is still technically within the “true” chocolate territory, containing 10% cocoa. This type of chocolate contains cocoa, butter and sugar - making it more than just a chocolate ingredient. It is commonly eaten by hand and better used as a standalone snack or an addition to the likes of trail mix, spreads and candy, but still goes with pastries for the sweet tooth like s'mores brownies and chocolate mousse. Milk chocolate still has its purpose in many pastries, but don’t expect the strong cocoa flavour that darker chocolates offer.
Also read:Chocolate fair kicks off in Brussels
Till this day, some argue that white chocolate is not real chocolate, but it is made from cocoa butter which essentially comes from the cocoa bean. Whether it is authentic chocolate or not, white chocolate drastically deviates from the cocoa taste present in dark chocolates and has its own purpose in the baking world. The lack of cocoa flavour gives it a niche of its own as it begins to complement stronger ingredients like citrus fruits, vanilla, coconut and berries. Red Velvet pies, cheesecakes and fruit tarts are common dishes that contain white chocolate.
Also read:To the Choco - Chaa Lovers Out there!
Bangladeshi theatre’s “voice of rebellion” Ishrat Nishat fell silent on January 20 last year.
This Wednesday marked the first death anniversary of the eminent theatre activist, actor, playwright, organiser, light designer and recitation artiste.
The 56-year-old was remembered with a special tribute “Ek Jiboner Theatre” by theatre troupe Desh Theatre. The programme showcased the life and works of Nishat at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Noted cultural personalities and theatre activists including Azad Abul Kalam, Mamunur Rashid, Masum Reza, Nasiruddin Yousuff shared their memories of the late activist and spoke about her contribution to Bangladeshi theatre.
“Ishrat Nishat was a dedicated theatre activist who wholeheartedly loved her job. She always guided, admired and protected her fellow theatre workers. Bangladeshi theatre movement is forever indebted to Ishrat,” legendary actor and Aranyak drama troupe founder Mamunur Rashid said.
“As a dedicated theatre professional, Ishrat earned respect from all theatre activists of Bangladesh due to her relentless efforts until her death.”
Her legacy will forever be remembered with the utmost respect, cultural activist and Dhaka DocLab chairman Nasiruddin Yousuff said.
Nasiruddin directed Nishat as an artiste in his film “Alpha,” the official submission of Bangladesh to the 92nd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film in 2019.
Cultural personalities also remembered the late artiste-activist with heartwarming stories on social media.
Theatre magazine “Khepa” published a special edition featuring the late artiste, commemorating her eventful life as a journeyman in the theatre arena.
Ishrat was born to the late actress Najma Anwar on August 26 in 1964. She garnered critical acclaim for her performances in theatre, television and films.
Nishat’s theatrical journey began with the theatre troupe Aranyak Natyadal’s play “Guinea Pig” in the 80s.
Her excellence as an actress later continued with plays like “Birosa Kabya,” “Ghorlapat” and “Dorpone Shorotshoshi.” She also directed two plays – “Loha” and “Arakshita.”
As a renowned organising activist, Nishat served the drama troupe Desh Natok as one of its founding members and served as the troupe’s leader until her death.
She was also a member of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation, Bangladesh Path Natok Parishad and Sammilita Sangskritik Jote.
Aside from being a theatre activist, Nishat was also a talented and creative light designer for staged plays and she was also a noted recitation artiste.
Websites have forced the average consumer to read far more than the pre-internet era could have possibly done. From grammatically broken comments on social media to research papers readily made available at just a tap of the screen, people have spent so much time reading that content structure has reduced significantly. Letter caps on Twitter posts and reduced word count in articles were altered to cater to the diminishing attention span of online readers. The digital age has just begun, but captivating novels are still releasing and users are still keen to slow down and absorb content traditionally. With the Kindle’s attempt to cleverly marry books and digital, it has become a direct competitor to the classic book, but how do they fare against each other and which one is better for you?
The Kindle’s Rise to Popularity
Amazon did not pioneer the concept of an e-reader (or e-book), but they certainly dominated the commercial market ever since they introduced the Kindle in 2007. The device was created solely for the purpose of reading e-novels which meant that its technology was specifically designed with the complete understanding that consumers would be looking at the Kindle’s screen for hours as anyone normally would with a regular book.
It’s no secret that overexposure to screens will damage the eyes if not moderated, however LED and LCD lights were avoided, and substituted with E-Ink. Despite what its name implies, E-Ink isn’t cutting-edge technology because of the way it emits texts on screen, but the entire “paper” interface altogether. Although pioneered in 1997, the Kindle has made sure that E-Ink can be used under extreme lighting conditions like harsh sunlight or even in dark places. By no means is this technology completely harmless for the eyes. Screen exposure regardless of the display system will emit blue light that can harm the eyes if overexposed, but Kindle goes out of its way to cause as little harm to readers as the latest technology available would allow.
The Kindle’s largest selling point by far is it's convenience. With a massive selection of E-books made available on the Amazon store, consumers can simply buy anything they want on the portal and the novel will immediately become available on their devices. On top of that, a mere 8GB Kindle can house up to 2,750 e-books while the 32GB model can contain a whopping number of 22,000 E-books. The sheer storage capacity in this small device has made it the perfect travel companion. Flights with hand luggage weight restrictions or long train rides are where the device has proven to be a potential successor to physical books.
Can Physical Books Keep Up?
Generations of consumers who lived in the physical book era find that no technology can replace the experience of reading an actual book. From the scent of new pages to the texture of paper, physical books have been reliable for hundreds of years, but arguably have been relegated to a luxury these days. Attention spans have been depleting as consumers become more online dependent and allocating time to read for hours isn’t as easy of an option as it once was. One of the biggest upsides to books is how affordable they are compared to a kindle. For about $20, readers can pick up a book that could last weeks or even months if there are time constraints. Worrying about battery failure when unused or accidentally dropping it are not concerns for physical books at all. On the other extreme end of the spectrum, avid readers would enjoy the experience of flipping pages, bookmarking and getting lost in the text in a scenic area.
For those who don't read often: If you’re under massive time constraints due to work or family life, a physical book could be the better choice. The price of a Kindle is certainly going to be too indulgent for how much it is being used for. A regular book is well worth your time if an hour is the maximum you could squeeze in a day.
For the frequent traveller: The Kindle is perfect for those who travel abundantly. Whether for work or leisure, the compact device saves you tons of weight that you’d have to lug around for hours on end. All it takes is a 2-minute purchase at the e-book store on Amazon for you to have new content to read wherever you are.
For the avid reader. This is all about preference. If you have dedicated time on your hands to sit by a lake, cafe or park to read for a few hours, both work effectively. If you need to detach from technology, a hardcopy is the way to go. If you want to juggle a few reading materials comfortably, go for the Kindle.
The ongoing 19th edition of Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) is being held for the first time in a hybrid format combining due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, and LagVelki.com, country’s first online pay-per-view movie streaming platform, is streaming the movies online as the official virtual platform of this festival.
Describing the journey behind the partnership, LagVelki’s founder Shariful Islam Shaon told UNB that this is a great opportunity for a Bangladeshi streaming startup, led and operated by the film-loving youths of the nation.
“DIFF is one of the biggest film festivals in the world and the biggest in our country since its beginning. For the first time ever, this festival is using a streaming platform as the 19th edition is being observed in a hybrid format, and we are proud to be its official broadcasting partner,” Shaon told UNB.
Sharing the story on how LagVelki got connected with DIFF, Shaon shared: “Noted filmmaker Abu Shehed Emon got us connected with DIFF, after the Liberation DocFest back in July 2020. Although DIFF director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal knew of our start-up, we officially began to discuss a possible partnership back in October. We presented our plan, and made official agreement in late December that LagVelki is going to stream 126 foreign films at the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival as its first-ever official virtual partner.”
“The entire working process was hectic, but we took it as a learning experience. Compressing 126 films and uploading on our website, making promo materials for each film and ensuring constant customer support for the virtual moviegoers was challenging, yet we successfully completed our tasks,” Shaon added.
When asked about the limitations, he mentioned that LagVelki only received permission to project foreign films at this year’s DIFF, however, the platform is expecting to project both local and international films in future editions of DIFF.
“OTT (Over-the-top) platforms are the future and already Bangladeshi films are being showcased at many OTT sites. As a local startup which initiated to support local films and filmmakers, we expect to have more professional engagements from our film professionals so that we can reach to more local audiences with our local films”.
Speaking of local audiences, Shaon also informed that the movies can only be watched from Bangladesh, as there are regional blockages for other countries. Local audiences can enjoy a full-length feature film at tk 50 and Short film at tk 20 for 6 hours after purchase. Payment can be made through any means of digital payment method available in Bangladesh including BKash, Nagad, Rocket and more.
“As a part of the new-hybrid-normalcy, we are receiving overwhelmingly good responses from our audiences - especially from the educated film enthusiasts, researchers, teachers and scholars who are being able to watch these films from anywhere in the country which was needed during this pandemic. This accessibility was not available to our audiences before.”
DIFF always had its special preferences for children through its various initiatives, and Shaon informed that LagVelki also followed the same - as its showcasing multiple films for children as the target audiences every day. “Many guardians were concerned on bringing their children in this festival which has always celebrated the presence of a significant number of child audiences every year - and keeping that in mind, we designed the festival with multiple international films to enthrall our child audiences,” Shaon told UNB.
Lagvelki has a total of five members in the core team led by Shariful Shaon, and 16 members in the digital team mostly from film & computer Science background. These young film lovers are working to reach this platform all over Bangladesh, cutting the middle-men during film distribution and channeling the money directly to the producers and filmmakers.
Shaon mentioned that LagVelki has received blessings and spiritual guidance from leading film scholars and cultural activists in Bangladesh, including Mofidul Hoque, Nasir Uddin Yousuf, Tareq Ahmed, Samia Zaman, Abu Shahed Emon and more.
As one of the rising startups, LagVelki became one of the top 3 winners as part of the #StartKoro bootcamp in July 2020, which was designed in a way that the participants have gone through a full cycle of learning, ideating, developing and launching a digital product or a startup. The winners received a total of $1500 USD ads credits from Facebook Developer Circle Dhaka, Preneur Lab Trust, UNDP Youth Co:Lab, UNCDF, Startup Bangladesh, FNF Bangladesh and bdapps by Robi Axiata Limited in the month-long boot camp was attended by 874 registered participants.
Being the first pay-per-movie site in Bangladesh, LagVelki is committed to bring cult classics to award-winning masterpieces and flourish the true form of visual arts without compromising the artist's views, thoughts & philosophical aspects, according to Shaon and his team.
The 7th edition of Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema at the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) concluded on Monday at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).
The two-day conference began Sunday with its special focus on improving the standard and content of women-based cinema and creating an interaction among women involved in the medium of cinema through exchanging ideas and sharing diverse experiences.
Six keynote papers were presented and discussed at the conference by renowned women filmmakers, critics, and panel members from home and abroad.
The conference featured the presentation of three keynote papers on Monday including “Women in VR: Is Another Train Leaving Without Us” by film critic and Show Time editor of Dhaka Tribune Sadia Khalid, “Role of Film Festivals and Social Media to Empower and Encourage Women in Cinema And Nepalese Women Film Maker’s Stand in the Present Scenario in seven decades History” by Nepalese filmmaker, actor and festival director of Yala International Independent Film Festival (YIIFF) in Nepal Nisha Shrestha and “Beyond Bangla Borders: Made in Bangladesh: A Case Study” by Sydney Levine, conference director and trainer, educator, writer and consultant for festival, international sales and financing strategies from LA, USA.
The sessions were respectively presided over by Associate Professor at Dhaka University’s Department of Mass Communication and Journalism Sabrina Sultana Chowdhury, film critic Sadia Khalid and Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Haque.
Noted discussants included Canadian film consultant-programmer Hannah Fisher, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker N Rashed Chowdhury, Indian actress and filmmaker Bijaya Jena, the connoisseur of ‘fan of all things’ creative, cultural and innovative from Bangladesh Naeema Chaudhury, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker Shamim Akhter, Norwegian producer and head of the New Nordic Films of the Norwegian International Film Festival Gyda Velvin Myklebust, Bangladeshi filmmaker and film society activist Aka Reza Ghalib and French filmmaker-producer Meral Melika Duran.
On Sunday, the other three papers including “A Few Good Films: Alternative Representation of Women in Films in the 70s in Bangladesh” was presented by Bangladeshi filmmaker and independent film activist Mehzad Ghalib; “We will Tell the Truth through Cinema - Women of the Iranian Cinema” was presented by Iranian film festival programmer, distributor and film producer Elaheh Nobakht and “Depicting Son Preference in Indian Cinema: A Feminist Contemplation” was presented by Debjani Halder, film research officer of the Film and Television Institute of India (Pune).
The sessions on Sunday were respectively presided over by DIFF chairperson Professor Kishwar Kamal, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker Shamim Akhter and Dr Kaberi Gayen, Professor at Dhaka University's Mass Communication and Journalism department.
Noted discussants included South Korean film festival programmer, playwright, journalist, producer, and human rights activist Su Lee, noted Bangladeshi filmmaker, screenwriter and producer Nargis Akhter, media personality and Jagannath University’s Film and Television department faculty Fatima Amin, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh Farah Kabir, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker, editor, and instructor Chaitali Somadder, Bangladeshi actress Bonna Mirza, Indian film society activist, film programmer and journalist Uma da Cunha, manager of Tehran’s Hilaj Film and Acting School in Iran Shadi Javadi and Bangladeshi filmmaker and film society activist Aka Reza Ghalib.
The declaration of the conference will be continued and read out at the closing ceremony of the 19th DIFF on January 24, Liberation War Museum trustee Hoque told UNB.
Earlier, the conference was officially inaugurated by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid on Sunday as the chief guest while BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky joined as the special guest at the inaugural ceremony, presided over by DIFF chairperson Kishwar Kamal.
French filmmaker-producer Meral Melika Duran and Canadian film consultant-programmer Hannah Fisher joined the inaugural ceremony virtually, which was anchored by festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal.
Following the inaugural ceremony, which showcased an enthralling dance-drama performance by BSA artists titled Banglar Nari, portraying noted women personalities who broke the shackles of the society and accelerated women empowerment including Pritilata Waddedar, Nawab Faizunnesa, Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain, Jahanara Imam, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina - the conference officially began featuring discussions on the topics.