Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 43, Tuesday June 13, 2006



Diary of a food obsessed person

Dearest Diary,
Today I have a confession to make to you. Basically, this is what you are here for. To bear my deepest, darkest feelings and secrets…right? So here goes.

Diary, I am a shop-a-holic. There, I said it. It's off my chest. I can't help it. I love to shop…shop…and shop…till I literally drop. People need so many chemically enhanced things to give them a high, but I just need an excuse to buy something. My sobriquet should be, Sam, the shopper from retailers delight.

I really don't know when my tryst with shopping started but one of my earliest memories is I think when I was 14 or 15, I was to go to a friend's birthday party and at that crucial time of my hormonal life, I was standing at the juncture of not having the perfect outfit suitable for the mean brigade. You know how peers can be at that age… and if you don't know or have forgotten, then watch the movie Mean Girls, and everything will come flooding back. Anyway to cut a long and hurtful story short, I had asked God, tearfully and beseechingly, to give me enough clothes to outlive me. And boy oh boy! Did my pleadings get heard! My love affair with clothes spilled over on to shoes, then to bags, then to make-up and so on. But, though I am sounding like one who shops only for oneself, to be fair to myself diary, I do shop for others too.

Say for instance last week my son, was standing in front of the fridge, one hand on the opened door and one hand on his hips, muttering to himself, tiramisu…chocolate cake….mangoes…..nothing to eat…..grumble mumble. And then I in my mommy voice, piped up, “What do you want to eat baby?” (any excuse to go to Agora) he rattled off his list and left me with a smile on my face, my new silver bag (by the way, a gift from Shumi) tucked under my deodorized and perfumed arms, fully made up, all ready to face consumer bliss.

Believe me diary, in my world of shopping, I think grocery shopping wins hands down. Last week my pal Sadia, reminded me, when we were moving back to Dhaka, how everybody bought furniture and electronics, but apparently all I bought was spray starch, garbage bag and all sorts of cleaning materials. I have wisened up now. Now I know, spray starch gets sprayed away into oblivion but certain things that are called a woman's best friend are here to stay.

Now, let me introduce you to different methods of shopping which I have learnt from friends.

From my friend Minnat I have learnt, if you really like something, never buy one of that particular thing. Go for a six pack. The red t-shirt from Giordano feels good. So go buy the green, yellow, 2 blacks and a white.

From Sadia I have learnt, if you have a favourite colour, say for example, the “phiroza blue”, which does wonders for you, buy everything in that shade. You will always look good.

From my friend Raj I have learnt, always consult your husband while buying flirty, feminine stuff, so he can never object to what you are wearing later.

From my friend Lisa I have learnt, whenever your hubby goes globetrotting, pout and get all teary eyed, poof!! No need to go to BKK for shopping this year, shopping will come to you in all forms in Dhaka from BKK.

And from my sister and her best gal pal, Tupli, I have learnt, buy everything that takes your fancy. “Indulgent husband ache na?” (said in the same tone as, “Surf Excel ache na?”)

So diary, I think I have spilled enough secrets for one session today. Have to hurry. As the World Cup fever is on, I have been instructed to bring on the snacks and drinks in full force. So here I come Agora, okay, maybe the new PQS, I can pop in to see their stock, or maybe a small pit stop at Nandan's…Hallelujah!

Adios diary! Have a nice, snacky World Cup the Sam Q way.

Golden smoothie
2 mangoes (cut into cubes)
2 tsp sugar or sugar substitute
150ml low fat yogurt
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2 handfuls ice cubes
Whisk mango cubes, yogurt, honey, cinnamon, sugar and ice cubes in a blender till smooth. Pour into two tall glasses and drizzle with extra honey before serving.

Sweet Chili Chicken Wings
½ cup sweet chili sauce
½ cup barbeque sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 kg chicken wings
1. Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stirring occasionally
2. Pre-heat oven to moderately hot (180-200 degrees Celsius)
3. In a baking dish, put the chicken; roast for about 45 minutes or until browned. Turn halfway through cooking.
No Bake Rocky Road Brownies
7-ounce milk chocolate chopped
4-ounce condensed milk
1-ounce butter
3 ounces raisins
3 ounces digestive biscuits(crushed)
Put the milk chocolate, condensed milk and butter in a large bowl. Heat until melted. Beat smooth and cool slightly and add raisins, chopped white chocolate and digestive biscuits. Pour the mix in a baking tin, pressing down well. Cover with foil and chill well, preferably overnight, or until set, cut into thick fingers and serve.

Jacket Potatoes with Tuna and Cheese
4 big potatoes (washed, and pricked with a fork)
1 oz butter
4 oz grated cheese
1 can tuna (drained and flaked)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius, 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and gas 7. Place the potatoes on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 1 hour until tender.
Cut the potatoes in half (vertically) and use a spoon to scoop the flesh into a bowl. Reserve the skins.
Mash the potato flesh with the butter and half the cheese. Add tuna, salt, and pepper.
Spoon the mixture back into the potato skins, packing it well into each. Place on baking tray, then scatter the remaining cheese over it. Place back in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the filling is piping hot and the tops are golden. Serve hot.

News flash


"Aranya's summer collection white rainbow is primarily in cool whites with touches of subtle natural colour highlights. Embroideries, prints and Shibori tie-dye techniques are used to create a wide range of designs and styles both in apparels and saris.


Prabartana is revelling in the rain with their ‘Abhromala’ collection. Featuring churidars, Punjabi, fotuas, skirts and other outfits in shades of blue, grey and muted rainbows, this line is truly inspired by the cloudy skies. Check out the new line at www.prabartana.com


Trendz has always been the symbol of youth and what better times to prove it than now. This world cup season, Trendz has come up with an exclusive t shirts line. Priced at Tk.290 each these t-shirts are of excellent quality and are found in almost all the favourite teams official colours.


For the love of food

By Kaniska Chakraborty

The watermelon

It was yet another get together- dinner, menu planning and all the rest of it. Exasperating, some would call it. But not me! I thrive in these situations.

A few friends decided to get together and take advantage of the mid week break called May Day and dinner was the call. My place, despite the non-functioning lift, was the chosen venue. In fact, the broken down lift was probably a plus point, working up our appetites as we climbed up and digesting on the way down. With a couple of friends leaving the country just after, the occasion required special attention.

My food loving soul kicked into action. I decided that besides the time tested pasta, fish and mushroom I wanted to do something special this time, something out of the ordinary. I wanted something that would make people sit up and take notice. But what could it be? What mouth tingling, mind jiggling dish can I create that would be appreciated to that extent?

A very dear colleague of mine, who went to the US to complete his long pending education, met all sorts of interesting people there including a qualified chef, who was taking a break to complete her studies. In a moment of graciousness, he had introduced me to this lady and we had been in touch since. I discussed the issue of this dinner with her and voiced my desire to do a simple yet new dish. She asked me about the different ingredients available here and in a flash of inspiration, I said, “Watermelons- lots of them!” She simply said, “Why don't you do watermelon with olive oil and balsamic vinegar?”

It struck me as a stroke of genius. According to her, this was an Italian classic. They cube watermelon and pour vinaigrette on it. It instantly becomes a salad.

I did my own version. In place of balsamic, cider vinegar did the job. And a lot of cilantros gave it the summer feel. The customary dose of lemon juice to perk things up went in as well and I served the melon in its shell.

Bright crimson pieces of watermelon, swimming in a pool of cloudy liquid, emanating the essence of vinegar, shone from the olive oil. And the little green islands of cilantro specs garnished the dish. You could almost see the little bits of lemon catching the light. And all this mixed with the blushing juice of the melon made quite the spectacle. It brought out the oohs and aahs from my assortment of friends that I wanted.

I stood by hoping it tasted half as good as it looked.


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