Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 47, Tuesday December 04 , 2007



Fashion outlets stand beside SIDR victims

The turmoil of cyclone Sidr has left a sea of death and desperation in its wake.

In light of this, Kay Kraft and Rang, two of the leading designer outlets of the country have taken up individual initiatives to stand beside the cyclone-ravaged survivors of the south.

Kay Kraft has organised a section for collecting relief for the Sidr victims, where they gratefully welcome any form of aid from their customers- from medicine to clothing. ‘After a significant amount of aid is collected, Kay Kraft will personally see to it that this is taken to the devastated people in the cyclone- affected areas.

Rang, another well-known boutique has also taken up a similar initiative to providing aid for the survivors whose homes and lives have been wrecked by the cyclone. They have also set up aid-collecting corners at all of their showrooms throughout the country, where they are accepting any form of donation or aid for the Sidr victims. The collecting will continue from the 4th to the 10th of Dec 2007, after which a team from Rang will take the collected donations and distribute it among those in need.

So, please make it a point to drop in at any of the showrooms of either boutique and do your part for the society!

Last December, just prior to Eid-ul-Azha, I had shared some ideas on how to organize one self for the festivities and discussed some recipes suited to the occasion. This year I would like to share some Christmas recipes, as this revered Christian festival is just around the corner. As always, these recipes are suitable for even the most heath conscious of those who will be celebrating. So, Merry Christmas!

This recipe uses the traditional raisin and dates, but also includes dried apricots and bananas which are sticky and sweet and contains 2mg of vitamin B6 per 100g.

Baking a Christmas cake can be a long slow process and I have come across various tips to avoid it from drying out. Some people put a baking dish of hot water in the oven, which adds moisture to the cooking environment, while others cover the top with greaseproof paper throughout cooking. If you are not keen on a hard crust then a sheet of grease proof paper cut to size and put on the top of the cake after the first 50-60 minutes is a useful protection. Another method is not to make the cake too deep so that it does not require such extensive baking.

The attraction of this cake is that it can be prepared in advance for such special occasions. This still holds true for a sugar-free version, but it keeps for less time. A method for encouraging its preserving qualities is to pour fruit juice or brandy slowly over the top of the finished cake so that it soaks through. Wrap well with greaseproof paper and foil and leave to mature in a tin for a couple of weeks.

Makes 16 slices
Each slice is 25g carbohydrate and 185 calorie
Suitable for diabetics
Dried figs 100g
Dried apricots 75g
Dried bananas 75g
Dried dates 100g
Seedless raisins 100g
Sultanas 100g
Water 100ml
Tofu (firm) 100g
Butter 50g
Tahina (seasame seeds paste) 1 tablespoons
Eggs (large) 2
Almonds with skin 50g (chopped)
Almonds 50g (ground)
Whole wheat flour 100g
Soya flour or white flour 25g
Bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon
Cream of tartar 2 teaspoon
Mixed Spice 1 teaspoon
Lemon zest 1 teaspoon
Orange 1
Brandy (optional)
Soak figs, apricots and bananas in water for 30 minutes. Rinse, dry and chop. Put the dates with a little water in a bowl.

In a food processor, combine the dates with tofu, butter, tahina, and eggs and make batter. Pour this mixture over the dried fruits together with the chopped almonds. Stir well and add all the remaining ingredients except the orange. This should make a very stiff cake mixture.

Pour into a 20 cm (8 inch) diameter cake tin which has been oiled and lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Flatten the top with the back of a spoon.

Bake in a preheated oven gas mark 3/170o C/325o F for 60 minutes until the top is well browned and knife inserted in the centre comes out cleanly.

When the cake has cooled squeeze the juice from the orange, which should make about 100ml (4 fl oz). Make a few light cuts on the top of the cake and slowly pour the juice over until it has all soaked in. If you prefer your fruitcake more alcoholic, then substitute a little brandy for the orange juice. Wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and foil and store in a tin for one week to mature before using.

Makes 2 medium
Calorie: about 2500 a pudding
High fiber
Suitable for diabetics

A little more crumbly than other Christmas puddings because this style of pudding is fruitier and less fatty, it is easier to digest than the conventional Christmas pudding. In other words, it is very tasty and less heavy on the digestion especially after a Christmas dinner.

Dried figs 2/3 cup
Dried dates 2/3 cup
Apple 250g
Almonds (chop) 2 ½ cups
Whole wheat bread crumbs 4 cups
Apple pie spice 1 ½ teaspoons
Salt 1 pinch
Nutmeg (grated) ½ tsp
Margarine (soft) ½ cup
Honey 2 teaspoons
Lemons (juice) 2
Lemon (rind) 1
Eggs (beaten) 3
Raisin-1 ¾ cups, currents-2/3 cup, golden raisins-2/3 cup (all washed and chopped)
Orange 1 (scrubbed and coarsely minced, including peel)
Brandy 1 tablespoon (optional)
Chop finely figs, dates and apples and mix with almonds.

Put the bread crumbs, apple pie spice, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Rub in the fat, add the honey, the lemon juice and the eggs, all the fruit and nuts, and the brandy.

Transfer the mixture to two well-greased pudding basins or steaming moulds. Tie a buttered cloth or foil over the top
and boil or steam the puddings for 3 hours.
Steam for a further 2 hours before serving.


Greening it

This season, plan something new for your home to give it a complete and fabulous look! Besides bringing down the stored linens and refreshing the window dressing, you should try something that'll grab the attention of your guests. This can be achieved simply by putting some indoor plants at different corners of your home. A little bit of green can freshen up your place and brighten up the whole environment.

Nursery rhymes
You can collect plants from the local nursery, shops or malls. Plants that are available in the sales outlets and easy to keep as indoor plants include Money Plant, Monstera, Dracina, Philodendron, Merinda, Altherio, Musanda, Arica palm, Cycus Palm, Rubber Plant and Cactus. The names may vary from nursery to nursery but the price remains almost constant. These plants will cost from Tk 10 to Tk 900. Remember, the bigger the size the higher the price. So it's better to go for the tender plants as they cost between Tk 10 to Tk 100 and are easy to keep indoors.

Place it perfectly
You can place your plants almost anywhere you like. Living room, dining room, study, bathroom- even your kitchen. You can put them in the doorway, on the side table, at the edge of your window, beside the floor lamp, on the basin, on the working table of your kitchen; any place is great for your plants if you keep it with care.

A diminutive difference
Present the plants in a unique way. What you need is a little creativity. You can use pots made of different materials, like terra cotta, wood, porcelain, marble, glass, bamboo, and coconut. You can use different accessories to adorn your arrangement. Place pebbles, bits of log, shells, marble to give the placement of your plant a trendy look. Be experimental. Try to grow more than one variety in a single container. Indoor plants come in different colours, so you can be innovative and stun everyone.

Keep the plants under sunlight every other day.
Keep the soil moist.
Apply organic fertilizer.

Expose your plants to too much sunlight.
Keep in too low or high temperature.
Over water or keep the soil dry.

To protect your stylish container, instead of putting soil directly into it, you can use a smaller pot to plant the tree. Make two sets of each plant so that you can easily find a replacement while you take your plant out for the sun. Gently wipe the leaves often with a piece of wet cloth to keep it shiny.

Special thanks to: Tohfatul Zannat & Farida Akter.



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star