Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 18, Tuesday May 6, 2008



Dearest diary,
Since I am a “been there, done that" kind of a person, I thought why not finally do the only thing, which I have not done to beat the battle of the bulge... swimming! And by the way, even that did not come to me in an Oprah "AHA" moment. I had to be convinced by a very concerned well wisher of mine who insisted that it was THE thing to do. So on that note I secretly code-named him my 'German 007 connection'. But being the recalcitrant person that I am...even that took a couple of weeks before I literally took the plunge. So, finally after a huge andropause, the D-day arrives. First hiccup...no swimsuit. Anyway, temporarily the problem was solved by cutting up track pants impersonating as suit bottoms and a huge, black, tent look-a-like t-shirt transformed into a modest tank top. Now, what would you think? I am set? No way! How can things be so easy? Now Sports World awaits me to complete my ensemble. Eye goggles, earplugs and a bathing cap are purchased and it looks like nirvana is getting closer. So amid a lot of susurration from the ladies and children in the swimming pool, I timidly let myself in the water with as little disturbance as I can muster. And, what do I do on my first day...I lose one of my ear plugs, rip my rubber hair cap with my manicured talons, feel the need to buy ankle braces and feel miserable being watched while getting hauled up by two life guards like an enormous bag of manure after I finished my athletic routine.

Anyway, after two days of recuperating from such strenuous activity, I ventured out to the pool again. But not before my pit stop at Sports World again to get a cotton based hair cap, new set of ear plugs, ankle braces and as an after thought, knee braces too. If only I could show you how I looked and felt that day. So many tumultuous emotions, so many self inflicted facial expressions. I am sure if the producers of 'Ugly Betty' were around they would have snapped me up in a jiffy and renamed their show 'Fat Jetty'. So while all this is going on, my proper swimming suit has arrived. I shy away from looking at the tag only because it has so many X's on it. Though now at least I blend in the costume department with all the other swimmers, but I tell you... I so match with Willy the whale too. We are also colour co-ordinated. My costume is black and my cellulite riddled arms and legs white (if I say so myself), and so is Willy. Black on top with a white belly. So as the movie is named 'Free Willy'. I also every night make a mental movie named 'Free Me' from such a sad bondage.

Don't worry diary, I am not going to get all weepy on you now. It is just my hormones acting up. I have to stop being so loquacious. I guess I am done talking to you diary. If only you could write back I would give you my e-mail address only to know your opinion on my rantings. Well...what the hell...I will give it to you anyway. Miracles do happen. So here goes...saminaalam@hotmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you. So have a good day the Sam Q way!

Chicken sausages, cheese and pineapple rolls

Pre heat oven.
Split a roll or bun in half and place cut-side up on oven tray. Sprinkle grated cheese, chopped chicken sausages and chopped canned pineapple and again grated cheddar, parmesean or any other cheese of your choice and bake in a very hot oven for 5 mins or until lightly browned.

Traffic light pasta salad
250g small pasta
1 small green capsicum, chopped
250g tomatoes, chopped
100g roast chicken breast, chopped
125g cheese, cubed
2tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60ml) bottled French Salad dressing.

Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until tender.
Wash pasta under cold water, drain well. Transfer to bowl & cool.
Add remaining ingredients to paste in a bowl. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Sticky chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup (650ml) honey
1/4 cup (60ml) barbecue sauce
1 tbsp of teriyaki sauce
8 chicken drumsticks

Combine all ingredients in a shallow bowl. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat oven. Roast chicken for about 45 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Brush occasionally with pan juices.

Vietnamese style light summer sandwich
Split bun or bagutte and spread lightly with mayonnaise. Fill with shredded barbecued chicken, grated carrot and iceberg lettuce or the local lettuce. Drizzle with a few coriander leaves.

Sandwich Ideas:
Choose wholemeal or whole grain bread where possible

As stuffing you can use cooked chicken, tuna, salmon, boiled eggs, sausages and salamis.

As spreads you can use, low-cal mayonnaise, cream cheese, ketchup sweet chilli same, mustard, hummus.

As fillers you can use, lettuce, herbs, coriander, chopped celery, tomato, grated carrot, grated cheese.

Spiced coconut prawn stir-fry
1.25 kg uncooked prawns
2 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
500g mixed cut vegetables
140 ml can coconut milk
2 tbsp mango chutney

Shell and de-vein prawns.
Combine prawns and remaining ingredients, in a large bowl.
Stir-fry in a heated oiled wok until vegetables are just tender
Serve hot.

News Flash

Born in the USA

FROM 14 to 20 May, Bithika Restaurant, Dhaka Sheraton Hotel will feature an array of American food that is sure to please palates. American food has changed and developed for over the last 500 years. From colonial classics to modern day trend setting dishes, American delicacy encompasses a divine history as well as vast flavours and textures. Check out what Bithika has on offer and tantalise your taste buds. For more information or reservations please call # 8330001, ext. 4221.

Euro-Bangla Fusion

THE European Commission Delegation to Bangladesh organised the second Euro-Bangla Fusion Students Chef Competition on 6 May 2008. Starting in 2007, it has been an annual competition open to all institutions involved in chef training. The main purpose of the event is to help students innovate and create new recipes involving European and Bangla culinary art. Habiba Binte Mahmud won first prize in the 'Main Dish' while Md Azizur Rahman snatched the laurel in the 'appetizer' category.

Of lobsters & pastas

PAN Pacific Sonargaon welcomes you to a celestial dining arrangement with a delicious variety of Italian entrées like pasta, ravioli, and spaghetti with lobster- a gastronomical treat for foodies! The festival will continue untill 14 May 2008 with a sumptuous variety of dishes at CIAO, from 6 pm - 11 pm everyday. The cuisine is purely Italian so that you can take a welcome break from regular food, and at the same time, feel right at home. The meal comes in a-la-cart menu with a range of ten dishes. There is also the option to go to the live cooking station and order your choice of food. For reservations, please contact # 8111005 - 4240.

Writer’s block

Fahmeena Nahas

Ode to Sarah

IF I were a poet, I would definitely have written a poem or two by now. But a poet I am not, and oceans of verses I've never penned. But, Sarah, you inspire me in such emotions that I've never felt before you came along.

Sarah, the day your ma told me she was expecting you, I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. I was excited beyond words. But all I could do was tell her she needed to see a doctor straight away. I took her to my friend, Dr. Shahana, who confirmed that you were on your way in about eight months time.

As days passed I came to welcome you as an entity and called you my Shonapakhi. When your ma sent a text saying, “you are probably having a granddaughter”, joy and excitement knew no bounds. I went wild and on a shopping spree for girlie stuff and couldn't stop smiling.

Time flew and it was time for you to make a royal entrance. As your ma screamed in pain, I held on to her hand and waited for you to come, comforting her and chanting prayers at the same time. Then you presented yourself...a little bundle of joy. You had such lovely, grey eyes and long, black hair. You were a total antithesis to the wrinkly, frowning, bald baby that I was expecting. You were, no doubt, the most beautiful newborn I had ever seen. And you were so small and helpless; I couldn't help but feel protective towards you.

You were born on Mother's Day, 2007. What better gift could a mother want from her daughter than a lovely, little granddaughter?

A year has passed since then. A complete year! Imagine that. In the meantime you've managed to do a lot of things. You took your time to roll over, to sit on your own, or to crawl. But, you've shown us that you aspire for greater things. You walked at eleven months and you say so many things now. And your mind...you have a very strong mind of your own. You drive us all around with your invisible noose around our necks.

My day starts with turning the cell phone alarm off and kissing your little face on my mobile display and your face is the last thing I picture as I doze off at night. You take up most of my waking memory. You're the very essence of my life.

Shonapakhi, my darling Shonapakhi, you're always going to be privileged as far as your Jan bhai and I'm concerned. You're our first grandchild and a very important part of us. And on this day, your first birthday, we pray to Almighty Allah for you and wish the very best of everything that life has to offer you.



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