Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |Volume 5, Issue 50, Tuesday, December 21, 2010




Your personal recipe book

It dawned upon me one fine evening that I too should have my own personal cookbook. Of course the movie Julie & Julia sparked that interest in me and since I love cooking, I thought it would not be a bad idea to have all of my recipes compiled in a scrap book manner and make my own booklet.

Even though no one considers me a good cook, I rate myself as not a bad one. I do keep on experimenting with sauces and adding this herb or that spice to perfect the exact taste and it is not always very rewarding; to this I must confess. And if I was to be judged on my experiments I'd surely flunk. But they are my experiments and a few people around me have survived tasting them -- thus my confidence.

However, a recipe book is something that almost every woman wants to have. I've seen my mother taking cooking classes and learning to perfect that Thai Soup or Nargisi Kofta by reading and re-reading and pouring into the pages of her blue velvet book. And she was proud of what she had perfected and loved to share it with others.

On the other hand my husband loves his mother's food, seeks that same flavour in all my cooking. In fact she does the shami kebabs (chevon patties) perfectly; the meat has a tender fibre feel to it with a lemony, mint flavour that is just right with evening mocktails. Her pilao rice is a hit with all of her grandchildren as well. Though she never carries a recipe book, her perfection is time tested. Therefore totally different from my style of cooking, and if I do not jot down the tricks, these tastes will be forever lost.

On this note I must mention my great great grandma. It was her 95th birthday that year and most of us went to our ancestral home to celebrate it with her. Surrounded by all her dear ones, she decided to cook. And like a magician at work, she literally felt her way through the kachhis and kormas and other dishes. She, who was slightly visually impaired, cooked the perfect feast by just feeling her way around spices. She was mixing the spices and putting in the right amount simply by her gut instincts and lifelong practice. It was amazing to see magic happen in that manner.

I, on the other hand, never follow the recipes verbatim; never rely on intuition either, so the family recipes or even the downloaded ones get a fresh makeover from me. I am sure in this manner these precious recipes will lose their original flavour and zest; hence my desire to compile them is the right thing to do at the moment. And if you people have a sizeable collection of recipes lying about your kitchen and in your drawers, why not compile them and come up with your own recipe book as well? What makes this all very “cool” is that you can use your family recipes to make your own recipe book. I always wanted to take my mum's, my grandma's, my great grandma's and my mum-in-law's recipes and put them in a book.

Take a look at some tips below on making that booklet:
Bring out your collection of recipes and segregate them in different categories. You can make a separate file for appetisers, meat dishes, fish, poultry, pasta, vegetables, salads, soups and desserts. You may even have some recipes for baking cakes, cookies and pastries. You can also have one category that says Mummy's Specials.

Decide which category you would like to concentrate on. You may want to make a combination of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as a section for desserts. Choose a category that you are very familiar with and those that you know have a lot of information and resources you can tap into.

Check out your collection and select those that have been favourites of most family members. If you have a collection of recipes for food that you have created yourself, it may be a good idea to include these, especially those that have earned raves from everyone who has tasted them.

Make sure that all the ingredients for the recipes are listed according to their use. Indicate how the ingredients have to be prepared - chopped, minced, julienned, diced or cubed. You should also indicate if the recipe is to be cooked covered or not; whether a particular item could be made in advance and reheated. You should also provide preparation time, cooking/baking time and the number of servings per recipe. And mention if other ingredients are optional.

Decide if you are going to distribute your recipe book. If you only want to share your recipe book as a gift to family and friends, printing them in index cards and having them bound with a good, sturdy cover will be fine. You can add embellishments to the cards to make it personalised.

By Raffat Binte Rashid


Goodie bags for the big day

Since 'stockings hanging on a fireplace' is not an option to many who are celebrating Christmas in Dhaka, we have an alternative for you to try out. Goodie bags say Christmas the same way stockings do. The difference? They're just not hanging by the fireplace.

Of course, goodie bags have been options for many occasions and there are also a lot of clichéd things you can put in them. But since this is for Christmas, the theme is set for you and there are a handful of Christmas presents that are perfect for you to work with.

There are, as expected, a lot of sweets you can put into a goodie bag. Candies are absolutely perfect for Christmas. Lollipops, mints and, most definitely, candy canes are essential. Cookies, preferably home made, can bring out a smile on anyone's face; so don't forget to bring out the baker inside you.

Apart from sweets and candies, some savoury goods can go well to balance out the sweetness. Nuts, crackers and little edible things of this sort will go well with the cookies and candies.

But goodie bags are not always about food and munchies, are they? There are other gifts like mugs, pencils, crayons and other school appliances you can give to children who are ready to start school after the holidays are over.

To others, you can give mini colognes that you find in perfume stores. A little Santa statue would make a beautiful Christmas present as well. But you have to make sure it's small and adorable enough to fit into your goodie bags.

The bags, themselves, have to have a good 'christmas-ey' effect on whoever you choose to give them to. To make them, you can use little pouches of a Christmas coloured (silver would look gorgeous) clothing materials like hard netted cotton. You can tie them with ribbons that are red or green…or maybe both!

These little goodie bags are perfect to exchange with friends or to give to your nieces and nephews or even your favourite aunts and uncles. Make this Christmas a jolly one for everybody and get started on your goodie bags!

By Naziba Basher


Go with black

If you are getting bored with regular nail polish colors, and you want to make a statement with your unique style, then go for a little adventure. Try out black, which can be a good solution to break out the regulations.

Black is considered the most stylish, powerful and elegant colour, where as it also has its mysterious dark side. It represents individuality. Although black nail polish, has been predominantly used in the Goth culture and sometimes represents some religious sub cultures, black nails have been always not a sign of an anti establishment agenda.

In fact, jet black nails used to speak of royalty and lavish living. In ancient China, nail colour was used to signify social ranking, with mere commoners enjoying shades of pink while the royal used red and black.

Black nails can give you the feel of freedom to come out from your common regular apparel. One can make a remark by simply wearing black nail polish. It will make you feel unique. If you are confident enough to hold black then don't think. Just go for it and have fun. Feel gorgeous.

Instructions -
It is essential to keep your nails healthy. Every week you should give a good olive oil massage to your hand and feet.

The key to wear black nail polish is the right length of your nails. One must have to maintain short, preferably fingertip length nails, well filled in a square shape.

If nails are cut down near the bone, black will make fingers look stubby. On the other hand, if the nails are too long then black will give a Halloween witch look.

Apply a second coat to each nail. This is to ensure that you get the desired colour and adequate coverage.

A regular maintenance is very important. Nails have to be constantly clipped to maintain the proper length and shape. Topcoats have to be applied and re-applied frequently to prevent chipping and to maintain the high gloss finish.

Regular manicure and pedicure is a must do thing. Do not wear black nail polish with heavy black eyeliner and heavy make up. Do not wear black clothing with black nails. It will give you a gothic look. Wear simple jewelry.

By Tania Farzana


5 places to hang your Xmas ornaments (other than on a tree)

For some, putting up a Christmas tree just isn't on the agenda. You might not have enough time to deal with the set up and take it down, or you possibly don't have the space. Whatever the reason may be, we love the look of shiny ornaments on strings hanging throughout your home. Here are 5 places you might not have thought of to implement the idea!

Windows are a great place to show off your sparkly ornaments. Look for sales on ribbons and use a simple pushpin to keep them in place.

Lamp shades using small safety pins, attach each ribbon around the shade. Do it on just one shade in your home or all of them, the choice is up to you!

Spice up your chandeliers with a little holiday cheer. Hang ornaments and extra greenery from them for a little something special. This can even double as a centerpiece over your table and allow you to forgo the more traditional fare!

No one said wreaths had to be hung flat on the wall, try hanging them face down with ornaments suspended below them. Hang the wreath with wire to a hook on the ceiling or off an indoor balcony.

Although they resemble a tree, ladders are easy to add to almost any space. Even if you don't have any floor space to spare, a single square foot is usually all a ladder needs to blend in. Tie them off with small bows to each step at varying heights.





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