Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 40, Tuesday, October 11, 2011



Cartridge Nine - the next step in printing

Cartridge Nine is a student lifestyle brand which aims to take away the printing woes of students. Most students are likely to stay up late and finish a report or assignment at the eleventh hour with droopy eyelids and waning energy levels. Add to that the hassles of printing the report -- waking up early, running to the printing store with the added uncertainty of formatting, power failures, spiral binding, so on and so forth.

A survey conducted among university students in Dhaka revealed that 45 percent feel the greatest inconvenience when printing shops do not open before 8 am and shut down at 8 pm. The facts that printing and laminating have to be done from different places, and that the entire process is time consuming pose as nuisances as well.

That is where C9 comes in with its unique, student focused service. You can email your report to C9 at the wee hours of the night and C9 will print it and deliver to your university doorsteps the next morning. C9 specifically caters to students and understands the student lifestyle. For the next three months, Cartridge Nine's “Lowest Rate Campaign” is providing the lowest printing rate in the country! During all of August, September and October, you can print at BDT 2.5 per page, from black and white to coloured to light graphics.

C9 is the online printing services company that saves time and money, ensuring the most consistent colour quality on the market at the most affordable prices. It is an integrated printing partner also offering supporting services such as laminating, binding, spiral binding, and spot delivery to anywhere within Dhaka.

Other than student reports and assignments, C9 also prints posters, PDF books and flyers. Large or small, your online printing requirements will be met and exceeded when you switch to C9. Visit the official website at www.cartridgenine.com or their Facebook fan page for more details. To avail their services, email directly to cartridgenine@gmail.com or contact 01922526806 or 01717691811.

--LS Desk



By Shawkat Osman

A culinary herb is a plant whose fragrant fresh leaves or stems, e.g. of pudina (mint), cilantro, and tulsi (basil), are used to flavour foods. Always use fresh herbs because any attempt to preserve them by any means will invariably spoil the essential oils that give every culinary herb its unique flavour.

Frozen herbs are the next best alternative and the use of dried herbs only a measure of last resort. Most herbs flavour best when added to the dish during the last two or there minutes of cooking, or even as a last-minute garnish. Heat is unkind to the essential oils that give herbs their taste; prolonged, cooking will reduce the taste of even the most pungent herb to a mere shadow of itself.

Spices are generally the seeds and dried fruits of various plants, but also include the bark, roots, rhizomes, bulbs, tubers, flower buds, un-ripened fruits, berries, seedpods, stigmas, and even the resin of certain plants.

It is not known when spices were first used to flavour food and beverages. Spices did help to preserve foods, mask the flavour of partially spoiled fish or meats, and bring a welcome change of flavour.

Bangladeshi dishes are concocted out of simple home-grown spices and herbs to flavour and add taste to the preparation. As over-spicing the food drowns the natural flavour of the main ingredient, we have seasoned our food in our cookery with the minimum of spices.

The art is to use just use enough to improve the flavour of a dish, and not to mask it. As we use an assortment of spices, a clever blending is essential for a "natural effect".

When making deserts, "sweet spices" -- cinnamon, cloves, nutmegs, cardamoms, anise, and fennel seeds -- are helpful. These flavours are grouped as sweet spices because they become most delectable when combined with sweet flavours.

Storing and preparing herbs and spices

Buy fresh herbs daily or on alternate days, and put them in the fridge in a paper bag. Spices have a half life of a year or more in their unground, uncrushed, unprocessed from, and an effective shelf life of about a month once they have been ground, crushed, or otherwise processed before use.

Buy small amounts; say a week's supply of whole, unprocessed spices, whenever possible. Store your spices in small metal or dark glass containers with tight-fitting lids. The shelf life of all spices can be extended if you store them in the refrigerator; they will remain fresh almost indefinitely if stored frozen.

There are two basic procedures for getting the best flavours from whole spices; heating and grinding. With very few exceptions, the flavour of most spices improves when they are heated. They can be dry-roasted in a tawa (griddle), skillet, oven or microwave, or can be lightly fried in oil to release the essential oils that contribute to the unique flavour of every spice; just follow the directions in the recipe you are using.

The second method is to grind whole spices; this process releases huge amounts of flavour, whether pre-heated or not. The grinding may take place either before or after roasting, depending on the recipe. Use a stone mortar and pestle or coffee grinder for grinding spices. Grind fresh just before use; that way you will not only obtain a good flavour but will require a lesser amount to achieve the same result.

Sombor/bagar: Tempering with spices
Heating spices in oil is a sophisticated affair. Since most aromatic compounds in spices are lipophilic and dissolve better in fat than in water, fry them in fat than in water. Frying them in fat not only enhances the fragrance because of the high temperature but also extracts the flavour to the fat. In addition, the fat helps disperse the flavours more efficiently throughout the food.

Increasing the recipe portions -- Herbs and spices for the first 100 per cent increase in portions, double the herbs and spices. After that, for each multiple of the original recipe add only half of the original amount of herbs.

For example, consider a recipe for 10 people, calling for 1 tablespoon of cilantro, scaled up to 100 portions. Doubled to 20 portions you will require 2 tablespoons. For the remaining 80 portions you will require: 8x½ = 4 tablespoons of cilantro. So, the total cilantro required for 100 portions would be 2+4=6 tablespoons and not 10 tablespoons.

Increasing the recipe portions -- Red chilli or hot red chilli powder builds up even more quickly than herbs and spices. For the first doubling, red pepper can still be doubled. But, subsequently, use only ¼ of the original amount for each multiple of the original recipe.

For example, for a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon of red chilli for 10 servings, you would need only 4 tablespoons for a batch that makes 100 servings; 2 teaspoons for 2 servings (the first doubling); and 2 teaspoons for the remaining 8 portions (8x¼ =2).


Aranya Café

Those who have walked the stingy streets of Old Dhaka, have been mesmerised by the enticing smell and sight of the exotic traditional food out there, the sight of which can immediately give your taste buds a run. But for the rest of us who live in the outer parts of the city, visiting Old Dhaka for a food frenzy is a time consuming and exhausting schedule that can only be carried out once in a while. Everyday classes and late work hours seldom leave us with time to relish the richness of authentic Dhaka cuisine.

Aranya Café has spotted this gap and come forward to provide us Old Dhaka food lovers the same taste at a convenient location. Tucked away in a small corner at Banani, beside the Aranya fashion house, the café is a paradise for those who like their food. Their menu boasts the Old Dhaka heritage with varieties of kebabs and parathas dominating the list. Their Gajar Halwa is almost divine for those with a sweet tooth, and the sober Bakarkhani is a perfect complement to the overriding sweetness. They also provide local paneer, which you seldom spot at traditional restaurants.

Aranya started with the vision of using natural dye in all their clothing. Keeping that in mind, the café has been set up with a very natural theme that is not just soothing to the eye but to the heart as well -- bamboo shaded ceilings and wooden chairs and tables work as perfect complements to the green light and green walls. "The colour for the walls represents the shade of Horitoki, a component of natural dye. Hence, the décor and the mood of the café are completely in coherence with Aranya's mission," said Audhora Madhuri who is in charge of managing the café.

Adorning the walls are paintings, drawn using natural dyes which are up for sale. So, while eating if your eyes wander around to catch a piece of art, you might just be able to buy it and take it back home.

As Audhora puts it, their target customers are anyone and everyone. But their focus is on people rooted in Old Dhaka , who now live around the Gulshan and Banani area due to professional reasons and seldom get to visit their roots.

For those who refrained from devouring the food due to hygiene reasons or claustrophobic attacks, can now visit this café and get the same food at a lesser price with much better quality of food and environment.

Each and every one of their cooks have been handpicked from Old Dhaka and are experts in this form of cuisine. They provide a very reasonable price range so that students from nearby universities can also enjoy their service. Their upcoming plans include that of a Pitha Festival during winter that will display all sorts of traditional rice cakes at one place, and will be carried in proportion to demand.

Aranya café is trying to be different from the rest by reviving the diminishing interest in Old Dhaka cuisine, by targeting the general masses.

By Afrida Mahbub
Photo: Muntasir Mamun Imran
Photo courtesy: Estanbul Hoque



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