Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 7, Issue 07, Tuesday, February 14, 2012




Wallet-Nai Day and More Diseases

Today is Valentine's Day. The greeting card companies have made this day one of the most significant in the lives of many men and women. Well, men, it is time we changed all that. Valentine's Day is complete rubbish and a brief introduction to Saint Valentine can verify that statement. But history lessons are a bore. What we have gathered here today for is knowledge, too little of which is dangerous.

The day's leading up to Valentine's Day are more harmful than the day itself. The trouble starts from February 7 and lasts till February 15. Single men and women suffer from, what psychologists one day will call, the 'Beauty Blindside'. This condition is charactertised by the feeling of longing to be with someone, anyone. Hence, through the entire duration of these seven days, men and women find almost all individuals attractive. This is because greeting card companies have made being single on Valentine's Day an almost punishable offence. Thus, as the saying goes, a drowning man clutches at straws. If you find people attractive, who you normally wouldn't look at twice, then you have been afflicted. One thing you must always remember about relationships before jumping in; there is no easy way out.

Of course, attached men and women also suffer in the week leading up to Cupid's Festival. The National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2011 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey predicts that consumers in the US alone will spend nearly $17 billion on gifts -- up 11% from last year. This is down to the fact that there is that constant reminder of buying the perfect gift. By perfect, we of course mean a gift no one has thought of ever before in the entire history of time. Sounds like something impossible? Welcome to a happy relationship, then.

A ring, a bracelet, chocolates, teddy bears and roses are pretty boring. Plus, in a long term relationship, you have already used up all of these items. So, now what? In desperation, men resort to proposing to their significant others for marriage, because that's the last thing they can think of. That kind of explains why so many people get married on 14th February; it's not because it's a special day but because there is only so much paper-craft we can muster. This syndrome of topping previous year's gift, which eventually leads to a hasty proposal, is known as “Santa Claus Conflict”. It is easy to avoid this conflict. Apply the “Our Love Needs No Day to Celebrate”, whereby you claim that your love is SO great that you need not a commercial celebration restricted to one singular day but rather the entire year is not enough to express it. This tactic is shrewd and can easily be sold on the basis of sickening sweetness and uniqueness, both of which bode well with the fairer sex.

The last problem to avoid on Valentine's Day is the most obvious one. It's nausea. We all know what that means. It's the feeling we get when we see you on the streets, dressed like a teenager even though you are in your twenties, wooing a girl in her twenties, who is behaving like an infant. Also, the language you speak is gibberish. Everyone everywhere speaks baby-talk with their significant others, a tone reserved for babies and dogs, none of which your girlfriend is (hopefully). Not a single lounge, restaurant or mall is free of these dewy-eyed lovers. Those without a date are even worse, trying to woo everything that walks. The 'nekami' is of course at an all time high. Everyone suddenly has the same name or rather a variety of same names. There is 'Jaan', there is 'Praan' and also 'Shaan', although we are not sure of the last one. The smell of flowers is not intoxicating because the flowers in Bangladesh have no smell. Also, there are just too many people on the streets. The cell phone networks are jammed. The TV shows are all about love. The same old tune is playing everywhere. Mass produced gifts are being exchanged. People, new to the game, are asking people out. Friends take a step forward in their friendship. Additions are secretly made to the population pyramid, although unknowingly in most cases. Cooties are spread like wildfire. Nausea envelopes everyone.

Today is Valentine's Day. Are you ready to go out, now? Or would you rather tell your significant other that you love her and that although you have no gift for her now, surely you will another day which is not ruined by crass commercialisation of love. If you do that, then welcome to single-hood. Because, Valentine's Day is not famous for common sense and neither is your significant other.

By Osama Rahman


Colour me happy

By Sabrina F Ahmad

So you and your partner called it quits. As if it wasn't already hard enough, without mushy media messages assaulting your senses wherever you go, this Valentine's Day hacking away at your fragile confidence level.

So you moan and you mope, and sit and hope that love will find you again, preferably sooner than later. And then it doesn't happen, and your self-esteem takes a bigger hit. So you cry some more, throw your hands up in despair and ask the powers-that-be what you did to deserve this.

If the scenario above sounds familiar, chances are, you are responsible for the fact that you aren't bouncing back as fast as you want to. It's all about the attitude you have, and the image you project. The good news is, the first and biggest step towards turning it around can be as simple as picking the right colour to wear.

It has long been proven that colours affect mood, and influence the impression people have on you. So why not use colour to pick yourself up and show the world that you're single and ready to mingle again?

Chriselle Lim, fashion wardrobe stylist and fashion blogger, talks about colours to wear to beat the break up blues.

The sweet taste of tangerine
Tangerine Tango is the colour of the year, and Spring is the best season to wear it. It is a vibrant, warm and energising colour, and instantly catches the eye. If you're scared of wearing top-to-bottom tangerine (and yes, that would be hard to pull off), why not wear it as an accent colour? Throw on a brightly printed dress or top that has a splash of bright orange somewhere, and team it with an orange accessory, which becomes the focal point of your outfit?

If a bright tangerine is too bold for your taste, opt for a softer pastel orange. It's still a warm and fresh colour, and will liven you up, without being too taxing on the eye. You can soften it up even further by wearing it with neutral accessories.

Sweetest sunshine
Just like sunshine is a welcome sight after a rainy spell, warm sunny yellows are instant pick-me ups, and will brighten up even a dark room when you walk in. Yellow signals energy, and relates to self-worth. It is a good colour for stimulating the intellect, so a splash of yellow on your outfit might signal that you're a potentially scintillating conversationalist. Our favourite item in this colour? A bright, sunny pair of skinny jeans.

Tickled pink
Pink is always a spring favourite, with at least two shades dominating at any given time. Soft pinks are soothing to the senses, while a brighter shade, like fuschia, will really liven things up. If you're feeling bold enough, why not pair fuschia with tangerine in an outfit and turn the barometer way up high? If that's too much, don't be afraid to show off your feminine side by opting for something flowery in the softest of pastel pinks. This is also a great colour to wear if you're colour-blocking. Team a baby pink shirt/top with warm yellow skinny jeans and tan flats, and watch those heads turn.

Going green
Going through the motions of getting over a break-up can be an exhausting affair, and sometimes you need something to refresh your mind and rejuvenate you. What's fresher than green? Deeper greens have a healing effect and is also a sign of abundance, signalling to the beholder your generosity of spirit. Softer, blue-greens are a colour of change, and definitely a good choice for someone who is starting over. Pair with a soft pastel shade, and feel the stress melting away.

Opposites at play
Sometimes two opposing forces can work together to make a good thing happen. Pairing a warm colour with a cooler one like red and blue, can create visual interest. Blue is a tricky colour to wear if you're already depressed, so avoid darker shades and opt for something bright like sapphire or cobalt. The coolness of the blue can offset the heat of the red, which is a striking, stimulating colour. To avoid looking like Superman, go for a cooler shade of red, near the maroon or wine shades.

However, if all else fails, a Superman t-shirt works as an interesting conversation piece. Whatever colours you choose to wear, wear it with a smile and walk into a room like you own the place, and you'll find it doesn't hurt so bad anymore.


Valentine recipe

By Tommy Miah


Aphrodisiac Valentine Chocolate Mousse
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces chocolate
¾ cup heavy cream

Finely chop chocolate; reserve. In a double boiler, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, quickly whisk in chopped chocolate until melted and cocoa until smooth (mixture will be thick). Cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Whisk half of whipped cream into room-temperature chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Divide mousse among four serving dishes. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Spicy Kama Sutra Salmon
4 6-ounce salmon steaks
¼ cup peanut oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp chopped green onions
1½ tsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ tsp grated ginger
½ tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
½ tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp salt

Place salmon steaks in a glass dish. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. Remove salmon from marinade and place on a well-oiled grill 5 inches from coals. Grill for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until fish just flakes when tested with a fork. Turn halfway through cooking. Serve with spicy hummus dip.

Roasted Duck Breast with Plum Sauce
For the plum sauce
5 cm ginger, grated
3 red chillies, seeds removed and diced
450 g plums, stoned and quartered
150 g sugar
30 ml vinegar
For the duck
4 duck breast
25 g butter
250 g spinach
350 g sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
For the garnish
2 spring onions, diagonally sliced
1 bunches dill, chopped

First prepare the plum sauce. Place the ginger, chillies and plums in a saucepan and add the sugar. Cook over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Bubble for 20 minutes or so until the plums are soft and the juices are syrupy. Leave the plums to cool slightly and then place in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Return the sauce to the heat and cook for a further few minutes to thicken the sauce. Place the duck breasts on a board and score the fat with a sharp knife. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a griddle pan or frying pan until hot and cook the duck breasts, skin side down, for five minutes. Turn the duck over and cook for a further five minutes or so, until cooked to your preference (duck is better cooked medium-rare, but this depends on how you prefer the meat to be cooked). As the duck cooks, baste it with the plum sauce. Meanwhile, heat another pan and add the butter, drop in the spinach and cook until wilted. Heat the sweet potato mash, adding plenty of pepper. To serve, slice each duck breast into four. Place a good spoonful of sweet potato mash on each plate and then spoon the spiced plum sauce over the duck. Scatter the plate with diagonally sliced. Top with a little wilted spinach. Arrange the duck slices on top of the spinach

Masala Tea
6 cups cold water
1/3 cup milk (or to taste)
1/3 stick cinnamon
6 whole green cardamoms
4 whole cloves
12 black peppercorn (opt)
12 tsp sugar (or to taste)
6 tsp leaf tea or 8 tea bags
A touch of vanilla essence

Combine water and milk in a deep pan, and bring to a boil. Add the spices and sugar. Stir to blend, and turn off the heat. Cover the pan, and let the spices soak for at least 10 minutes. Add the tea leaves or tea bags, and bring the water to a second boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover, check the colour and taste, and if desired add more milk and sugar. Strain the tea into a warm teapot, and serve immediately.


Khazana's newest treasures

Of candles, balloons and flowers
This Valentine's, Khazana has arranged special buffet lunch and dinner at Tk.999 ++, starting with a complimentary and enchanting mocktail they call, Lovers Delight. Being in sync with the mood, the interior will be decorated with candles, balloons and flowers. If you are still thinking which place to go today, then pick up the phone and dial 8826127, 8821965 or 01711476379 to make reservations.

Kebabs legendary
Right after the day of Valentine's, from 15 February that is, Khazana will start a Kebab & Paratha Festival. With an extensive mouthwatering plethora of kebabs and parathas, the extraordinary gastronomic event will present the authentic taste of legendary kebabs and Indian breads from in-house chefs Gajendra Singh and Kamal Waris.

This time around, the kebabs will be cooked not only in tandoor (clay oven) but also in tawa and stone.

Moreover, there will be special kebabs for the vegetarians too. Some of the kebabs that will be served at the festival include chelo kebab, angoori jheenga, bhutta kebab etc. A complimentary Coke will be served; Coca Cola is the beverage partner of the festival. The fiesta will take place from 15 February to 21 February, 2012.

Sweet story
After the immense success of Khazana Mithai in Gulshan, another outlet of Khazana Mithai has opened in Uttara: Zahsan Plaza, House #1, Road #1, Sector #1.

Avishek Sinha, the director of operations of Khazana Mithai Ltd said, “We have successfully served our guests in Gulshan with our sweets and service and now we will also cater to all the corporate and social events needs of Uttara guests. Special 'dalas' and packaging experts are there to fulfill customer needs.”

Some of the specialties of Khazana Mithai include Motichur-ke-Laddu, Kaju Barfi, Soan Papri, Rasmalai, Chamcham, Gulab Jamun, Chanar Payesh and many more.

By M H Haider


Romantic Valentines, Far From the Madding Crowd

Whether spending years together or just days, using all your creativity and resources to come up with a Valentine's Day present is pure torture. In the process either all the romance is foregone, or you become just one of the masses by taking an easy route out at jam-packed, pricey restaurants with other celebrating couples. But, why would you want to spend Valentine's Day on your own? Perhaps the real question is why wouldn't you? You'll avoid the crowds and increase the intimacy, making your sweetheart feel truly special. Here are great suggestions for Valentine's Day activities that are sure to impress.

Heart-Felt Valentine's Meal: People have recognised that food has an innate power over loved ones. But, you don't have to head to a five-star hotel for a romantic meal out -- this can be more intimate and congenial with a sensual home-cooked meal. The meals can be rich, but make the portion sizes small -- being uncomfortably full is not conducive to romance.

Start off by making a batch of heart-shaped pancakes drizzled with chocolate syrup for a yummy breakfast. For extra cuteness add a folded-up Valentine's message inside red/pink balloons before you inflate, tie it with a red ribbon and attach to your loved one's side of bed for them to find Valentine's morning. Valentine dinners should be special. Choose your sweetie's favourite foods and surprise with the meal on a table set for two. Serve with nice cutleries and china; fresh flowers in a vase and handwritten love notes or poems to complete the atmosphere. Feed each other chocolate fondue for the finale.

Romantic Movie Marathon: Pull aside the sofa to spread out a blanket in front of your home theatre, prep some popcorn and sparkling juice on ice and capture the magic of your favourite love-struck films. Some easy picks are Under the Tuscan Sun; Sixteen Candles; Eat, Pray, Love; Like Water for Chocolate; etc. And, if you're the cooking type, make a meal themed on one of the movies you are watching. If not, order out but be sure to ditch the containers and re-plate the meal elegantly on nice plates. Finish off by sharing your fav ice cream from the same carton.

Treasure/Scavenger Hunt: You can easily prepare this one to tease your spouse and rekindle old memories. Write up little notes about appreciation, feelings, hopes and dreams and what they mean to you. Place them around the house, starting off at the main door, along with a heart-shaped cookie or rose stems. Add a riddle/direction at the end of each note about where to find the next note. Jazz it up further by sprinkling rose petals along the trail. At the last note, have something special waiting there. For example, you can be waiting for your hubby with his dinner, drinks and gift.

Single, ready to Mingle: Why should having a Valentine's Day be the exclusive right of "marrieds" and cuddly twosomes? This year, get together with your favourite unattached friends -- and their favourite unattached friends -- for a festive party for singles to mingle. Clear your living space to allow people to roam, chat and dance easily, with the lights set low and “easy-peasy” tunes in the stereo. Start off with a few, funny ice-breaking games to introduce people to each other and let them go along their own flow through the eve. Just ensure a plentiful buffet of cocktail foods with a generous drinks station, and you will be a far cry away from the Lonely Hearts' Club.

Andeem's offer
Andeem is offering a 10 percent discount on their latest collection. Along with this, with every purchase from Adeem's Valentine's Collection a 5 percent discount is available from Des'ree Daily Deserts. Make best use of this dual offer.

By Anahita Ahmed
Des'ree Daily Desserts | Facebook


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