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A TRUE TASTE OF ASIA

Mother's day special

By Tommy Miah

Mother's day is the perfect opportunity to spoil your mum. Whether you are planning on treating her to some delicious pancakes in bed, baking her some fish for afternoon tea or cooking a spicy roast chicken for Sunday lunch, I have just the recipes for this special occasion.

Chilli chicken couscous
Ingredients:
1 packet couscous
1 red chilli
1 green pepper
½ onion
2 tsp honey
3 tsp hot chilli sauce
3 tbsp BBQ Sauce
1 Knorr chicken stock pot
Chilli powder, as required
1 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken fillets

Method:
Start by chopping up the chilli, pepper and onion. Then cut the chicken into strips. Heat up the oil in a frying pan or wok at medium heat. Once heated add the chicken with 1 slice of chilli, 1 slice of pepper and a few of the chopped onions. This is to flavour the chicken; also sprinkle in some chilli powder.

Once the chicken is browned, add the rest of the chilli, pepper and onions. After a few minutes add the honey and coat the chicken and vegetables with it. Then drop in the chicken stock pot and let it melt and mix it around the chicken and vegetables. Now add the hot chilli sauce and let it simmer for a couple of minutes before adding in the bbq sauce. Mix around well and then turn the heat down low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add chilli powder as required, depending on how hot you like it.

Whilst the chilli chicken is simmering we can prepare the couscous. Put the couscous mix into a bowl and add 240ml of boiling water, make sure all the mix is coated then let it sit for five minutes, after the five minutes fluff the couscous around with a fork. This should now be ready to serve. Instructions for the couscous should be on the back of the packet.

Portion out the couscous and top with the chilli chicken mix.

Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecakes
Ingredients:
100g (3½oz) reduced fat digestive biscuits
50g (2oz) reduced fat butter
5 sheets leaf gelatine
450g (14½oz) strawberries, hulled
300g (10oz) light cream cheese
300g (10oz) yoghurt
3 tbsp castor sugar
A few drops vanilla essence
1 tsp icing sugar

Method:
For the biscuit base, crush the biscuits in a plastic bag to make fine crumbs. Melt butter in a small pan and stir in the biscuits. Divide between 6 individual silicone cake moulds or cupcake cases and pack down with the end of a rolling pin. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to set (put moulds on a tray so they are easy to move around).

Place gelatine in a small pan with 4 tablespoons of water. Soak for 10 minutes until softened and then heat very gently until melted. Do not boil. Remove from heat.

Put 150 grams (5oz) strawberries in a food processor or liquidiser with the cream cheese, yoghurt, sugar and vanilla. With the machine running, pour the gelatine in a thin stream until smooth.

Pour over biscuit mix and set for 3 hours in the fridge.

Make the strawberry sauce by blending another 150g (5oz) of strawberries in a clean food processor or liquidiser with the icing sugar. Blend until smooth. If liked the sauce can be boiled to reduce it and make it jammier in texture.

To turn out, run a knife around the inside of each mould and invert onto a tray, peeling off moulds. Top with halved strawberries and syrup.


CHECK IT OUT

Des'ree Daily Desserts

Our mothers may all be just 'average' women to the world but to us, they are our source of inspiration, our friend, our supreme comfort. We all love our mothers and are immensely proud to be 'a momma's baby!' Our opportunity to show how much we appreciate her is swiftly approaching as Mother's Day is on 13 May. And this Mother's day, Des'ree is here for all the children having trouble finding something particular for “The Women Who Have Everything.”

On this special occasion, Des'ree presents for you the “Just for Mum” offer.

For just Tk. 2100 you get to show how much you adore your mum with a bouquet of 13 cupcake roses in either chocolate, red-velvet, lemon-white chocolate or vanilla flavours. The roses are offered in dual tones of white and yellow, white and peach, white and tiffany-blue or white and red.

So don't waste any more time and place your orders right away! Call 0175 407 9229 or email anbarofanahita@gmail.com with your details. You can also log onto their Facebook page --

Des'ree Daily Desserts | Facebook. All deliveries around Dhaka are free of charge. Kindly place your orders by Friday, 9 May, 2011.


SPECIAL FEATURE

Pet shops

As soon as he turned the doorknob of his house, all sweaty and muddy from the afternoon after-school football session and stepped inside, a furry blur rocketed towards him, leaping at him, slobbering all over and leaving him drenched, now with drool mixed with the sweat. Years later as he returned home from office the same ball of fluff, no longer being able to launch itself like a rocket, courtesy of its age, welcomed him with the same enthusiasm and love that it used to show years earlier.

It is quite rare, if not mostly impossible, to find a person who is able to display unwavering devotion to another person of such intensity that these unspeaking beings do. It does not matter whether you are happy or sad, sick or well, dirty or clean, if you are able to bond with your pet they will not judge you or disapprove of you and they will always be there for you. Many dogs from the pages of history serve as proof of the fact that the pug following around its master in the Hutch commercials is not possible only in scripts but in reality as well.

Although it is the easiest to interact with dogs and cats, other animals, if spent enough time on, can be good pets as well. Albeit a small group, there are people who choose to take unconventional animals as pets such as mice, lizards and even snakes!

If you are planning to pay a visit to the pet stores at Katabon to bring home a friend, here is a little peek at what are currently available there.

At the moment availability of various sorts of dogs, cats, guinea pigs seem to be a little low. German Shepherds can be found priced at Tk.30,000 and Tk.45,000 and are known to be really good watchdogs. German Shepherd pups are available at lower prices of Tk.25,000 and are better investments since you can take them in while they are babies, giving you time to train them. It also makes it easier for them to become accustomed to you. Then there are the less intimidating and cuddlier ones -- German Spitz at Tk.15,000 and baby Russian Spaniels at Tk.12,000.

Local cats are available at around Tk.1000 but beware of the fact that the shopkeepers try to sell these off at higher prices saying that they are Persian cats! Persian cats are not widely available all the time but currently one shop does have a full grey one priced at Tk.40,000, and another, which is a mix between a Persian and a local cat and is frankly close to the size of a small elephant, is available at Tk.10,000.

If you are not willing to spend a lot of money on buying cats and dogs and instead are willing to adopt puppies and kittens you could also contact Obhoyaronno, an animal welfare society.

Rabbits can be found here all year round and small ones are available at Tk.350. Although guinea pigs could not be seen this time around there were white mice at Tk.100 each. Colourful Love Birds are plenty in all shops and cost Tk.600 a pair while pigeons of breeds such as Jacobins cost around Tk.3000 and other more common ones range between Tk.1200-1500, some of which are brought from Thailand.

By Karishma Ameen
N.B Availability of animals based on data collected last week
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Boo Radley, Mowgli


How pets can affect mood and health

While most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with companion animals, many remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of playing with or snuggling up to a furry friend. Studies have found that:

Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.

People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.

Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.

Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.

Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.

Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

A pet doesn't have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and pulse rate.

One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch. Stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we're stressed. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and some pets are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost mood.

-- helpguide.org/life/pets.htm


 

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