Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 7, Issue 21, Tuesday, May 22, 2012




Baking cookies

By sam Q

Dearest Diary,
I am sure I must have said this to you a thousand times, so what is one more time if I repeat myself in saying... I don't "do" stress.

Some people are great during crises, traumas and stress. I am just not one of them. As I am ageing, I have devised many crafty ways to play peek-a-boo with such unwanted emotions. For starters I have stopped watching high-octane movies such as Schindler's List or the Pakistani movie "Khuda Ke Liye". Couldn't sleep for nights. Why should I watch something which instead of uplifting my mood will put me in a perpetual state of depression?

The 'Bridesmaids' or 'Something Borrowed' will do very well for me. Thank you very much. Palpitations, confrontations and explanations are not my things anymore. Been there, done that. I am just a simple, middle-aged housewife, wanting to do, simple house-wifely things.

I want to cook for my family and friends. I want to go visiting relatives. I want to write happy and nice things to you. Unfortunately, one of the things which I do as a simple housewife -- like reading the newspaper -- refrains me from being happy. You know why? Because it makes me question certain things that I don't understand.

Are we really that tenacious as a race? We sure seem to be a heck of a resilient bunch. Reading the paper and the Vox pop that I see on TV has left me reeling.

At what point will we think that, “Yes! Finally our backs are squished against the wall, we will not tolerate anymore.” So many intellectual and political writers are constantly writing the correct things. General people are also writing to the editors with problems and solutions. Constant barrages on traffic, vehicular deaths, abduction, electricity, water, gas and stock market are highlighted every single day.

To a simple housewife as me, it seems like a game. To me it seems like important people will write heavy-duty stuff to fill the empty newsprint sheets. Important people talk just to fill air time. Important people will do anything for their fifteen minutes of fame. Important people will just talk the talk but not walk the walk.

You may say Diary, who am I to criticise, living inside a bubble. But in my simple housewife logic, I am not the one who made promises. I am not the one in power, and I am surely not the one who has failed the people.

I am, at the end of the day, just a "simple" and "lucky" housewife.

Have a good day the Sam Q way!

Triple chocolate cookies
100g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
100g butter, softened
1 egg
225g plain flour
1tsp vanilla essence
140g milk chocolate, melted
85g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
85g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Heat oven to 200C. Mix the sugars and butter together with a wooden spoon. Then add egg, vanilla, flour and half the melted milk chocolate, and mix together. Stir in the white and dark chocolate chunks, then use an ice-cream scoop to scoop out balls of cookie dough and drop them straight onto the trays. Bake in batches for 8-9 minutes until pale golden. Cool. Then drizzle with the remaining melted chocolate.

Old fashioned sugar cookies
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1¾ cups
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sanding sugar for sprinklings

Preheat oven to 300F.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Put sugars and zest in bowl of electric mixer. Mix for 30 seconds. Add butter. Mix for 1 minute. Mix in eggs one at a time, and then lemon juice. Reduce speed and gradually mix in flour mixture using an ice-cream scoop, drop dough on tray. Flatten cookies slightly. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes.

Pistachio lemon drops
1 egg white
Pinch of salt
1 cup toasted, salted pistachios, finely chopped
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
½ tsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Put egg white and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium-speed until stiff peaks form. Reduce speed, mix in nuts and sugar, then add flour and lemon juice.

Using an ice-cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake cookies till edges are golden, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wine raets.

Classic shortbread
2 cups of flour
1 tsp of salt
1 cup butter, room temperature & more for pan
¾ cup icing sugar.

Sift together flour and salt into a bowl. Put butter in bowl. Mix until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add sugar, beat for 2 minutes. Add flour mixture all at once. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes. Roll out and cut out with cookie cutter.

Bake until golden brown and firm in centre.

Vanilla malted cookies
2¾ cups flour
¾ cup Horlicks powder
¾ tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 35ºF.
Whisk together flour, Horlicks, baking powder and salt. Beat butter, cream cheese until creamy. Mix in sugar. Add egg and essences. Add flour mixture and mix to combine.

Drop scoops of dough on baking tray. Bake until edges are golden brown for 11-15 minutes.


As part of Star Lifestyle's expansion to a 20-page publication, we have re-introduced our shopping column, Shoptalk, in a new guise. It will now focus on highlighting specific products and to this effect businesspersons, retailers and product manufacturers are requested to send products and product information (except clothes)that they would like to promote. All product suggestions should be emailed to lifestyleds@yahoo.com or raffat@thedailystar.net.

The Aesthetic touch
This quaint, tiny wooden jar is the perfect, stylish piece to sit on your coffee table, and ideal for serving dry snacks such as nuts, nimki, biscuits and chips. We say serving and not storing because it is not air-tight, so food is not likely to stay fresh in these jars for extended periods. It comes with a wooden spoon with tribal engravings. The old-world feel, coupled with the fine finish will certainly provide a touch of class to your living room, and at Tk.300 it is definitely worth the cha-ching.

To sprinkle a little joy
These brightly-coloured, polka-dotted water sprinklers may be the ideal accessory to get your children started on gardening. Available at Tk.650, these cute sprinklers will enhance the joy of gardening, and not just for your children, but for you to.

Implanting Colours
The garden is one place where there cannot be enough colours, and for all the aspiring gardeners out there maintaining their sliver of nature's bounty, this collection of planters can only be good news. The planters come in different shapes, sizes and colours. Priced between Tk.175-Tk.250, these planters will splash your already bright patch with even brighter hues.

Table dressing
Runners make a simple yet elegant adornment on any dinner table. These runners are available with place mats in sets of six and eight, and the soothing colour combinations make them an indispensable accessory in a classy home.

Better letters
In these electronic times, neat and tasteful stationery still has a place. We may not post letters by snail mail anymore but classy envelopes in primary colours are great for presenting gift vouchers or leaving a sweet note for the significant other on the breakfast table. This stationery collection includes much more besides envelopes, such as photo frames in traditional designs and post-its, things that will come in handy in any household.

Classy and Grassy
More on elegant baskets, these Kaisa grass baskets come in various sizes and in round, rectangular and oval shapes. The price range, depending on the size you choose to buy, is between Tk.675 and Tk.1550.

An Elegant Affair
There is no corner of our home that does not deserve a touch of class. Ordinary household items given a bit of attention can make all the difference. Wicker laundry baskets and hampers are both homely and elegant. Available in sets of three, these can also double as waste paper baskets.

An Intuition for a Cushion
Very few things say elegant like beautifully designed and embroidered cushions. These cushions of fine cotton have contemplative designs like the meditating Buddha, chilled-out embellishments like palm leaves and other designs that will lend your living area a touch of tranquillity. The cushions, priced between Tk.250-Tk.300, have enough variety to go with most sofa sets and armchairs. You could also arrange them in clusters on a carpet to create an inviting and cosy corner.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

* Prices of the products may vary according to market conditions.
All products featured can be found at Ethnica: House 3, Road 72, Gulshan-2. Business hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Closed on Sundays.


Taking the market by storm

Not everyone can afford an expensive handset. Yet the desire to own a piece that is not devoid of the latest features, not to mention a sleek look, is inherent among the tech-savvy gadget users of the country.

Bikash Jain, Director, Micromax believes that there will be a remarkable surge for Smart Phones in the Bangladeshi market in the near future.

“We started by identifying the target audience. It was important for us to pin point the need before we could attempt on providing the right product. The Bangladeshi clients have whole heartedly accepted our designs and they are pleased with the performance.

“Our next attempt was to bring out application based sets. It will be our continuous effort to meet the demands of the users and offer much, much more” he added.

Micromax Informatics Ltd. has recently introduced X210+, X257, X650 and others, each incorporating Bangla applications, which will enable users to send text messages in their mother tongue.

To reach users at every corners of the country, they have teamed with Rich Distribution Ltd. and Compustar Private Ltd., designated distributors of their quality products. Along with this active pair, there are over 100 dealers and over three thousand retailers in the supply chain.

Micromax X450 and Q55 already stirred a lot of commotion within the users with their excellent range of features, based on an Android OS. Longevity of the battery, fashionable QWERTY phones, dual SIM provisions, stylish line for women and music sets the range covered by Micromax is by all means, exhaustive.

So next time you are window shopping for a mobile phone, give the excellent range of products a try. You have a lot of options to choose from.


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