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Picnic recipes

By Tommy miah

All India picnic chicken
3 lbs chicken thighs or legs, skinless with bones
1 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
8 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix together sauce. Skin chicken. Dip chicken in sauce and place in baking pan bottom side up. Pour rest of sauce over. Bake about 45 minutes, then turn over and baste. Bake another 30-45 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they do not burn.

Home recipes pancetta and pepper picnic loaf
100g smoked pancetta, diced
495g white bread mix
2 tbsp lemon thyme, chopped, plus extra sprigs to scatter
50g parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml warm water
Flour for dusting
195g cheese, grated
560g roasted pepper antipasti, drained
1tsp dried chillies, crushed
Milk, to brush

Fry the pancetta in a dry frying pan until it begins to crisp. Remove from the pan and put to one side to cool slightly.

Tip the bread mix into a bowl and add the pancetta, thyme, parmesan, oil or water. Mix to a dough using palette knife, adding a little more water if the dough feels dry, and turn out onto a floured surface.

Knead the dough by hand, or with the dough hook of a free-standing mixer, for 10 minutes until it feels smooth and elastic. Turn into a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1--1½ hours).

Grease a large baking sheet. Roll out the dough to a 33 cm (13 inches) square and scatter with an even layer of Gruyere, peppers and chilli.

Roll up loosely and transfer to the baking sheet with the join underneath. Pinch the ends together to seal. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until it is about half the size again. Preheat the oven to Gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C.

Using a sharp floured knife, make deep cuts into the loaf to mark it into 8 portions. Brush the dough with milk and scatter with thyme sprigs. Bake for about 35 minutes until golden, covering with foil if it gets too dark. Transfer to a cooling rack, then wrap in foil to transport.

Cheddar and spring onion tart
250g short crust pastry
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1½ bunches spring onions, trimmed, sliced into 3cm (1¼in) lengths
1 tsp Dijon mustard
200g Creme Fraiche
3 large eggs, beaten
150ml (¼ pint) milk
100g (4oz) Finest Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar, grated
3 tsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
220g cherry tomatoes on the vine, taken off the stems, halved

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line a 22cm (8½ inches) round x 2.5cm (1 inch) deep, loose-bottomed fluted flan tin, gently pressing the pastry into the flutes on the sides. Trim the pastry edges. Prick the base lightly with a fork, then chill for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200 °C, fan 180 °C. Line the pastry case with foil, fill with baking beans, put on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry has set. Remove the foil and beans and bake for another 5 minutes, until the pastry is turning pale golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the spring onions and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until softened and tinged browned but keeping their fresh colour. Blend the mustard and Crème Fraiche together, then gradually mix in the eggs. Stir in the milk, then season with a little salt and a grinding of pepper. Tip all but a handful of the cheese and all the spring onions into the cooked pastry case. Scatter over 1½tsp of the tarragon. Pour in the egg mixture then scatter another 1½tsp of tarragon and the rest of the cheese on top.

Put the tart in the oven then lower the heat to gas 5, 190 °C, fan 170 °C. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until softly set. Remove and let the tart sit for about 15 minutes. While the tart is resting, lay the halved tomatoes on a baking tray cut-side up. Drizzle with a little oil, scatter over the rest of the tarragon and a grinding of pepper. Roast for about 8-10 minutes, or until just starting to burst. Serve on salad leaves with the tart.

Golden breadcrumb chicken
1 packet of chicken portions
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp 'garam masala'
Golden breadcrumbs
Oil for frying

Place the chicken portions into a bowl. Add all of the ingredients except the breadcrumbs and mix well. Place the breadcrumbs onto a plate and coat each piece of chicken by dipping both sides in the breadcrumbs. Deep fry over a moderate heat for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with a green salad and a spicy tomato sauce.


Cherished victory

By Sadia moyeen

Many years ago, I endeavoured to collect autographs of freedom fighters on lottery tickets of the “Muktijodha Kalyan Trust.” Like most of my attempts in preserving history, this too didn't last long. But I do cherish the few autographs that I actually ended up collecting. Prized possessions they are.
Possibly on a Victory Day or some other day of national significance, I was sipping tea at a neighbourhood tea-stall in the vicinity of the Liberation War Museum, where I had positioned armed with tickets and a pen in my hand, and came across this aged man in white Tees.

He was a small man, lean with a tidy goatie; although his hair had turned grey many decades ago, he looked exceptionally fit for his age. Our conversation revealed that he did not participate in direct combat but helped in the cause for Bangladesh in whatever meagre capacity he could.

It was however his humility that gave his character distinction. He showed no arrogance in his attitude towards life, but was proud of his identity of being a freedom fighter.

“What did you fight for, Chacha?” I asked, hoping for some insightful answer.
He sipped his tea at the 'tong' -- “My son, look around you; do you see change?”
Frankly I didn't.

“You are not supposed to. But I see many changes,” he said in a grave tone.
“Look at the billboards around you. There was a time when billboards in Dhaka and across Bangladesh had Urdu incorporated with Bengali. I don't see any Urdu now. It takes strength to bring change even in the small matters in life.”

He stood up, paid for his tea and left with a smile. As he left, waving the iconic bicolour flag, the aged freedom fighter patted me. I was in awe.

This week Star Lifestyle explores what the shades of red and green mean to us, the different layers of emotions it inspires. These colours, so closely tied with our emotions and memories, are ever-present in our lives.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


Purbo Digonte, Surjo Utheche

Inside every human being, there lives a rebel. Once unleashed, it turns the person into an uncontrollable, irresistible force fearless, ruthless and vengeful; that rebel is perhaps best kept dormant. But in history, there have been times when that 'rebel' needed awakening to scare the devil out of monsters -- like in the time of the liberation war of '71.

And one of the ways by which we brought out the rebels hidden within us was through listening to patriotic war songs: rousing lyrics and compositions that made ordinary people take up arms and risk their lives.

Good songs are powerful; they hit right at your heart. Hence, the radio broadcasting centre, Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, with the creative aid of several singers and lyricists, played rebellious, patriotic songs to keep freedom fighters motivated. These songs, everyone agrees, went a long way in helping our freedom fighters win the war.

“My most heartfelt recollection of the war is the sleepless nights I spent on the camp, worried about the future. I remember lying down on the floor beside my friends,” Mahmud Salim, a guerrilla soldier from Bikrampur who was about twenty years of age during the war, shares his experience. “Amidst immense hunger and the dead of the night with only one lamp that barely lit the room, we silently listened to the song, Tir hara ai dheu er shagor pari dibo re.” The lyrics of this song kept him persistent till the Victory Day.

Jani shudhu cholte hobe, e tori baite hobe
Ami je shagor majhi re
Tir hara ei dheu er shagor pari dibo re

But what made warriors fearless? What made their blood boil? What made them stride forward when all that awaited them was death? It was rebellious songs, like “Rokter protishod nibo amra” - that stirred up wrath against the enemies, generating an unyielding impatience to take revenge.

Rokter protishod, rokte nibo amra
Raatrir ondhokare, aalor obhijaatrira
Tomar maa er, bhai er bon er
'Por e onnai, obichar
Hottar utshob e, mileche dhoshura

Nasreen Salim, who was at that time a young wife and a mother of an infant, shares a different experience involving such songs.

“During nights, with all the lights switched off, I used to sit quietly with my daughter on the lap and with the radio pressed against my ear. Once, some military men came close by. I panicked and immediately turned the radio off, and pressed my baby's mouth so that her cry won't be heard. I feared my daughter would die out of shortness of breath. I have never fully recovered from the traumatic experience. Even now, when I listen to some of these songs, I sometimes find myself gasping.”

Being able to move about freely and having the right to own and wave your own country's flag is what independence is all about. And no matter how bad our country's situation becomes at times, the joy of living in a sovereign state is a gift to embrace.

Indeed, the patriotic songs are deeply rooted in our hearts. But not all memories are grim or traumatic. Mahmud Salim said, “I remember one time when we completed an operation successfully; we came home shouting and hooting, and we tuned into Swadhin Bangla Betar. 'Shuno ekti mujoborer' was the song that was on air at that moment, and till today, I have a happy journey down memory lane whenever I listen to it. This song has a blissful feeling to it; it made us believe that victory was very near.

Shono ekti mujoborer theke
Lokho mujiborer konthoshorer dhoni
Protitdhoni aakashe batashey othe roni
Bangladesh amar Bangladesh

Laughter and celebrations were also part of the story. After all, fellowship among the guerrilla fighters held immense importance in the battlefield. Trust and friendship are extremely vital. But how could we -- wrongly separated by different religions -- achieve that with sparking conflicts among ourselves? That was when the song, Banglar Hindu Banglar Buddha perhaps helped smoothen the relationship.

Banglar Hindu, Banglar Buddha
Banglar Christian, Banglar
Amra shobai e Bangali

Interestingly, many of the songs played during the liberation war existed before 1971. “Some of the songs were made long before 1971, for some other purpose. For example, Nazrul Islam's 'Karar oi louho kopat' was used against the British rule. But this same song played a role in the liberation war. Such songs have tremendous impact on performance in wars,” informed Mahbub-Ul Alam, who was the second-in- command of Louhajang thana and in charge of Khitirpara camp, where he was a trainer of guerrilla fighters.

Similarly, 'Amra korbo joy' (We Shall Overcome) is a song that has been used in many political protests in many countries, including our liberation war.

Do songs of war and heroism and rebellion cut through era and culture? Maybe so, after all, there is a rebel asleep in every one of us. And maybe that's why, our hearts immediately become elated when we hear these two words: “Joy Bangla!” The sheer energy of this slogan makes it a mantra for pride and glory.

Today's new generation have not seen the liberation war, but the vibe of the glorious songs of those days is felt by them too. The songs nudge the sleeping rebel in them. We could use some of those songs now. With chaos and disorder all around, the 'rebel' needs to be reawakened. We surely have battled for and formed an independent nation, but daunting challenges of building it still lie ahead.

By M H Haider
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Ana
Makeup: Farzana Shakil
Wardrobe: Personal


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