Timeless Love by Chantilly

life Desk :
Some words become synonymous for us as reminders of grace and delicacy—and Chantilly certainly does that. Reminiscent of French style, forever at the forefront of the minds of the fashion forward, it is an apt moniker for the new endeavour by designer Selina Nusrat. Brand Chantilly is a natural progression of Selina Nusrat’s lifelong passion of making things, one she has been stoking from time to time, ever since being amazed and inspired by the beautiful handwork of the ladies in her home as she grew up in a joint family in Chittagong.

“The name Chantilly immediately creates a certain image in the audience’s mind, associated with delicate French lace and aesthetics, which is resonant of my ideal clientele,” Selina says of her inspiration.

Nusrat is not a newbie to designing, having successfully participated in the Dhaka Fashion Week in 2010, under her own brand “MATIr”, which she discontinued later to tend to family responsibilities, mainly raising her son. Chantilly is thus the outcome of the designer’s evolution, and her rich exposure to South Asian and European aesthetic sensibilities, which allows her to create a style uniquely her own—restrained yet joyous.

This is thus the designer’s second foray into the fashion scene, back to her calling, as she says she feels “happy and comfortable designing clothes.” The wealth of her experience and sources of inspiration shows in the beautiful variety that is her collection “Timeless Love,” most recently showcased in collaboration with Amishe’s jewellery.

For the collection, Selina has worked on seamlessly fusing eastern and western cuts in shalwar kameezs, keeping those mostly suitable for casual and formal day wear. Adhering to the pastel colour palettes, the shalwar kameez sets aim to celebrate young love and how it views the world as a “rosy, pretty, and cheerful” place.

The collection’s saris on the other hand, done in classic materials like muslin, silk and chamois, have the upped glam quotient with shimmering embroidery—kamdani, karchupi and dabka— while keeping true to modern and chic sensibilities. The motifs are decidedly Mughal inspired.

Selina’s collection also offers a host of Johar coats for men, the South-Asian semi formal sleeveless jackets, that she has styled to be suitable with kurta-sets and formal shirts and trousers, ideal for the debonair and romantic young men to complement the regal beauties on their arms.

Here is to wishing Selina Nusrat a grand and successful re-entry into her world of creative passions.

Eid Recipes

Life desk :

Ramadan is almost over, and we all know what that means. It is the countdown to the joyous celebration of Eid-Ul-Fitr. The festival is celebrated by preparing feisty dishes, including beef, chicken and mutton. The day starts with the morning Eid prayer, followed by gulping down delicious dishes until you can’t move a muscle. For this Eid, why not up the ante with these special dishes, designed to make anyone drool the moment they get a whiff of it.

Malai Gosht

A touch of cream and blend of spices constitute this hearty dish. Malai gosht is also known for its unique taste. If you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out. Serve this delicious main dish with rice, roti or paratha.

Method

Marinate meat with yoghurt, cream, papaya and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Now in a pan, heat ½ cup of ghee, add the marinated mutton, cover it and let it tenderise. In a separate pan, heat the remaining ghee. Add the sliced onion and fry till light brown. Now add ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and black peppercorns. Fry for few minutes. Now add tender meat, let it simmer for 10 minutes. In the end give smoke of coal and serve.

Chicken Karahi

Chicken Karahi is a dish from the Pakistani and Indian subcontinent, and noted for its spicy taste. The Pakistani version does not have capsicum whereas the North Indian version uses capsicum and green chilli. The dish is prepared in a Karahi (wok). It can take between 40 and 50 minutes to prepare and cook the dish and can be stored for later consumption. This dish is one of the hallmarks of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. It can be served with rice, naan or roti.

Method

In a large wok, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 10-15 seconds. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 2 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the tomatoes, chillies, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove the lid and cook uncovered until it thickens. Garnish with slices of fresh ginger, sliced chillies and fresh coriander leaves. Serve with warm rice or naan bread.

Tawa Tadka Keema

MethodHeat ghee in a skillet (tawa) and add chopped ginger-garlic and sauté for few seconds. Add chopped onions and sauté. Add all the spices, tomatoes and pickle. Mix well and cook. Then add chicken mince, cook for at least 10 minutes. Add spring onions and mix well. Remove from heat. Finally garnish with fresh coriander and serve it on sizzling platter.

Bihari Dum Gosht

MethodIn a spice mixture, add sesame seeds, almonds, fried onion and coconut, grind well and set aside. In a bowl, add beef fillet, yogurt, salt, papaya paste, ginger-garlic paste, grounded mixture, coriander powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, and turmeric powder, mix well and marinate for 4-5 hours or overnight. Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and fry until golden brown. Now add marinated beef, mix well and cook on high flame for five minutes. Add water and mix, cover and cook on low flame for 1 hour or until meat is tender and oil floats over all. Give a coal smoke for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

Parsi Mutton Cullets

MethodSqueeze the minced mutton between the palms of your hands to remove excess water.

Soak the bread in one cup of water for half a minute and squeeze to remove excess water. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the oil, bread crumbs and eggs. Mix well and set aside to marinate for 3 to 4 hours, preferably in a refrigerator. Divide the marinated mince into 12 equal portions, shape each portion into a ball and roll in breadcrumbs. Place each ball on a flat surface and flatten with your finger into a 4 inch patty, dusting with breadcrumbs as required. Place the cutlets in a refrigerator for half an hour. Heat oil in a deep pan. Beat eggs lightly with salt and two tablespoons of water. Dip the cutlets in the egg and deep fry on each side. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot.

Creamy Potato Salad

Method

Cut the boiled potatoes into cubes. Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a large glass or plastic bowl. Add potatoes, celery and onion, toss. Stir in eggs. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavours and chill. Store covered in refrigerator.

Gil-E-Firdaus

Gil-E-Firdaus is an elaborate but memorable sweet dish, made commonly in Hyderabad during festivals and weddings. Sago and coarsely-crushed rice are cooked in milk and perked up with a range of ingredients like bottle gourd, nuts, condensed milk and cashew paste to get a lusciously creamy dessert with a unique feel. Saffron, cardamom and rose water give the Gil-E-Firdause a rich flavour, which lingers on your palate long after your cup is empty.

Method

Combine the saffron and warm milk in a bowl, mix well and keep aside. Soak the basmati rice for 10 minutes in enough water, drain and keep aside. Allow them to dry on muslin cloth for 30 minutes. Coarsely grind the dried rice in the grinder. Keep aside. Heat the ghee in a small non- stick pan, add the almond slivers and sauté on medium flame for 2 minutes, till they become golden brown in colour, drain them on an absorbent paper and keep aside for garnish. In the same ghee, add the bottle gourd and sauté on a medium flame for 3 minutes. Stirring continuously, until it becomes soft. Keep aside. In a deep non- stick pan, add the milk, sago, crushed rice, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes, while stirring continuously. Add the bottle gourd, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 2 minutes. Add the saffron milk mixture, cashew nut paste, condensed milk, cardamom powder and vanilla essence, mix well and cook for 4 minutes on very low flame. Switch off the flame, add rose water and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve chilled garnished with crispy almond slivers.

Coconut Cotyledon or Coconut Apple kheer

In Bangla we call it Khopra. Generally, we use coconut for its nutritious juice and meat. However, in some mature coconuts, we will find a round, soft, spongy structure in the middle after we crack open the coconut. This spongy mass is amazingly yummy! It is sweet and moist and has very similar texture to cotton candy. In fact it is healthier than coconut juice and coconut water. Eat it raw, you will find it buttery with flavour similar to coconut tender meat.

Method

In a pan, mix all the milk, coconut, coconut cream, mawa and sugar together. Also mix cardamom powder and cinnamon powder. Boil on high heat. When milk mixture is thoroughly cooked, add coconut cotyledon and mix well. Remove from heat and keep in a chiller till it’s time to serve. In a pan, put 1 tablespoon of sugar. When sugar starts melting, add honey, pistachio, walnut and sesame seeds. Lastly, add sliced bananas, and finish with butter. For plating, put kheer in a bowl and garnish with silver paper and pistachio slivers. Put the caramel alongside with the rose petals and serve.

Connecting dots the right way

Life Desk :

Be that one person, who shows up to an event not looking like everyone else, but rather the one whom everyone comes up to asking, “Where did you get that dress from?”/ “You look great”/ “Your outfit is so fresh and different from what we see now.”

Break away from the monotonous glitter, and all things that are trending right now. Like a delight of fresh air this summer, check out the one of a kind, never before seen, HUMAIRA KHAN’s “Connecting the dots” line, this Eid-ul-Fitr – perfect for a breezy you on what promises to be a balmy Eid morning this year.

The line embodies a selection of women’s wear that is fun, playful, fresh, youthful, but still modern with funky takes on crop tops, dresses, saris and kurtis.

Exclusively done on muslin with a primary focus on polka dotted prints, designer Humaira Khan creates modern pieces with an emphasis on cuts and styles that remain faithful to the natural fluidity of the fabric itself. The colour palette is primarily black and white with a splash of bright hues in the form of embroidered floral designs with a three-dimensional effect on them.

Many of her pieces have long trails, short fronts and long backs and also the addition of waist and side belts. The saris in this collection are designed on monotone fabrics, with the same kind of embroidered flowers and multi-coloured tassels added at the end of the anchal.

The entire collection runs on the “less is more” mantra. A primary black and white polka dotted print, that draws the eye to the cuts of the outfit, are not only complementing, but gives her line the much-needed panache with a hint of fun and flirty that is a result of Humaira Khan’s eye to the cloth’s natural movement.

Since the primary fabric for the line “Connecting the dots” used is muslin, it translates very well from attending family dinners, a casual catch-up with friends to the nightly formal event. Be the elegant and trendy deviant that inspires others to walk down the polka dot path, establishing your role as the new trendsetter of the year!

Have fun in one of Humaira Khan’s self-titled pieces, becoming the envy of every other girl’s eye this Eid. Set yourself apart and become the one that everyone keeps an eye out for at any upcoming events

Moonsighting: More than meets the eye

Life Desk :
“Chaad Dekha”, or the sighting of the new moon, plays a huge role in the lives of Muslims who follow the appearance of the moon as the criteria for determining important dates in the lunar calendar, such as the beginning and end of each month in the Islamic calendar, and thus the beginning and end of Ramadan, and of course, Eid. To this day, chaad dekha, remains a celebratory marker for the end of Ramadan, calling in Eid-ul-Fitr.

Thus the visibility of the moon always had an emphatic role in determining our main festivities, and growing up, the crescent moon has been embedded in our memories forever. A source of confusion for much of us is when a lot of people who do not wait for the sighting of the moon, and simply follow the Saudi Arabian dates of the Islamic months instead. So big was the issue, that a lot of countries, and sometimes particular regions within some countries, such as Bangladesh itself, there were entire groups of people who would follow the Saudi dates.

As Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi explains, this confusion arises from the juxtaposition of a Hadith, which reads- “Observe fast on sighting it (the new moon) and break it on sighting it. But if (due to clouds) the actual position of the month is concealed from you, you should then count thirty (days).” As is evident from a literal translation of the Hadith, the idea that sparks the debate is that for centuries, Muslims have relied on their own vision to determine the date and month. The contradiction with the astronomical determination of the new moon is that it is quite impossible for anyone to see the actual new moon with their naked eye. Instead, what we witness as the new moon is in fact a further developed moon which is a day or two old. Moreover, the debate proliferates that there has been an agreement upon the idea that Muslims would do as the Hadith would guide them, that is, there has been an Ijma (consensus) in the Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), and so there is little room for going back on this tradition as the Ijma is a fixed legal binding for the Ummah (Muslim community). But as we can see from the infinite number of dates listed on the website-moonsighting.com, which indicate the beginning of the month of Ramadan all over the world, with many countries having more than one particular date depending on the divided community beliefs, no such tenet of faith is followed. But the new moon at the end of Ramadan is undoubtedly the harbinger of joy.

 

 

A unique iftar with The Italian Kitchen

Life Desk :

Set up by two young Italian friends in the heart of Dhaka, Filippo Ferri and Alberto Ruscalla, The Italian Kitchen has one clear goal: “Make Italian food, in its purest form”.

For Ramadan, they are offering two iftar combos priced at Tk 1,200 and Tk 1,900. The first combo includes Spezzatino (slow cooked beef stew) and two chocolatey Nutella Space Cake slices plus dates and bread. The second one is ideal for 4 people and includes Dippings, two Lasagna portions, four small salads, dates and Tiramisu.

Nestlé launches global initiative to help children lead healthier lives

Life Desk :

On the United Nations International Day of Families (15 May), Nestlé announced its global “Nestlé for Healthier Kids” initiative. The programme includes the further development of healthier products and advice for families on nutrition and exercise. It aims at helping 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030.

With this new initiative, Nestlé is accelerating the transformation of its food and beverage portfolio worldwide. In 2017 alone, the company launched more than 1000 new products to meet the nutritional needs of children. In the same year, it provided 174 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages in 66 countries where people lack essential micronutrients such as iron, iodine and vitamin A.

Nestlé already reformulates around one third of its product portfolio every year. It will use its industry-leading innovation capability to further enhance food and beverages for children with even more fruits, vegetables, fibre-rich grains and micronutrients. Some recent product launches in the different Nestlé markets include GERBER Grabbers Strong Veggies vegetable and fruit purees, NIDO organic milk powder and NESQUIK Alphabet whole grain breakfast cereals with reduced sugar.

By 2020, the company will increase portions of vegetables, fibre-rich grains, pulses, nuts and seeds to its products. Nestlé is also working to reduce saturated fats in all relevant products that do not meet WHO recommendations.

Eid Sale at Cats Eye

Life Desk :
Cats Eye is giving great discounts this year on their Eid products, available on their online store and shopping outlets. Buyers can get as high as 60 percent discounts whilst shopping online, and a flat 10 percent discount on any item from their outlets.

For Robi users, Cats Eye has a special 20 percent discount for online orders and 15 percent for in store purchase.

The fashion house’s 2018 Eid collection includes eye-catching designs on different kinds of outfits with matching pieces for fathers and sons, exclusive mandarin designed vests, sherwani cut panjabis with various necklines etc. For women, beautiful embroidered single kameez and blouses are offered. Some of the outlets are offering children’s clothes within Tk 499.

La Mode: Of pearls, beads and sequins

Life Desk :
This Eid, La Mode, has incorporated Zardosi with regular footwear to complete the festive look. Taking inspiration from the era of Kings and Mughals, the shoes display a chic look.

The collection’s highlight is the subtle handiwork of opulent sequins, beads, pearls and threadwork studded on the velvety suede, with a finished work of royal and floral motifs. Comfort is not compromised as the inside is made to keep the feet relaxed.

Check out La Mode’s Zardosi Collection for the added touch of ethereal elegance and style of local heritage.

Eid celebration and young savers

Life Desk :

I remember growing up with my siblings and how excited we used to be during the last few days of Ramadan – the reason? Eid was around the corner!

Back in those days, life was simple, and the two Eids were the most important celebrations in our lives; meaning new clothes, new shoes and visiting loved ones. Food played a major part, especially after a month of fasting. Getting Eidi was not a tradition in those days amongst middle class families; it started when our children were growing up.

Soon it became a norm, and the amount started increasing from a mere hundred Takas to thousands. On the day of Eid, children would arrive in droves with their parents, fall on your feet to do a quick salaam, and look expectantly at your face for a generous Eidi. There would be a serious competition as to who got more, and a pressure on the grownups to meet up to their expectation.

This is a good opportunity for parents to instil the value of saving. Arguably, the most fundamental lesson that can be taught is the importance of saving and investing at a young age. Children can be given ‘Piggy Banks’ to start saving their Eidi in them. Every month, they can add to their savings- money they got as a birthday gift or a part of their pocket money. By the end of the year, they will be surprised at how much they have saved. This is how the cycle of saving starts, the importance of it, and how much one can do with it.

This time of the year is also a happy time for young profes

sionals, especially ones who are on their own, with no extended families. The Eid bonus is definitely a hard-earned perk and getting it twice a year can help in their financial wellbeing. The money should be well utilised and not wasted. A small part of it should go to the savings account for future use.

Try and not be extravagant at the early stage of your career, and save as much as you can– a day will come when you have enough money in your nest for you to venture out and spoil yourself!

Companion condiments

Life Desk :

You have guests coming over for Eid dinner, and all the food is set and ready to be served. You know the food is good, but you feel like something is missing, and you are not wrong. Good food only becomes great food with the help of dips and sauces, and with these dips and sauce recipes, you can be sure to rule the table this Eid.

GREEN GRAPE SALSA WITH SPRING ONION AND MINT

Ingredients

2 cups seedless green grapes, quartered

1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced

¼ cup spring onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp green chilli, minced

3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

2 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

In a medium bowl, mix the grapes, bell pepper, spring onion, green chilli, mint, lime juice and one-fourth teaspoon salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes. Before serving, adjust the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

DREAMY ORANGE CHEESECAKE DIP

Ingredients

8 ounce cream cheese, softened

½ cup orange marmalade

1/4 tsp vanilla essence

2 cups whole strawberry

2 cups cantaloupe chunks

2 cups apple slices

Method

Combine cream cheese, marmalade, and vanilla in a small bowl, mix well. Garnish with orange peel and mint leaves. Serve with fruit dippers.

CURRIED FRUIT DIP

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream, 3 tbsp mango chutney

2 tbsp pineapple juice

1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey

1 tsp grated orange peel

1 tsp curry powder

Assorted cut-up fresh fruits and vegetable

Method

Place sour cream in a small bowl. Stir in chutney, pineapple juice, mustard, honey, curry powder and orange peel until well blended. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Serve immediately with fresh fruits and vegetables or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

CREAM CHEESE DIP WITH VEGETABLE

Ingredients

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp coarse-grained dijon mustard

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

½ tsp dried parsley flakes

½ tsp black pepper, ¼ tsp garlic powder

Red onion rings (optional)

Assorted fresh vegetables: bell pepper strips, broccoli florets, baby carrots, cucumber slices.

Method

Beat cream cheese for one minute in a medium sized bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the mayonnaise and mustard until well blended. Stir in onion, parsley, black pepper and garlic powder. Garnish the dip with onion rings. Serve with vegetables.

COCONUT CHUTNEY

Ingredients

1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

½ cup coconut meat paste

2 cups coriander leaf

1 tbsp salt

¼ cup lemon

2 green chilli

Method

Make a fine paste of the sesame seeds, and mix all other ingredients. Serve with bread, lentils or vegetables.

MANGO CHUTNEY

Ingredients

2 cups green mangoes, cubed

3 cups water

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp dry chilli powder

1 tsp salt

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp panchforon

2 tbsp mustard oil

Method

In a pot boil the mango with turmeric, dry chilli powder and salt. When the mango is tender, remove from the heat and mash it with a wooden spoon and add the sugar. Heat the oil, add the panchforon, pour the mango mix and stir for about 5/6 minutes.