Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake

I love my chocolate cakes moist and not too sweet. Hence, I have spent many hours trying to perfect this particular recipe I had (it was already great and just needed minor tweaking). Think I finally found the perfect balance:

200g salted butter

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

3/4th cup flour

3/4th cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4th Laban (or buttermilk)

 

Before you start, make sure the ingredients are all at room temperature. Cream butter and sugar and then add eggs. Whisk well. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Fold in gently. Add Laban and mix. Bake at 180 until done. Tada!

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Solo makes waves

edI think 2014 has certainly been a year of changes (dramatic ones at that) as well as many firsts. But one thing that stands stands out more than the others is a solo trip (henceforth, addressed as ST because abbreviations are the shizz) I took earlier this year… Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone does it these days. Big whoop! But for a socially awkward person with a crippling fear of interacting with unknown people, this was a big deal!

You know that cliché about you realising who you truly are once you travel alone? It’s true people! All true. Before the whole ST, I thought that I was an all out introvert with poor social skills and a penchant for saying the wrong things at the wrong time. But after it? I realise, not only was I all those things – but also a complete airhead as well! Let’s say, I put the ‘D’ in Ditzy, kind of ‘special’.

Jokes and half-truths apart, travelling alone is the bee’s knees. Initially, when you’re alone… feeling a little lost… a certain sound or smell or voice will remind you of things back home. That’s when the ‘homesickness’ kicks in. It comes as a wave… unannounced.. Drowns you in uncertainty. Then a kind word or smile or action turns it all around.. like a friendly buoy in this sea of uncertainty. (Yes, I can do ‘drama’). And you’re right back in the game.

So kids, moral of the story? People are nice. No matter what the world looks like right now. Most of us are still ‘good’. We as humans haven’t made a really good case for ourselves recently… but I promise you.. we are nice.

 

Note: This post is part of a 30 Day Challenge Rekha and I have courageously embarked upon again. Don’t judge us if we go a bit batty in the process ;)

Travel Theme: Roads

This week, Ailsa’s travel theme was roads. Her blog Where’s My Backpack is amazing. Do take a look, if you haven’t already and join the challenge! My images are from trips and non-trips over the past 3-4 years. These are either taken with my cell-phone cam or my trusty point & shoot (Warning: My enthusiasm for this particular post went a little over board.)

The first one is of this beautiful little town of Callander in Scotland:

  Callander

Next on the list is Glasgow. The pic was taken from a moving bus, so it might be a little blurred, but I wanted to include a picture of one of my favourite cities:

Glasgow

It’s funny how I don’t have too many pics of Muscat. I need to take more and make the most of my stay here. This one was shot with a cell-phone cam. An ex-colleague of mine had taken me and another colleague out for a spin in the Porche that’s pictured (woot!) – a test drive, of course. Fun day!

Muscat

On a different note, here are a couple taken in Winderemere/Lake District:

windermere3

windermere2

OK, I’m sorry. I couldn’t stick with just two. Here’s one last picture from the Lake District: :)

windermere

This one was shot just outside a pottery factory in Delft:

Delft

The famous Closing Dike, The Netherlands

the closing dike

Florence! What a beautiful city!

florence

The streets of Calcutta are never empty. This was taken from a cab on our way to the famous Victoria Memorial

Calcutta

Paris, France:

Paris

And finally, Amsterdam:

 dam

Day 10 of Blogging Challenge

I’ve been a little lazy and not stuck to the challenge. But I guess that’s OK. I don’t want to push myself too much and just take it a day at a time.

So here we are, Day 10. Today’s topic says “Put your music player on shuffle and write the first ten songs that play.” Fun! I wish I could do more music based blog challenges. Scratch that, I will try and figure out a blogging challenge which revolves around music. Anyway, back to the topic. I will link each song to a YouTube video as well in case anyone’s interested…

1. Wolfmother – Mind’s Eye : This is a great sign. It used to be one of those I-want-to-listen-to-this-song-on-loop-forever kind of songs. Great stuff!

2. Dream Theater – Afterlife : Not one of my favourite DT songs, but still a great one.

3. Eleni Karaindrou – The Weeping Meadow : OST from the first film (titled The Weeping Meadow) of Theo Angelopoulos’ trilogy. A beautiful, emotionally vivid instrumental piece.

4. Blue Oyster Cult – Flaming Telepaths : A favourite by BOC. Check it out if you haven’t heard it before.

5. sHEAVY – Invasion of The Micronauts : General consensus is that sHeavy sounds very ‘Sabbathy’. At least the vocalist does. Check out Electric Sleep – my favourite track by the band – if you haven’t come across their music before. (Of course, only if you’re into Stoner rock  or Doom metal.)

6. Jaco – Malaysia : Oooh, electronic music! It’s a pretty decent track.

7. Ruth Brown – Looking Back : I actually came across this song while watch My Blueberry Nights. I love Ruth’s voice… she’s divine!

8. The Hot Rats – Crystal Ship : I prefer the original by The Doors. Even Nevermore did an awesome cover. This is decent too.

9. Rich O’Toole – In a Minute or 2 : OK, I have no idea how this song is on my playlist. I have no recollection whatsoever.

10. Pink Floyd – Interstellar Overdrive : No list is complete without a Pink Floyd song. Haha! So there you have mine.

I’m glad no potentially embarrassing songs popped up. Like, say, if someone had a whole playlist of boy band songs. But of course, I’m not that person. So I didn’t need to worry about that. I mean, who listens to 98 Degrees or a1 anymore? Not me, that’s for sure!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

This week’s Photo Challenge theme is all about getting Lost in the Details.

Once you’ve found a subject you want to photograph, challenge yourself to work a little further into the scene. Here, I use a landscape as an example, but this approach can be applied to other types of photography.

Funny thing is, I’d done something similar – just for kicks of course – when I went to Jebel Sifah a couple of months back. A walk on the beach with my cousin Jhinx turned into a fun photo session!

  Sony pix 507

Sony pix 510

Sony pix 512

Day 5: A Book I Love

Just one? ONE!?! I’m picking 10. And since I haven’t continued with the ‘nostalgia posts’, I have decided to combine both in this post. So top 10 books that I remember reading during the 90s:

1. Killing Mr Griffin by Lois Duncan – A group of teengers plan to kidnap their English teacher and things (as expected) go horribly wrong. I remember desperately wanting to come back home from school just so that I could finish reading the book! (It was exam time and I couldn’t carry it to school with me.)

2. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – I liked this book better than Rebecca actually. I’m not going to talk about why I love it because, you know, spoilers.

3. Party Summer by R.L. Stine – I admit, this book has no literary value as such. But it was this book that inspired me to go on a collosal writing spree. I spent the whole summer of ’97 writing short stories and discovered I actually enjoyed writing more than anything else.

4. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

5. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – Although I was perhaps a little too young to understand some of the allusive subplots, this book completely blew my mind nonetheless.

7. It by Stephen King

8. Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon – Actually any book by Sidney Sheldon. My friends and I would devour his books.

9. Drop Shot by Harlan Coben – The book that got me hooked. I’ve read almost all his books now.

10. Little Women by Lousia May Alcott