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!

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 ;)

Random Survey (since I’m bored)

Put your music player of choice on shuffle and list the first 5 songs.

Where Do We Go From Here (Charles Bradley); Redbud Tree (Mark Knopfler); Les Nuits d’une demoiselle (Colette Renaud); The Ritual (Avalon ft Mad Maxx); How Am I Different (Aimee Mann)

If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Would you take anyone with you?

Right now? Saint Gaultier. And I most certainly wouldn’t take anyone with me.

What is your preferred writing implement? (eg. Blue pen, pencil, green pen)

Black ink pen.

Do you ever play board games or other non-computer games? Got any favourites?

Yes, I love board games! Scrabble, Cluedo and Monopoly are my favs.

A musical artist you love that isn’t well known.

I guess this would be very hard. I’d probably pick a band like 1990s or Adanowsky. They aren’t very well known in Oman I suppose.

A musical artist you love that is well known.

Leonard Cohen

What is your desktop background currently?

A picture I’d taken in Dam:

Amsterdam '12

Amsterdam ’12

First colour name you can think of that isn’t in the rainbow

Silver

What musical artists have you seen perform live?

Ahhh, loads: Iron Maiden, Opeth, Incubus, Michel Legrand, Angela Gheorghiu, Joshua Bell, Children of Bodom, Westlife (Haha)… lots!

What pets do you have? What are their names?

An English Springer Spaniel called Rusty.

Name at least one book you loved as a child.

Without a doubt it’s The Secret Mountain (Enid Blyton). I must have read the book a million times.

What things annoy you more than anything else?

Spoilers on social media. Pointless, humourless image macros. Noisy kids in movie theatres. Drivers who don’t use their turn signals. Yeah, humanity in general :)

Furthest away from home you have ever been?

Glasgow, Scotland.

Is there is anything that is guaranteed to always make you happy?

Rusty. Music. And a shirtless Farhan Akhtar.

Is there anything that always makes you sad?

Farhan Akhtar with his clothes on? Haha. It’s a long list. Loads of things make me sad.

How often do you clear your browser history?

More often than is actually necessary.

Do you believe nude photos can be artistic, rather than erotic?

Of course. The Nu Project is ample example.

Would you prefer to be at a beach or in the countryside?

Right this very moment: The countryside. But I’m sure my answer will change tomorrow.

Is there anything you should be doing right now?

Yes, working on my SOP.

Life Before the Internet

A few months back my colleague Rekha came up with a pretty neat idea for the magazine… One topic, two different viewpoints: e-books vs. tree books (FYI, Rekha was for e-books. Yes, yes, I know I’m old school and all that jazz…). We decided to extend the ‘debates’ to our respective blogs and this is the first in a line of many (I hope).

For me it this is not only the perfect excuse to start posting again but I think it also gives us something to talk about (not that we don’t have much to talk about… our extended coffee breaks speak for themselves – yes, that obvious and not-so-funny pun was totally intended).

Anyway, after much deliberation (you’ll know exactly why if you read Rekha’s fabulous blog post) we decided to talk about ‘Life before the Internet’.

To be totally honest, I didn’t have much of a life before the Internet… but erm, come to think of it, thanks to the Internet I don’t have much of a life now either (damn you, Reddit). I guess it would be easier to break my life down into three phases: Before, During (when we used dial-up), and After.

Before: Nothing here. I can’t remember my life before the Internet. I had loads of board games but that’s irrelevant since I still love them.

During: I was 12 when my dad first introduced me to the marvels on the Internet. Before that, all I did was use the computer for MS Paint. Initially however, my life didn’t change ‘During’ either. I still played outside, read books & played board games. I think it was because my parents were super-strict about how much time I spent online and also because my activities were primarily confined to Yahooligans! Oh, I’d also spend time downloading images of [insert name of boy band] for my desktop wallpaper and signed up on various pen pal websites (another blog post about that).

As I grew older, I had more freedom when it came to Internet usage (and uh, also figured out the password *evil grin*). By then ICQ, MSN & Yahoo! Chat were all the rage. We’d use ICQ/other chat applications to “talk” to our crushes (mostly seniors in our school) and they became the preferred mode of communication for those with boyfriends.

After: Well, we all know what ‘After’ comprises. MySpace, Orkut and then Facebook. I can’t seem remember most my life during ‘After’ either. Seems like I’ve come full circle.

Daily Prompt: Turn, Turn, Turn

The Daily Prompt today:

For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?

Muscat basically has two seasons: summer and not-really-summer-but-we-can’t-do-anything-about-it-so-let’s-just-call-it-winter.

The second season – for all practical purposes, let’s just stick to calling it winter – is perhaps the best thing about this place. The days are warm, yes… But not overbearingly so. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get the chance to show off you ‘winter’ wardrobe. My favourite thing about these not-so-warm months are the evenings… usual addas morph into languid sheesha sessions… weekends are interspersed with BBQs… long walks by the beach… Bliss!

True our winters don’t comprise beautiful snowy-scapes or the charm of Mediterranean winters.. but winters in Muscat have a certain je ne sais quoi you just can’t beat.

 

Ps – Here’s another post on winter from ‘back in the day’ ;)

Daily Prompt: Prized Possession

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Describe an item you were incredibly attached to as a child. What became of it?

I like to think I wasn’t petty or materialist as a child. But who am I kidding? Growing up, I had quite a few “prized possessions” – most of which I don’t even own anymore – like my Enid Blyton books, Polly Pocket, My Little Pony figurines, troll figurines (the ones with funky coloured hair), a gigantic teddy I called ‘papa bear’ (yep, from Goldilocks)… you get the idea.

However, today’s daily prompt couldn’t have come at a better time (for slightly different reasons). Here’s why:

When I was about 6 or 7 I had a navy blue dress with white polka dots. It was my FAVOURITE. During my summer vacations, mom and I made our annual trip to India and of course, the dress came along with us. And like every time, my maashi (aunt) and her daughter dropped by to meet us. My cousin is just a few years younger than I – yes, I guess at this point you know where this is going.

For some reason, which I do not recall at the moment, my cousin needed a change of clothes. Needless to say my maashi grabbed that dress and (unfortunately) it fitted my cousin perfectly. “I’m keeping this dress, alright?” she announced to no one in particular and my mom being her typical nonchalant self, just shrugged and said, “Sure.”

I couldn’t believe it! My favourite dress! My eyes welled up with tears but I didn’t say anything – and that’s where this particular memory ends…

But it’s not where this post ends though.

A few weeks back I shared this story with a friend of mine. And guess what? He surprised me by ordering a similar dress online and had it shipped over. I’m still stunned by his act of kindness.

THANK YOU! Thank you! Thank you!

But most of all, thanks for adding yet another item on my prized possessions’ list: an awesome friend.

Daily Prompt: Menagerie

Yes! Yes! Yeeeees! :) Although I’m taking a little time off from blogging, I had to try out today’s Daily Prompt

Right now I just a have batty lil dog, Rusty. But I hope to live in a huge farm one day and own at least 5 :)

Rusty means the world to me. He’s my lil baby and I love him to bits. I mean, have you seen that cute lil face? How can anyone not wanna just grab him and cuddle… Hold on a sec… Need to cuddle him for a bit… ;)

It’s hard trying to take a pic. He just doesn’t sit still:

image

It’s obvious I’m bribing him with a treat in the next one:

image

Just two for now…. And one from an old post aka the hungry dog:

image

And yes, I’m blogging from my phone! Woot!