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When was the last time you had a real, face-to-face, no holds barred conversation with someone?


One where you’d completely lost track of time?


One where you could keep going for hours and feel the lightness of only minutes having passed you by?


One where the next morning, when you try to remember what you spoke about through the night, all you can recall is a warm feeling.


Conversation


It’s a magnificent thing – being able to talk about just anything with someone in a fearless, honest and crazy way.


Knowing that nothing you could possibly say would ever result in judgement. That exquisite feeling of being bound by nothing – just indulging in an unrestrained spilling of words.


Swimming in and out of a million different ideas and stories with someone.


Being wrapped up in their lives and minds for a moment, and letting them step into yours.


It’s so beautifully detailed and intricate in some ways, and yet so simple at the same time.


Throw a slice of cheesecake like this one into the mix and you will probably make a friend for life.


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A spoonful of this fluffy cheesecake will make you feel like you’re eating a piece of light yellow cloud.


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Using just 3 ingredients also makes this a super simple dessert to put together without having to run to the store.


There is something about its delicate, pale yellow, billowy surface that just relaxes me. Do you feel the same? :)


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3-ingredient Japanese Cheesecake


Recipe from: Happy Home Baking


Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins, plus cooling
Serves: 6-8


Ingredients:


120 g white chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Meji – a Japanese brand)
120 g cream cheese, softened
3 eggs, separated
sprinkles (optional)


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Method:


1. Line the base of a 7-inch round cake tin with parchment paper and grease thoroughly. (I used brown paper parchment.)
2. Place the white chocolate pieces in a double boiler, and stir until melted and smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix until incorporated. Remove from the heat and mix in the egg yolks.


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3. In another bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff and then very gently fold into the chocolate-cream cheese mixture.


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4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place on a baking tray. Fill the tray with some hot water – it can come upto half the side of the cake tin. Bake at 170º C for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 160º C for another 15 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for a final 15 minutes. Let the cheesecake cool completely before removing from the tin. Cut into slices and top with sprinkles if desired.


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Simple is always best. Now grab a friend, make some cheesecake, crack open a bottle of wine and let the words flow :)


Life can be stressful.


That’s why God gave us cake.


Like this one.


Chocolate rum cake 1


He also gave us goofy friends who say silly things and make us laugh even when everything is miserable. And then all you want to do is feed them cake :)


Like this one.


Manasvi


Sometimes things in our lives are spiralling out of control.
Or things are not going the way you want them to.
Or hey, you’re unhappy about something and it’s all you can think about.
Been there, done that.


But you know what’s a billion times better than dwelling on those sad thoughts?


Doing something for you. Just for you.


A little pick-me-up or a stress-buster, and having some fun while you’re at it.


Here’s 10 things to do for yourself to feel better right this minute.


1. Cuddle with a puppy. Stick your face in the soft furriness and cover his face with smoochies. How about this one?


Simba


2. Call an old friend. Talk about monkeys, fitness, philosophy or food. Whatever you fancy- those are just a few things I talk to my oldest friend about.


best friends


3. Stand in front of the mirror. Let your hair down. And dance to this song. (I just did. And I can’t stop.)



4. Grab a cup of tea, get under the covers and drown yourself in a good book. I recommend this or this.


5. Go get some sunshine and breeze. Everywhere has someplace quiet and beautiful, but if you’re in Singapore like me, nothing beats the Botanical Gardens and this stunning trail.


6. If you have a funny dad like mine, (most people do right?) send him a message and then grab your stomach laughing for the next 5 minutes. Real examples below:


Funny Dad texts 1


Funny Dad texts 2


7. Go be a badass at the gym. Nothing feels like a problem when you’re snatching a heavy bar over your head. Like seriously. If you’re in Singapore come hangout with these super fun people at CrossFit Firecity.


crossfit


8. Write. About anything. Let that pen hit paper and you’ll see things tumbling out making you feel better. Not convinced? Read this.


9. Sleep it out. Sleep makes everything calmer and clearer. Stay in bed all day. It’s okay to be lazy sometimes. Really, it is.


sleep


10. Bake this cake. Boom. Life is better.


Chocolate rum cake 2


Flour-less Chocolate and Rum Cake


Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Serves: 8-10


Ingredients:


180 g dark chocolate (the best you can find)
120 g butter (salted), plus a little extra for greasing
120 g caster sugar
4 eggs
11/2 tsp vanilla extract
60 g cocoa, sifted
100 ml dark rum
cherries to garnish (optional)


For the glaze


100 g dark chocolate
50 g butter
60 ml dark rum


Ingredients


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 190º C. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a low flame, stirring until both melt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the sugar and stir in well.
2. Crack the eggs in one at a time, making sure to mix well and fully incorporating each before adding the next.
3. Add the vanilla, cocoa and rum and stir well until everything comes together in a loose batter. Pour into a greased 9-inch round tin and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
4. For the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter together, and remove from the flame to cool. Stir in the rum.
5. This is a soft cake so make sure it is completely cool before you turn it out onto a plate or it may break. Placing it in the fridge for a few minutes before turning out usually helps. Once transferred onto a plate, pour the glaze over and top with cherries if you like.


Chocolate rum cake 3


This cake reminds you to be nice to yourself. Be kind. Things can get hard sometimes, but more often than not, they get better.


Spoil yourself a little. Because you’re amazing. And never for a minute think you’re alone.


In the end you’ll see, we’re all sitting across each other at a giant table, eating cake and laughing together :)


Chocolate rum cake 4


Hello there!


I know it’s been a while – but I’m baacccckkk :D


As a peace offering for my long absence, I come bearing the cutest, purplest mini cupcakes ever.


Blueberry cupcakes 1


Am I right?


So tiny and bright and happy.


Blueberry cupcakes 2


You know how when you go to a bakery and you choose something called Ultimate Mango Cupcake and when you eat it you find there’s only like a 1cm piece of mango in there?


That is NOT RIGHT, Mr Bakery Man. That is promising me a *@&*# load of mango and then being a scrimpy poo about it.


These blueberry minis are just the opposite of that. They are jam-packed, bursting-out-the-seams, gloriously full of blueberries. Mmmmmmm


Blueberry cupcakes 4


Did I mention the batter was so darn tasty I had to restrain myself from eating it all before I baked it?


Blueberry cupcakes 3


These cupcakes are actually so good, they don’t even any frosting/fanciness on top – it’s so satisfying to see the purple blueberry bits peeking through :)


Blueberry cupcakes 5


Mini blueberry cupcakes


Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 10-12 mins
Makes: 30 (depending on how small your liners are)


Ingredients:


120 g plain flour, sifted
120 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
120 g butter (melted and cooled)
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 boxes fresh blueberries
sweetened whipped cream (optional)


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir well until everything is combined and you have a glossy, smooth batter. Add about 3/4th the blueberries mixing well and pressing them down with a fork so that most of them burst (you’ll see pretty purple juice swirls in the batter).
2. Line a cupcake tray with mini cupcake liners. Carefully spoon the batter into each liner. Fill each one about two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
3. Eat as they are, or top with a teaspoon of sweetened cream and a fresh blueberry (or two!)


Blueberry cupcakes 6


When I say blueberry, you get blueberry.


Time to go stuff ma face. (Again).


A few of you, my gentle, non-violent readers, have told me that you’re going to mail me slaps if I keep writing only health/fitness/diet posts.


I was shrewd enough to pick up on your very subtle feedback.


So I asked you guys for suggestions on what to bake and I got some great ones.


Twitter suggestions


But in the end, after some deliberation and discussions with fellow decadent dessert lovers, I decided this dessert is the one I want to #stuffmyfaceinrightnow.


I modified it a bit though, so putcha hands up for…Triple whiskey dark chocolate cake baby!


Triple whiskey cake 1


This cake is everything you want in a dessert.


It also has some side effects.


It might make you laugh like a loon and then dance around your room to this song.
It may even make you think that a shot of whiskey with a slice of the cake before a work phonecall is the best idea ever. FYI – It. Is. NOT.


What I love about this bombshell is that you can taste the chocolate and the whiskey in every layer.


You can taste it in the moist and fudgy cake layers.
You can double taste it in the sinfully smooth and shiny ganache filling.
And then triple taste it in the dense and slightly salty buttercream on top.


Triple whiskey cake 4


Although it has 3 parts, it’s really quite easy to throw together if you have all the ingredients.


Triple whiskey cake 2


Just don’t eat it until all the parts come together, ummkay?


I know it’s hard when it looks like this…


Triple whiskey cake 3


But hold on, because it gets SO much better!


Here’s what you do.


Triple whiskey dark chocolate cake
Adapted from: Undressed Skeleton


Prep time: 30 mins, plus cooling
Cook time: 40 mins
Serves: 8


Ingredients:


110g flour, sifted
50g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
225g castor sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 medium eggs
100 ml strong brewed coffee, cooled
100 ml whiskey
60 ml milk
80 ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
sprinkles, if desired


For the ganache


200 g dark chocolate chips
80 ml heavy cream
4 tbsp whiskey, plus more if needed
2 tbsp unsalted butter


For the buttercream frosting


150 g salted butter, softened
200 g icing sugar (plus more if needed)
50 g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
4 tbsp whiskey, plus more if needed


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
2. In another bowl crack in the eggs, add the coffee, whiskey, milk, and oil and whisk well.
3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well until you have a uniform batter. It will be rather thin – don’t worry about it. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. If the cake is still wobbly in the centre, switch off the oven and leave the cake inside to cool. If not, remove and leave the tin on a wire rack to cool.
4. For the ganache, put the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the cream until gently bubbling, then pour in the whiskey and stir. Pour over the chocolate chips, add the butter and stir to melt the chocolate. Taste and add more whiskey if desired. Leave to thicken in the fridge.
5. For the buttercream frosting, mix the butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder, and whiskey together. Taste and add more whiskey if desired. If it isn’t thick enough, add more icing sugar. Mix to a thick, creamy consistency. Set aside.
6. Once the cake is completely cool, slice it gently through the centre to create 2 layers. Place the bottom layer on the serving plate and top evenly with the ganache. Cover with the top layer and top with the buttercream frosting. Decorate with sprinkles if desired, and serve!


Ain’t she a beauty?


Triple whiskey cake 5


This drunken cake is perfect to bring to a party, or to just eat by yourself (LOL).


What ya waiting for? Make it now :D



You guys have probably heard of CrossFit. It’s a fitness and exercise program that people around the world can’t stop talking about.


I had only heard good things about CrossFit from this guy who loves it like crazy, so when I moved to Singapore I decided to try it at CrossFit Fire City.


It’s been over a month already and I can say I’m truly addicted. I remember though, the apprehension I felt before my first class. Will I be able to do anything? Will I embarrass myself? Should I even try this at all?


For all those people who are asking that question right now, here’s a nifty little list just for you :)


10 things CrossFit Beginners need to know


1. This WILL be the most intensive workout you’ve ever done in your life. So be prepared for it. It doesn’t matter if you run, kickbox, zumba, or do yoga everyday. This will be a challenge, but you will be able to see it through. I promise.


2. You will hear lots of terms that are alien to you at first: Box, Double unders, Snatch, Clean, Wallballs, among others. Don’t worry – you’ll slowly figure out what they are. (Some of them were made by the Devil. Just FYI.)


3. Every single movement is scalable. This means that you can perform every movement because it can scaled down to what your body can handle. Can’t do double unders? Do single unders. Can’t lift 30kg? Do 10kg instead. You will slowly build strength and move to more complex movements and higher weights.


4. The coaches are trained and will give you extra time and attention when you’re a newbie. Not only that, experienced crossfitters will also help you if you’re struggling. You never feel alone in the box.


5. Learn to love squats. I’ve said before that CrossFit should be called SquatFit. So many of the movements you will learn depend on being able to squat right. So get squatting!


squats


6. You will be sore everywhere. And I mean everywhere. In muscles you didn’t know existed. Climbing stairs will hurt. Sitting down will hurt. Standing up will hurt. The cure? Go to the next class to relax those muscles and make new ones sore. LOL.


Soreness


7. You will love to hate some of the movements. Like Burpees. I hate you burpees. But you will do them anyway.


burpees


8. Motivate yourself to attend the first few classes. After that, nothing will be able to keep you away. Really!


9. Everyone talks about how CrossFit communities are always full of the friendliest people you will ever meet. I thought this was an exaggeration until I met the folks at CrossFit Fire City. Everyone is so incredibly warm and friendly and funny. I hear that most boxes are like this – a place where you feel like home.


Crossfit community


10. Expect to be changed – you will be stronger, you will learn to love your body, and you will feel so much more confident.


crossfit love


So if you’re looking for a change from your usual routine, why not give CrossFit a try? And if you’re in Singapore, come say hello to the wonderful peeps at CrossFit Fire City.


CrossFit is also about eating clean by the way. Remember my 30 Days of Paleo challenge?


Look at this psychedelic, colour-burst salad.


colour burst salad 4


Ain’t it pretty? :)


It’s easy to put together and makes for a very filling but packed-with-goodness meal.


It makes you feel like you’re eating a rainbow :D


Start with some gorgeous red-green spinach.


colour burst salad 2


And choose all your favourite kinds of fruit and veg.


colour burst salad 3


Just put them together and you’re done! Super healthy. Super pretty. Super salad.


Colour-burst salad


Prep time: 10 mins
Serves: 2


Ingredients:


large handful of baby spinach (use the red and green variety if you can find it)
1/2 dragon fruit, peeled and sliced
1/2 pear, peeled and sliced
7-8 cherry tomatoes
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1/4 papaya, peeled and chopped
small box of blueberries
1/4 pineapple, peeled and chopped
5-6 small radish, cut into halves
large handful of roasted almonds
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


colour burst salad 1


Method:


1. Wash and drain the spinach, then arrange evenly on a plate. Cover with all the fruits/veggies-you can use whatever type you like. Just make them a nice mix of colours.
2. In a small bowl, stir the honey, almond butter, and extra virgin olive oil together. Add salt and pepper to taste – a little extra pepper is nice, since it is largely a sweet salad.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.



So Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Again.


Hello star struck couples.
Hi everything red.
And hey there, strawberries and chocolate – get in my face already.


Here’s where I am on the romantic front.


Fridge


But, since I’m a total sucker for love and a big fan of mush-ville, I’m going to shout out to my 5 most favorite couples.


These are ones who make me believe in real love.


Not the kind of love that happens when it’s convenient or easy.


But the kind of love that respects, and sacrifices, and understands, and never ever gives up.


All these people are amazing as individuals, but together they’re even better.


I admire all of them for who they are – you guys keep my faith in love alive.


Couple 1: Mom and Dad


Mom and Dad


I see in them everything I want my life to be. They’re perfectly balanced, and they bring out the best in each other. From them I’ve learnt that real love is for a lifetime, and no matter what life throws at you, you can get through it if you’re together. Love you both more than anything in this world.


Couple 2: Parul and Andy


Parul and Andy


It’s strange I’ve never met Andy, but I feel like I know him so well through Parul. Theirs is the classic young-love story. Despite the pressures of distance, their relationship proves how resilient love can be. From them I’ve learnt what unconditional support and trust in a relationship really means.


Also, any couple that brings this most adorable munchkin into the world, is clearly doing it right. I love this baby to bits.


Ally


Couple 3: Shriya and Mukund


Shriya and Mukund


There are some love stories you’re lucky enough to witness blossom and grow – Shriya and Mukund’s is one of those. This picture-perfect couple share a love for travel, fitness, and puppies. They are always doing immensely thoughtful things for each other, and take the time to share wonderful experiences together. I miss them so much!


Couple 4: Mona and Badri


Mona and Badri


You’d think they’re so different, but Mona and Badri fit together like 2 pieces of a puzzle. I love them because when you’re with them, it’s always unbelievably fun. From them I’ve learnt that opposites not only attract, but are also better together! Hugs, you guys!


Couple 5: Rupa and Judo


Rupa and Judo


These two have been married for a few years now, but the way they talk to each other, you’d think they just started dating. There is a refreshing child-likeness in their relationship – they always make the best of whatever the situation is, and wherever they are, there is sure to be laughter. And guess what, now the babies have their very own baby – I can’t wait to meet him :)


This Valentine’s Day, I’m sending my love to all these wonderful people who’ve taught me a thing or two about love. Here’s to many, many more years together of laughter and fun and craziness and happiness for all of you :)


Now that you’re all full of that warm, cozy feeling I’m gonna share a crazy easy, no-bake, healthy dessert with you guys, so you can hop right into your kitchen and make it for your Valentine <3!


Did I mention it’s stunning too?


Panna Cotta 1


I used pink dragon fruit, coz duh! It’s Valentine’s Day :P


It’s 4 ingredients and it’s a Paleo dessert – so it’s as guilt-free as you can get!


Panna Cotta 2


Paleo Coconut milk Panna Cotta
Adapted from: Deliciously Organic


Prep time: 10 mins, plus cooling and chilling time
Serves: 6


Ingredients:


1 litre coconut milk (full-fat)
11/2 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
100 ml raw honey
1 dragon fruit (or any other fruit you like)


Panna Cotta 4


Method:


1. Pour 250 ml of the coconut milk into a large saucepan and scatter the gelatin in. Stir to mix in and leave for ten minutes.
2. Place the saucepan over a medium flame and keep stirring until small bubbles appear on the sides of the pan. Pour in the remaining coconut milk, followed by the honey and stir until everything is mixed well. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
3. Pour into 6 small bowls or glasses, cover with cling film, and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, top with chopped dragon fruit.


Fun fact: Dragon fruit stains your fingers a pretty pink colour – much like beetroot :)


Panna Cotta 3


Happy Valentine’s Day, guys :) Cheers to love!


Happy new year my darlings!


Culinarystorm says sorry for the slow posts these past few weeks.


There’s been a solid reason for it though – I’ve moved to Singapore!


I’m starting a new job here and it’s been quite the challenge – moving to a new country, doing interesting work I’ve not done before, and making new friends.


But the very best part is being in a place that’s full of fantastic food :)


Last weekend, some friends took me to brunch to place called Wild Honey. The bright and colourful decor, large chalkboard menu, and array of food and beverage choices will make you forget all about the 45 minute wait to get in.


wild honey inside


Wild Honey has 2 locations in Singapore, but the one I went to was in the super pish-poshy mall, Mandarin Gallery, that’s full of designer clothes and art and a rather adorable dessert shop called Antoinette where the macarons are not bad.


I’m a sucker for the chalkboard menus at Wild Honey.


wild honey chalkboard menu


If you think eggs are magic (like me), then you must try this place. They specialise in all-day breakfasts from around the world, so you could choose from Tunisian or Spanish, Norwegian or Aussie, English or Mexican, and many more!


I bullied everyone at my table into ordering different things so I could try a little of everything.


Here’s a look at what we stuffed our faces with.


Spanish breakfast


Spanish Hash- A plateful of uniformly cut cubes of spicy chorizo, corned beef, and crispy potato, topped with poached eggs doused in Hollandaise Sauce and served with giant brioche slices.


Norwegian breakfast


Norwegian- This delightful plate comes with creamy avocado pieces nestled in a bed of whole wheat brioche, covered with grilled asparagus, and then poached eggs that have been wrapped like a dream in Norwegian smoked salmon.


This is what happens when you cut into it.


Norwegian breakfast 2


If you’re drooling all over your keyboard, call me. We’re soulmates.


Portobello road breakfast


Portobello Road- A pile of baked portobello mushroom, spinach, red pepper confit and poached eggs drizzled with lemon Hollandaise on brioche.


Sweet mornings


Sweet mornings- This is what French toast should look like. Thick, golden-brown caramelized brioche. The bread was stuffed with sweet mango. YUM. And the dish also came with maple syrup, vanilla mascarpone, and a bright red berry compote. YUM YUM YUM.


wild honey iced tea


I also tried the Wild honey iced tea which was, well, interesting, but too “herby” for my liking.


Latte


The Latte was clearly pretty decent, because my friend drank two. Also, so pretty!


Juice


There is also an assortment of fresh juices on offer – a breakfast necessity, no? And aren’t the straws adorable? :)


Try Wild Honey if you enjoy international all-day breakfasts, eggs, and oh ya, Hollandaise sauce.


To kick off my first post for 2014, let’s do a poll! It’s been ages right?! I know!



I love you guys! Hoping this will be a brilliant year for us all! Hugs!


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