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Archive for July, 2011

Some friends met on Friday.

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Now since these friends have known each other forever, a number of (silly) activities were (obviously) indulged in.

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Activities included were:

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Drinking white wine

Discussing relationships

Eating cupcakes

Laughing

Taking photographs that weren’t great (blame the wine)

Hugging

Power naps

Singing songs together

And smiling (lots and lots of smiling)

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These are some of the things my crazies and me did recently.

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We also ate Khow suey.

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Khow suey is a traditional Burmese noodle dish. It involves noodles, and a rich coconuty gravy (usually with chicken, beef, or shrimp) that you eat with a number of condiments.

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The noodles and gravy taste fantastic, but it’s the condiments that are the real fun part :)

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Together they create a perfect balance of taste and texture in your mouth- sweet, spicy, creamy, tangy, crunchy- all in one mouthful.

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Condiments for Khow suey differ from region to region, and you can choose almost anything you like.

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These are the ones we had.

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Hard boiled eggs

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Fresh coriander

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Deep fried noodle bits

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Onions

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Fried garlic (my favourite one :P )

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Green chillies

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Lemon juice

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Chilli oil

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How beautiful is that?

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It is a bowl of comfort, nestled in happy memories.
Much like old friends.

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There are so many movies that celebrate food.

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Julie and Julia.

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Ratatouille.

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Chocolat.

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The Waitress.

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And there are so many lists on the web that remind us of these wonderful movies.

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Here is one.
And here is another.

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I don’t know about you, but the number of movies I’ve watched recently has drastically plummeted from earlier.

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This is because I’ve fallen in love with tv-shows.

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I like the continuous engagement, the time taken for character exposition, and the languorous days spent in bed watching episode after episode like a person who has no life whatsoever.

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I enjoy watching vampires, islands, chefs, detectives, housewives, doctors, and high school kids to name a few.

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Yes.
I know.
I am an addict.
A crazy addict.

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So celebrating my love for tv-shows, I’ve put together a list of my top 8 food moments in them.
Yay!

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# 8 Modern family
Season 2/episode 1 (The Old wagon)
The chocolate milk scene

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This is the classic choice a few unlucky boys are forced to make at some point in their lives- mother versus “the other woman in his life”.
Regular chocolate milk versus chocolate milk with a pinch of salt to “bring out the flavour”. And Sofia Vergara’s accent is plain delicious!

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#7 Lost
Season 1/episode 8 (Confidence man)
The peanut butter scene

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Even though there is no actual peanut butter involved in this episode, the whole scene is really heartfelt. Charlie tries his best to get some of the real stuff for Claire, but when he can’t find any, he wins her over with an empty bottle and his charm. He says- “It’s full, full to the brim, with stick to the roof of your mouth, oh, god, makes you want a glass of milk extra smooth. It’s the best bloody peanut butter I’ve ever tasted.” I can practically taste it myself.
(Thanks a ton Charlie- now I’m walking towards my jar with a spoon.)

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#6 The Mentalist
Almost every episode
The tea scene/s

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Patrick Jane loves his tea. He describes tea as “a hug in cup”, and frankly I couldn’t agree more. He usually makes it himself, swiftly dipping the tea bag in a warm cup. It’s most interesting however, when he drinks it under great stress or immense calm. If you’ve seen the season three finale, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
P.s- How painfully cute is he?

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# 5 Desperate housewives
Season 7/episode 19 (The lies ill-concealed)
The pineapple upside-down cake scene

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Gaby (the woman who ordered chinese for Christmas) hides a headset in her lustrous hair (I would KILL for hair like that), and has Bree give her instructions for a cake that her husband (Carlos) knows she didn’t make herself. When he asks her to replicate it and she fails, Bree secretly replaces it with a perfect cake. Gaby then presents the cake to her husband, and says (very dramatically) “If only trust were as easy to make”. It cracks me up! :)

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#4 Glee
Season 2/episode 3 (Grilled cheesus)
The grilled cheese scene/s

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This is the one where Finn sees the face of Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich and prays to it. Puck is at his charming best in this episode, singing Only the good die young. The sandwich itself looks really delicious by the way- perfectly crispy brown and cheesy. It makes me hungry.

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#3 Sex and the City
Season 3/episode 5 (No ifs, ands, or butts)
The cupcake scene

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When Carrie and Miranda ate those delectable cupcakes outside Magnolia Bakery, it was a big moment in cupcake history. Many say the hysterical popularity of the cupcake began as a result of this episode.
Such is the power of television.
And cupcakes.
I rest my case.

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#2 Friends
Season 7/episode 11 (The one with all the cheesecakes)
The cheesecake scene

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For those who have seen this episode, you must remember that creamy, smooth mess that Chandler and Rachel ate off the floor. Rachel described it as “a buttery, crumbly, graham cracker crust, with a very rich yet light, cream cheese filling…”. Does that not sound heavenly? And don’t you just love it when Joey walks in, pulls a fork out of his pocket, and asks very matter-of-factly- “All right, what are we having?”

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#1 How I met your mother
Season 4/episode 2 (The best burger in New York)
The burger scene/s

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The gang travels all over the city looking for what Marshall says was the best burger he’s ever eaten. And the description of the burger…sigh…”The bun, like a sesame freckled breast of an angel, resting gently on the ketchup and mustard below, flavors mingling in a seductive pas de deux. And then… a pickle! The most playful little pickle! Then a slice of tomato, a leaf of lettuce and a patty of ground beef so exquisite, swirling in your mouth, breaking apart, and combining again in a fugue of sweets and savor so delightful.”
I’m drooling. Right. Now. (please say you are too)

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I feel bad for leaving out vampire shows (I LOVE them), but I couldn’t for the life of me think of a food moment in any of them!
Can you?

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Images courtesy:

Modern family
Lost
The Mentalist
Desperate Housewives
Glee
SATC
Friends
How I met you mother

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“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
Harriet van Horne

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When I say love, what food do you think of?

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Strawberries and champagne.

Anything chocolate (y).

Fresh watermelon.

A rich soup, and some crusty bread.

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(Wait, was that last one that weird?)

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Food and love are so deeply connected.

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I cook when I’m in love.
I cook for people I love.
I love what I cook.
I love when I cook.

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Don’t you?

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These cupcakes are special. They’re not everyday. They’re not ordinary.
They’re beautiful. Magical. Lovable.

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They’re rich, yet light.
Their gorgeous deep red colour makes me smile every time I lay my eyes on them.
They resound with love.
They make me believe in love.

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Make some, won’t you? Share some love :)

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Red velvet “love” cupcakes
Adapted from: Joy the baker

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Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes: 6

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Ingredients:

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2 tbsp butter
45 g ground sugar
1 egg
1½ tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
60 ml buttermilk
70 g plain flour, sifted
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar

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For the cream cheese frosting

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1½ tbsp butter
30 g cream cheese
60 g icing sugar, sifted

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NOTE: This is for a moderate amount. If you like your cupcakes smothered in frosting, by all means up the quantities.

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Method:

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For the red velvet cupcakes

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1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. In bowl mix the butter and sugar together well. Crack the egg in the mixture, and stir vigorously.
2. In a separate bowl mix the cocoa powder, food colour, and vanilla extract together. Put this into the egg mixture and stir well again, removing any lumps.
3. Add half the buttermilk and stir. Add half the flour and mix again. Add the remaining buttermilk and flour, and stir until you have a smooth batter.
4. Add the baking soda and vinegar, and mix well one last time.
5. Pour into a tray lined with cupcake liners and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

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For the cream cheese frosting

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1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste, and add more sugar if you like.
2. Put into a piping bag with a simple rounded tip, and pipe small circles in the centre of the cooled cupcakes.
3. Devour! :)

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Please tell me you love eggs.

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Please do.

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Tell me you think they’re beautiful.

Tell me you can’t live without them.

Tell me you eat at least 2 on a regular day.

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Tell me you don’t think I’m a crazy person, whose love for eggs is scaring you a little bit :)

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I think my crazy love for eggs started when I looked at this.
(I do look a bit crazy. Maybe the photographer had an egg.)

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It’s my mother’s fault. Eggs were the first solid food I ate.

And every time I eat an egg now, I travel back to the comforting warmth of my childhood.

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Now usually I buy regular eggs. I have no idea where the chicken that laid the eggs was raised or how. Most people I know eat these eggs and have no problems, and they’ve always been good enough for me.

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Then I discovered Keggs.

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Keggs eggs.

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These are “near-organic” eggs.
I really don’t know what that means. It says so on the box.

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But I’m guessing it has something to do with the way these chickens were raised.

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Good food + sunshine + open air = happy chicken = yummy eggs

Bad food + dirty cage = sad chicken = not so yummy eggs

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(That’s all the math I’m doing for a year)

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These eggs have tan shells and bright, yellow yolks.

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They taste better too.

MUCH better.

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I think it makes sense to use Keggs when you are eating the egg as the egg. So fried, poached, baked, scrambled…

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However for baking a cake, or mixing into something else, I think regular eggs do just fine.

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Today let’s do something decadent. One bite of this rich, creamy goodness and you will be in egg heaven. Yes you will :)

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Creamy baked eggs

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Inspired by: Mom

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 15-20 mins

Serves: 1 very hungry person

Eat this with: Butter-garlic soldiers

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Ingredients:

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butter for greasing

2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsp full cream

4 tbsp grated cheese

2 slices buttered brown bread

minced garlic

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Method:

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Grease a small ovenproof bowl with butter.
  2. Crack an egg into it and season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tbsp cream over the egg, and sprinkle with 2 tbsp grated cheese.
  3. Over this, crack another egg and season again. Add the rest of the cream and cheese the same way.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolk. I like mine a bit runny.
  5. Cut each slice of bread into 3 pieces and top with some garlic. Toast in the oven and use to dip in your baked eggs.

NOTE: You could try this with one egg if you aren’t as ravenous as me :)

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I was in the hills this weekend.

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I made cupcakes for the drive.

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Here they are.

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I was with friends and an adorable dog I wanted to kidnap.

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Here he is.

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I played games and laughed and soaked up the unadulterated beauty.

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Here is some.

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It couldn’t get better, right?

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Wrong!

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This is how it got better.

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So have you ever eaten a slice of warm toasted bread (please forgive the burnt bits on mine) drizzled with extra virgin olive oil on top?

The beautiful, golden oil seeps through the toast, and yet it doesn’t get soggy.

It tastes delicious AND it’s super healthy.

I think I may give up butter. (Gasp!)

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Now clearly Extra Virgin Olive oil makes me sing.

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It is wonderful over toast (as I just discovered) but it’s also great for drizzling over salads, dips and other finished dishes. It’s best to use Extra Virgin raw (without cooking it) so you get all antioxidant goodness.

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Regular Olive oil is best suited for Continental and Mediterranean cooking. It’s also great to knead into dough for baking. Many swear by it as a miracle oil for skin and hair.

Olive Pomace Oil works very well for Indian cooking, and is perfect for frying, as it has a high-smoking point. It has a neutral taste and flavour, so it won’t alter the taste of any dish.

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So find an olive oil that makes you sing.

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It will be one small, golden step towards health.

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Which type of olive oil do you use? And do you have any recipes? I’d love to hear them! :)

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Instant noodles championship 2011
Subtitle: This is serious business.

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Most of you know I love cooking.
You also know I adore baking.

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But did you know I love instant noodles?

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Almost once a week, I eat noodles for dinner.
Of course I jazz it up.
I melt some cheese in it, fry an egg over it, mix in leftover chicken, or just add a dash of whatever dry herb I have at hand.

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But I do love my noodles. This maybe because I’ve eaten noodles as a snack since I was a child. Maybe because cooking for one is a pain, and sometimes you just want something you can fix up in a couple of minutes. Largely though, it’s because these noodles are just plain delicious.

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Now since there are so many variants in the market these days, today we’re having the ultimate Instant noodles championship 2011.

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Don’t snigger. (We have judging parameters and all).

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Participating noodles will be rated on 3 factors:

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Taste- Exactly how delicious are these noodles?
Adaptability- Do the noodles hold up well to some added cheese?
Does even a little extra water make it tasteless and limp?
Packaging- I’m a sucker for pretty packets. What can I say?

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Each factor carries 10 points. So a maximum of 30 points are up for grabs.

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Now a round of applause for the contenders. In no particular order they are:

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Wai wai

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Taste: Pretty good if you like spicy stuff. 8/10
Adaptability: Comes with half a million condiments in the pack. Best to eat by itself. 5/10
Packaging: Green and yellow. Not my favourite combination. 5/10
Total score: 18/30

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Cup noodles

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Taste: Slightly rubbery. I think it comes from not actually cooking it. Though I like the tiny veggie bits! 6/10
Adaptability: It’s in a cup. Hard to mix anything in it, but so portable! 6/10
Packaging: Rather sad! But a nice fact box on one side about the invention of instant noodles! 6/10
Total score: 18/30

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Maggi

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Taste: Comfort, sunshine and happiness in my mouth. 10/10
Adaptability: Goes well with everything from a fried egg and cheese, to vegetables and minced meat. 10/10
Packaging: The packaging is iconic, but could certainly do with a revamp after so many years. 6/10
Total score: 26/30

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Yippee noodles

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Taste: The bright red powder looked promising, but turned out a bit bland for my taste. 5/10
Adaptability: Even a little extra water can make it completely tasteless. 4/10
Packaging: A cartoon sun wearing a blue bandana! Strange but cute! 7/10
Total score: 16/30

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Foodles

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Taste: Thin noodles with great texture. Good spicy flavour. 8/10
Adaptability: Will definitely work with a side of eggs. 7/10
Packaging: Too much text and scribbles. 5/10
Total score: 20/30

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Curry smooth noodles

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Taste: Flattish noodles, full-bodied tomato-curry flavour. Daring. 8/10
Adaptability: Anything else will be over-powered. Best eaten plain. 6/10
Packaging: I like the bright red. And Shahrukh Khan advertising it always helps ☺ 8/10
Total score: 22/30

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And the winner is: Maggi noodles. No surprise there.

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We belong to a generation that grew up on it, and even today it’s a go-to meal if it’s raining, or hunger pangs hit mid-evening, or we just need a pick-me-up. The taste never ever changes, and even though Maggi itself has so many variations, it’s the original masala flavour that always hits the spot.

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Really, is there anything more comforting than a steaming plate of cheese maggi with a fried egg over? I think not.

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“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.”- Neil Gaiman

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Do you remember the 8-year-old you?

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Did you read Enid Blyton?

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Did you long for a dog like Scamper?

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Did you create a very secret detective group with your friends (password included)?

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Did you try looking for the Faraway Tree?

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Did you scrape your knees searching for pixies in gardens?

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Did magic seem possible?

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And most importantly do you remember the food?

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Did you ask your mother to make you a shiny trifle or a wobbly jelly?

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Did you wonder what scones with clotted cream tasted like?

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Do you remember how cookies and cucumber sandwiches sounded like the most delicious things ever?

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Today let’s go down the rabbit hole.

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Let’s eat some cookies and recall that feeling.

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The feeling that anything was possible.

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It all begins with black and white. Doesn’t everything?

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How glossy and perfect is the chocolate?

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Then it becomes a gorgeous brown.

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Pack it up. BTW Don’t you just love bags you can label?

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Get your instruments ready.

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Line ‘em up.

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They look good, don’t they?

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Say hello to them just out of the oven.

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These are not safe to keep around the house. They vanish. I don’t know how :)

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Chocolate Cookies

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Recipe from: Smitten Kitchen’s Brownie roll-out cookies (adapted slightly)

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 12 mins

Makes: depends on the size of the cutter you use. I made 32 from about half the dough.

Eat this with: A mug of hot chocolate or a light coffee

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Ingredients:

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400 g plain flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

220 g butter, melted but warm

300 g brown sugar (granulated)

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

90 g cocoa powder

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Method:

  1. Put the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and dry whisk them together. Set aside.
  2.  In another bowl, mix the warm melted butter and sugar together. The butter will melt the sugar granules slightly. This is good! Now add the eggs, vanilla extract and cocoa powder and mix well.
  3. Add the flour mixture (a little at a time) to the cocoa mixture, stirring well to incorporate. Do the final mixing by hand. You should have a pretty solid chocolate dough at this stage.
  4. Wrap in cling-wrap or zip-lock bags and chill for about one hour. The dough freezes well at this stage. I like to make little bags, so I can take them out even weeks later and bake small batches whenever a sugar craving comes calling.
  5. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180º C. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out gently to about ¼ inch thickness. Dust with a little flour so it doesn’t stick. Use cutters to cut into whatever sizes or shapes you wish.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment and line up the cookies on it. They don’t spread at all, so you can fill up the tray with just a little space around each. Bake these for about 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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