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This is my 100th post.


That means I have sat down in front of a computer exactly 100 times, writing and sharing my recipes and life with you all.


This post is a big, big thank you to all of you for reading, and commenting, and chatting, and being so encouraging. I love you guys!


Now when I asked everyone what they want my 100th post to be about, most said a decadent recipe, others said an embarrassing story, and still others said a top ten list of something fun.


A 100th post is a pretty big deal right? So what do you say we do ALL 3! And I’ll throw in a giveaway for good measure! :D yay!


First up, since we’ve just had Valentine’s Day and all that, I present my romance-themed top ten list.


Here’s my top ten list on How to be irresistible to women. (Since I’m a woman, clearly, I am an authority on this subject. Men I hope you’re reading :P )


1. Cook us a meal. Even if it’s just once in a while. Men who cook are sexy.
2. Be clean. Like not just fancy clothes, but the parts you think no one notices, like your toes and behind your ears.
3. There is no such thing as too much cologne. There is however, a thing as too little.
4. We may pretend we don’t care about things like flowers and chivalry and little surprises, but we secretly do. So be a gentleman.
5. Be good at something. Writing, dancing, being funny, mountain biking. Anything. But definitely something.
6. Love animals. Especially puppies. Don’t cringe when they lick your face and give you kisses. Smile instead.
7. Be an excellent hug giver. Hugs are important. Hugs are crucial. Just hug. And lots. Okay?
8. Read. Non fiction, Game of thrones, Asterix, 50 shades of Grey. Just read. (Don’t pretend you’ve not been tempted to read that last one there.)
9. When we ask you to sing us song, just sing it. We know you’re not Michael Buble. Just sing anyway, won’t you?
10. Be honest. Bare, naked honest. There is nothing we want more.


Ladies, do you agree?


Men, are we asking for too much? No, right? :)


Okay, now for the decadent recipe you wanted. When my friend Stuti brought me back this divine Balsamic vinegar from Modena, I knew I had to do something special with it.


Balsamic vinegar


What did I do? I soaked some strawberries in it and used them to top this Chocolate cheesecake.


Chocolate cheesecake 1


The cheesecake has an oreo base, a chocolate cream cheese centre, is topped with cream, and then balsamic-soaked strawberries with their juices over that.


You ask for decadent, and I deliver decadent baby.


Chocolate cheesecake 2


Eat only one sliver at a time, unless you enjoy passing out from over-eating in the middle of the day.


Mostly I just stared at this gorgeous thing.


Chocolate cheesecake 3


It was sinfully smooth and creamy.


Chocolate cheesecake 4


And the slightly tart and sticky strawberries were such a wonderful foil to the rich, dense, cream cheese.


Chocolate cheesecake 5


Make it on a special occasion and watch it vanish before your very eyes.


Chocolate cheesecake 6


Chocolate cheesecake with balsamic-soaked strawberries


Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 65 mins
Serves: 10


Ingredients:


For the cheesecake


2 packets of Oreo cookies, cream removed
2 tbsp butter, melted
250 g dark chocolate
900g cream cheese
225g caster sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 eggs


For the topping


200ml thick cream
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
about 15-20 strawberries


Method:


For the cheesecake


1. Preheat the oven to 160º C. Put the oreos in a ziplock bag and bash with a rolling pin until you have crumbs. Pour into a bowl, add the melted butter and mix well. Layer the base of a 9-inch springform tin with the crumbs, pressing down well so they are packed tightly. Bake for 5 minutes.
2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler and set aside. Using an electric whisk, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and continue mixing. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until everything is well blended. Do not overmix.
3. Pour the cheesecake batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour. Switch off the oven and leave the tin inside until the cheesecake is completely cool. Run a knife around the inside edge of the tin to loosen the sides of the cheesecake and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours once cool.


For the topping


1. Thicken the cream by whipping it well.
2. Mix the balsamic vinegar and caster sugar together. Pour over the strawberries, give it a gentle mix, and set aside for a few minutes.


To assemble


1. Remove the cold cheesecake from the tin carefully and place on the serving plate.
2. Top with the whipped cream and balsamic-soaked strawberries. Pour the juices over and serve in slices.


Chocolate cheesecake 7


For those who wanted to see something embarrassing, I’m sharing this video of my colleagues and I doing the Gangnam style. We performed in front of the whole office and it was crazy amounts of fun. I’m the one in a dark pink tee :P


And now for the **GIVEAWAY**!!! I thought long and hard about what to give away this time, and I finally decided on this book by my most favourite chefs in the whole world.


Your Place or Mine Book


I still can’t believe I cooked for them a few months ago.


The book is full of easy recipes and really cute cartoons, and it’s written in George and Gary’s inimitable style.


To win this wonderful book, just comment below and tell me which is your favourite post on my blog. Yup, that’s it.


I’ll announce the winner by a random draw in 2 weeks time, so comment away :)


Now here’s one last look at the cheesecake. You know you want to.


Chocolate cheesecake 8


Thank you for being so wonderful. Have a happy, happy week ahead!


Love and hugs,
Storm


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Hello lovely people!


How’s the new year treating you’ll?


Have you made the resolutions you aren’t going to keep? :)


Isn’t it funny (and wonderful) how we make them every year anyway?


Here are mine:


*Get fitter (this includes regular exercise and attempting to eat healthier)
*Give my blog more love
*Spend more time with the people who are important to me
*Start playing the guitar again (this will be done with my very cool guitarist friend Aditi’s help)
*Learn to take better photographs
*Keep believing that the best is yet to come


I think the last one is the hardest. It’s difficult to believe that good things will come when you’ve had a spate of bad things. It’s hard to have faith in people, believing that there’s good inside them, even when they’ve let you down. It’s even harder believing that God has plans for you – the best plans.


But this year, I’m staying positive, and happy, and bright. Because good things will come. I know it. I just need to remember it :)
Will you remind me if I forget?


Here’s a look at some good things that happened over December when I was home. Each one is a blessing.


Dinner with my oldest friends in one of our favourite restaurants.


Old friends and dinner


This gorgeous flower that bloomed on our balcony.


Red flower


A funky new-age Christmas tree my brother put together.


new age Christmas tree


The freshest, greenest, tastiest lettuce ever – from my aunt’s garden.


Lettuce


A massive projector set up by my Dad and brother in our living room, so we could watch movies huddling together under blankets while sipping hot tea.


Projector


And this puppy soaking up the sun, who brings us all such joy.


Puppy in the sun


In the midst of some terribly sad things that happened, us cousins got together and decided we needed to make something sweet.


The result was this stunning Strawberry Pavlova.


Pavlova 1


Everyone helped.


Here’s my brother whisking the egg whites.


Whisking away


Baby cousin washed the strawberries.


Cleaning strawberries


Another added sugar and smiles.


Sugar and smiles


And this pretty one cut up the strawberries.


Cutting strawberries


Even the littlest one contributed. He kept the puppy busy :)


Puppy and baby


This dessert is show-stopper. Expect everyone to drop their plates and stare at it in all its wonder.


Just look at it.


Pavlova 2


And it’s the easiest thing to make. Have a go!


Strawberry pavlova


Largely adapted from: Step by step Baking


Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 80 mins
Serves: 8


Ingredients:


6 egg whites
pinch of salt
350 g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp lemon juice
300ml heavy cream
200 g strawberries


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line a baking tray with parchment. Draw a 20cm circle on the parchment and turn it over, so the pencil mark is facing downwards.
2. Put the egg whites and salt in a large, clean bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until you have stiff peaks. Whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Mix in the cornflour and lemon juice as well.
3. Spoon the mixture onto the parchment, making sure you stay within the drawn-out circle. Flatten the centre slightly and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 160º C and bake for 75 minutes. Leave it to cool completely in the oven.
4. In the meantime, whip the cream until it thickens. Wash and clean the strawberries, then roughly chop them into halves.
5. Remove the cooled pavlova from the oven and take off the parchment. Place on a serving plate and crack the top slightly with a spoon. Spread the cream over and top with the strawberries. Serve in rough wedges.


Pavlova 3


Sorry I can’t offer you some pavlova, but here’s something fun!


*GIVEAWAY TIME*


CupoNation India, a website offering discount coupons for a number of leading online retailers in India like flipkart, snapdeal, homeshop18 and many more, wants to give one of you lucky readers a Flipkart voucher worth 500 INR. All you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me which offer you love the most on CupoNation India


I’ll choose one winner through a random draw and announce it in my next post. Comment away!


And have a wonderful, wonderful year ahead! Lots of love!


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