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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


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Hello my darlings!


This was my face when I was in London for an entire month.


Me


It is a happy face, as you can see.


Everyone knows London is a gorgeous city. It has the sights and sounds and people and experiences that make it a must-see place on everyone’s list.


But today we’re going to talk about the marvellous food in London.


The food. Oh my god. The food.


The food was exciting and unpredictable and comforting and satisfying all at once. It was an explosion of flavours and colours and textures and cuisines.


To celebrate that experience I want to share with you this list of 100 things to eat in London.


(Warning: There will be many cupcakes)


Heck, let’s start with cupcakes shall we? Muhahahaha 😀


1. Assorted, colourful cupcakes that look too good to eat.


1. Assorted cupcakes 1


2. A typical China town buffet platter. Yes, those are batter-fried onions.


2. China town platter 1


3. A Tapas feast with tender pork belly, Spanish omelets, and calamari among other scrumptious things.


3. A Tapas feast


4. Sausages baby! Every shape, size, and meat!


4. Assorted sausages 2


5. Gin and tonic, and some dark ale. Check. Cute bartender. Double check.


5. Gin and beer


6. Focaccia. And crusty crusts to send you into a tizzy.


6. Assorted breads 1


7. Have you ever seen wild blue mushrooms? How dreamy are they?


7. Wild blue mushrooms


8. Seaweed crisps are the new chips. I’m telling ya.


8. Seaweed crisps


9. Oreo mini cupcake.


9. Oreo cupcake


10. A Starbucks PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte). Bonus? They’ll give you a funny new name every time you order!


10. PSL


11. A mushroom appetizer with aubergine crisps. Posh Spice would be proud.


11. Aubergine chips with mushroom


12. Beans on rice. With Guac. And sour cream.


12. Beans on rice


13. Mini fruit tarts. Filled with custard and topped with fruit.


13. Assorted desserts 1


14. Crisp calamari with lime and a spicy aioli.


14. Calamari and aioli


15. A gorgeous green Pistachio macaron. What a beauty.


15. Pistachio macaron


16. Pork Belly at Jamie’s Italian.


16. Pork belly


17. Truffled egg and hamhock breakfast pot at Leons.


17. Hamhock, truffles, and eggs


18. Cupcakes from The HummingBird Bakery in Notting Hill. Such a legendary place.


18. Hummingbird bakery cupcakes


19. Korean seafood soup – don’t you love the colors?


19. Korean seafood soup


20. Fresh fruit. So beautiful. So bountiful.


20. Fresh fruit


21. Dulce de leche froyo with strawberries and flaked almonds.


21. Froyo


22. Gelato. How am I supposed to choose? Like how?


22. Gelato


23. Hot grilled potatoes at the Farmer’s Market in Covent Garden. Perfect winter food.


23. Grilled potatoes


24. Kimchi fried rice with a runny-yolk fried egg. I could eat this every day.


24. Kimchi rice


25. Dear Lavender mini cupcake. Why you so pretty?


25. Lavender cupcake


26. Nandos Peri Peri chicken. With sweet potato mash.


26. Nandos chicken


27. Olives. Marinating in tubs of delicious olive oil.


27. Olives


28. Sparkling Rose.


28. Rose


29. Scampi and rough-cut chips. In a local Brit pub.


29. Scampi and chips


30. Minestrone with squid ink linguine.


30. Squid ink linguini minestrone


31. Warm strawberry waffles.


31. Strawberry waffle


32. Yum yums. Basically deep fried dough, dredged in sugar. Whoever named it deserves the Nobel.


32. yum yum


33. Larger cupcakes with generous amounts of frosting. ‘Coz that’s how they’re meant to be yo!


33. Assorted cupcakes 2


34. Bangers and mash – ultimate British comfort food.


34. Bangers and mash


35. China town platter with red wine to wash it all down. Totally your money’s worth.


35. China town platter 2


36. Chocolates from the legendary Choccywoccydoodah.


36. Chocolates in Cocchywoccydoodah


37. Comte – a delicious hard cheese.


37. Comte cheese


38. Chips and corn. I think yellow might be my favourite colour.


38. Chips and corn


39. Decadent coffee-chocolate mousse cake. Sigh.


39. Coffee chocolate mousse cake


40. Tomatoes and chillies so bright, they look unreal. But they were beautifully real 🙂


40. Fresh tomatoes and chillies


41. Goulash and bread. A winter lunch.


41. Goulash


42. Bratwurst hot dogs with fried onions on top.


42. Hot dogs


43. Rainy day outside. Rich hot chocolate inside.


43. Hot chocolate


44. Korean noodle box. The slippery glass noodles are so delicately flavoured.


44. Korean box


45. Tangy lemon meringue cupcake.


45. Lemon cupcake


46. Mini cakes. Aren’t they just the perfect size?


46. Assorted mini cakes


47. Smooth as silk liver pate and gherkins.


47. Pate and gherkins


48. Olives on ice and red, red wine.


48. Olives on ice with Red wine


49. Mushrooms in all shapes and sizes.


49. Mushrooms


50. Grilled veggies with cheese to scatter over.


50. Grilled veggies


51. A wonderfully sweet and bitter coffee cupcake.


51. Coffee cupcake


52. Dumplings. With pork inside. ‘Nuf said.


52. Dumplings


53. Gooey chocolate caramel cake with icecream.


53. Gooey caramel chocolate cake


54. A kebab roll with all the fixings.


54. Kebab roll


55. Victoria sponge cake, anyone?


55. Victoria sponge cake


56. Sushi. Oh yes.


56. Sushi


57. Fresh strawberries in a box = endless possibilities.


57. Strawberries


58. Raisukaree in Wagamama. Coconutty goodness.


58. Raisukaree in Wagamama


59. Some fantastic sirloin. With Yorkshire pudding.


59. Roast beef


60. Tapas platter with Prosecco. Perfect post-work meal.


60. Small tapas plate with


61. Halloween mint cupcake. With its very own fondant RIP gravestone.


61. Mint cupcake


62. Rainbow cake. Because colours are awesome.


62. Rainbow cake


63. Sweet slow-cooked pork. So tender it crumbles into shreds at the touch of a knife.


63. Slow cooked pork


64. Spaghetti with olives and tomatoes. Cheese, not optional.


64. Spaghetti


65. No-carb tuna salad with boiled eggs. Perfect light lunch.


65. Tuna salad


66. Blackberries and raspberries in whole cream. Life is too short for light cream.


66. Berries and cream


67. A big, fat, melting pot of Paella.


67. Paella


68. Peirogis – delicious baked dumplings.


68. Pierogis


69. Pulled pork and bean sandwich. Oh yeah baby.


69. Pulled pork sandwich


70. Steaming hot seaweed soup. Heals all boos boos.


70. Seaweed soup


71. More fresh, crusty bread. I can’t ever eat processed, packet bread again.


71. Assorted breads 2


72. Giant cookies. I need one now.


72. Assorted cookies


73. Good ‘ol beef burger. With pickles, tomato sauce, mustard, and greens.


73. Beef burger


74. Breakfast croissant. Anything with a sticker that says “meaty” is going to be eaten by me.


74. Breakfast croissant


75. The largest dates you’ve never seen.


75. Dates


76. Layered pana cotta.


76. Panna cotta


77. Japanese noodle box with sweet and sour chicken.


77. Japanese box


78. Mixed seafood noodles with snow peas.


78. Mixed seafood noodles


79. Pomme frites with gravy. Fries with gravy over fries with sauce. Anyday!


79. pommes frites


80. The mini red velvet cupcake that stole my heart.


80. Red velvet mini cupcake


81. Walnut and honey cake. Perfect with a hot cup of tea.


81. Walnut and honey cake


82. A dessert stand. I could live here.


82. Assorted desserts


83. Venison, wild mushroom, and chorizo sausages.


83. Assorted sausages


84. A hot waffle with dark chocolate sauce drizzled over.


84. Chocolate waffle


85. The fanciest Goats cheese appetizer ever at OXO Towers.


85. Goats cheese fancified


86. Pie and mash. It’s a hug on a plate.


86. Pie and mash


87. Sweet warm plum tea.


87. Plum tea


88. A purple cauliflower. How gorgeous is that!


88. Purple cauliflower


89. Cheese, crackers, and relish. Perfect on-the-go snack.


89. Snack pack


90. Cheese Maggi with spicy sausages – a little taste of home.


90. Maggi and sausages


91. Beers and ciders with interesting names.


91. Beer and cider


92. A wonderful mix of cakes at the Farmer’s market.


92. Assorted cakes


93. Thin noodles with prawns and peppers in a black bean sauce.


93. Noodles in black bean sauce with prawns


94. A large pistachio cupcake with a mountain of buttercream frosting.


94. Pistachio cupcake


95. Sticky rice with pork, chicken, and seafood. So very comforting.


95. Sticky rice


96. A giant rainbow cake I wanted to grab and run away with to sit and stuff my face in later.


96. Big ass rainbow cake


97. Beautifully presented orange and chocolate mousse cake.


97. Chocolate mousse fancified


98. Enchilada! Gotta love good Mexican fare!


98. Enchilada


99. A delicate almond and fig cheesecake – simple yet memorable.


99. Almond and fig cheesecake


100. Assorted mini cupcakes – cuteness overload! I wanted to buy this entire stand!


100. Assorted mini cupcakes


Hope you all enjoyed that – start planning your trip to London rightaway! And take me with ya 😉


*GIVEAWAY WINNER*


The winner of Vikas Khanna and DK’s wonderful new cookbook for children- Young Chefs is Akshit Vohra! Yay! Congratulations sweetheart! The book is on its way to you! 🙂


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*This post is my entry for the “WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere!” contest on Indiblogger.*


If I could summon any 5 people, dead or alive, to chat with in a WeChat group, those 5 awesome people would be:


Julia Child
Gordan Ramsey
My mother
Adriano Zumbo
Nigella Lawson


Okay so the most obvious thing they have in common is that they’re bad asses in the kitchen, but apart from that I doubt there is a single thing they’d agree about.


To properly understand why I’ve chosen these people, you need to get to know them.


Person 1: The feisty and proudly unconventional Julia Child. She loved butter, French food, and was the creator of quotes that make me want to high five her.


Here’s an example: “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”
Here’s another: “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”


Still need another reason to love her? She wore pearls in the kitchen. I know, right? LOVE.


Julia Child


Here’s what our conversation would probably sound like:


Julia


If that’s not sound kitchen advice, I don’t know what is.


Person 2: The eternally mean, I-get-my-kicks-from-your-wimpy-tears Gordan Ramsay. He’s just the kind of person you need around when you think you’re too good for everyone. His words cut, like a knife. A real one.


Let’s look at a couple of memes to show you what I mean, okay?


Gordan meme 1


Gordan meme 2


They don’t call it Hell’s Kitchen for nothing y’all!


But why oh why would you want to chat with him, you ask? Here’s why:


Gordan


I don’t know about you, but I would love that kind of encouragement in the kitchen.


Person 3: My always-ready-with-hugs mother. After large doses of Ramsay, my mother who is the most encouraging person in the world, would be a welcome break.


Mom


My mother makes me believe I can do anything I want. That kind of confidence is crucial when you’re making say a mille-feuille for the first time, don’t you think?


Isn’t she lovely?


Mom


Person 4: The Patissier of Pain who can disarm you with a macaron or his killer smile (or both), Adriano Zumbo.


Adriano macarons


Every baker girl needs this guy on speed dial. Not only will he suggest recipes that constantly challenge you, he will smile like a sweet assassin while doing it. Also, his name makes me want to dance.


Adriano


His recipes are the best and the craziest.


Person 5: The Queen of making cooking a sexy activity, and being unabashedly proud of her curves, Nigella Lawson. I love how she uses her hands to measure things, how she’s always tasting and eating through the process, and how she feeds our souls with her words.


Much too often I’m a complete mess in the kitchen. There is flour everywhere, and bits of batter on every surface except my apron. Nigella is the best sexy food teacher. Take notes, children.


Nigella


Nigella caramel


Anyone who covers her face with salted caramel is a genius. Agree? Move over Justin. She’s bringing sexy back.


Those are the 5 people I’d like to WeChat with. Who’d make your list? 🙂


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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! 😀 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 😛 )


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 😛


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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There were 2 birthdays this past week.


I turned 28. The thing is, in my head I don’t feel a day over 18. Actually 15. Maybe 10.


And, (*drumroll please*) this blog turned 1! Can you imagine?


I’ve been blogging for a whole year! When I started, I really never thought the experience would be so rewarding and wonderful. It’s been the best thing ever!


That’s why I want to share 10 things I’ve learnt about food blogging over the past year.


1. Food bloggers are cool. You will be a part of a wonderful, friendly, lively community that’s always willing to share knowledge and teach you things. I have met some fantastic bloggers and they’re some of the nicest people I know. Here are some of them.



2. It’s easy at the start. When you begin writing you’re brimming with enthusiasm, excitement and the thrill of people reading your blog. The hard part is keeping it up. I think the trick is to make it a part of your life. I can’t go without writing a post for too many days.



3. Of love handles and pudginess. You will get fat. But wait! Only if you don’t exercise at all. (My exercises include kickboxing and dancing around my room) All those divine things you bake go directly to your waistline. So share! Everytime I bake something, I eat a little bit and pack the rest up for friends, co-workers or neighbours.



4. Failures are the best lessons. Blog about your successes, but also about your failures (like this one). One thing I’ve learnt is that failures in the kitchen make funny stories. And funny stories make great blog posts. And then the failure isn’t a failure anymore- it’s a success! 🙂 Am I rambling? Okay I’ll stop now.



5. The curse of the camera. You will NEVER be able to eat anything exciting without taking a picture of it first. People will groan and complain as the food goes cold while you focus and adjust and take pictures from every angle possible till it’s right. We’re serious photographers, what can I say? 😛



6. Interaction is a significant thing. Always comment on other blogs you love. And acknowledge comments on your own blog. You will gain loyal readers when you do this, and maybe even friends from around the world. When I initiated a foodie exchange program I had the chance to interact with some fabulous food bloggers from all over the country. I also got a pile of presents! So MUCH fun 😀



7. You can find inspiration anywhere. Bake things that make you happy. Be inspired by everything you enjoy. From movies, like this and this, to books like this and this. Or just love 🙂



8. You will learn SO much. When I started I never imagined I would be able to bake/cook the things I can. I never thought I’d be able to make a kickpass pie or a monkey cake or chocolate eclairs. I never thought I’d be able to bake 100 cupcakes in a single day and I most definitely didn’t think I could pull off a seven layer rainbow cake. But I did. And you can too.



9. You’ll earn cool nicknames. Mine include Cupcake Queen, Baking Diva, and Psycho Baker. The last one is my fav 😀



10. Be true to yourself. Write what you believe in. Write the way you’re comfy in. Do things your way. Do serious posts, or yummy posts, or posts about a wonderful friend, or your Mum or how you love instant noodles. But don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Your readers will be able to tell. And you won’t feel good. And that’s not fun, is it? 🙂 Celebrate what you are.


But how exactly do you celebrate yourself? I have the answer my darlings.


Make yourself this cupcake.



I think it’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever made 🙂



One pretty cupcake


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Makes: 1


Ingredients:


3 tbsp plain flour, sifted
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 drops vanilla essence
1/4 tsp baking powder


For the buttercream rose


30 g butter, softened
50 g icing sugar, sifted, plus a bit more if needed
2 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 drop pink food colour


Method:


For the pretty cupcake


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Mix everything together in a small bowl, making sure it’s all incorporated till you have a smooth, shiny batter.
2. Line a cupcake tray with a single paper liner, and spoon the batter into it. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.


For the buttercream rose


1. Mix all the ingredients together. The buttercream should be on the stiffer side so that when you pipe the rose, it holds its shape. If it’s too wet, add more icing sugar till it’s stiff enough.
2. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and use this tip.



I don’t know what it’s called so I took a picture 🙂
3. Now you’ll need an icing pin. Don’t worry if you don’t have one. I didn’t either. I created a make-shift one. Here’s how: Take an un-used pencil and stick a small piece (slightly bigger than your cupcake size) of cardboard on the even end of the pencil. Stick a piece of parchment paper over that. Now hold the piping bag in one hand, and the pencil with the carboard in the other. Pipe onto the paper, with the wide end of the tip facing downwards. Start in the centre and pipe a small circle, while twirling the pencil. This is the centre of your rose. Then keep adding strips of icing all around till you have a rose of your desired size, while twirling the pencil throughout. Once you’re happy with the size, carefully remove the parchment paper with the rose and pop it in the fridge for a few minutes. Once it hardens a bit, remove the rose gently and transfer it onto your cupcake. (Here is brilliant video by a brilliant blogger where I learnt how to make this fancy rose.)



And that’s how you celebrate what you are, friends! 🙂 Please try it.


It’s been such a crazy, happy, yummy ride and I want to thank each and every one of you for reading. As a special thank you, I’m announcing my very first giveaway! One of my amazing readers will win a copy of this book:



It’s pretty and fun, and stuffed full of fantastic recipes! Go here to look inside it. If you want a chance to win this, just leave a comment below telling me what makes you happy. I’ll choose one winner through a random draw and send the book off to you wherever you are. I will also include a love note, ’cause I’m sweet like that 😉 This giveaway is open till 15th July, 2012. This giveaway is now closed.


And just incase I’ve not said this enough- I love you all!


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I’m quite mixed up.


When people ask me where I’m from, I try to explain this pie chart to them.



Add to that the places where I’ve lived: Shillong, Calcutta, and Delhi.


I’ve grown up eating all kinds of food and I’m quite comfortable with a variety of tastes.


Also the fact that I come from a seriously crazy food-loving family. Here are some examples:


My grandmom makes a mean lemon tart.


My aunt is a speciality cake queen.


My uncle is a genius with pork.


My mum makes the most heavenly biryani.


And my dad can bake more than a 100 fruit cakes in a day.


I wanted to celebrate all those wonderful food experiences and that led to this: I’ve thought about this 100 Indian foods (and drinks) to try before you die list for months now. There can never be a perfect representation, because we’re a great nation of incredible food. I have tried to represent as many places as possible, but I’m sure some wonderful stuff has been left out. This is just my list, but I thought it would be fun to share it with you all. If you’re not sure what the dish is, click on it for a brief web description.


100 Indian foods (and drinks) to try before you die


Aachar
Aam panna
Appam and chicken stew
Aloo gobi
Aloo paratha
Aloo tikki
Anda bhurjee
Avial
Bamboo shoot pork
Beef fry
Bheja
Bhel puri
Bhetki paturi
Bread pakora/ bread roll
Butter chicken
Chaat (papri, aloo, raj kachori)
Chicken pakora
Chicken tikka masala
Chiwra
Chole bhature
Chuski
Daab chingri
Dal baati churma
Dal makhani
Dahi bhalla
Dhansak
Dhokla
Dosa
Dubka
Egg curry
Fenny
Gajar ka halwa
Galouti kebab
Ghugni
Goan sausages
Gobi manchurian
Golgappa/Panipuri/Puchka
Gujia
Haleem
Idli and sambar
Jadoh
Jal jeera
Jalebi
Kadhai chicken
Kadhi
Kahwah
Kaju barfi
Kedgeree
Keema matar
Khandvi
Kheer/Phirni
Khichdi
Kulfi and falooda
Laccha paratha
Laddoo
Lassi
Lemon rice
Luchi/puri
Maggi noodles
Malabar or Kerala paratha
Malai kofta
Masala chai
Masala coke/pepsi
Matar pulao
Mishti doi
Momos
Moong dal halwa
Muglai parantha
Mulligatawny
Mutton biryani
Naan
Nihari
Paan
Paapad/poppadam
Palak paneer/shahi paneer
Pao bhaji
Paya
Pork vindaloo
Rabri
Raita
Rajma
Rasam
Rasgulla
Rasmalai
Rogan josh
Roll
Samosa
Sandesh
Sarson ka saag and makki ki roti
Shahi tukra
Shammi/sheekh kebab
Sheermaal
Sorcshe ilish
Sorpotel
Tandoori chicken
Thukpa
Toddy
Upma
Uttapam
Vada pav


I’ve been lucky enough to have eaten/drunk all of these. Leave a number in the comments below telling me how many you’ve tried 🙂 Also, let me know what you would add to this list. Have I left out any of your favourites?


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You guys know what a TV-show junkie I am, right?

Remember my Top 8 TV show food moments post?

If you enjoyed it, I’m back with part 2!

It was only appropriate, considering the huge number of new shows out there now that have me glued to my laptop almost every night.

This time around the characters involved include earls, lawyers, doctors, stewardesses, vampires, hunters and scientists!

Three cheers for diversity! 😉

# 8 Terra Nova
Season 1/episode 1 (Genesis)
The orange scene

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The year is 2147. The Earth is exhausted, taking its last few breaths. In these dark times, a father brings home a surprise for his children. It’s an orange.
Can you imagine fruit being hard to come by? I can’t.
The back-in-time space the characters move to inhabit, is portrayed as a fertile land full of strange and colourful fruit.
Also: Dinosaurs rock. (Sorry I just had to say that.)

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# 7 Pan Am
Season 1/episode 9 (Kiss kiss bang bang)
The coffee scene

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Pilots and stewardesses are supposed to be on their best behaviour in the sky.
Except this one time.
The usually gentle-mannered Laura drops hot coffee on a creepy old pilot when he tries to stare down her shirt.
Way.to.go.

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# 6 Grey’s Anatomy
Season 2/episode 14 (Tell me sweet little lies)
The hot dog scene

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The one time on the show where Christina isn’t dull, ill tempered, obnoxious and generally disagreeable.
A super fun hot dog eating competition, in the middle of the work day?! Who says docs don’t have fun?
Also, those hot dogs made me mighty hungry. Like seriously.

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# 5 The Vampire Diaries
Season 2/episode 5 (Kill or be killed)
The spiked lemonade scene

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Okay to be honest I had to think long and hard for this one.
This show has been a guilty pleasure for a long time and I really wanted to include it!
At an innocent town picnic (or so we think) a werewolf spikes lemonade with vervain, to hurt and expose two vampires.
This stuff is right up my alley by the way.

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# 4 Downton Abbey
Season 1/episode 5
The salty pudding scene

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In this period drama, Mrs Patmore the cook makes a stunning raspberry meringue pudding and then mistakenly tops it with salt instead of sugar.
All the lords and ladies at the dinner table choke and splutter quite appropriately, and although it’s the cook’s worst nightmare, it’s such a funny scene!
This is the hottest new thing in TV-show land, and if you’re not watching it yet- start NOW.
If nothing else, I can bet a million bucks you’ll adore Maggie Smith’s badass character.

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# 3 The Good Wife
Season 1/episode 23 (Running)
The pizza scene

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Taking a break from the legal madness that is their lives, Alicia and Will share a casual pizza and beer in office, reminiscing about their days together in college.
The simple food and the completely complex relationship makes for a fantastic moment.
Plus Julianna Margulies has such an intriguing face. Don’t you agree?

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# 2 Supernatural
Season 2/episode 21 (All hell breaks loose-Part 1)
The pie scene

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The swoon-worthy (equal parts masculine and sensitive) Dean Winchester loves pie. (one of the MANY reasons why I love him)
The problem is there’s always something that gets in the way- demons, pagan Gods, and his brother Sam’s habit of showing up with cake instead of pie. (It’s not the same thing, Sam!)
My fav Dean lines in the show: “Hey, see if they’ve got any pie. Bring me some pie. I love me some pie.” 🙂
There’s even a site dedicated to the Dean and pie love story. Check it out here.
This is some serious stuff.

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# 1 The Big bang theory
Season 1/episode 7 (The dumpling paradox)
The dumpling scene

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Food comes up very often on this show, but this scene in their regular Chinese restaurant has to be the funniest one ever.
(Also- dumplings! I want one please. Now.)
Read below and revel in the greatness that is Sheldon.

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Scene: A Chinese restaurant.

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Sheldon: I’m sorry, we cannot do this without Wolowitz.
Leonard: We can’t order Chinese food without Wolowitz?
Sheldon: Let me walk you through it. Our standard is, the steamed dumpling appetizer, General Tso’s chicken, beef with broccoli, shrimp with lobster sauce and vegetable lo-main. Do you see the problem?
Leonard: I see a problem.
Sheldon: Our entire order is predicated on four dumplings and four entrees divided among four people.
Leonard: So, we’ll just order three entrees.
Sheldon: Fine. What do you want to eliminate? And who gets the extra dumpling?
Raj: We could cut it into thirds.
Sheldon: Then it is no longer a dumpling. Once you cut it open it is at best a very small open faced sandwich.

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For more on Sheldon’s food quirks, go here.

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Hope you enjoyed that!
Have a fun weekend 🙂

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Images courtesy:

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Terra Nova
Pan Am
Grey’s Anatomy
The Vampire Diaries
Downton Abbey
The Good Wife
Supernatural
The Big Bang Theory

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