Memory of a Childhood Game

Are you one of those people who as kids played mostly outside, running around with other kids, getting dirty in the mud and tanned in the sun, playing make believe, playing games that are ancient for kids today, coming back home with scars and cuts but not complaining one bit because you’ve had such an awesome day with your buddies? Well I was one of them and today as I was writing a different post (which will now be my DAY 6 post tomorrow ;) WOOHOO!!), I was narrating a game called Seven Stones as it was an intrigual part of my story, when I realized, I had the potential of two post :) la la la……, so now my original post which was supposed to be about My First Crush is shelved for tomorrow :).

Anyone remember, is aware or has played this game..SEVEN STONES?

Well this is how it goes for those who have not heard about it. In this game there are two teams, a running team and a chasing team. After a round of the game the running team becomes the chasing team and the chasing team becomes the running team. The game begins by the running team throwing a ball at one member of the chasing team to start off the play. The chasing team then passes the ball from member to member within their own team with the aim of trying to hit one of the members of the running team. The chasing team chases the members of the running team with this ball and aims to throw the ball so that it hits the person running. The running team runs around avoiding the strike of the ball and at the same time trying to pile one stone over the other to make one tall stack of stones. The chasing team cannot run with the ball. They must pass the ball between members and move around till they are in a good position to aim and throw the ball at the running team or they can stand and take a really good aim and try hitting the running team. The aim of the chasing team is to prevent the running team from forming a stack of the seven stones one over the other or to ensure that all members of the running team are hit by the ball and therefore out. The running team on the other hand are supposed to run around (but of course :)) avoiding the strike of the ball on their body while at the same time trying to get near the pile of stones to start piling them up. If they manage to pile all the stones one over the other and the stones remain standing for a while…they win. Either one of the team wins if, 1) The running team manages to stack up all the stones of 2) the chasing team wins the members of the running team are all out.)..hee hee interesting stuff huh…and NO it’s not as complicated as it sounds… :)

Do you have a childhood game you remember playing?

Love “A”

Wear Sunscreen

…that’s what Baz Luhrmann tells you in this inspirational, motivational and really fun song. Listen to it if you’ve not heard it before. This is my all time “pick me up” song and it never fails to recharge and rejuvenate me whenever I’m down, in doubt or when I simply need to smile :)

Do you have a pick me up song? if not listen to this till you find your own. I guarantee there is something for everyone in this :)

Love “A”

Note: Day 4 post of Marathon Bloggers Challenge.



A brilliant movie that tells a story in a simple, straightforward and captivating manner. The pace is somewhat slow but each fold of events is enough to keep you watching. This is a movie that much be watched to experience a mixture of feelings that is seldom found in a single movie.

Last night FAB and I saw this on netflix and we wondered how we missed this when it came out in 2010. It’s a little on the dark side and rather disturbing but a definite watch. There is something to learn and understand from this movie. It makes you stop and thing about how simple things of life such as listening, understanding, love, togetherness, family can lead to bigger complications and frustrations.

To give a brief, the movie is about a young boy who comes back home from boarding school after being expelled, to a tyrant, authoritative father who demands his kids call him sir instead of dad. He comes back to find that he has a step brother he knew nothing about. the story unfolds of his coming of age and maturity under a very suffocating and stressful environment and how he breaks free from his binding life.

A brilliant, touching movie that is a must watch. Everyone will find something small to identify with in this movie even though one may not have had an oppressed childhood or dreams shattered, because in between the lines there is a story of triumph.

Afterthought: why don’t movies like these make it to the oscar?

Love “A”

Note: Day 3 post of Marathon Blogger Challenge.

Things I remember when I pause….

Sooooo..You will have to bear with me peeps…..besides babies, parenting, diapers, late nights, feeding and still fresh memories of my pregnancy, I basically have nothing much to contribute till I reclaim a part of my life back.

This Day 2 post of the Marathon Blogging Challenge is therefore dedicated (when I do have time to pause and think) to random memories/thoughts/observations about myself and the world around me during these last few months

So here goes… no particular order (note: I may add to this post..10 days later or a year later or maybe tomorrow, if i remember something worthy to pause and write)

– The thing I missed most during my pregnancy……sleeping on my stomach. Surprisingly I don’t like sleeping on my stomach so much anymore. if you are a mom, what did you miss most when you were pregnant?

– what I thought I’ll miss a lot during my pregnancy but actually did not….having a drink on Friday to kick start the weekend.

– I see “R” in all babies :D and everyone seems to look like him! Sigh..I’m smitten I guess :)

– I now think all babies are cute :)…in all honesty, I never did so before (ouch!)

– Being reffered to as “R” mom is the best form of acknowledgememt of being a mother…..and I especially like how the nurses in the hospital would say….maaaamiiii…with a kind of long drawl :)

– 5 hrs of continuous sleep is a good night rest for me now. This coming from a woman who could not function with less than 8hrs sleep.

– I don’t know how i’ll go back to work leaving R in the care of some XYZ. Those of you who did it, how did you manage the separation?

– The most disappointing thing about my pregnancy…I never had any cravings :(. What were your cravings?

– What I miss most right now….wearing my stilettos, the blasted back still hurts….looking forward to my workout to build all those muscles again!

Nothing else comes to mind…share with me some of your random thoughts? yes?
For now…Day 2 is complete…Wooohooo…the stress of what to write for Day 3 is on……

Love “A”

A beautiful year

I’m back…yet AGAIN!….I tried getting back to blogging last December and did managed a post in January this year too but sadly that was the only time I opened the blog this year. But I’m happy I’m here again, thanks to the Marathon Blogger challenge that I decided to participate in, just because i needed to do something for myself too and just because this year has been a really special one and it would be a shame to let it go without documenting this here and just because I’ve met some really wonderful friends here and would like to continue meeting others.

This year will always be remember as the year that changed my life completely. As you can see from my last post FAB and I celebrated our anniversary in Maimi and it was during this time that we decided it was high time to seriously think of adding another member to the family. Lady luck being on our side, our darling son, let me call him “Ra” was born nine months later :).

I never thought I’d like motherhood this much. I was always the one unsure of having a baby. In fact from one of my friend circle, I’m the last person. Suprisingly I’ve taken to it like a fish to water. I guess it’s the woman instinct and the nuturing tendancy that we all have in us. In fact, this one child only woman (me), is already thinking of a second one :D and that is a brave brave brave thought considering that it is frightfully expensive to bring a child up, not mentioning the rough nights, bad days, lack of family support in this country and many other reasons that one can conjure up.

So this ladies and gentlemen is why 2012 is a beautiful year for me.

So, let me end this here before my precious goes wahhhh, by saying that I’m glad I could end 2012 holding the most precious little angel in my arms and I’m happy I took up this blog challenge so that I can share this beautiful news with you.

Love “A”

A good weekend.

FAB and I were in Miami this weekend, celebrating our 6th year wedding anniversary, the actual anniversary is next week, the 26th but since this was a long weekend and FAB was in Miami last week for work, we decided to make the most of an opportunity. And it was a wise decision, Miami was just blissful and warm. It was like a second honeymood, even though it was a short vacation, just 3 nights (thank you Martin Luther King :)), but it was perfect, relaxing and laid back. All we did was eat, drink and rested. My boss commented that we behave like newly weds :) LOL!. It’s back to the grind now and good old cold New York. I’m not complaining :)


More than a Year

…Since I last wrote! Wow!! has it been that long really? I’ve comtemplated on shutting down this blog so many times, but having met so many wonderful people here…i just could not do it, so i made it private. If you’ve not been able to view my blog, don’t worry; you’ve not missed anything at all. I’ve not been writing.
Like everytime, i knew i would eventually return, so here i am. Back for a while at least. will i stay? don’t know yet…but for now ready to mingle and connect again.

merry christmas and a happy new year to all my darling friends here. see you around!

love and cheers

Trans-Continental Baking Experiment: A Chocolate Mud Cake

……………..and what an experience that was! ROCKING!

5 friends exchanging emails at a crazy rate per day irrespective of time zone difference, work, household chores and everything else…..and with one aim in mind……to get the perfect texture and a delicious mud cake. The verdict! SUCCESS!

See what I mean? :)

Two Way Chocolate Mud Cake with Vanilla Frosting and Truffle Chocolate Glaze

If you want to get right to the point of How I Made This Cake, then go Check My Recipe Out, but do come back to read this :)

It all started when Goofy, sent out a mail to Trishna, Monu, Smitha and myself asking for a mud cake recipe.
I remember trying this recipe about a year ago and made regular cupcakes from the batter instead of the cake. So naturally when Goofy asked for a mud cake recipe, I gave her this! Little did I know then, that this would turn into days of baking banter, excitement, fun, information sharing and bonding with 5 amazing women.

Goofy came back after a day or so, disappointed with her cake. Although it tasted heavenly the texture did not turn out the way she hope it would and the cake developed few cracks. I think I was more disappointed than she was, because I suggested the recipe and as a rule I don’t suggest or post any recipe that I’ve not tried myself, even though I had tried this as a cupcake before. The baker in me could not resist trying the recipe again and this time making the proper cake. Since I did not want to end up with a lot of cake and not sure how the texture was going to turn out, I decided to use just half of the ingredients and make a smaller cake. A quick check in the pantry told me I had everything needed for half the cake and I started off. As I was making the cake I realized why the cake could have gone wrong for Goofy. The ingredients are simply enough and the process too at a glance will seem simply and uncomplicated to you, but what the original recipe did not do, was detail out minute important information that a person who does not bake often or who is relatively new to baking would not know. And this I realize is the case with most recipes, the tips and tricks goes unmentioned.

Although Goofy is not completely new to baking and has made many cakes in the past, she was new to this type of batter and also having just moved to Melbourne she was yet to get accustom to her oven; and understanding oven temperature is a very crucial part of baking. Now the batter of this cake recipe is very runny and it’s one that incorporates melting chocolate and water together. Adding water to melted chocolate is tricky because you should not add cold water to chocolate else the chocolate will seize up or turn into a grainy clumpy mess. Now the original recipe does not tell you to add warm water to the chocolate and butter mixture. It just tells you to add water!! The batter in this recipe is very runny. It will be more so if you use milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate. So for a runny batter, it is recommended not to whisk the batter with your electric mixer because this will create lots of bubbles and these become holes when the cake is baking. Many holes mean cracks! A runny batter is best whisked with your hand. Another important point to note while mixing any batter is to always whisk, whip, beat, and fold in one direction. Again the original recipe just says 3 eggs!…it does not specify that this means 3 large eggs, as normally used in baking. This is especially important in this recipe because the eggs here, by virtual of them being incorporated with air while beating serves as the leavening agent. So for this recipe, in this step of adding eggs it is important to whisk your eggs well at medium to high speed with your electric mixer to incorporate enough air to help the cake rise. Also remember to add the eggs one at a time unless otherwise specified.

So to cut a long story short, the cake did turn out well, although I too had a few minor cracks. You’ll find my version of the recipe here along with pictures. I was so excited when the cake was done that I decided to make another one, so that I could form a layer cake with all the works. At midnight I started on my second layer, again with half the ingredients since I already had one base. I discovered that I did not have enough dark chocolate so I went ahead and used a combination of dark and milk chocolate. The second one had no minor cracks but it did have a ring like circle in the middle. If you are going to add frosting or glaze to the cake then it’s ok if the cake cracks a little on top because you would cut off the dome shape anyways to make it flat. If you’re serving the cake without any topping and cracks bother you and you do want to minimize them then you could cover the cake tin with baking paper before putting it in the oven. Another important tip to ensure that cakes don’t fall flat is to NEVER EVER open the oven door while baking, especially while baking cakes and bread. Opening the oven door causes cool air to enter the oven making the heat uneven and causing those tiny air pockets that make up the crumbs to collapse. As a general rule it’s good to keep in mind that the oven door should NOT BE OPEN till about 10 minutes of baking time remains. So if a recipe calls for 40 minutes of baking…DO NOT OPEN the door till 30 minutes are up! Knowing and understanding your oven is another crucial part of baking. But before this post ends up being a technical post on baking, let me stop here with one advice…. Research Research Research.

The ending was of course success stories all around. I made the complete layer cake with vanilla frosting in the middle and truffle glaze on top and it was so yummy that the cake was polished off in 24hrs after baking. A friend took more than half with her home and to work, while another took some for dessert. I was left with a piece for FAB which went in the freezer. This cake btw, can be frozen upto a week. It should be cut into slices and frozen in individual freezer bags if you’ve already done the frosting and glaze. The cake can be frozen whole if it is just the basic chocolate cake without frosting. If removing from the freezer make sure you thaw it at room temperature for about 2hrs before consuming. This is best eaten at room temperature.

I shared a few pictures of the cake with the girls and everyone was excited to try it out as well. Smitha gave it a go and her cake was a hit as well, not only at home but in her husband’s office too. Trish and Monu tried it next and got the same rave reviews. By this time, Goofy was ready to tackle the cake again and I am so proud at the way she went for it. She was determined to get it right and she got an amazing texture and a lovely cake at the end. She is now officially making the GF’s next birthday cake :), Woohoooo. Persistence and determination pays!!

What I enjoyed most was the interaction with these girls, the numerous exchange of mails about food, baking, weight loss, ingredients, the plethora of information and tidbits we shared and the encouragement we gave each other. This is the best part of blogging and making friends. Time and distance does not matter.

We rock girls :).

I decided to call this cake a, “Two Way Chocolate Mud Cake with Vanilla Frosting and Truffle Glaze:), since it was made with both dark chocolate and white chocolate :). You can find the recipe for this cake here, or just scroll down to the post before this :).

This was my experience from this baking experiment. Now go read the experience of Monu, Goofy, Smitha and Trish. But first enjoy a slice of this cake :).

A Slice of the Two Way Chocolate Mud Cake with Vanilla Frosting and Truffle Chocolate Glaze

Recipe – Two Way Chocolate Mud Cake

………….with Vanilla Frosting and Truffle Glaze. Excited :)? Well lets get to the recipe then :)!

BUT, If you’ve not read the post on how this cake came about, I suggest you read, Trans-Continental Baking Experiment: A Chocolate Mud Cake, and then come right back here for the recipe.

Two Way Chocolate Mud Cake with Vanilla Frosting and Truffle Chocolate Glaze

This is my version of the original, and it came about not out of choice but out of the availability of ingredients in my pantry at that point, and I’m so glad I made this version. It was absolutely divine, if I may praise my own cake ;). The bottom layer of dark bitter chocolate coupled with the top layer of mildly sweet milk chocolate is a perfect combination. I made two cakes and layered them rather than make 1 single cake and cut it horizontally. If you want to make 1 cake and then cut it in half for layering, double the recipe of either the bottom layer or the top layer and note the sugar difference in the two layers too. I used lesser sugar in my bottom layer because I love bitter dark chocolate :)

Bottom Layer
175 grams good quality unsweetened bitter dark chocolate pieces
113 grams butter (1 stick)
300 ml water ….. this is approx 1 cup + 1/4 cup
2 eggs
100 grams castor sugar (sugar is lesser than top layer)
200 grams self raising flour (approx about 1 and 1/4 cup
2 teaspoon good quality cocoa powder
Top Layer:
175 grams good quality unsweetened milk chocolate pieces
113 grams butter (1 stick)
300 ml water ….. this is approx 1 cup + 1/4 cup
2 eggs
150 grams castor sugar
200 grams self raising flour (approx about 1 and 1/4 cup
2 teaspoon good quality cocoa powder.

Grease and line a 8″ round cake tin. [Note, the original recipe calls for a 9” pan. Use a 9” pan if you double the ingredients and prefer to make 1 large cake and cut it rather than 2 cakes. If using a 9” cake pan make sure it is about 3”-4” high.]
Also keep ready enough baking paper to cover the top of the tin securely. Covering the top of the pan while baking reduces cracks and prevents the top of the cake from over browning.

Preheat oven to 170C/325F.

Mix the dry ingredients of flour, sugar and cocoa powder together till well incorporated and all lumps removed. Run through a sieve to break the lumps.

In a saucepan over low heat, heat chocolate and butter.

When this mixture is starting to melt, heat the 300ml water for about 40 seconds in the microwave till lightly warm.

When the chocolate/butter has completely melted….pour in the warm water and stir frequently until the entire mixture in the saucepan is melted and smooth. While adding the water you will notice that the mixture will be grainy for a while…this is ok but don’t stop stiring…continuing stiring the mixture till smooth.

Remove from the heat and cool slightly for about 5 to 7 minutes.

In the meantime, in a large bowl, lightly beat eggs one at a time i.e. break one egg into the bowl whisk it for 40 seconds with your electric mixer and then add the other egg and whisk for another 40 seconds.

Now gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture into eggs. Here it is recommended that you use your hand to whisk the mixture. Continue whisking the batter with your right hand while constantly pouring the chocolate mixture with the other hand. It is recommended not to use an electric mixer in this case because this batter is very runny and the mixer will create lots of bubbles which in turn might create cracks and tunnels in the cake while baking. If you have HAVE to use the electric mixer then beat at your lowest speed. But I strongly recommend you use your clean hands. Whisk the batter for about a minute.

Now add in the sugar, flour and cocoa mixture a little at a time into the chocolate/egg mixture, while continuing to stir the batter with your hand. When all the flour mixture has been added to the wet mixture, whisk well until smooth and well blended. Break any lumps with your hands. Continue mixing the batter for about 20 minutes in one direction with your hand. Remember not to change the direction of your hand. If you’ve been whisking in the clockwise direction continue clockwise. Yes your hand will ache :), but think of the lovely texture you’ll get.

Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin. Cover the top of the cake tin with baking paper and press to seal the edges with your fingertips. Put the cake mixture in the center of the rack in the oven. Close the oven and DO NOT OPEN till the baking time is up. If you MUST MUST check the cake in between do so only about 30 minutes of baking time is up, else the draught from outside will enter the oven and cause the cake to drop.

Bake for 45 minutes. Check with a skewer or knife by inserting into the centre of the cake. If the knife/skewer comes out clean, your cake is done…if not bake for another 3-4 minutes checking every 2 minutes. Remove from oven when done…let it sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then turn cake onto wire rack or plate to cool.

Bitter Dark Chocolate Bottom Layer

Bake the 2nd layer exactly the same way.

White Chocolate Top Layer

Now before you add the cut the dome/rise in the middle to level the cake, put the cakes in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Freezing the cake reduces the crumbs when you cut it in half.
While the cake is in the freezer prepare your vanilla frosting.

1 cup (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (1 lb.) powdered sugar, sifted…add 1/2 cup more sugar if you want it sweeter.
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a bowl, whisk on low speed butter, powdered sugar, and the salt until blended and smooth. Add cream and vanilla; beat until blended. Turn mixer to high speed and beat frosting until fluffy and smooth.

Your frosting is Ready!

Now take your cake out of the freezer, level the top of the two cakes by cutting off the slice dome/rise in the middle (if any).

The Two Layers Ready for Frosting

Layer the vanilla frosting on both the cakes on the side you leveled off. Layer it nice and thick. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime make the Truffle Glaze. This is the exact recipe as found here . Note, in the original recipe, the truffle mixture was used as the middle layer frosting. I used it as my glaze on top of the cake with one small modification. I added chocolate sprinkles for that grain-stony mud feel.

INGREDIENTS:120 grams dark chocolate pieces
100 grams butter
300 grams sifted icing sugar
4 tbsp double or whipping cream
30 grams chocolate sprinklers (optional)

In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring frequently. Make sure no water enters the chocolate mixture. Add the chocolate sprinkler. Stir. The chocolate mixture will be grainy because the chocolate sprinklers do not melt completely. Cool slightly, then stir icing sugar, butter and cream until well blended.

Your Truffle Chocolate Glaze is ready

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and pour the truffle chocolate glaze over it and spread it around.

Cake Layered with Truffle Chocolate Glaze

Decorate. Let it stand for about 30 minutes, then cut and enjoy a piece of heaven :)

A Slice of the Two Way Chocolate Mud Cake


I read this in Monika’s blog, and thought….Geee..what a fun’s simple, quick and something to keep my blog going :D. So, before I got lazy and decide otherwise, I quickly pen it down. Here are my IFs….. :)

If I were a month, I’d be April (but of course)

If I were a day of the week, I’d be Saturday

If I were a time of day, I’d be 9.00pm.

If I were a season, I’d be Spring.

If I were a planet, I’d be Saturn.

If I were a sea animal, I’d be a Sea Horse

If I were a direction, I’d be East.

If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a Hammock.

If I were a liquid, I’d be Fresh Lime Soda.

If I were a tree, I’d be a Willow Tree

If I were a tool, I’d be a Hammer

If I were an element, I’d be Silver

If I were a gemstone, I’d be Ruby

If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a Guitar

If I were a color, I’d be Red

If I were a emotion, I’d be Passion

If I were a fruit, I’d be an Apple

If I were a sound, I’d be the sound of wind chimes/bells in the distance.

If I were a car, I’d be a Jaguar

If I were food, I’d be ‘all the food in the world’ (too tough to choose :))

If I were a taste, I’d be Spicy

If I were a scent, I’d be Floral

If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be Stilettos

And if I were a bird, I’d be an Albatross

……….go it’s your turn to give it a shot!