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Thursday, January 27, 2011

A fun day and a chocolate-y trifle | How to Make Cookie Trifle from Scratch

The description of my blog says 'My pages about books, food and more', but even after 2 months of its creation, not a single post on food. That's not fair! Books have found a good space here, so has the 'more' thing. So, I decided to post something really nice and sweet for my first food post here.

Yesterday, we had a small get-together at my place. It was a occasion to bid a formal farewell to our friend T who is going back to India for good and to convey our heartfelt wishes to N, who is a to be mother!

Our get-togethers are not just about meeting one another but also about food. It gives us an opportunity to flaunt our culinary talent :-)!

The menu was long and varied. Of course there was contribution from all of them. We talked, ate and played, talked, ate and played and by the end of the day, we were exhausted as if we were back from a long day of tedious work. But, it was a fun day and thank you friends for making that happen. Before sharing anything else I will like to share the menu which goes like this:

Lemonade, Kiwi Panna,Orange Juice, Onion Bhaji, Mint flavoured potato puffs, Savoury Semolina Cake, Shakarpare, Vegetable Paneer Lasagna (At least I intended to make that, but the outcome was different, but my friends said it tasted good and I believe them!), Chocolate Cupcakes, Vanilla Cupcakes and my Chocolate-y Trifle! On top of these there were lots of chocolates!

Well, I am sure you will say that is quite a menu and I agree. Here are some pictures too!


Now coming back to the recipe of my Chocolate-y Trifle which actually Chocolate Cookie Trifle. I got this recipe from my elder sis and have tried a couple of times before. My DH loved it too. So, instead of experimenting something on my friends(which i usually do), I went for the safer bet.

This is a very easy recipe and if you love chocolate, its for you!

(Click here for the printable version)
Ingredients:

300 ml fresh cream.
1/4 cup icing sugar or finely powdered sugar.
less than 1/2 cup of grated chocolate.
200 gm chocolate chip cookies.
4 glace cherries cut into half for decoration.

For ganache :

100 ml cream
100 gm chocolate.
1 tsp oil (optional)



The measures will vary according to the size of bowls you are using. I made them in individual small glass bowls and I got 8 with these measurements.

Process:

1. Put the cookies in a zip lock bag and run the rolling pin over it so that they are coarsely crushed. Keep it aside.

2. Whip the fresh cream and sugar till stiff.

3. For ganache, melt the chocolate either in a microwave or by putting in in a heatproof vessel and placing it over hot boiling water. When melted add the cream and oil if using and stirring well till everything is well incorporated. Keep it aside.

4. Now take the bowls u are using and line it first with the cookie mixture and then a layer of the whipped fresh cream. You can use an icing bag to make a layer of cream or use a spoon. Then line it with grated chocolate. Again put a cookie mixture followed by cream and top it with ganache. You can make as many layers as possible. Top it with glaced cherry.

5. Keep it in fridge for a day (See notes). The cookie mixture must absorb the moisture of cream and loose its crunchiness. Take it out of fridge 10 mins before serving.

Notes:

1. It is always better to make it a day in advance.

2. If you are making it on the same day. Keep it in freezer for 45 mins and then take it our for an hour. Keep it back in fridge until needed. The temperature difference it will face will make the process faster.

3. While making the layer of cream, if the cream stick and is not spreading evenly then take a cup of hot water and dip a clean spoon into it and then smooth en the cream with it. Dip it in hot water as many times as necessary.

Sending this to Lets Celebrate Sweets-Chocolate. This event is the brain child of Nivedita.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

'The Notebook' by Nicholas Sparks is a simple yet heart rendering love story. It will make you smile and cry often. It is about the belief that true love never dies or dims, it remains with you through the thick and thins of life. I will definitely recommend reading it.

The story starts with eighty years Noah Calhoun reading out his 'Notebook' to a lady who does not remember him, in a nursing home. It is the story of his life, his love story. He does it every day, in the hope that it with stir her memory and she will remember things from the past which she seldom does these days with only a few exceptions!

As he reads out his notebook, the story flashes back to his past to October 1946. It is the time when he had recently returned from war to North Carolina. To keep himself busy and to forget the adversities of war he spends all his time restoring an old plantation house, which he has recently purchased to its old glory. Despite his best efforts, his memory often slips to a time when he had met Allie, her love, fifteen years ago. He has never been able to forget her, the summer they had spent together. He has finally learnt to content himself with the memories and thinks that he would never be able to find her. And suddenly one day she turns up!

Allie is engaged to another man, Lon Hammond-A well know man and their marriage is just three weeks away. But she realises that the memories of her long lost love has never dimmed all these years and that is what makes her go back and meet him one last time. Things that followed the meeting changes their lives.

The story does not end there, in fact it is quite the beginning of their beautiful love story. The ending is not exactly a happy or a sad one but a mixture of the too which will make you smile and cry at the same time. True love is eternal but some times memories fade away, because there is always something that is not in our hand, some circumstances in life we can't change or avoid. The love described in the story is profound. It is poignant love story that will move you deeply.

To quote from the book:

"I am nothing special; of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I have led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me,this has always been enough."

Linking it to Nicholas Sparks reading challenge hosted by The Book Vixen

Monday, January 17, 2011

Some of my sketchs!

As a child I loved drawing and sketching. But, I lost touch with it as I became more and more involved with my studies. Recently, I got inspired by a friend (her sketchs are awesome) and thought of trying my hands on it again. I sketched a couple of them recently and I am sharing two of them today..
I am glad I did some sketching after a long time!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown




This is the 4th novel I have read of the author- Dan Brown. I had started with Da Vinci Code and then read Angels and Demons and then laid my hands on The Last Symbol. I had enjoyed reading all of them. So, when I saw 'Digital Fortress' in the library, I picked it up. It had been in my to read list for a long time.

The novel is fast paced and thrilling and kept revealing its secrets in bits throughout the novel. That is what kept me engaged, I was always anticipating what was going to happen next. But, again there were also some stages in the story where I skipped some pages and then continued to read. I found some of the details really monotonous as if the author had been trying to stretch things a little to much.

After having read four of his novels, I realised a striking similarity in all his stories. They are all written in the same fashion. The story in this novel starts with Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician and the head Cryptographer of National Security Agency (NSA). She wakes up to call from his fiancee, David Becker, a language professor to postpone their weekend plans of holidaying at the Smoky Mountains. Susan is dejected and lost in her thoughts when she receives a call from NSA's deputy director, Strathmore who tells her that there is an emergency in Crypto and asks her to come over immediately.
NSA possesses a high complex code breaking machine- TRANSLTR, that can decode an damn code in this world. But, on this particular occasion, it has encountered a mysterious code that it cannot break. On arriving at Crypto, Srathmore briefs her of the situation. She comes to know that NSA had been held hostage by an unbreakable code-'The Digital Fortress' which is created by an ex-employee of NSA, Ensei Tankado. Ensei had been furious about NSA's intrusion into people's private life because of their ability to access and snoop round anyone's personal electronic data without prior permission. He had worked on the project of TRANSLTR but when NSA maintained that they would not go public about its existence, Ensei was displeased. He did not consider it to be ethically correct and in his quest to set things right in NSA, he decides to create an unbreakable code. If this code is released as planned by Ensei, it would cripple US intelligence and would help organised crime and terrorism to skyrocket!

Susan also learns that Ensei Tankado died of an heart attack in Seville, Spain and is surprised to find that Strathmore has send David to collect the code key. In Spain, David finds out that Ensei had given away the key which is in a form of ring to someone while dying. In his run to find the ring he meets a number of people who are then mysteriously killed by a professional assassin.

In her attempt to help Strathmore in decoding Digital Fortress for her country and her love, Susan comes to know about secrets that she has been so long oblivious about. The story will take you from the walls of NSA to the corporate houses in Japan and to the streets and lanes of Spain in an exhilarting pace.

In the end, as in all the Brown books I have read, all things fall in their respective places. But how that happen is the thing to read in the novel. Of all his books I have read, this is the one I liked least.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My to read list in 2011 and a book review on 'Book Reviews'

The New Year 2011 is here. Many people take new year resolutions to follow during the year. I too had taken at some point of time in the past year only to forget them as the year moved on. Ever since, I have stopped the practise.

However, this time I had made a list of books I would like to read this year and the first in the list was 'The Boy in the Striped Pyajamas' by John Boyne. I saw a small part of the movie on RTE just 3-4 days back and I decided to read the book. You might think that is a children's book. Well, it is if you go by the way it is written.It is a thin novel and I could finish it in a day. It is written in a very simple language but the story is heart rendering and will surely leave you pondering for a while. You can check my review here.

Now coming to the other books in my list.

My best friend G wrote to me in a mail that she has completed reading the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer . It has a total of 4 novels. She said that she was sad that it is over as she wanted it to be never ending! I had spotted those books in the library many times but never had the interest to read them. Now, that G has sparked that interest in me, I am really looking forward to read them.

Next is Steig Larrson's other two books of the Millenium Trilogy - ' The Girl Who Played with Fire' and 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest'. I have already read the first one last year. You can see the post here.

I have not read many books of Indian authors. So, I decided to start with 'The Inheritance of Loss' by Kiran Desai. I have already brought it from the library.

Next in line is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had missed seeing the movie but surely won't miss reading the book.

Others are Dan Drown's Digital Fortress and Deception Point , The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Also, I hope to re-read Khaled Hosseni's The Kite Runner and A Thousand Spendid Suns. I had read them almost 3 years back.

I hope by the end of this year, I will be able to share my experience of reading these books here. Wish you all a very happy new year. Cheers!
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