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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

Does it happen with you?

A book that gets mass accolades fails to make a mark on you? A book that you are so-looking- forward- to- read dissappoints you?

It has happened with me again. Last time when I had said this, it was about Eat Pray and Love.

Yes, I am saying I did not like The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger. It is the first book of the author I have read. Most of you may differ from me in your opinion about this book. But, let me tell you why it did not work for me and I abondened reading it after 150 pages.                                   The novel chronicles the love story of Henry and Clare. Henry has a rare genetic disorder, which comes to be known as Chrono-Displacement, that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. He does not have control over where he travels, why he travels, when he travels and he does not take any thing from the present to which ever time he travels, not even his clothes.                                                                         Actually, I found the whole premises of the story very confusing. The story is being told by both Henry and Clare alternately in first person. Henry would pop up in certain time before or after his present and meet Clare who would either be a child or much older. He would talk about their future or his past and then again he would vanish in thin air. What I found rather funny was he could travels in time and meet his other self, younger or older. That is why I felt the story was not growing and it seemed to me very flat and stagnant (till the point I read).
Another probable reason I think for not liking this book is perhaps I was  reading this book very slowly in bits and gave more time and attention to the other books I had been reading. By the time I reached a length in the story, I almost forgot what I had read before.

I had brought the book from the library and it had been with me for at least 3 months. I kept hoping that at some point I might find it interesting. But, give it to my lazy reading, I finally returned it without even completing it. For the rest of the story I read this article on Wikipedia and some reviews on GoodReads and realised there are a whole lot of people who felt the same about the novel.

To know more about the author and her works visit http://audreyniffenegger.com/

Thanks for stopping by! Cheers

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Tranquility

#13 Teaser Tuesday ~ The Hindi Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan

An interesting teaser from The Hindi Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan for TT this week.

"The answers aren't as obvious as you may think. They're riddles. Brainteasers. Puzzles. You think this piece fits, but wait, you look again and realize you jammed it into place. A virtue in one land is a vice in another."

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page


BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Few Tips & Facts - Interesting!

A few days back I had recieved a forwarded mail from my friend G. It had a list of interesting tips and facts. So, today I am sharing those in my post here. I found this information useful and I think readers might benefit from this post. If you try any of these in your day to day life, let me know how it worked for you as I haven't tried all of these myself. Many thanks to the anoynomous person who had compiled it. Hope you find it as interesting as I found them.

Read on!

~Ants Problem:
Ants hate cucumbers. Keep the skin of cucumbers near the place or ant hole.

~To get clear Ice cubes:
Boil water  first before freezing.

~To  make the mirror shine:
Clean with  sprite. (Wonder what happens to the enamel of our teeth).


~To  remove chewing gum from clothes:
Keep the cloth  in the freezer for an hour.

~ To whiten white clothes:
Soak white clothes in hot water with a slice of lemon for 10 minutes.

~To  give a shine to hair :
Add one teaspoon of vinegar to hair, then wash hair.


~To  get maximum juice out of lemons :
Soak lemons in hot water for one hour, and then juice them.


~To  avoid smell of cabbage while cooking:
Keep a piece of bread on the cabbage in the vessel while cooking.
~To  avoid tears while cutting onions:
Chew gum.


~To  boil potatoes quickly:
Skin one  potato from one side only before boiling.

~To  remove ink from clothes :
Put toothpaste on the ink spots generously and let it dry completely, then wash.


~To skin sweet potatoes quickly :
Soak in cold  water immediately after boiling.
~To get rid of mice or rats :
Sprinkle black pepper in places where you find mice or rats. They will run away.


This space has been silent for a few days now and I am also not being able to visit other blogs. The reason being my Parent in Laws are here to visit us and I am having a lovely time with them. Reading has taken a back seat but cooking is in the forefront. I will be back soon with some tried and tested recipes and hopefully a book review in coming weeks.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pineapple Chunk & Cardamom Cake (Eggless)

The recipe for today's post comes from my drafts. I had made it quite sometimes back and since then it had just been sitting in my drafts. I have made this one quite many times, mainly when I have some left over canned pineapples. If you love pineapples it will surely appeal to you. Adding cardamom adds an Indian flavour to it but if you do not like it, you can leave it out all together and you will have a pineapple chunk cake.

This recipe is adapted from Manjulas Kitchen. I have just tweaked the amount of butter and juice. It worked well and the cake was rich and moist. Instead of butter you can use equal amount of oil plus a little more pineapple juice.These pictures have not been able to capture the moistness and texture. I will update the post with better pictures next time I bake it. As for now, hop off to the recipe!


Ingredients:

1 1/4cup AP Flour.
1/4 cup butter,soft at room temperature.
3/4 cup condensed milk.
5 rings of canned pineapple cut into chunks.
3/4 cup of pineapple juice (from the pineapple can).
1 tsp baking powder.
1/2 tsp baking soda.
3 cardamom pod seeds powdered finely.


Process:

1.Take a deep bowl or container and put soft butter in it. Add condensed milk to it and whip it nicely with a wooden spoon or a hand mixer till it is light and well incorporated.

2. In a separate bowl add AP flour, baking powder, baking soda and powdered cardamom and shift.

3. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture little by little stirring all the time.Add the pineapple juice little by little and whisk for another 5 minutes till it is mixed properly. Add a little more if needed. Add the pineapple chunks and fold it in the mixture.

4.Keep a cake tin greased with butter and dusted with flour ready before starting to make the cake batter. Pour the cake batter into it. Insert the cake pan into an oven preheated at 180 degree C. Bake the cake at 170 degree C for 40mins.

5. Using a skewer or knife check if the cake is done. Prick the skewer into the cake, if it comes out clear then the cake is ready.

6. Take the container out of the oven and let it cool for 10 mins. Take the cake out on a plate by turning the container upside down.

This pineapple cake is very moist and it tastes best when served cold.


Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#12 Teaser Tuesday ~ Mistress by Anita Nair

'Suddenly I know who he is. Like everybody else seeking parallels,I sought him among heroes and villains. I should have looked, instead, into the shadowed zones of the stage, at the minor characters whose doing let men live or die.'
Page: 30


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page


BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Six Graves to Munich by Mario Puzo (Cleri)

I do not really read crime fiction very often. Although I do tend to pick up some of them often and they sit on my book shelf for quite a long time before they are picked up to be read. Same goes with this book, Six Graves to Munich by Mario Puzo. It had been sitting quite a while waiting to be opened and read. I had picked up from the library only because of the author's name. I have not read the author's other more known work like 'The Godfather' or 'Sicilian' but they have always been on my TBR list. So, for a start I picked up this book.
The blrub from back cover of the book gives an idea of what the story is about.

Seven Men

Seven Gestapo officers tortured Captain Michael Rogan, murdered his pregnant wife, and left him for dead. After the end of the second World War they escaped to new lives and identities.

Ten Years

Rogan has spent the last ten years recovering from his horrific injuries and planning his revenge. Now he is back, and on the hunt for the Nazis who ruined his life.

One Woman

But ther is one problem, he has met and fallen in love with the beautiful Rosalie. Should he listen to his heart or continue to pursue his quest for vengeance, whatever it takes?

That seems like the perfect recipe for an interesting novel. But, as the readers get on with the book, they realise that the story does not keep the momentum of thrill and suspense alive, which I think is the most important thing to look forward to in such a story. To me it seemed too straight forward with out neccesary twists and turns. However, it was an easy and sort of 'light' read. Even though murders and planning for murders were taking place throughout the novel, it was not particularly disturbing. Another way to say it is ~ it failed to make any impact on the reader.

'Six Graves to Munich' was written by the author under the name Mario Cleri. It was written before 'The Godfather'.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Lush Green

Malai Kulfi ~ Using Condensed Milk~ A Quicker Version!

As promised I am back with another recipe for Kulfi. Unlike the Cardamom Kulfi I had posted earlier, this one is much quicker excluding the freezing time and yet no compromise on taste. I had bookmarked this recipe long back from Tarla Dalal site and tried it a few days back. What makes it quick is the use of condensed milk and milk powder. It has a melt in the mouth texture and I am simply bowled by the simplicity of  the recipe. This recipe is a keeper as it is quite effortless.

I used the exact measure as given in the site and got 6 kulfis (80 ml each) + extra (about the measure of 2 kulfi) which I froze in a freezer proof bowl. You can enjoy this malai kulfi by itself or serve it with falooda and rose syrup.

Perfect to beat the heat. I know it is just an excuse for me as the summers here in Ireland are not like the one in India as the temperature here once in a while crosses the 23 C mark. Still, I do indulge in the cold treats!

  • Straight from the freezer :-)
    Malai Kulfi:
  • Ingredients:
  • 500 ml full fat milk
  • ¼ cup milk powder
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond powder (optional)
4 green cardamom pod seeds finely powdered.


Process:

1. Combine all the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Add the powdered cardamom.


2. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat and turn of the gas. Cool completely.


3. Pour into kulfi moulds and freeze overnight till firm. Depending on the size of the moulds, no. of kulfis might vary.

4. Allow the moulds to remain outside the refrigerator for 5 minutes and then unmould it or run hot water over the kulfi moulds to unmould it even quickly.



5. Enjoy it on a hot day!





Linking it to Serve it Chilled and to PJ's Kids delight Cool Comforts Event. This event is the brain child of Srivalli.

One last peek before you go!


Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

"An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life."
I like Sparks' books. They are easy reads, quite romantic, often sad yet redeeming and so very full of emotions. 'Dear John' is another such story that will touch your hearts and will glisten your eyes with tears. While it seems like another 'boy meet girl' love story, it is not. Unlike most of Sparks' books I have read, where surprises are not left till the end this was an exception. The ending was kind of a jolt, nothing of the sort I had hoped it to be, but that is I believe makes the book all the more moving. Pick it up if you like the author's work.

The characters and the plot of the story seemed real and one could actually relate to the incidents that happened in their lives. I almost had an instant liking for John Tyree right from the beginning of the novel and could empathize him when things went hay ware in his life. Savannah seemed to be the perfect match for him. I love the way she wrote letters to him while he was away at army camps and how she expressed her feelings through them. But things did not happen as they had thought and one incident let to a chain of incidents that changed the course of their life. The story also portrayed the difficult relationship John had with his father and how eventually he understood him, credit to Savannah. Sparks deals with these emotions very subtly and that is the beauty of his writing style. I wish I could write more about the plot and the story line, but that will be a spoiler for any aspiring readers.

The story gives a message that can be summarised in this quote (not from the book) ~ "Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love, is by far, the truest type of love."

This book has been made into a movie and it was released in 2010. Hopefully I get a copy of the DVD soon.


Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bread Ras Malai ~ my all time favourite!


There are a few sweets I always relish. They are the ones prepared by my mother. They bring good memories from good old childhood days. No matter how much I try but I can't replicate the taste to the T. I think that's the magic of  mom's hand that add a special touch to every dish prepared by her. One of them is this Bread Ras Malai. You can call it a sister of the conventional Ras Malai, it tastes as good and is comparatively easier and quicker to make. I have tried it on my own a couple of times now and have nearly replicated the taste!

I am an absolute lover of Ras Malai. I can unabashedly gorge on it. As a child I was not very big on sweets, but for this sweet dish I would never say 'no'. But, having Ras Malai was a pleasure which I enjoyed only in restaurant or in a wedding party, until my mom came up with this version. It is actually inspired from Saahi Tukda in which the bread pieces are fried but my mom likes to cook healthy and I follow her in that. Its best to use white bread for this one as wheat bread won't really taste good.

For those you do not know what Ras Malai is check this

Linking it to Serve it Chilled. Before hopping on to the recipe have a peek at the picture!


Ingredients:


1 litre full fat milk
4 tbsp sugar or to taste.
a pinch of saffron
2 cardamom pod seeds crushed.
Almond and pistachios flakes to garnish.
4-6 Slices of good quality white bread.

Serves 4-6:

Process:

1. In a tablespoon of milk add the saffron In a non stick deep pan boil rest of the milk. When it comes to a boil lower the heat on medium and let it simmer till it is reduced to about 3/4th of the original volume, stirring at small intervals. It will take about 10-15 minutes.

2. Now stir in the sugar and stir. Add the saffron and cardamom and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

3. When the milk the desired consistency turn off the heat and let it cool down to room temperature. Refrigerate it till needed.


4. Using a cookie cutter, cut out rounds off the bread slices. One large slice will give 2 pieces of bread. Place them in the serving bowl and pour cold prepared milk mixture over it. Garnish it with almond and pistachios flakes.

5. Let it sit for 5 minutes, so that the bread pieces soak in all the flavors from the milk mixture. Serve chilled.

Notes:


1. Check the sweetness of the milk mixture before adding all the sugar and adjust according to your taste.
2. For a thicker consistency, cook it for a little longer.
3. It is always better to prepare this dish while preparing daily meal. Only making this might seem tedious and time taking. I always put it on one of the burners and by the the time  I am done with rest of the cooking, it is ready.

A bowl for you too! Enjoy!

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