October 31, 2012

Eggless Chocochip cookies

Eggless Chocochip cookies
A huge fan of chocochip cookies... that is what I am.

Love them but hate how most of the store bought packet ones are so crisp and not chewy. The chewy imported stuff that you do get... I can not swallow after paying those prices.

I just attempted an eggless recipe as this is something which a friend has been asking for some leads... so I thought why not try something and then send the recipe across :)

So, have been attempting some stuff and this eggless chocochip recipe is a sure keeper...


Time: 30mins

1 and 1/4 cup - All purpose flour/ Maida
1/2 tsp - Baking Soda
1/8 tsp - Salt
1/4 cup - Butter softened ( I think this can be reduced if desired)
1/4 cup - Vegetable Oil
1/4 + 1/8 cup - Granulated Sugar ( If you like them less sweet, make it just 1/4 cup)
1/4 + 1/8 cup - Firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp - Vanilla Extract
6 tbsp - Milk
1tsp - Vegetable Oil
1 heaped cup - Semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Set the oven to preheat at 190 C for 15 minutes.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and the salt.
3. Cream butter, sugars and the vegetable oil
4. In a small bowl, mix the milk and 1tsp vegetable oil. Add vanilla extract to this mixture
5. Add the above mixture to the creamed butter and sugars
6. Mix the flour in slowly mixing all through.
7. Finally fold in the chocolate chips and any nuts if you wish.
8. Spoon it on to a baking sheet, lightly greased.
9. Bake for 8-9 mins.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Inspired from: Eggless Cooking

October 30, 2012

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Sister of My Heart was something which caught my eye with the author's name. I have heard wonderful things about the author and her novel ' Palace of Illusions' so I thought why not this one too.

After I finished the book, what I felt was that there could have been so much more which could have been done for this book. Did it evoke in me a strong feeling towards the characters? Yes, it did. But, by the end of it, I was not sure whether I bought the entire story. Maybe it is possible in the times that are being described, but I am not sure. I must add that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, but there was just not that zing or awe that it could create for me. Maybe I am just done with the Indian writing which is intended to open the culture to the outside world. In fact, that is what this book felt like to me. There were so many instances of where in I felt this book would be seen as wonderful by a different audience.

The story in itself was beautiful, women centric and showing so many emotions which pace through our lives as we deal with so many people. We have our own ways of handling things and it also highlights how our feelings and thoughts mature/ change when faced with different scenarios. How elders tend to protect, how youngsters rebel and how everything seems to be good once you are married, and there suddenly seems to be no restrictions for a girl once she is married.

It is a quick read, a page turner, but if you are looking for great prose, character details, then that is not what it has to offer, but it does do a good deal of justice to bring out the India as seen through the eyes of middle class women.

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October 26, 2012

Impromptu = Goa

Goaaaa... that is what I feel every single time I decide on making a trip to Goa. The beach, the food, the sun just makes for the most wonderful break one could ever ask for. There is something which is so relaxing and lovely about not doing anything much in Goa. Lazing about the beaches, reading and munching on stuff. It is certainly not the best place to be if you are watching your diet, and I ceremonially always put an end to all my diet controls before I head to Goa.

My first trip to Goa was back in December 2008, and then followed that by December 2010. This year we thought why not break the December deal and do something a little earlier, with fewer tourists around. I was obviously wrong, as the throng of people were a wee bit less. I really do doubt whether if at any point of time there would be an empty Goa. Anyhow, that did not deter the fun, and this time around being Tee's first trip to the beach, this was going to be a special occasion.

This time we decided we should visit some places which we have never been to and not hang around the usual shacks and party scene. Also added to it was that we would not be really on the party scene with a 15 month old toddler in hand! I guess that was for the good... we did go to Old Goa and Aguada as a result and had lots of fun at the beautiful beaches of Sinquerim. I would say this is one of the most beautiful beaches which I have seen of Goa. Lets do a count... Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Vagator, Mobor,Varca, and Sinquerim, these are the beaches of Goa where I have been to and amongst them, my favorites have to be Vagator and Sinquerim.

We also managed to cruise along the river, the evening boat cruise at Panjim. It was strictly ok... and nothing which I would suggest someone should do, it is a river and there is pretty much nothing to see. Having been on the Seine in Paris and seeing the Eiffel light show  from the Seine.. this would certainly rank as one of the least important things to do in Goa.

All said and done, here are some pics to make you want to plan a trip to Goa quick!

Cathedral de Bom Jesus

Fort Aguada

Fort Aguada - Fishing

Fort Aguada

Sinquerim Beach

October 25, 2012

Review: Sony Xperia Go

I have always been a Sony mobile phone fan, and in between I did move to a Samsung Galaxy Pocket, only to run back at the earliest possible chance that I got.  The last Sony phone which I used was the Mini Pro, and now I have moved to the Xperia Go.

The Xperia Go also was procured after weeks of research and finally I came down to the HTC One V and the Xperia Go. I was inclined towards the Go because of Timescape, which I was more comfortable with, apart from the choice of a cherry yellow colour!

Anyhow, here we go into the details which I thought were relevant when I was comparing HTC One V and Sony Xperia Go.

The responsiveness of Xperia Go was better than the HTC, and moving from a mini pro which had just a 600MHz processor to something which has a dual core 1Ghz processor, there was certainly a big difference.

The HTC sports a bigger screen hence for me, it was simpler to type out messages etc.But, on saying that I felt the layout of the HTC keyboard was different from the usual qwerty and hence that made things difficult for me. The main difference was in the alignment of the special characters, and that made it difficult for me to write messages and mails.

The camera quality was the same in the first few test shots which I took, and the camera was quite quick too in both cases.

The overall size of the Xperia Go was better for me. My main constraint has been that I need to be able to put this mobile phone into my pocket at any point of time. I can not be holding it all the time, and another plus with this phone was that it is dust and water proof. Knowing me and my tendency to keep dropping the phone and leaving it just about anywhere, this was a great plus.

So if you ask me, I am always in for Sony, I believe they have amazing sound and camera features. I am not a user of business phones, but rather great personal devices, and till date Sony has never let me down. 

October 18, 2012

The Bikini Murders by Farrukh Dhondy

The Bikini Murders by Farrukh Dhondy is based on the serial killer Charles Sobhraj, his life, killings and prison tenures. Through this book, I felt that Dhondy has not really tried to show us the mind of Jhonson Thaat, the character for Charles. He has rather shown us the life story of this serial killer. How he came to be in contact with folks who were linked with killings and how he turned into the vicious person who he ended up being.

The book keeps you hooked, and you do want to know how the story pans out. It is very fast paced, but if you are looking for some character sketches and understanding of  what happened and why, then there are no answers. This is a fictionalized account of the life and murders. The book does not disappoint one bit with regard to the story, but for some reason I did expect a more detailed view of the surroundings and times. This was missing, or maybe not required to detail the life of this character.

This was a book which I picked up at the library out of curiosity and did not know the plot or had not even heard of the book. I was not aware of these killings also, so this proved to be a great insight into the story which had unfolded during the period of 20 long years.

This book is a quick read and it is a story which will remain with you knowing that it draws from real life incidents. But, the writing and style is nothing to note or remember. 

October 16, 2012

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes

A real life account of a British girl who was trafficked and forced into  the sex trade under the pretext of love and friendship. It opens up our dimensions to understanding people and how calculative they can be.

The story pans across her childhood, fears, family, friends, work and how a man walked into this set up and took complete control of her life for 6 full months. Being at the mercy of someone else, not being able to take in food, being beaten up and then soothed in the name of love. It all seems so confusing that it might seem that maybe they are even right in what they are doing. That is what Sophie thought. And, this is a very possible thing, as when you trusted one person and they stood by you through thick and thin, you start to see their rights as THE RIGHT.

It was horrific to see how she was emotionally traumatized and blackmailed into believing that this is the right way to be doing things and this is just a phase which will pass. She is made to believe that the man would eventually be with her and love her, and all he wants is her help. He has made her believe that everyone is her enemy and he alone can help her, and a wrong move means that her family stands to face his wrath.

This is a book which I picked up on an impulse when I saw it at my library and it was a quick read. At times I felt that the intensity of the horror was lost with repetitive situations which I do understand might have been the situation. She was leading a life of monotony, standing at the road side and being picked up by clients through the night and sleeping through the day. At the end of it, you start to look at the casual people standing around with a question in your mind. That is what happened to me...

October 5, 2012

How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

Is this something which every woman should read?

Is this what every woman will relate to in someway or the other?

I think the answer to both the questions is YES.

There is something in it for every woman. Any woman would know how it was when we were going through that puberty phase for the very first time. Any woman would know how difficult it seems to get as we become older, and the world hands it to us that being a woman is no joke.

How we understand having kids changes everything for us, and then it all becomes a craze and for quite some time a complete daze. And moreover, we are also thought to be so motherly that we do not seem to ever mind it. Well, you know what? We do!

This is a book which starts to make you see how feminism needs to be seen. It can be seen as something which every woman would have thought and felt, but maybe not expressed. But, here is a book which will put your thoughts into words.

This is a very quick read, simple language and moves across the author's life pausing at all those instances when our lives as woman usually experience a blimp. Something one should pick up when you want to have a light funny read.