Thursday, June 30, 2011

White and Dark chocolate cheesecake

I have come across many recipes of cheesecakes and decided to try my hand at it.
I first came across the recipe of white chocolate cheesecake. KC does not like white chocolate so I decided to make white one with half the mixture and dark chocolate with the other half.
It looked good BUT was quite sweet. I don't know why. I used the exact quantities and it didn't taste so sweet while making it.
Next time I will add half the quantity of sugar or avoid it altogether.

Base ingredients:
Oreo crumbs... they are available in India now. But I didn't like the taste so much... maybe neutral tasting Marie biscuits would have been better. Your call. Crush the biscuits with hand or in a mixer.... the smaller the crumbs the better it is. I won't specify the quantity. It should be enough to cover the base of your baking tin
2 Tbsp butter melted
1 tbsp sugar (avoidable)

Cheesecake Ingredients:
1 packet cream cheese (Kraft's Philadelphia... costs 430 bucks)
1/4 cup sugar (avoidable if the chocolate is very sweet)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg
65 gm white/dark chocolate... I used Belgian white and Bournville dark

Preheat oven to 325 degrees C. Line muffin tins/baking tin with butter paper. I didn't have any and only greased the tins. Mix biscuit crumbs, butter and sugar. Put 1 tsp in each tin and press to cover base.
Beat cream cheese for 30 secs, add sugar and beat for 30 secs. Add egg and mix. At this stage I divided the mixture into 2 parts and added white chocolate and vanilla to one part and dark chocolate and vanilla to another part. Mix well.

Put it over the base in the tins and bake for 12-15 mins at 180 degrees C. Cool and refrigerate overnight.

Pyaar ka Punchnama

I had been hearing rave reviews of the movie on FB and finally decided to watch it in the 3rd week. The movie is about 3 young working men and their first experiences with women.
It is a completely guy movie with the abuses, lifestyle and failure to understand women.
Guy 1 (don't remember the names) is a loser.... a pervert... he cannot talk to girls but manages to befriend one. She uses him for everything- borrowing money, dropping her home, doing her extra work etc etc. All this while she has a long distance boyfriend. Sounds quite familiar. I have come across many, many women who do this and do not have any sympathies with the guy. A loser will be treated as such.
Guy 2 gets into a relationship with a female and is madly in love. They move in together... life slowly turns hell. Just like a guy he wants to hang out with friends and live the way he used to. But his gf wants him to do spend all his time with her... and help in the housework. There is this scene where she is folding clothes and fighting with him. She is tired 'coz he never helps out and she tells him; "You think I like folding clothes? Well, I don't." This was uncannily same as the fight KC and I had 2 weeks back. Exactly the same words were spoken. I guess we are not the only ones.
Guy 3 is a smart cookie and realizes that his gf is cheating on him with her ex. He hangs on for sometime and dumps her when she sleeps with the ex.

The 2nd half drags a bit and movie has to show the females as being psychopaths. There is no other way the guys could have gained sympathy. The guys were loving it.

An excellent movie from a new director and absolutely new actors. It is actually in the theatres even now.

Surprisingly, there were many kids in the theatre. The movie has abuses galore and I was shocked. Do I want my 5 or 10 year old using such language? Sure, they do hear it in schools anyway but would I deliberately choose to expose them to it? Absolutely not. And then we are surprised when rich kids are caught drunk driving and murdering people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Reviews

I know I am a little late on the 'Vampire Diaries' craze but I have read Twilight and watched the movie and did not want to indulge in similar stuff.
Vampire Diaries is sort of similar to Twilight except it is darker, the action is more dangerous and thrilling. It is everything that Twilight should have been. I wish I would have read it before twilight. By the end of the book, I was not willing to pick up part 2 but it ended at a exciting turn and now I will have to read the next one. Also, once I am done with 90210 I will start on the series.

2 of my FB friends had praised the book. I could not find it in Landmark and ordered it online at Amazing website... I received the delivery within 3 days... no hassles... no follow up required and it was at a discounted price. I have started ordering books online every month. They are cheaper and no shipping charges.
Anyway, I do not know who Anthony Bourdain is... I have never watched his shows so don't ask me for his introduction. The book is about a cook, his real life experiences in the kitchen and they are unimaginable. We all think of chefs/cooks as creative, decent, respected people... but thats not how it is... even in 5 star kitchens.
Worth a read. I received the delivery for another book by him from the website.

Restaurant Reviews

Hey people.... I have been meaning to blog about the recent restaurant visits but have not had the time:

Punjabi by Nature: On my b'day we went to this place for lunch. It is in DLF Cybercity in one of the office buildings. I had heard a lot about it and was excited. We ordered for Galouti Kebab and some chicken gravy dish. The kebabs were huge... 8 huge pieces... we could finish only half of it. Somehow, I still prefer the galouti kebabs in Great Kebab Factory. The chicken dish was sort of sweet and good but I had wanted to eat something spicy. We finished off with a gulab jamun... again, HUGE. The meal was ok kinds... not bad, but not rave worthy. It cost us 1500 bucks. I wish they would have given smaller servings (for a lesser price, of course). Only a group of 3-4 people could have finished the food.

Barrique: It is located opposite to Punjabi by Nature. It was empty on a Sunday night.. maybe 'coz Gurgaon people do not venture around the office areas on weekends. We ordered a stuffed mushroom and veg lasagne. The lasagne was better than the one at Earth lounge but not Little Italy. The lasagne in Little Italy does not have veggies... only spinach, tomato sauce and cheese.
Pretty ok place.

Pind Balluchi: KC and I met up for lunch on the weekday at this restaurant. We ordered a chicken gravy and rotis. It cost us only 200 bucks. Not kidding... the food was delicious. We will be going there more often.

Kobe Sizzlers: I have been to Andheri East outlet couple of times and liked it. The one at Ambience Mall is the black sheep. The food was the same... but chairs were dirty and the place had a weird smell. Not a good place.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Movie Reviews

Watched this flick on Friday night for lack of options. It has lesser known faces as main leads. The story is about 2 gangs at war in Mumbai. Everyone has their ambitions and end up killing each other to fulfill those.
The movie is A rated due to the dialogues and scenes. Be prepared to hear some very bold dialogues.
The 2nd half became a little boring and the climax was predictable.
Watch it if you have no other options.
I have watched East is East and found it depressing. I couldn't understand Om Puri's character or his wife... why should take all the shit from him... why was he so stern?
West is West gave me the answers to those questions. It is about complicated emotions... about decisions made without thinking too far... Om Puri abandons his family in Pakistan to move to England. He sends money home regularly but marries an English woman there. He tries to bring up his kids keeping Pakistani values in mind but they are all English to the core. In this part, he returns to Pakistan and feels guilty about leaving his kids all alone. He tries to make amends but his English wife also lands up there.
Its a good flick... but not everyone will enjoy it.

I watched this movie as a kid in bits and parts and have been meaning to watch it for the longest time. 2 weeks back I picked up the DVD. Watching it was a problem 'coz KC was not interested. So, weekends were out. I watched 1.5 hours on one weekday and the rest on the next weekday. Yeah... I can do that. It is a great movie. I liked how Shabana Azmi has no money or anything to call her own after parting from her hubby. Independence... specially financial independence is very important. All 4 actors are superb.
Somehow Mahesh Bhatt has made 2-3 movies on the same theme... one with Kangana... and then another with Esha... if memory serves me right. The song "Tum itna kyun muskura rahe ho" is soooo soothing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Need a break

Hi... Sorry, I have been gone long. I wanted to blog but didn't get the time. My life is more hectic here compared to Mumbai even though I had expected it to be the other way around. Work is hectic since it has been 3 months only and it will take time to get things in auto mode where I can take a back seat. Until then, it will be hard work.
Last 3 days have been horrible. My mom had come on Thursday for a quick visit. It got me very emotional... I miss home... I miss my dad... I miss the old days. And there is no going back... When I was in the hostel, I went home every 2 months. It was enough to help me rejuvenate. It was time away from regular troubles. It was a safe haven where life moved slowly... there was nowhere to go... nothing to do... a perfect time out from the daily running out.
I have been running around for 2 years ... and there is no safe haven to go to. This is IT.
I returned at 8 pm on Thursday, bought groceries, invited a friend over for dessert since Mom baked muffins and he is a fan of her cooking, changed the invitation to dinner AND dessert, reached home to discover the cook had not turned up due to an emergency, cooked dinner and washed clothes and setting the house in place. By the end of it, I was exhausted... mentally, emotionally and physically. I cried myself to sleep.

I wish I could take off somewhere... ANYWHERE for 2 days... away from everything and everyone.

I wish life would sort itself out instead of involving me in its maze. Why is my life so complicated when people around me have it simple?

On Friday morning I wanted to curl up and sleep all day. I didn't want to go to work but that is not even an option. Thankfully, work took my mind off other things and for that I am grateful.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shaitan- fresh off the oven

I had been looking forward to this movie... it is Anurag Kashyap with a movie on youngsters, drugs, violence etc. I had Dev D at the back of my mind.
All the reviews - online and on twitter raved about the flick. I was happy that after a long time I will watch a good movie.
Where do I begin? The movie is not good... first half is watchable, the 2nd half just does not make enough sense. You can watch it... you won't get bored... but you will come out wondering what the hype was all about... what was the movie about?

Spoilers ahead:
4 friends (all newcomers) meet Kalki (a disturbed teenager in need of therapy) and become a gang... they booze, dope, race in cars, bunk college and do crazy things. They are all from rich families. While racing one night they hurt 2 people. Instead of helping them out or moving them aside, they drive the car over them again and they die. A cop figures out what they have done and demands 25 lakh for destroying evidence. Kalki suggested that the rest kidnap her and demand ransom from her dad. The details were not worked out... so everything goes haywire. They fight, kill and hurt each other.

The actors are good.... all of them. Nobody hammed or over performed.

You can give it a miss.

B'day bumps

Thats KC's b'day pastry. Its b'day week... KC's on 7th and mine is today. We didn't do much on his b'day 'coz it was a weekday. I had planned to bake some b'day muffins on 6th night and cut them at midnight. The b'day gift- a new laptop bag was supposed to be purchased on Sunday but KC didn't like anything in the Samsonite factory outlet. He wanted a Victoria Knox bag. While working on Monday I came across the outlet in Ambience Mall. The prices shook me but I took KC in the evening. He didn't like them either and we headed to Lifestyle... His Highness did not like anything there either... so, we went to Metropolitan Mall where he finally bought jeans and I pushed him to buy a laptop bag. We arrived home at 9 pm. I was too tired to bake anything after that but did buy pastries the next evening after work for both of us.

B'days have always been special for me... they have always been celebrated... not necessarily with a party but atleast distribution of sweets. If I was home, Mom would bake a cake and make yummy food. Most of the times, I was in school since we had winter break instead of in summer. I started working on 7th June'07. On 11th June I was in B'glore working in the market in the heat... the sales officer did not let me off early even though it was my b'day. I fell sick in the evening and could not even receive calls. It was a very forgettable b'day. After that, I am on leave on this date every year. Thankfully, a lot of times it falls on Saturday which makes it convenient for a leave. I wonder if KC will also take leave on a weekday. Staying home alone will be no fun.

The week has been busy but I managed to find time for the gym. I also attempted a mango pudding- the pictures and recipe will be put up tonight. We had been chasing carpenters for 2 weeks... our regular guy was away and will come back next week. The guard gave me another guy's no which was unreachable... he gave a 2nd contact who was actually a press guy who gave us the contact no of another carpenter. This guy finally turned up. The fat broker of the owner was also a pain in the ass... she had not paid the electricity bill of 8k. We were shocked when we received the bill. Our broker was contacted and screamed at... he then made her pay the dues.
But the most important incident of the week was in metro... 6 out of 10 times there are men travelling in the women's compartment. I have been keeping my mouth shut the last 2 months... none of the Delhi women speak up and shoo them away. This is most surprising. I have been reading in the papers how you call guards if such incidents happen... have not ever seen anyone do it. Yesterday I was changed trains at Rajiv Chowk to go to Uttam Nagar which is on the way to Dwarka. Men got off the women's compartment... and there were no guards to catch them. When we entered there were around 10-15 men in the compartment. 2-3 of the women spoke up and asked them to move back. Some did, others didn't but definitely not out of the compartment. I was pissed... really, really pissed... the guys were making fun of us calling us 'Sonia Gandhi'. I lost it... pressed the emergency button and complained. Nobody came for next 2 stations and I lost all hope... thinking this is what law and order situation is like. On the 3rd station, 2 guards and 1 lady came with a gun and walkie talkie. They pushed the men back but did not fine them (wonder why). The men did not dare move an inch after that.
If there is any Delhi women reading this- please tell me why are you so complacent and do not stand up for your rights?
In Mumbai, the women would have thrown all these men out of the train. What stops you from doing so? There are security measures to protect you but you don't take advantage of them? Why?
I was scared... I wouldn't be surprised if someone would have stabbed me there and then. I read those sort of news in the papers everyday- random killings but someone has to stop it...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hectic Week

It has been a very hectic week... work, work and more work. Month end and beginning always is... there is sales closing, targets to be met, presentations, reviews, reports, next month's plans, meetings... more meetings... and some more. I have been coming home late at night... have not been able to hit the gym.
Last evening, we went to the factory outlets of Samsonite and Puma at Ghitorni and the headed to CP for dinner of Chicken Curry at National Dhaba and then caught Hangover 2.
Sunday has been busy as well, with the gym and then groceries shopping, washing clothes etc etc. I have been able to seat my ass just an hour back. I plan to relax for rest of the day.
I missed one week of the gym 'coz of chums and then illness. I spent another week busy and lazy. I was more afraid of the trainer who would scold me for not coming so I kept putting it off. When it comes to gymming, half the battle is starting again after a break. I plan to stick to it this time. It is all about time management.
The other day RT and me were discussing compromise. I remember my mom telling me; "Life is about compromise". At that stage, I wanted it all... nothing wrong with that. But over the years I realize instead of having it all, it has been about choosing something/someone most important to me... and letting go of less important things. And thats ok. It does not "feel" like a compromise.
Somehow the word has a negative connotation... it needs to be replaced with a more positive word.

Hangover 2

We watched this movie last night since there was nothing else to watch. I wish I could say I laughd atleast once.
A horrible, pathetic movie... so bad, I'd rather watch a chick flick over and over again to counteract the effect. We were thinking of walking out in the middle but then decided to stick it out.
Please avoid.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Part 1 was ok... good but not that great. I wasn't too keen on the 2nd part but KC is a major fan of the series... he can quote each dialogue and never fails to catch it on TV over and over and over again.
Part 2 was about the search for the Panda's real father. So, there is Kung Fu, the panda, monkey, tigress, bird, snake... and a new villain- the peacock.
Worth a watch, specially now that there are no good movies.

Isn't It Obvious

Eliyahu Goldratt is one of my fav authors... his books never fail to impress. The only Management books I read are by him. He makes the most complicated theories seem extremely logical and simple... while other management books do the opposite.
This book is about a problem faced in retail- inventory. How to maintain correct inventory- something all retail chains grapple with.
Worth a read.