It is my blog’s 7th anniversary today and funny enough I almost forgot about it. Like relationships that we take for granted as time passes by, I have started to take my blog for granted. Hardly giving it the attention and care it deserves. How easily I forgot that this was where it all started – my creative life, the food journey, the writing and ultimately the digital business. In all the years that I wrote my blog regularly, I never suffered a writers’ block or never felt the lack of creative ideas. Now that I am doing it lesser and lesser, pool of ideas is growing shallower and for the first time since my birth as a writer ( or atleast I would like to think so about myself) I am struggling to form sentences. Feelings that are trapped inside have difficulty finding expression in words.
I don’t know if I am in a position right now to make any blog related resolutions but I hope to be more regular at blogging and baking ( another joy of my life).
The skillet orange & chocolate brownies were supposed to be a Valentine’s special post but as usual, I couldn’t blog about it then. So I take this chance to share with you recipe of the Skillet Orange and Chocolate brownies which are fudgey and is child’s play to whip up. Literally.
Mimi made this on-the-go with little guidance from me. I couldn’t be prouder.
Recipe is as follows-
100 gms butter
100 gm dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 large eggs at room temperature
175 gm sugar
1 large orange, zested
50 gm all purpose flour
25 gm cocoa powder
half cup chocolate chips ( milk or dark chocolate)
Beat the egg and sugar till the mixture is pale and doubles its volume
Heat the oven at 180 C
Warm the chocolate, butter and orange zest in a non-stick sauce pan and gently melt the contents. Do not over heat it else the chocolate will burn and give a bitter taste. Let it cool.
Once the chocolate mixture is cool, add it to the egg and sugar mixture by folding it in gently.
Sift the all purpose flour and the cocoa powder to the mixture and mix well with gentle hands.
Pour it in a greased iron skillet and generously add chocolate chips on it.
Bake for 30 mins at 180 C and 10-15 min at 160 C
Serve it hot with some vanilla ice cream or it is deliciously gooey just by itself
We think we can control it all. To some extent we might be able to do it but let me tell you this – You are kidding yourself if you think you can control it all. Family, work, work relationships, social connections and your own personal space are just few of the things most of us juggle. We set ourselves up for failure when we think we have it all and then when something goes wrong we feel shocked at how on earth did that happen. Relationships are the trickiest of the lot and as years go by I am left with fewer and fewer friends. How did I end up becoming a social failure ? I find it immensely difficult to connect with people beyond the acquaintances stage. I do not have the motivation to invest and nurture a social relationship. I am drawing up a list of invitees to a religious function – the first ever – at my home and I realize there are not even a handful that I feel comfortable calling to my home and into my space.
It doesn’t make me unhappy; this revelation. It only makes me ponder about how I have changed over time. Earlier I wasn’t outgoing but I had many friends and now I am more outgoing and approachable and I only have a handful! Funny how life is always such a paradox!
What has been your experience with having friends and building connections?
Anyhow having fewer friends is not a bad thing always. You can have more cake to yourself. It is important to look at the bright side, no matter what 🙂
This cake is an adaption from recipe in Donna Hay Magazine that uses black salt. Sea salt works just fine and pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate flavour in the cake. The photograph inspiration is also from Donna Hay Magazine which I believe produces the best pictures if you are looking to improve on your food photography & food styling skills. Recipe is fairly simple and the sea salts adds to the dark chocolate drama like lightning does to the dark and rainy skies.
Never realized that taking baby steps can take you so far. 6 years don’t seem so long but statistics on my blog tell me that it has been quite a while. There have been times I have celebrated this space and more than often I have neglected it too. But this space of mine has never really been out of my conscious. This blog gave me an identity in a foreign land and allowed me to express my thoughts in the way I wanted. Sometimes I cared who read my blog and most times, I wrote only for myself. It has been in sync with my life objectives and most times a complete paradox. This blog is an extension of me.
This space has challenged me to attempt things I never thought I would do. I have baked a pavlova, kneaded dough to make bread, used ingredients in recipes I couldn’t really pronounce and written food stories my memories. This space which I call my blog, made me think about myself in a life that was always about what others wanted, it allowed to me hone my skills as a cook, a writer, a baker, a photographer and a food stylist.
It made me a social person, who was unafraid to meet people and face unknown situations. This blog gave me that confidence. It took care of me like I took care of it. It gave even when I didn’t- like the numerous opportunities to work with creative people of words and pictures.
Six years of all this wonderful moments can’t be encapsulated in one blog post and that is why I have several blog posts after this one where I collaborate with some wonderful brands to reward my readers for being with me for so long. Last year I had a world wide giveaway but this time I am going to restrict it to Bahrain as a way of saying thank you for all the wonderful opportunities you sent my way; whether it was restaurant reviews or connecting with my other blogger friends, recipe development, food styling assignments and so much more. Thank you, Bahrain.
So readers in Bahrain, over the course of the next few weeks, 3 of you would have would have won a generous hamper each from Lulu Hypermarket’s “good life” products and another 3 of you would have have an Italian buffet for two from Marriott Executive Apartments. Thank you Lulu Hypermarket and Marriott Executive Apartments for collaborating with my blog and being so generous. More details to follow in individual posts.
Meanwhile, in this post, I would like to share a beautiful, flavourful, Mango cheese cake recipe. I believe a cheese cake is for all seasons and perhaps that is why I selected it to showcase on my anniversary post. My blog has been wonderful to me through seasons and only something as evergreen as a cheese cake would do to celebrate the 6th anniversary.
Also, if you are wondering about this beautiful cake plate, I must tell you where I got it from. It was a gift from Silsal Design House – which is leading producer of home accessories, furnishings and light furnishings. Silsal Design House’s USP lies in its contemporary yet Middle Eastern touch in all its designs. They are based out of Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I love this green cake plate for its elegant design and unique patterns. You can check out all the other beautiful creations from Silsal Design House and even order it online!
Now for the recipe of the Mango Cheese cake. This is the first time I attempted a baked cheesecake and might I add that I was nervous about how it would turn out. Thankfully, it turned out wonderful and I feel excited about baking more baked cheese cakes in the future.
1 1/2 cups digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
4 large ripe mangoes, cubed and pureed
685 gm packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1. Stir together the digestive biscuits crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl; press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 325º/ 162.7 C for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool
Puree the mangoes in a blender. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and vanilla essence until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, mixing it well and finally stir in the mango puree.
Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake at 325º / 165 C for 1 hour and 25 minutes. After the alloted time, test if the cheese cake is cooked in the center. If find it is still a bit raw, allow the cheese cake to continue baking in the heat of the oven after you switched off the oven for atleast another 10-15 minutes.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour.
Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/
A 6 -year- old’s enthusiasm for life is matchless. As a parent, sometimes it is difficult to stay unaffected. Halloween, Thanksgiving etc. are few festivities that I have never celebrated before because I haven’t been in a culture where these are celebrated. But with my 6 -year- old I won’t be surprised if I even got around roasting a turkey and celebrating thanksgiving. To me these festivities always held intrigue but not enough to participate. At this time of the year, all the food blogs around the world are making Halloween treats, preppring for thanksgiving in a few days and nearly decorating cookies for Christmas. In that same line, this will be my very first Halloween post ( a day after Halloween unfortunately because we were busy trick o’ treating last evening at a Halloween party). This year, we even carved our very own pumpkin and baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
For these cookies, I haven’t used the canned pumpkin puree as most recipes recommend. I made some fresh pumpkin puree at home and even made my own pumpkin spice. The cookies come out perfect with a cake-y texture. The batter will also be loose unlike the usual thick cookie batter.
For my 6 year old, the party never stops. The evening of Halloween was spent dressing up as a pirate with a pet parrot et al. All in all it was a great day spent baking cookies and feeling the Halloween spirit.
To have faith is like trusting yourself to the water. When you swim you shouldn’t try grabbing hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead when you relax, you’d float. It is so simple a fundamental, yet so difficult to grasp when you are in between things that are not in your control. Running your business can teach you things about yourself that you never knew before. It is like doing a crash course in all kinds of adrenaline sports at the same time. Deep sea diving, jumping off cliffs or most of time swimming with the sharks. But you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing because there is so much character polishing that happens every single moment of being an entrepreneur.
Last two months were extraordinarily difficult, work-wise. I was told that the region worked a certain way and I had no choice but to adapt to the nature of it. Overall everything was so slow and excruciatingly frustrating.
Though it was very grey in the months of August and September, there was never a dull moment. I met many people and each one of them had so much to teach me.
I understood that I needed to get out of my employee mindset and accept the fact that there will not be a monthly cheque coming into my bank account at the end of every month
Once I managed unrealistic expectations like not having a regular income, it was easy to focus on what I needed to do to get out of this murky situation. Let me tell, it is not at all easy to see anything clearly when finances aren’t robust and your lifestyle is feeling threatened because anxiety rules the roost. Yet, I learnt to accept. Somehow.
I am not saying that I don’t feel anxious anymore. Oh, it is just that, I manage it better now. Breathing helps and so does pushing myself away from the situation mentally into a completely different environment.
It is also unbelievable how far the firm has come in the last 5 months with a team that help deliver projects. By the grace of God, I have a talented lot on my side – smart, intelligent and very capable. I feel safe from that perspective because I can rely on them for any kind of work.
Yet, there are days when I don’t feel like getting out of my bed because in my head, it feels there is nothing worth looking forward to. Then those days pass and I get back to work. Well, I am a moody entrepreneur like that. What I am not is the fearless kind. I know I operate from a position of fear. Fear of the future, the fear of putting myself out there in the crowd of the unknown and the fear of feeling like a fraud. That is fear I constantly struggle with. But what I have understood is most people who have willed themselves out of their comfort zones feel like frauds. Confident frauds, if that makes sense. Ofcourse, capability exists and so does commitment and sincerity yet can’t escape feeling like a fraud. How are we doing what we are doing and getting away with it? A keen and educated observer would say, through your skill, sheer determination and hard work!
Such a shame, isn’t it!
However, I have all the confidence when it comes to enjoying some splendid cake. Especially the kind that I bake myself. For no reason. This cake is stellar and trust me you will have your family and friends fighting for crumbs. In the making of this cake, I coated the berries with flour so that they do not sink at the bottom. But they sunk anyway. Now this is why I have trust issues but I am letting it go because the cake turned out amazing.