Summer Delight for Kids: Yummy Vanilla Cherry Cake

Untitled-1 copySchool’s out for summer and your kids are home running around helter-skelter doing what these agents of chaos do best. The only respite you have is when they finally settle down in front of the Television to catch a glimpse of their favorite toon or action hero. Only to be tricked by those clever commercials featuring treasures of sweets and then they are at it again, now demanding that they be taken out for a treat. It is 40 C outside and there is no way in hell you are ready to step out, let alone take a 10 mile ride to the nearest Baskin Robbins or Mc Donald’s. Life is hard! But help is at hand: this delicious Vanilla Cherry Cake recipe is meant for times like these, easy to make and awesome to taste, it is going to be your savior this summer.Picture1

For those using the Usha Halogen Oven life gets even simpler, all you need to do is press Cake Mode, stand back and relax, to return 40 mins later to a beautiful Vanilla Cherry Cake. And it is not just Cakes you can make with this Kitchen Appliance there is a lot you can cook from Pizzas and French Fries to Pies and Pasta – in fact everything that your kid will ever demand this summer. In all earnest the Halogen Oven can be aptly re-named as the Kid’s Food Factory!


  1. ½ tin condensed milk (milk-maid), ½ cup milk, approx.
  2. ½ cup (75 gm) white butter, 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  3. 100 gms (1 cup) maida , ¼ cup cornflour
  4. ½ tsp level soda-bicarb, 1 tsp level baking powder
  5. 1 tsp vanilla essence, 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  6. A big baking tin of 7-8” diameter
  7. 10-12 glace cherries – cut into thin round slices, 1 tsp maida


  • Grease and dust a round cake tin of 8” diameter.
  • Sift maida with cornflour, soda-bicarb and baking powder. Keep aside.
  • Mix sugar and butter. Beat till very fluffy. Add milk-maid. Beat well.
  • Add 3-4 tbsp maida and mix. Add half the milk. Beat well. Add essence.
  • Add the remaining maida and the milk beating well after the addition.
  • Beat well for 3-4 minutes till the mixture is smooth and light.
  • Mix cherries with 1 tsp maida to coat dry fruits.
  • Add half of the cherries to the batter and mix well.
  • Pour the batter in a greased and lined tin.
  • Sprinkle the left over cherries on the cake to cover it well. Put the cake tin on the low rack in the oven. Press cake mode. Set the temperature to 150°C and time to 40 minutes and press start to bake. When the beep comes, check with a tooth pick.
  • Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin. Remove from tin on to a wire rack

It is ready to be served to bring down the temperature a lot of notches lower, in more than one sense.

The Luck Factor

ImageIn her book The Zoya Factor Anuja Chauhan explores the world of Indian Cricket through the book’s protagonist after whom the novel is named – Zoya Singh Solanki. It is a romantic tale along the lines of Jane Austen, where the sparks of love bring together two opposite souls –Zoya and the Indian Team Captain Nikhil Khoda. In it Zoya becomes the lucky charm of the Indian cricket team: Apparently the team wins all matches when lady luck Zoya is present. Weird huh? Well, not at all. The truth my friend is stranger than fiction. Cricketers worldwide believe in stranger superstitions bearing with them even stranger charms.

During the last edition of IPL Virender Shewag always carried with him a red handkerchief. While, Rahul Dravid always wears the right pad first and puts his right foot forward when he enters the ground. Sourav Ganguly carries a picture of his Guru in his pocket. Gautam Gambhir is a firm believer in Numerology; his Indian jersey number is 5, while for KKR it is 14 – his Date of Birth. And if you watch closely you will notice that Harbhajan Singh bends forward and prays whenever he comes on to bowl.

These little eccentricities are not just confined to IPL or our times. Cricketers through history have always believed in lucky charms. For example like the Wall, Indian Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, used to put on his left pad and left shoe first; and just like Shewag, Steve Waugh always carries a red handkerchief. Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya hits his pads with his bat before every ball. Bowler Zaheer Khan makes it a point to carry his lucky yellow scarf; and the legend Sachin Tendulkar has a lucky pad. However, the prize goes to South African opener Neil McKenzie, who once believed that he wouldn’t be able to score runs unless the Dressing Room’s toilet seats were closed and flushed before he ventured out onto the pitch.


Mango Smoothie: Tastiest Drink under the Sun

There is nothing like a glass of ice cold Mango Smoothie to drown the summer heat. But before we juice a few mangoes, here are three things you should know about the king of fruits. First, the name Mango comes from the Tamil word Māṅga. Drinking a glass of Mango smoothie is akin to drinking a glassful of Vitamin C along with a cocktail of fibre, antioxidants and potassium. And lastly, the Alphonso Mango is one of those ‘1000 things you must eat before you die.’ Yes, this is the most exotic and tasty health gets.

Alphonso mangoes are world famous for their taste and aroma. With this recipe enjoy them blended with crushed ice.


  1. Fresh Ripe Mango – 2 big mangoes (Alphonso, any other)
  2. Sugar – 2 tbsp (as per taste)
  3. Water – 1 cup
  4. Ice cubes – fewImage

Method – Preparation in 5 minutes

  • Add it in your mixer, juicer mixer grinder along with sugar and ice cubes.
  • Also add water and blend it to a smooth consistent texture.
  • Enjoy refreshing and delicious Smoothie.

The good news is that this is the healthiest, tastiest drink you can prepare in five minutes and drink under the Sun. The bad news being, the Alphonoso mango has a very short season from April to the end of June, so hurry!!

For the Love of Cricket


Every time an interesting Cricket match takes place the entire country suffers from a momentary lapse of reason. Traffic, work and life come to a standstill – a feature that has become pretty regular ever since Twenty20 was introduced. (We are not complaining)

Most Indians know their Cricket better than their work and family! (That is not an exaggeration) Yes, they know their teams, batsmen, bowlers and fielders, where they live, what they eat and a lot more than necessary. But how well do fans know Cricket as a game? Come find out if you happen to be a fan, if not find out anyway, we promise to be interesting.

  • ImageThe longest Cricket match in history was played between England and South Africa in 1939. It lasted for 14 days and ended in a tie as Team England had to catch a ship back home!
  • It is legal to suspend a Cricket match if an animal enters the field. A few animals who have disrupted Cricket matches in the past are a Pig (Worchestershire v Derbyshire 1889), a Sparrow (MCC v Cambridge University, 1936) and Bees (Oxford University v Worchestershire, 1962)
  • In a match between Barbados and British Guyana in 1946 there occurred an over with 14 balls, not counting Wides or No Balls’. Apparently the Umpire miscounted the number of deliveries!
  • Cricket was the forerunner of the game Rounders, which developed into Townball and eventually into New York Baseball.
  • Over the years between all the Boards and formats from Test to Twenty20 the only Cricket rule that has not changed is the length of the pitch.(Even the number of stumps has changed, with the game originally being played with just two stumps till 1775)

Ironman: Fashion for Men!

One can’t but feel neglected when it comes to Men’s Fashion when compared to Women’s. Be it on the catwalks or the very many e-commerce and fashion websites. As against the highly imaginative and sometimes ridiculous dresses that female models flaunt on the Catwalk, men have only sported them as accessories to superpowers – Superman’s cape and the traditional circus men’s lower outfit, Batman’s half mask that only reveals his chiseled jaws, Green Lantern’s neon tights and Hulk’s elastic beachwear!

There are three reasons behind this fashion blunder – Fits, Cuts and Creases. Men’s fashion has always been about the former two – fits and cuts. If you get them right either you become the envy of your peers or a multi-millionaire after setting up a Fashion House. That is exactly what Giorgio Armani did in the beginning and an Armani suit is still about fits and cuts. This brings us to the last point – Creases.

No matter what cuts you flaunt or which colour you wear, if you are dressed in creases it is an epic fail. And even the simplest of cuts if worn properly without any creases will propel you to one of those notorious “Best Dressed” Lists. Yes, that’s right to make it in the world of fashion, you need to be Ironman! A well ironed dress is worth a thousand looks with or without superpowers.

The only problem that stands in your way is Time. There is no time before we rush off to work in the morning; no time to iron before we head out to a party. No time after we reach home late due to the blasted traffic. But all you need to counter this menace is a simple Dry Iron! You don’t need fancy gadgets or gizmos and until your Smartphone learns to iron get yourself one of these colorful Irons. They are easy to use, fast and great for quickies and not expensive at all. After a hard day’s work or during a busy morning schedule the Dry Iron will help you get rid of those creases with ease. And it does a real quick job on already ironed clothes making sure that you make a style statement every time you put your favorite shirt on.


Lemon and Dill Fish


Lemon and Dill fish is amazing; it is one of those rare dishes which break the “better it taste, the worse it is for your health” rule. And it is really very simple to cook making it the perfect dish both for parties and stay at home dinners.


  • Fish Fillet of Beckti or Sole 800gm
  • Fresh dill or dried dill powder 10gm
  • Lemon Juice 1oml
  • Grated lemon rind 10gm
  • Salt to taste
  • Eggs 2nos
  • Bread Crumbs (white) 125gm
  • Olive Oil (for frying) 600ml
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • In a flat dish marinate the fish filler with dill, lemon juice, grated lemon and salt and refrigerate.
  • In another shallow dish, beat the eggs.
  • Take out the fish fillet and dip fish into beaten eggs, then coat with bread crumb mixture
  • Heat oil in a pan on Usha Cookjoy Induction Cooker and fry the fish fillet to golden brown
  • Serve with tartar sauce, lemon wedge and vegetable salad.