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“Cooking was 1 thing I hated most. But I loved when my Mom used to bake our birthday cakes. ” – Aparna Nayak

In the “Chat n Coffee” session we have with us an avid reader, blogger, dotting mother to a special child and an awesome choco baker Aparna Nayak, the founder of

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Aparna Nayak

, a homemade chocolates and cake made to order.

Today Aparna is here to share with us her journey from a housewife to a home baker with Chocodisiac.

  • Tell us about yourself

I am a full time mother of a 12-year old special princess, part-time home baker and chocolatier, book reviewer and blogger. I love to cook and am a true foodie. I like to unwind day’s stress by listening to music or by reading a book or sometimes just curling up on a bean bag n watch some rom-com.

  • What gift would you prefer on your birthday?

Gift…hmmm….let me think…what gift a lady usually prefers??? I would prefer books, flowers from my loved one… baking goods, perfumes and/or trinkets which every women love…not necessary costly one… or may be on second thoughts I would prefer 1 day off on my birthday n go n bond with nature n get rejuvenated …. J

  • What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?

Books are woman’s best friends I believe… they don’t throw tantrum or demand attention….but do catch our attention… a good book is good stress buster… u can relax yourself when u had a bad day just settle down with a good book, your favourite hot cuppa in favourite cosy corner of your house n get immersed in the world of fantasy… i have nothing in particular but recently i liked Mrs. Funny bones, Devdutt Patnaik n Anand Neelkanthan’s mythology, The Palace of Illusions, Sumana khan’s Encounters and the revenge of Kaivalya, Kavita Kane’s Menaka’s Choice and Anupama Garg’s The Tantric curse.

 now-a-days movies n music have lost their charm except for some rare ones which did impact me in a strange way like Angry Indian Goddess, Pink, taare zameen par.

Present day music is just ….. no meaningful lyrics just senseless ones n some blaring hip hop background score which we get to hear during festivals n gets people dancing on it. I like to listen and unwind or start my day with some old music which peps up my mood and drives away day’s tiredness.

  • Given a chance what one thing would you like to change in your life?

Many things from my past from my childhood especially that 1 incident which changed my whole life..Not only mine but my whole family’s life.

  • You have been reviewing books? What kind of books you usually love to read?

Recently I have taken a love for reading mythologies but I like to read suspense, thrillers too n good romantic one too

  • You have started, Chocodisiac, a homemade chocolates and cake made to order. Did you always loved baking and cooking? What made you take the decision?

    20140118_115540
    My family

Cooking was 1 thing I hated most. But I loved when my Mom used to bake our birthday cakes. That aroma which used waft in our house was just too tempting. After my daughter was born and had to go through a life threatening sickness at age of 8 months her doctor had advised her not give any outside food. But whenever on her birthdays we got shop cakes she used to fall sick and I always hated the aftertaste the cakes used to leave on my palette. Once when I went to attend my birthday party of my friend’s kid she gave me homemade chocolates. And that was like my stepping stone in world of homemade chocolates and cakes. I wanted to do something for myself as taking care of a differently abled girl is not an easy job for any mother. Luckily in July 2015 I attended a basic cake workshop wherein I learnt various icings and fillings. That gave me the necessary information and confidence to start something on my own from comforts of my house and that’s how Chocodisiac was born.

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My first order cake

  • Could you share some of your most popular cake recipes?

 

One of most relished and popular cake is Apple and oats cake which is super easy and yum too. It’s a Nita Mehta’s recipe.

 

Ingredients

 

½ tin milkmaid (200gms)

50 gms (1/2 cup) oats

15 almonds – crushed roughly

25 gms (1/4 cup) whole wheat flour (atta)

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon (dalchini powder)

½ cup oil

1 teaspoon Vanilla essence (optional)

1 big red apple dekinned and finely chopped

2 tablespoon maida

 

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Apple and oats cake

Method

 

  • Grease well and line with paper 6-7’ cake tin of your desired shape.
  • Sieve wheat flour along with baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder.
  • Add oats and almonds.
  • Beat milkmaid well. Add essence and beat well.
  • Add oil and beat till well mixed.
  • Add flour mixture gradually and mix gently with wooden spoon.
  • Coat the chopped apple with the maida and fold it into the batter.
  • Transfer the batter into the prepared tin and bake it in preheated oven at 180’C for 40-45 min or till tester comes out clean

 

  • What do you take into account while taking any orders for Chocodisiac?

Many things… what the client likes/dislikes, if he/she is allergic to something… when do they want the delivery? Whether they want home delivery or they will pick up themselves so on and so forth.

  • How can it be used with books?

Hmm… I am not sure, as the recipes used by me are either adapted from some cook book or from some experts. Maybe, if you are planning some storyline on a baker or chef, then some recipes can be incorporated along with the plot.

  • What points should one keep in mind while ordering from a home baker/chocolatier?

People always complain about pricing… why are we costlier than the shop??? The reason is we make on order. We don’t buy ingredients in bulk as shops do. We use fine quality ingredients. Also if you observe shop cake usually has more of cream/filling than the sponge whereas we have a

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My first home made cake

balance of both. Shop cakes are prepared in bulk and are stale but we cater to your needs and start working on your cakes 1 or 2 day prior to day of delivery.  My daughter always use to fall sick after eating cream of the cakes from the shop but since I have started baking at home I give her cakes with cream without any fear as I know the quality of the ingredients used, no artificial colours or flavours used, so I am sure that my daughter is eating good quality product.

Also people should also consider that we are housewives turned baker. We have a family and their responsibilities to take care of. We have our kids to look after, kids and family members to be fed. It would be appreciative if the order is placed well in advance rather than in the eleventh hour. It actually gives us time to be more creative and give the special touch to such orders. Even though we love baking and it’s our passion but we invest our time, energy and also money so it would be awesome if someone respect that.

  • How can one contact you for the same?

One can contact me either by giving me a call on my mobile at 9320128433 or whatsapp me at same number or by emailing me at aparnanayak2008@gmail.com or by dropping a message on my fb page https://www.facebook.com/chocodisiac01

 

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Yesterday I wrote about the charming lady, Anuroopa Basu. She is in her golden years and hails from Kolkata. I met her during my Kolkata Book tour. She is a member of Dignity Foundation. After reading my book she emailed me a four line feedback. We exchanged mails from then on.

Recently, I informed her about my upcoming book, a collection of short stories on jungle theme. She immediately replied saying she would love to read about the  jungles of Chhattisgarh. That reply gave me a new push to finish the book soon. I am so thankful to Anuroopa di as I think, that’s how writers are encouraged by the readers. Thank you so much. We really need that.

“Everybody has a story to tell”, is the theme of my Chat ‘n’ Coffee session. And I am overwhelmed to share with you all, Anuroopa Basu’s story. Though it is pretty short, yet it really talks about the effort she has put in to connect with us.

Anuroopa Basu
Anuroopa Basu
  • Tell us about yourself.
I am a housewife or a homemaker as they say.
  • On your birthday, what gift would you prefer? 

Books or flowers.

  • Which is your favorite destination and why?

I am in love with the Himalayas. I always want to go back.

  • What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?

No favorites.

  • What is that one thing that you miss so much in life?
I miss my parents and my nephew.
  • Share an experience that is turning point in your life.
 The birth of my grand child.

Anuroopa Basu
Anuroopa Basu
  • How would you describe your better half or dearest person?

A cool and composed person.

  • Given a chance, what is that one thing that you would love to change in your life?

I do not want to change anything.

  •  Any  message that you would like to give to the readers?
This is for the younger people. They should be a little more compassionate and patient.

My readers have mostly been non computer savy. Some are in the golden years of their life. Their enthusiasm has really shocked me. Their eagerness to excel and try out new things have made them stand out in the crowd. They are hardly dependent on anybody for their needs. Recently I got a mail from Anuroopa Di. She is from Kolkata. I met her during my Kolkata Book tour. After reading my book she emailed me a four line feedback. I replied. She was very happy to get it. The reason she believed today’s generation does not have patience and are not compassionate enough towards the seniors. From then on we exchanged mails sharing our views on various subject.

Anuroopa Basu

I am happy to share with you all her story. It maybe too short to what we are used to but it makes a big impact to come from a person who is not that computer savy but has taken the efforts to connect. Stay tuned to read her lines tomorrow.

Today in CHAT ‘n’ COFFEE we have with us one of the most popular BOOK REVIEWER from Australia JODY ELLIS. She is one of the thirty top users on Goodreads and an avid reader. Her choice of books range from science fiction, fantasy, biography, autobiographies, history, science, self help, educational, romance, fiction, non-fiction, how to, business, real estate, horror, mystery, thriller and young adult. In short, hers is a world of books and she loves discovering new stories. An aspiring writer herself, Jody shares some of her life’s most beautiful moments with us today.

Her contact details are mentioned at the end for you and you can also leave your comment at the end. Here she goes-

  • Tell us about yourself.
    Western Australian desert
    Western Australian desert

    I am a 30 year old Shetland Island (Scotland, U.K) born mum to two kids under the age of six. I am an avid artist, reader, and writer myself (though I have yet to publish anything). I work as a scientist by day, and by night tuck myself away to read. I love hanging out in my hammock to read. I currently live in the middle of the Western Australian desert living next to the biggest open pit mine in the world! Living where I do, mean I don’t have as much access to books as I’d like. I’d love to be a well-respected book reviewer and feel I am making head-way on that ‘life goal’!

  • What gift would you prefer on your birthday?images

No cooking, no chores, and as much chocolate and pizza as I can eat. If I’m really greedy, a massage too!

  • Which is your favorite destination and why?

I haven’t found my absolute favorite but I do love to frequent Bali, because the people there with their attitude to life rub off on me, and I always come back refreshed, and a whole new person. Plus the food is just amazing!

  • What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?

I am not huge on music, if anything goes in the CD player it’s normally an audio book. I like music if I’m working out, or if I want to feel a particular way when writing myself. Movies I find great muses, I draw inspiration and confidence from movies, there isn’t much I haven’t watched. I have never enjoyed a movie made based on a book though. They always confine it to so many minutes of movie time, and they miss a heap or ruin the whole thing. Books are my world! I wasindex delayed developmentally at school, so was a late reader. Once I worked it out though? You couldn’t keep me away from books. All my pocket money as a kid thirteen and under went on a book series called ‘Animal Farm’ I think it was. It is a fantastic story series about a girl who rescued animals. I started to illustrate and write as soon as I got a hold of a pencil. After moving to Australia, I tried to get my books published. Alas, finances always got in the way (or should I say lack thereof?). I still have those books, and the worlds I created. When the kids are older, it would be my dream to self-publish these books!

  • What is that one thing that you miss so much in life?

Absolutely nothing, if there is something to be missed, I have no idea what it is, and I’m blissfully unaware. Though if my imagination has anything to do with it, I’d say I miss being able to eat as much chocolate as a mine truck can haul. Those were the days! Now I look at a chocolate bar and I gain weight!

  • Share an experience that is turning point in your life.

Meeting my husband. I was a very lost unwell kid, and was self-destructing for the better part of aged 15 right through to my early 20s. Meeting my husband gave me grounding, and ever since, he’s been my rock and turned my life around and I’m happy, healthy, and balanced.

  • How would you describe your better half or dearest person?

My best friend! We are total opposites and that is what makes us work. He’s never boring, and he isn’t afraid to tell me if my idea is silly. We act like kids, we dream big. He brings things into my life that I would never have experienced without him. If you’d asked me ten years ago if I’d be married to a speedway racer, I’d have laughed so hard I might have farted. He’s also the guy I love to hate; I just want to smash his head into a wall some days. But that makes him even more lovable in a weird twisted way.

  • Given a chance, what is that one thing that you would love to change in your life?

Publishing my works when I was very young! If my parents had financed me, or needing a solicitor wasn’t important, I could have got my books published. I was always so damned close, and couldn’t get over the line. I wonder where I would images1be today if I had crossed the line and got my books printed. What a bloody fantastic world that could be! Instead I’m 30 and still waiting for that window of opportunity. Age has given me dead weights for legs, and I don’t fly anymore. I don’t have that imagination I once did because reality waltzed in and smashed me with a ticket for adulthood. I’m slowly but surely clawing that back, but if I’d been published, I don’t think that part of me would have ever died!

  • Any message that you would like to give to the readers?

Do whatever it takes to make what you want happen, and don’t let go. The world is vast, so love it, learn from it, and always carry a good book with you wherever you go!

Jody Ellis
Jody Ellis

Contact Jody Ellis  @ Goodreads

I am very happy to welcome Mrs. Iyenger to my newly added chat session. Throughout her life, the sweet old lady, had only books and TV as her companion. Today she shares with us some moments of her life.

Tell us something about yourself: Mrs. Iyenger

My name is Lakshmi Iyenger. I am 75 years old mother, grandmother, sister and a wife. I hail from a Tambrah family in Chennai. Being the eldest of my siblings, seven sisters and six brothers I have seen life at its best. I was born in 1940 in a small town in Jharkhand where my father worked in the Indian Railways. After travelling in various places we eventually settled in Bilaspur where I met my husband. About my marriage? We have spent fifty beautiful years together until last year when he parted with us for his heavenly abode. Ours was a love marriage. My husband belongs to a well to do family in Chennai. He ran off from his house to do something of his own. He travelled almost all the corners of the country but could not find anything suitable. Finally, when he was in Kolkata, he met one of my brothers who suggested him to write a letter to my father regarding job. My father had never written letter to anyone before. But fate has it that he answered this young man’s letter. Not only did my father get him a job in Indian Railways he also allowed the young man to stay in our house as a paying guest. We all were almost same age and I would always fight with him or call him names. But he wouldn’t mind. One day I went to pluck flowers in our backyard for puja. He was already waiting for me with a packet of sweet in his hand. He proposed to me. At first I could not understand while he waited for my answer eagerly with the packet of sweet still open in his hand. I started crying. Tears were rolling down my cheeks smearing my kajal. He got nervous and popped the sweet into my mouth saying, “Ok don’t marry but at least eat the mithai”.

We didn’t talk for several days. He went back to Chennai shortly after that and persuaded his family to send marriage proposal to my father. His brother-in-law was against the alliance as we were a big family and I being the eldest, had my sibling’s responsibility on my shoulders which will eventually land up in my better half’s kitty. There was a big no- no from his sister’s side. But somehowOur 50th Aniversary he persuaded them to agree on the alliance. When my parents came to know about it they too tried to convince me but I was dead against marriage. Not because I disliked him but because I did not want to burden him with my family troubles. I had seen my father working very hard. He was the only earning member and there were so many mouths to feed. However, even with so much consideration I could not stay put for very long and finally gave my consent. We got married in 1964 and spent fifty long years together, parenting four daughters and two sons. Today I feel proud to see my children settled in their life married to partner of their choice.

How would you describe your better half?

My husband passed away in 2014. He was 75. I miss him but no qualms. He took care of everything for me, even the smallest. You see he did most of the talking at home while I was the listener. I loved keeping to myself but surprisingly he would always know what’s going on in my head. Books and TV had been my best friend for years. He always ensured that I never had a problem with that. I love reading Tamil books but you hardly get them in this part of the country. But he would always order some for me at that time. Mind it there was no internet at that time.

Any turning point in your life?

Tuning point? Definitely not? Not after he proposed me. But I want to share this experience with you. One day I made Lal Bhaji (red spinach) and served my husband at lunch. He liked it so much that he handed a one hundred rupee note. Till date I could not figure out what was so special about the dish because it was the simplest dish that I had ever cooked.

Given a chance, what would you love to change in your life?

I have lived my life to the fullest. I have nothing to wish for. I have everything. However, I would like to live with my daughter till my last breath. You see my eldest daughter didn’t marry. She had selected a partner but my husband had objection. Today, even after two decades, both of them are unmarried and very good friends. I wish my husband had shown some leniency towards their relationship. Whereas my son didn’t wait to take our approval for his marriage and they make a wonderful couple. I wish my daughter tie the knot now but I know she won’t.

Any message you would like to give to the youngsters?

Of course. Life has changed so much since I can remember now. Today’s generation is very powerful and can make a big difference in any field. I only wish that they use it wisely. Every family has their own code of conduct and it is by default that a girl after marriage finds it very easy to follow the rules of her parent’s house. There is nothing wrong in it but it usually cause rift in a joint family. I wish every family understand this rather than say anything to the daughter-in-law. This will give the newlywed a space to grow and will bind the family better.

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