Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lemon cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

It's a Sunday morning and this bright sunny day inspired me to bake some cupcakes :)

I have baked muffins before but this time i wanted to try out my hand in cupcakes and what better than Lemon cupcakes  :D ...they are moist, buttery, with just the right amount of that lemony zing...





Usually I prefer muffins over cupcakes as i am not a frosting person ..that over sweetness of frosting sometimes takes away the actual flavor of the bread.But this time i thought to why not make them with little less sweetness and for that icing sugar is great or a some fresh fruit on top of whip cream ..



Vanilla frosting could also be replaced by strawberry frosting..and i think i will try one soon :D


Lets get straight into the recipe now :



PREP TIME
BAKE TIME
TOTAL TIME
Makes: 12 medium cupcakes

  • Ingredients:

  • LEMON CUPCAKES

    • •Softened butter 1/2 cup (115g) 
    • powdered sugar 1 cup (200g) 
    • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence(any)
    • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour 
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
    • • Lemon Zest, of 1 large lemon or 2 small ones
    • • Lemon Juice, 1 tablespoon

    Vanilla FROSTING

    • •Softened unsalted butter 3/4 cups (170g) 
    •  •Whipping cream /powder (any brand), 4 tablespoon 
    • • Icing Sugar, 125 grams
    • • Vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon

     optional

    • •Lemon slices for garnish or sprinkles

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to (180°C). 
    2. For cupcakes: Beat the butter and sugar together  in a large bowl until creamed. About 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat  until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes.  Set aside.
    3. In a bowl, mix together the flour  and baking powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, beating slowly after each addition. Batter will be thick. Beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice slowly until just combined. Do not over-mix this batter at any point. Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 18 minutes, then again at 20. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
    4. For the frosting: Whisk butter until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the whipping cream until it triples in volume and forms stiff peaks.
    5. Fold in the whipping cream to the whisked butter and add in the icing sugar and vanilla essence.
    6. Refrigerate the frosting for about 15 minutes before you transfer it to your piping bag.
    7. To decorate : Pipe on the frosting and decorate with a some sprinkles or a slice of lemon .

  • Let me know how it turned out for you ..
    Have a sweet n sour Sunday :)

Monday, 5 September 2016

Europe Expedition : PARIS - PART 2 (Disney Land & Louvre Museum)

Another Perk of being in Paris was that we were able to visit our bucket list item  2 – Disneyland Paris!




It was our second day in Paris and we bought one day ticket .But trust me guys one day is not enough .
Disneyland Paris is actually made up of two parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.Disneyland Park is what is traditionally associated with Disneyland – this is where you will find Mickey Mouse, Sleeping Beauty’s castle, flying Dumbo elephants and all your favorite cartoon characters..It's so amazing.


                                                        Disney Land Park 
Walt Disney Studios Park also has many rides but has a focus on how films are made – specially Animation and Disney movies..there are many sessions and studio tours to illustrate this. 


                                                       Walt Disney Studios 

Ideally, you should dedicate at least a day to each park. Its very obvious to get excited and confused at the same time ,what to choose and what not .In fact ,We did not even get to every themed area coz time was running and you don't want to miss anything right ..!! :D But Alas you do .. 


That's why I  am saying either plan for 2 day trip or pre-decide the areas you want to cover .
The first thing you need to get along with the park is the guide map .All the categories mentioned in there helps you to choose the special events and timings according to your preference .Disneyland Park have 5 lands – Adventureland, Frontierland, Discoveryland, Fantasyland and Main Street USA and its huge coz its the main Disney Park .

So we thought to start of with Walt Disney Studios and planned to finish it soon so we could enjoy the main park for the rest of the day.

There are studio tram tours, how animations are made, a Toy Story playland, rides and so much more .We didn't go for any rides where you mostly see long queues  and straight away went to Cars stunt show that featured Lightening McQueen.They explained many of the stunts and the tricks behind them. Also they had cameras around the lot so they could show us the little tricks they did during the show on a big screen.It was one amazing show you don't wanna miss..

Although you have to wait in long queues where i could see most of the kids getting tired  ..even we too on many occasions but that's exciting sometimes :D



                                                  Glimpse of the stunt show 
 I think this show itself is enough to justify adding Walt Disney Studios Park to your ticket.

Then there was this Tram tour taking you through the inside Magic of Sets and Action scenes from many famous movies like Jurassic Park , Speed etc..






                                          Tram tour for Studio Disney (inside the Tram)

It was intriguing to experience the land slide with a gush of water :D 


Another awesome experience was the set of Armageddon with those thrilling special effects .Although little ones were quite petrified and were screaming ..




Unfortunately we had to skip more of Walk Disney Studios Park.It was almost  quarter past two when we had our lunch there and headed towards Disneyland Park.





                                                 Entry to Disney Land Park 

Sitting at the entrance to Disneyland Paris, the Disneyland Hotel is as majestic and beautiful as the Park itself. Its lovely for those who want to cherish the magic of Disney land for couple of days with their kids :D







           Welcome to the world of DISNEY <3 ...as GRAND as it sounds ..it does feel :D







As soon as you enters..it's feels like living your imagination ..Truly ..!!


Park is so big and there are so many events going on at every corner ...We were literally running :D 

 We rush towards Phantom Manor , the Haunted Mansion  ...

It has its story but since it was mostly in French..we were not focused . It was totally dark inside where around 20 of us were put into a stretch room which was elevated downwards and pulled us into the worlds of spirits.A long black chair car swept us inside the mansion with weird moving faces ,bride sits crying in front of a skull shaped mirror,graves ,skulls playing piano and sitting in a wedding reception and much more..


  
                                       Mansion from the outside Bushes 


                                                         Stretch room 


Bride's spirit

Phantom Manor is a very bold and ambitious move by the Imagineers .I loved it :D
Disney Land Park has so much to offer ..Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast -  a Lazer shooting ride ..the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through ..with the creepy dragon inside ..is not-to-be-missed..


Inside the Castle 

Meeting your Favorite Cartoon characters 



And the most important ..Disney Land Magic Parade.. starts at 5 pm where you see all your favorite characters dancing along together ..










Here is the Glimpse ..

and  another one of  my Favorite Frozen sisters Anna and Elsa's -  Royal welcome :D


All of a sudden ..we felt like a Kid again ..
We will never forget the magical Disney world in our entire life for sure :)   
                                               
 

So It was our Last day in Paris ..and In a city that is literally one giant museum, the Louvre stands out as the marquee museum .On the banks of the Seine, straight down from the Champs-Élysées, lies the grand structure of The Louvre.Visiting the Louvre is a dream for so many people traveling to Paris.

Louvre Museum at Night

Since its opening in the late 18th century, it’s been the home to centuries worth of historical artifacts, paintings, sculptures, antiques, and a massive collection of archives.This place is simply huge.

We started off with buying tickets ,getting a guide map from information center and finding central access to all the different areas of the museum.

















        
The Pyramid Bottom Tip(left above),Staircase inside the Louvre(Right above)
and Famous Lion with Marble Ball(Down)

There’s only one problem...where to go first! The museum floor plan can be a little tricky to figure out at first, but it helps to remember that the Louvre has three wings in a U shape around the Pyramid entrance: the Denon, Sully and Richelieu. And if that wasn’t enough, there are 4 floors to almost each wing: lower ground, ground floor, first floor and second floor. If you plan to cover a lot of the museum, be sure to wear comfortable shoes :D
There are beautiful sculptures,Roman and Egyptian antiques on the ground floor ..


and one of the beautiful-Pysche and Cupid  below

                                                             Pysche and Cupid
Even if you only have a short time , another must see is the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The gallery is huge, but nevertheless you’ll most likely have to be patient to get a close up shot.

Famous Painting of Mona Lisa

The last Supper 
(Too big to be captured in a single frame )

 A Picture is worth the thousand words..So here are few Inside and Outside Shots of the Museum .


 


The collections of  ceramics, furniture, jewelry and other objects d’art are the best in the world.
The painted and gilded ceilings, grand staircases and galleries are full of surprises.






                    

While there are plenty of signs and we were equipped with the museum map, I think we still walked around in circles quite a few times.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


        View from the First Floor to the center of the museum.

After exploring most popular parts of the Louvre quickly (reason - it was my personal guide's second trip to Louvre :-D ) .We managed to take come clicks outside or you could call it at the center of the museum with the famous pyramid.
                                                                                                                                                                                              


it was time to finally bid adieu the city with million faces ..It was none less than a dream ..
A Dream come true ..

  

#We love You PARIS 


XOXO 

That wraps up my trip to this Fascinating City ..You just cannot resist its charm..

 I hope I did justice to portray its beauty . 

Bon Voyage :)










Thursday, 25 August 2016

Europe Expedition : PARIS - PART 1

Paris — the City of Light — has been a beacon of culture for centuries. As a world capital of art, fashion, food, literature, and ideas, it stands as a symbol of all the fine things human civilization can offer.This year through the end of July we visited this beautiful city that offers sweeping boulevards, chic boutiques, breathtaking architecture and world-class art galleries. 


Living a Parisian Life for three days was not enough as you always want to explore more of it ..sidewalk café, Climbing Montmartre ,zipping to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and saunter down Avenue des Champs-Elysées till Arc de Triumpe ,Master the Louvre museum and so much more.

We started of first with a quick breakfast from near our hotel and climbing the Montmartre. It is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur  .The best things about Paris is that you will be surrounded by so many amazing artists and musicians .We did charmed by the presence of one such artist at our visit up hill and couldn't stop but capturing the way he nailed those chords on violin.We did managed to take a few pictures inside as well although it wasn't allowed :)




Basilica of Sacre-Coeur(the big white church) sits on the crest of the hill -  Montmartre



                                                        Inside  the Church
 
                                        View from the top of Montmartre


 At the bottom of the hill is the Boulevard de Clichy which is lined with souvenir shops with those cute totes, fridge magnets ,hats and what not  . couldn't stop but end up  buying myself some beautiful stuff to take back home as a memory .Fridge magnets, i just adore my collection :D 


        Climbing was none less than an adventure ..a short route with those series of stairs


Then we headed to another famous monument Arc de Triomphe that honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.


Arc de Triomphe

Looks preety similar to our own India Gate with Amar Jawan Jyoti 

                                       The Arc de Triomphe Paris' Memorial Flame

The Champs Elysées is known for its great collection of upscale boutiques. Along the avenue you’ll find names such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Lancel and Lacoste.It's  a playground for the rich and famous, as luxurious restaurants and theaters lined the avenue. 


 
                                   Those lavish rides were on rent on hourly basis . 

                                                  Lunch time ...Bon Apperite 

After Enough of posing on the streets :) and filling lunch on one of the Parisian street style  Restaurant .We finally tracked our way to one of the Romantic and most ranked among st all the the Wonders  ..Eiffel it is . 

This was the view from the pathway coming from the subway station and I was awestruck for a moment .
Eiffel Tower 

View from across the Bridge 



View from the first Level the last day .Unfortunately it was closed the first day due to some security reasons and EURO 2016 

                                                  Siena River and the city 


From the First level 

Since Eiffel was closed to the top  .We had to Move ahead to the next destination .


                        Pont Alexandre III – the most spectacular bridge in Paris

The bridge was built at the end of the nineteenth century over the Seine and is lavishly decorated with lampposts and sculptures.
           



                      

In a city like Paris there is plenty to see when traveling on foot. However ,The Paris metro is one of the oldest and one of the best systems in the world. Tickets can be bought at the ticket booth in the station one at a time, by ten or by 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, 5-day, Le Paris Viste tickets for tourists.

The connectivity is amazing though the only tough part was to sweat a bit to catch the train between and within the stations for a route .
It was quite exciting (exhausting)..haha :P

You can get metro maps at the stations and navigating through that is quite easy .. or just download the map and you know your way ...now i know ;)


Moment of Truth :
I couldn't possibly agree on the fact that Eiffel Tower is THE most breathtaking wonders of all until I saw this .




These sparkly flickers are momentary ,only for few mins or so and you don't wanna miss it .


A moment of quite amidst the noise .

Saving some after-dark energy for one of the world's most romantic cities is another charm . 

Friends ,Since it was a quite long blog post .I decided to split it in two .
 Soon I will post the second edition of PARIS  - Disney Land and Louvre Museum  :D 

Hope you like it ..Cya ..!!