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Irish Cream Chocolate Cake

One of my first experiments with cakes and turned out well. 🙂 I like the taste of Baileys which is an Irish liquer. Coupling that with chocolate was like a match made in heaven for me. Yet again forgive me for the poor photography, I was just to eager to try it (as always) that clicking a nice picture wasn’t really my priority so settled with a phone camera. Not to brag but it looked muchh better than what the photo says…

Here is the recipe:

150gm Dark Chocolate
3large eggs or 4small eggs
100 gm butter
100ml milk
225gm caster sugar
225gm self raising flour
2tbsp cocoa powder
4-5tbspn baileys


  1. Take the butter and chocolate and melt those on a low heat. Try not using the microwave or the low flame as there is a good possibility of burning the butter. The best way to achieve this would be to melt these over steam (A steam bath or a double boiler would be of help).
  2. Once these are melted add the milk while stirring continuously
  3. Cream the eggs and caster sugar mix until creamy. This is best done with an electric whisk for 8-10mins. If you do not have an electric whisk, I would suggest you prepare the creamy mixture before step 1 and 2 as it would take a great deal of time.
  4. Once the creamy mixture is ready, add the melted butter-chocolate-milk mix prepared in step 1 and 2 while continuously stirring.
  5. Once it is thoroughly mixed, add the cocoa powder, all purpose flour after sieving. Remember not to be harsh while adding these and mixing. Gently fold these in. In the end add the baileys and fold again.
  6. Grease the trays with butter and sprinkle some all purpose flour before pouring the mixture above.
  7. Place the trays to an oven preheated to 180degrees/350F and cook for 20mins. If the mixture was a little less viscous than expected, the mixture would take longer to cook. Do the knife test before taking the cake out.

For the frosting
50gm butter
175gm icing sugar
2tbspn cocoa powder
3tbspn baileys
100gm Cream cheese (Philadelphia cheese)

Mix all the above ingredients thoroughly ensuring there are no lumps and spread over the cake once cooled… Then coming to my favourite part of each recipe…. Cut the slices and bite into the gooyness of chocolate and baileys…. Feel the BLISS! 🙂 (Forget the calories! 😉 )


Sarson ka saag and Makki ki Roti

For those of you who don’t know this is a famous Indian dish that is typical to Punjabi’s. Sarson ka saag refers to the leaves of the Mustard plant and Makki ki rotti is an Indian bread made out of Corn.

Sarson ka saag(Mustard Greens)           1kg
Fenugreek leaves (Methi)                     250gm
Spinach                                                    250gm
Green chillies                                 3-4 in number
Ginger(chopped)                                  4tbsp
Garlic(chopped)                                   4tbsp
Salt                                                        to taste
Red Chilly powder                              to taste
Onions(diced)                             3-4 medium sized
Tomatoes(diced)                        3-4 medium sized

One of the following depending on choice :
Turnip                                                        250gm
Baathu (Goosefoot/Fat-hen)                 250gm

Chop the Mustard Greens, Spinach, Fenugreek leaves, and one of the optional ingredients. Next, add these and ginger, garlic and salt to boiling water. Once boiled, grind it to get a green paste.

Next, in a pan heat some oil add the finely chopped onions and fry them until golden brown. Next add the chopped tomatoes and red chilly powder and cook until the oil leaves the bottom of the pan. Finally, add this to the green paste and bring to a boil. Add some extra butter or ghee before serving.

For makki ki roti mix powdered corn and wheat flour in a 3:1 propotion and knead the dough. Make sure it is not very soft as it may make the process of making the roti extremely tough. Using only corn flour (please note it isn’t cornflour that I am referring to, it is powdered corn ) would make it impossible to make roti. Wheat flour is added to help it bind better. This cannot be normally rolled using a rolling pin (belna) as it does not hold well together. You would need to do it by hand. This is a bit of an art… Still learning from my Mom! 🙂 Cook this like a regular roti (with a little extra butter/ghee).

Hope you all enjoy your saag and makki ki roti!

Mobile phone virus

Haven’t we had enough of viruses,trojans and worms on our desktops and laptops that now these villains make an entry into our mobile phone world also? What a pain! :-/  Well I never thought a mobile phone virus could be SO annoying! This being my first experience I was kind of caught off guard.

I do not own a high end phone or anything. It is a basic nokia phone with just bluetooth facility. Now who doesn’t dream of a fancy theme apart from the dull n drab default themes? So did I… Sadly the themes I downloaded were infected. Not only did these themes not work properly they also infected my phone! Within a matter of no time the analog clock display in the standard theme disappeared, the whole phone became VERY slow,some buttons stopped working… What a horror!

As always when there are problems and I dont know the answer, I close my eyes and (no not turn to god) I google!!! As usual the omniscient Google gave me the solution! God bless Google!

For those of you who are having the same problem here is the solution-format your phone
Caution: Do this ONLY when your phone battery is full else you are in for more trouble.

To format your phone, press *#7370#, then enter the lock code, which is the security code of the phone. After you format your phone it will automatically restart. You will not lose any data but all the settings will be set to the initial factory settings. After this your phone will work like a beauty!

Visual Cryptography example

Here is something me and a friend of mine implemented. It is called Visual Cryptography.

Okay, now what is VC all about. Consider you have an image which you wish to have as a SECRET! The condition is you and your friend should have a part or ‘share’ of the image which individually will not make any sense but when the 2 shares overlap, you can discover your secret. This is an implementation of Shamir’s Secret Sharing techniques (Yes the same Shamir from the RSA algorithm).

If you want to learn more about Secret Sharing here are a few links:  1 and 2

The image we used was black and white or in other words only 0’s and 1’s. This means if you want to see a point when the 2 images overlap light should be blocked. There are three possibilities for that (1,1), (0,1) and (1,0). These can be chosen on the basis of the input image or the secret image(here sayCHEESE.bmp). The file uploaded is in jpg format as bmp format is not a supported file format for upload here.

The shares are :

Share 2

Share 1

Okay, now getting on to how to actually split the image into 2 shares. When we have a binary image we can be sure that each pixel is 1 or 0. One decision you need to make is when it is a foreground pixel do you want to see it as white or black. We chose it to be black and the code written is keeping that in mind. Traverse each and every pixel in the image. If it is a foreground pixel then light should be blocked ie, the corresponding pixels so created should be (1,1) or (0,1) or (1,0).  Remember to achieve this each pixel is split into 2 pixels. Yes, size is doubled but thats the price you need to pay for secret sharing! (Thats the EXACT same line my project guide said! 😛 ). This can be easily done using MATLAB as there are read image functions defined. Reading the bmp file through C and creating 2 new images would definitely be a mammoth task if I were to stick to C.

The code is available for download on the on the right.

Once you obtain the shares, take a printout on transparency sheets and witness Visual cryptography in action! 🙂 It will look something like this:

For those of you who want to know more about this, I have uploaded a ppt on the right. Hoping you like it!

Higher Studies (MS) in US

As my earlier posts would give you an idea (assuming you follow my posts! 😛 ) about my GRE and TOEFL experiences. The next on the list definitely had to be the application procedure. As an international student, the application procedure is even more complex than the usual. A lot of hidden costs, tiresome procedures await you. These are things I have discovered down the lane and don’t want it to come as a shock to the rest of you.

Lets begin with the application package. Your application package would consist of your Gradesheets, 3 Recommendation Letters, SoP (Statement of purpose), Financial Document (For most US universities), GRE score and your TOEFL score.Lets look at each of them closely.

First in the list are your Gradesheets or Transcripts. These have to be ORIGINAL copies issued by the controller of examinations of the university. Attested photocopies are NOT considered to be valid.

Coming to the Letters of Recommendation or LoR. You will need three LoR’s from your college professors or someone working in the industry whom you have worked with as in done an internship with or something similar. While asking your professor ensure it is soemone who has taught you so that he knows more about you as it will be weighed more than a LoR issued by a faculty who has not taught you or guided you for any of your projects. Another thing you can keep in mind is that it is preferable to ask professors with a doctorate. Again it is NOT mandatory but surely will be an added advantage. Also, you need to get each copy signed and sealed in an envelope. (Again no photocopies!)

The next document is your Financial document. This is the one document that did not fall in place for me this year so I guess I will have to wait another year to apply. Anyway about the financial document, this has to be a letter from the bank stating that you (or your sponsor) have certain amount of “READILY AVAILABLE FUNDS” for your education. The amount will cover your first years tuition fee and living expenses. Most of us think that property &/or salary slips would suffice but sadly that is not how it works. There are FEW universities in US which do not require the Financial document at the application time.

As for GRE and TOEFL, is what you should be looking up. You can book your exam dates and everything through that site. It is more like the bible for GRE and TOEFL! Regarding the preparation and GRE experience here is a link. For TOEFL experience and exam details click here.

Next is your statement of purpose. This might seem like a cake walk but you actually realize that this is one of the most time consuming processes. To come up with the final draft you need to come up with atleast 10-15 versions of it! And sometimes in the process of writing one you realize how little you know about yourself! Funny as it may seem but some questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’ or ‘whats your motivation to study’ etc become extremely tough to answer. The challenge is to make your SoP unique. There are a lot of samples available on the internet. I would suggest you DONT read any of them before you do your SoP. Just get some guidelines. I think this link can be of some help. After you have come up with a draft probably you can read some other SoPs and compare and rethink. But make it a point to NOT copy paste any lines as that may lead to a direct rejection. I dont think my SoP is all that great but in sometime I shall surely upload it IF that can be of help to anyone.

So now we are done with the details of the application package. Next thing we need to deal with is the shortlisting of universities. For those of you who do not have much of an idea regarding the good universities or how to come up with your wishlist, you can begin by using some ranking sites like for reference. But do not follow these rankings blindly! Go through the universities homepage, department homepage find out about the GRE score required and the financial document details. I would suggest you maintain an excel containing these details (something I forgot to do and was in great trouble! ).  This is again a time consuming procedure. You should come up with a list of universities to which you should send your GRE score depending on your score. For those of you who are not aware that as soon as your GRE exam ends you have to enter the college details of FOUR colleges to which your scores can be sent free of cost. So depending on your performance you need to enter your choice of universities. Have around 6 (minimum) universities in different score ranges. The choice has to be wise. Do NOT go for all ambitious universities. 2 in the high range, 2 medium and 2 sure shot universities. To come up  with the final list a lot of effort needs to go in.

Application to US universities is not only time intensive but also cost intensive. When the process begins you will not realize that the cost of applying to say 6 universities approximately comes around 1Lakh Indian rupees. This is an approximate amount and is on the upper side but includes your GRE , TOEFL registration fee, score card fee, university application fee (varies from one univ to another), your courier service charges and also other miscellaneous expenses like issuing of the consolidated gradesheets, coaching (if any),etc.

So you need to think real hard before you make any decisions. Apart from the monetary aspect do consider your reasons to study further. Doing an MS because your friends are doing it is definitely not a good enough reason.

Next assuming you have prepared all the documents. You need to visit the webpage of each of the universities you wish to apply to. There will be an online application form that you will need to fill.For Fall the deadlines for international students start from december mid. Make sure you start the online application also well in advance as you will need to grant your recommender s   ample time to submit the recommendation electronically also. After your application is complete you need to pay the application fee and send in the hard copy of your documents to the university. Within 2-3 months you will hear from the university. Cross your fingers and hope for the best! 🙂

If you have any questions you can feel free to ask. I’ll try and answer to the best of my knowledge! And I am hoping this post is helpful to you guys!

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