Sunday, 31 January 2016

From Eurovision to Radio 2: Terry Wogan's best quotes

Sir Terry Wogan, the world-renowned television and radio broadcaster who has died aged 77 after a short illness, was famed for his quick wit and braggadocio. Here is a selection of his best quotations:
“Hang on: there’s 60 million people in the country – what are the other 52 million listening to?” – on hearing that his radio show audience in 2005 had passed 8 million.
“Go out and face the world secure in the knowledge that everybody else thinks they are better looking than they are as well.”
“My opinion has the weight of a ton of feathers.”
“The only physical adornments which grow bigger with passing years are the nose and ears. The rest, regrettably, diminishes.”
“Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy,” – Wogan’s take on the hosts of the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark.
“Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.”
“Gratuitously hurtful folk declare that I am very popular in hospitals because the listeners abed there are too weak to reach out and switch me off.”
“The price of fame? Who in their right mind would want to pay it?”
“I don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a major musical event. I love the Eurovision Song Contest and it will continue long after I’m gone. Just please don’t ask me to take it seriously,” – speaking in 2008.
“Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? … Actually, I do. I’ve seen the rehearsals,” – opening remark for the 2007 show in Finland.
“If the present Mrs Wogan has a fault – and I must tread carefully here – this gem in the diadem of womanhood is a hoarder. She never throws anything out. Which may explain the longevity of our marriage.”
“Could it be that behind every great man there’s a woman working him with her foot?”
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Tosh, mon brave. If there was any truth in that load of old frog spawn, would the present Mrs Wogan have spent a fortune doing the bedroom?”
“Every year I expect it to be less foolish and every year it is more so,” – on the Finnish rock band Lordi winning the contest in 2006.
“Nobody died. It’s a television programme. It wasn’t the general election. People got a bit confused,” – on his cock-up when he announced the wrong act had won the UK Eurovision in 2007.
“You’d never make a living as a presenter in the UK with a name like Leppy Lampen. A comedian, maybe, but not a presenter,” – on the male presenter of the Finnish contest in 2007.
“So many things I miss. And, you know, I wouldn’t have missed them for anything.”
“The girls themselves resemble nothing so much as garden rakes, and bad-tempered, pouting garden rakes at that,” – on thin models.
“Why do men think they know how to cook outside when they haven’t the smallest idea how to go about it indoors?” – on barbecues.
“Retirement is coming to all of us, and as my accountant said to me lately, ‘You’d better think of taking your pension soon, otherwise it won’t be worth your while.’”
“Get on your toes, keep your wits about you, say goodnight politely when it’s over, go home and enjoy your dinner,” – Wogan’s golden rule of broadcasting.

Found this on Macabre Matters. I'm sure it's true!

"One grave in every graveyard belongs to the ghouls. Wander any graveyard long enough 
and you will find it - water stained and bulging, with cracked or broken stone, scraggly 
grass or rank weeds about it, and a feeling, when you reach it, of abandonment. It may be 
colder than the other gravestones, too, and the name on the stone is all too often 
impossible to read. If there is a statue on the grave it will be headless or so scabbed with 
fungus and lichens as to look like fungus itself. If one grave in a graveyard looks like a 
target for petty vandals, that is the ghoul-gate. If the grave wants to make you be 
somewhere else, that is the ghoul-gate."
Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
Photographer Jon Deery 

Erie cemetery Erie Pennsylvania

Saturday, 30 January 2016

German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too

The Saturday Profile

By SALLY McGRANE JAN. 29, 2016

“When I say, ‘Trees suckle their children,’ everyone knows immediately what I mean.” PETER WOHLLEBENCreditGordon Welters for The New York Times

HÜMMEL, Germany — IN the deep stillness of a forest in winter, the sound of footsteps on a carpet of leaves died away. Peter Wohlleben had found what he was looking for: a pair of towering beeches. “These trees are friends,” he said, craning his neck to look at the leafless crowns, black against a gray sky. “You see how the thick branches point away from each other? That’s so they don’t block their buddy’s light.”

Before moving on to an elderly beech to show how trees, like people, wrinkle as they age, he added, “Sometimes, pairs like this are so interconnected at the roots that when one tree dies, the other one dies, too.”

Mr. Wohlleben, 51, is a very tall career forest ranger who, with his ramrod posture and muted green uniform, looks a little like one of the sturdy beeches in the woods he cares for. Yet he is lately something of a sensation as a writer in Germany, a place where the forest has long played an outsize role in the cultural consciousness, in places like fairy tales, 20th-century philosophy, Nazi ideology and the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Mr. Wohlleben traces his love of the forest to his early childhood, where he raised spiders and turtles. In high school, teachers painted a dire picture of the world’s ecological future, and he decided it was his mission to help. CreditGordon Welters for The New York Times

After the publication in May of Mr. Wohlleben’s book, a surprise hit titled “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World,” the German forest is back in the spotlight. Since it first topped best-seller lists last year, Mr. Wohlleben has been spending more time on the media trail and less on the forest variety, making the case for a popular reimagination of trees, which, he says, contemporary society tends to look at as “organic robots” designed to produce oxygen and wood.

PRESENTING scientific research and his own observations in highly anthropomorphic terms, the matter-of-fact Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers and talk-show audiences alike with the news — long known to biologists — that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.

“With his book, he changed the way I look at the forest forever,” Markus Lanz, a popular talk show host, said in an email. “Every time I walk through a beautiful woods, I think about it.”

Though duly impressed with Mr. Wohlleben’s ability to capture the public’s attention, some German biologists question his use of words, like “talk” rather than the more standard “communicate,” to describe what goes on between trees in the forest.

But this, says Mr. Wohlleben, who invites readers to imagine what a tree might feel when its bark tears (“Ouch!”), is exactly the point. “I use a very human language,” he explained. “Scientific language removes all the emotion, and people don’t understand it anymore. When I say, ‘Trees suckle their children,’ everyone knows immediately what I mean.”

Still No. 1 on the Spiegel best-seller list for nonfiction, “Hidden Life” has sold 320,000 copies and has been optioned for translation in 19 countries (Canada’s Greystone Books will publish an English version in September). “It’s one of the biggest successes of the year,” said Denis Scheck, a German literary critic who praised the humble narrative style and the book’s ability to awaken in readers an intense, childlike curiosity about the workings of the world.

The popularity of “The Hidden Life of Trees,” Mr. Scheck added, says less about Germany than it does about modern life. People who spend most of their time in front of computers want to read about nature. “Germans are reputed to have a special relationship with the forest, but it’s kind of a cliché,” Mr. Scheck said. “Yes, there’s Hansel and Gretel, and, sure, if your marriage fails, you go for a long hike in the woods. But I don’t think Germans love their forest more than Swedes or Norwegians or Finns.”

MR. WOHLLEBEN traces his own love of the forest to his early childhood. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s in Bonn, then the West German capital, he raised spiders and turtles, and liked playing outside more than any of his three siblings did. In high school, a generation of young, left-leaning teachers painted a dire picture of the world’s ecological future, and he decided it was his mission to help.

He studied forestry, and began working for the state forestry administration in Rhineland-Palatinate in 1987. Later, as a young forester in charge of a 3,000-odd acre woodlot in the Eifel region, about an hour outside Cologne, he felled old trees and sprayed logs with insecticides. But he did not feel good about it: “I thought, ‘What am I doing? I’m making everything kaput.’ ”

Reading up on the behavior of trees — a topic he learned little about in forestry school — he found that, in nature, trees operate less like individuals and more as communal beings. Working together in networks and sharing resources, they increase their resistance.

By artificially spacing out trees, the plantation forests that make up most of Germany’s woods ensure that trees get more sunlight and grow faster. But, naturalists say, creating too much space between trees can disconnect them from their networks, stymieing some of their inborn resilience mechanisms.

Intrigued, Mr. Wohlleben began investigating alternate approaches to forestry. Visiting a handful of private forests in Switzerland and Germany, he was impressed. “They had really thick, old trees,” he said. “They treated their forest much more lovingly, and the wood they produced was more valuable. In one forest, they said, when they wanted to buy a car, they cut two trees. For us, at the time, two trees would buy you a pizza.”

Back in the Eifel in 2002, Mr. Wohlleben set aside a section of “burial woods,” where people could bury cremated loved ones under 200-year-old trees with a plaque bearing their names, bringing in revenue without harvesting any wood. The project was financially successful. But, Mr. Wohlleben said, his bosses were unhappy with his unorthodox activities. He wanted to go further — for example, replacing heavy logging machinery, which damages forest soil, with horses — but could not get permission.

After a decade of struggling with his higher-ups, he decided to quit. “I consulted with my family first,” said Mr. Wohlleben, who is married and has two children. Though it meant giving up the ironclad security of employment as a German civil servant, “I just thought, ‘I cannot do this the rest of my life.’”

The family planned to emigrate to Sweden. But it turned out that Mr. Wohlleben had won over the forest’s municipal owners.

So, 10 years ago, the municipality took a chance. It ended its contract with the state forestry administration, and hired Mr. Wohlleben directly. He brought in horses, eliminated insecticides and began experimenting with letting the woods grow wilder. Within two years, the forest went from loss to profit, in part by eliminating expensive machinery and chemicals.

Despite his successes, in 2009 Mr. Wohlleben started having panic attacks. “I kept thinking, ‘Ah! You only have 20 years, and you still have to accomplish this, and this, and that.’” He began therapy, to treat burnout and depression. It helped. “I learned to be happy about what I’ve done so far,” he said. “With a forest, you have to think in terms of 200 or 300 years. I learned to accept that I can’t do everything. Nobody can.”

He wanted to write “The Hidden Life of Trees” to show laypeople how great trees are.

Stopping to consider a tree that rose up straight then curved like a question mark, Mr. Wohlleben said, however, that it was the untrained perspective of visitors he took on forest tours years ago to which he owed much insight.

“For a forester, this tree is ugly, because it is crooked, which means you can’t get very much money for the wood,” he said. “It really surprised me, walking through the forest, when people called a tree like this one beautiful. They said, ‘My life hasn’t always run in a straight line, either.’ And I began to see things with new eyes.”

A version of this article appears in print on January 30, 2016, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Where We See Tangled Trees, He Sees Social Networks. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Friday, 29 January 2016

3 Reasons why a Soul Sister is better than a Best Friend.

Via Heather Kleimanon May 25, 2015

“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.”

~ Hafiz

I’ve never had an issue making friends. I really enjoy talking with people and discovering new connections.
In school, I understood that social interactions and connections with peers was just as meaningful as what was learned from a book.
However, I also quickly learned that growing and maintaining friendships was equally as difficult as solving for x, or reciting the 50 states in alphabetical order.
I can remember back in elementary school, the term best friend was something to be taken seriously. It was a title bestowed upon one another after determining some inseparable bond and deep commitment towards one another.
Often matching bracelets, necklaces or key chains were involved.
That was, of course, until there was a falling out with your bestie. Then you became public enemy number one and found yourself quickly replaced the very next day. It was brutal. I struggled with the typical drama-laden, catty behaviors that some girls chose.
By the time I reached college, I could count at least a dozen girls whom I had referred to at one point as a best friend for life. Want to know how many of those girls I even talk to today? Two.
There is something different about my relationships with these two. My connection with them is so profound and unshakeable that I knew these women would be woven throughout my life. I refer to them as my soul sisters. I’ve since connected with other women with whom I share a similar bond and title.
I consider myself lucky for the friends in my life, but I consider myself blessed for the tribe of women that I can bare my soul to.
This is why I’d prefer a soul sister over a best friend any day:

1. There’s no competition.

There was nothing more crushing back in school than hearing another girl refer to your best friend as herbest friend. Or even worse, was when your best friend referred to another girl as her best friend. I remember one girl who had a ranking system for all of her best friends. It changed daily and was pretty cut throat. Petty, I know.
But for a developing adolescent, it was painful to be ranked based on someone’s bogus standards of friendship.
There’s no jealousy with souls sisters. There is an understanding that our souls may have an infinite number of connections. These connections can occur without threatening other bonds. I connect with each of my soul sisters on different levels—they each bring out different aspects of my personality when I am with them. I value the special and unique connection we share.

2. Total honesty and authenticity.

I’ve had best friends in the past that have flat out lied to me. As a sensitive Cancer, there isn’t much that hurts worse than the betrayal of someone you love or admire. My soul sisters tell me the brutally honest truth—usually when I don’t want to hear it, but when I need to hear it the most. They know how to speak in a way that is constructive and supportive. The understanding is that we are here to help each other become better people. A little honesty really goes a long way on the journey of personal growth.
The other struggle I’ve experienced in the past with friends is this sort of inauthentic behavior. It was as if they were a chameleon, changing who they were based on the crowd or the environment—even altering their own opinions or attitudes to better fit the situation. That was exhausting to keep up with. I thought, “If they could change personalities as easily as they changed their clothes, which version was I getting?”
Sure, there are multiple facets to each of our personalities. Yet with my soul sisters, I feel the most authentic and at ease. There is no masking true thoughts and feelings. I can open my heart fully to them without any fear of judgement or criticism. Similarly, I feel their authentic selves are fully present when we are together. There is no greater feeling than being in the presence of people who accept me—fully and completely—with all of my quirks and scars.

3. Time and distance don’t threaten the bond.

I met one of my soul sisters in kindergarten. After sixth grade graduation, my family moved away. We tried arranging play dates when we could, but eventually fell out of touch. Years later, when we found ourselves in the same gym class in junior college, it reignited a bond that felt as comfortable as the days of grade school.
Another soul sister moved out of state and it has had zero impact on our ability to be there for one another. Physical connections are nice, but just picking up the phone and having someone listen when you need it most is priceless.
If the bond is deep and strong enough, nothing can sabotage it.

I still have casual friendships in my life and I value those as well. Yet when it comes to crossing paths with another human that reveals parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed, it’s quite remarkable.

Relephant Read: 

To my Soul Sisters, with Love.


The Power of Accepting a Compliment.

Via Kristina Hardyon Nov 25, 2014
you are beautiful

How many times have you received a compliment?

“You look great today!” or “That new haircut really shows off your eyes!”  How about, “Wow, you’ve lost weight, and look great!”
How you take that compliment is really the question.
Do you say, “Aw, this old outfit? Geez, it’s too (insert description).” Or “I hate how short she cut it. I never wanted it to look like this.” How about, “I’m still fat.”
If you say things like this, you’ve negated the compliment. Do you know what else you’ve done? You’ve refused a gift.
Imagine if we handed someone a gift and they opened it and then handed it back.
How would you feel? Would it hurt your feelings? Would you wonder why you had given that person a gift in the first place?
This is a dramatization of the compliment, but the mechanics are the same.
A person isn’t going to want to compliment you again, if you push it all back.
For some of us, a compliment isn’t always easy to take, and for others a compliment isn’t easily given. 
When you give a compliment, you are giving someone something nice.
A compliment is a random act of kindness. 
This person has taken time from their day to tell you something pleasant.
It’s a gift of thoughtful consideration. Most often it’s the removal of one’s own ego to boost another’s, which is hard for some to do.
When you negate the compliment, you negate yourself. You turn a positive into a negative. You’ve now self-deprecated.
Refusing a compliment does not help you.
Negative self-talk is best to stop doing.
You may think it’s harmless or humble to refuse a compliment but it’s damaging. It’s undermining.
Even if your conscious mind says that it’s just words, your subconscious mind takes your words to heart.
When using negative self-talk you insult your inner-self. You are hurting your core being. If you respect yourself you would not allow this to happen.
Take yourself out of the equation.
If you were standing there listening to one good friend say to another good friend or loved one, “You look fantastic.” Would you jump in and say, “He/She still has too much fat on their thighs.”?
You wouldn’t! You have too much respect for that person.
Why would you say that about yourself? Respect yourself enough to stop this cycle of self abuse.
The next time someone hands you a compliment.
If it’s hard for you to accept, just say, “Thanks.” That’s all. Say nothing more.
Once you become more comfortable, you may find yourself elaborating on your success. 
For example the compliment “You look fantastic! Did you lose weight?” You may find yourself saying, “Thanks! Yeah, I lost 15 lbs. I’m feeling so much better. Thanks for noticing.”
You have not become arrogant or sound self-centered. You’ve now given someone else a gift back.
You have acknowledged their perceptiveness. This is important to the giver.
It validates their thoughts, actions and their opinions. It makes them want to express themselves more.
They will go on to give another compliment another day to another person.
Accepting a compliment is paying it forward, in a sense.
So, go out there, examine how you react the next time.
Promise yourself you will respect yourself enough to accept what people give you, no matter how small or how big the gesture.
Soak it in and enjoy it. If it was given to you, you’ve earned it.


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Virginia Woolf's Guide To Grieving In her fiction, the loss of her mother ripples silently.

In 1895, when Virginia Woolf was 13, her mother, Julia Stephen, died suddenly -- influenza turned to rheumatic fever, and in short order she was gone. Young Virginia had a moment to kiss her mother as she lay on her deathbed; as she left the room, Julia called her daughter by her nursery nickname, saying, “Hold yourself straight, my little goat.”
In 2000, when I was 11, my mother died suddenly -- an aortic dissection caused her to collapse at my grade school spelling bee, and by the time my brothers and I were brought to the hospital, as we thought, to see her, she was gone. The last time I’d spoken to her, before my competition began, she’d given me a hug filled with encouragement and musky perfume.
A decade later, as an English major turning over potential thesis projects for my senior year of college, I gravitated toward Woolf. I hadn’t read her until junior year. I wasn’t a modernist, a huge fan of stream-of-consciousness or experimental structure, and to this day I haven’t finished a full book by James Joyce. But when I first picked up Mrs. Dalloway, I’d fallen madly, impractically in love.
I wrote my thesis on Mrs. DallowayTo The Lighthouse and The Waves, analyzing how Woolf uses floral motifs in each. Having grown up on Austen and the Brontës, I relished Woolf’s showy style, crafted to be unpacked and unpacked and examined from all angles. Even the most narrow-minded men in my literature classes could agree that Woolf was worth reading in her own right, not just as a concession to the feminist agenda. She was serious, scholarly, the profound emotions in her work guarded round with fences of respectable technique. 
Meanwhile, the entire time I worked on this serious-minded Woolf thesis, and for several years before, I was stumbling through an extended, deeply misunderstood emotional breakdown.
I had a college boyfriend I loved very much; we broke up, got back together again, broke up again. Even when our relationship seemed temporarily stable, I’d spend hours crying on his shoulder about an awkward run-in with an acquaintance. My sprouting social anxiety was like a dark-tinted pair of sunglasses that placed every encounter behind a murky, paranoid filter. Making female friends, which had always been my source of social strength, became a struggle. 
I felt alone, and I felt desperate not to be alone, and I felt terrified that my few intimates would figure out how desperately I needed them and pull away. I wasn’t always wrong. All the while, Virginia Woolf was there beside me, going through very much the same thing, and I didn’t even notice.
All the while, Virginia Woolf was there beside me, going through very much the same thing, and I didn’t even notice.
Here’s the thing: Losing your mother when you’re a preteen throws things off, developmentally. You remember her, but not enough to feel like you really knew her -- just enough to grasp how much you're missing. You never went through a teenage separation from her, so she exists in a state of perpetual perfection, if not semi-sainthood, as haloed to you as she was to your little-girl self.
You have zero capacity to deal with any of this, of course, because children are emotionally illiterate. You laugh when everyone else is crying. You’re buoyed by trivial victories, like getting a condolence card from a crush or finding more fresh doughnuts left on the counter by a sympathetic church member. Grinning, you challenge your friends to a rousing game of Clue at her wake, leaving them tentative and frightened. But you also sleep as much as possible to avoid those times when you’ll have to occupy yourself either laughing or sobbing. When your grief-stricken father tries to talk about your mother with you, you change the subject. You do this for years, until he stops trying, until everyone stops trying. You don’t know how to talk about it without completely falling apart. You don’t know falling apart is even an option.
Years pass, and people move on, but your grief is a bulb germinating in the earth. By the time the pale shoots nudge the soil aside and peek out, you’ve forgotten anything was planted there. You don’t remember what it is. It seems like a weed, wafted in by an unfortunate breeze, to be battled with medication and harsh uprooting. 
A couple years after college, a friend recommended a book called Motherless Daughters to me. The book explores the grieving processes of women who’ve lost their mothers at all ages. As I read, I cried with relief and anguish, as if the words were lancing some long-festering infection. I was reading about myself -- my emotional college years, defined by dependency and fear of loss; my closed-off teen years, when I rarely willingly thought of my mother at all. I’d been blaming myself for all of it, but it turns out I’m not so special: I’m just like all of the other motherless daughters.
Late in life, Woolf wrote an autobiographical essay called “A Sketch of the Past.” In it, she shows herself to be not so different either, from the other motherless daughters. She felt deprived of her memories of her mother, conscious of never having been able to see her fully as a human. She viewed her mother as a distant but essential deity. She spent her whole life obsessed with her mother, craving her approval though such approval could never come. 
Rereading this essay now, my heart pulls painfully toward Woolf. Even the oddest little details seem beyond coincidental: The way "a desire to laugh came over" her as she was ushered in to kiss her newly dead mother (how crushingly like the moment, when my dad told us she hadn't made it, that I started to giggle). The transcendent lift she felt seeing a fiery sunset through the glass of the train station as she accompanied her brother, Thoby, home after their mother's death (how like the unforgettable pinks and golds of the sun setting through the clouds as my father walked me home from the hospital that night, too sick from crying to ride in a car).
"My mother's death unveiled and intensified," she wrote, "made me suddenly develop perceptions, as if a burning glass had been laid over what was shaded and dormant." How rawly one remembers those days, as if any membrane between the world and you has been ripped away, while the memories of the mother you loved begin immediately to slip through your fingers.
"There is the memory," she wrote," but there is nothing to check that memory by; nothing to bring it to ground with ... the elements of [her] character ... are formed in twilight."
She struggled to piece together her mother by tracing her biography, the men she loved, the people who loved her, the jumbled memories Woolf herself retained. When you lose your mother before you're able to see her clearly, as a person, finding out who she is becomes a treasure hunt, a research project, a detective expedition.
When you lose your mother before you're able to see her clearly, as a person, finding out who she is becomes a treasure hunt, a research project, a detective expedition.
In her fiction, the loss of her mother ripples silently. To the Lighthouse, perhaps the greatest novel on maternal loss, was written as a tribute to Julia Stephen, but Woolf's grief can be found everywhere. The longing for connection, blended with the certainty of unpredictable loss, marks her mapping of human relationships. ("If you have any kind of triggers around sudden death," Christopher Frizzelle wrote on LitHub last year, "you should not read Virginia Woolf." I remember playing charades with family not long after my mother's death; we tensely skipped over the card for "sudden death," feeling her collapse in the room.)
All closeness is temporary; all love is dangerous; and in the end, even the love we find is often a hollow substitute for that which we believe we were meant to have. Woolf's fiction isn't comforting or optimistic, and why would it be -- after her mother, she quickly lost her elder half-sister and surrogate mother, Stella Duckworth, as well as her cherished brother Thoby, when he was in his mid-20s. 
It's this hard-won despair that spoke to my soul when I first read Woolf, though I lacked the capacity to admit it then. To move through grief, to live with it, you have to let yourself feel the howling of the loss all around you, and every line of her writing vibrates with that cry. You have to accept that you've lost that which was once everything to you, and that the hole can't be filled with AP classes or long naps or recalcitrant boyfriends or anything at all.
"She," Woolf wrote, "was the whole thing." I know. I know.

Hawaiian Chicken & Pineapple Skewers

Hawaiian Chicken & Pineapple Skewers - Makes 14-16 skewers
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (could use chicken breasts, but thighs stay more moist)
1 cup soy sauce
1 (15 oz) can of pineapple chunks in 100% juice, drained (reserve 1 cup of juice)
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup honey
1/2 large white onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2-inch) chunk ginger, grated
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
bamboo skewers
Trim the chicken of any visible fat and cut into chunks about 2-inches in size.
Mix remaining ingredients, except drained pineapple chunks, a large bowl. If you find that your reserved juice doesn't quite measure a cup, just add water to yield the cup of liquid. Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, but overnight would be ideal.
An hour before you're ready to grill your chicken, soak your skewers in water to prevent them burning. Assemble skewers, alternating Chicken & Pineapple chunks.
Grill your skewers at a medium-low heat so that the marinade does not burn. Turn once after 5-7 minutes. If you do not have a grill you can use a indoor grill pan or broil them.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Posted: 25 Jan 2016 06:06 PM PST
Use dark, milk or white chocolate to make this luscious Chocolate Cheesecake! Just 30 minutes to make and best of all no baking involved. The ultimate dessert for any chocolate lover!

Use dark, milk or white chocolate to make this luscious Chocolate Cheesecake! Just 30 minutes to make and best of all no baking involved. The ultimate dessert for any chocolate lover! |

Use dark, milk or white chocolate to make this luscious Chocolate Cheesecake! Just 30 minutes to make and best of all no baking involved. The ultimate dessert for any chocolate lover! |

Yummy No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Manila Spoon
Published 01/26/2016
Yummy No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Use dark, milk or white chocolate to make this luscious Chocolate Cheesecake! Just 30 minutes to make and best of all no baking involved. The ultimate dessert for any chocolate lover!


    For the Crust
  • 18 Graham Cracker Squares, crushed (or Digestives - about 10 - roughly 1 1/2 cups when crushed)
  • 1 (2.5 - 3 oz) packet of Pecans or Walnuts, crushed (roughly 3/4 cup)
  • 6 Tablespoons, unsalted Butter, melted

    For the Cheesecake   
  • 14 oz good quality Chocolate (dark, milk or white) broken into pieces 
  • 3 Tablespoons, unsalted Butter
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages Cream Cheese, room temperature (softened)
  • 1/3 cup caster or super-fine white Sugar
  • 6 Fl. oz / 3/4 cup - Heavy (or whipping) Cream
  • 1 teaspoon, pure Vanilla Extract
  • Raspberry Coulis (see recipe here)


  1. To make the crust, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan using the smooth bottom of a glass. Spread the crumb mixture to about 1/2-inch up the sides. Chill the crust while you are making the filling.
  2. In a heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally. Let it cool for a couple of minutes afterwards.
  3. While the butter and chocolate are slowly melting, prepare the other ingredients. In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the softened cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar until it has a smooth consistency, roughly 3 minutes. Note that your cream cheese should be in room temperature so it's easier to mix and to avoid lumps. Pour in the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate. Beat until everything is smooth and well-blended. Spoon the mixture on the prepared springform pan. Spread the mixture evenly and allow it to set at least overnight. This can be made about 2 days ahead.
  4. When completely cool and set, slice the cake and drizzle on top with some raspberry coulis just before serving.
Yield: 10-12 slices
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 00 mins. 
Total time: 30 minutes plus chilling time