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Expat wanderer

Black Magic Chocolate Cake

No, no, no sorcery involved in making this chocolate cake, althought you might think so when you taste it – it’s so good! The magic in this cake is using a lot of cocoa powder (not cocoa mix, which has milk and sugar added – cocoa powder, which is all chocolate) and some very strong coffee to boost the intensity of the flavor. Everything you need is available here in Kuwait.

This is the very best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. The batter seems thin when you make it up but it cooks to a very moist chocolate cake with a fine crumb. And best of all – it’s EASY!

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee (secret ingredient!)
2 cups buttermilk or sour milk (In a pinch, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice plus milk to equal 1 cup, let stand 10 minutes)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in large mixer bowl. Add remaining ingredients – beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Batter will be thin. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees (180 degrees Celcius) for 35 – 40 minutes. Cool completely and frost.

Black Magic Chocolate Icing
(makes about two cups)

1 stick butter, softened
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 t. salt

Cream all together until smooth.To thin, use just a little milk at a time until you have the right consistency.

HINT: After you grease the baking pan, use cocoa instead of flour to sprinkle in pan, and shake really good until it adheres to the butter or Crisco you greased the pan with. This helps the whole cake release without those pesky stuck spots.

May 29, 2007 Posted by | Cooking, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Recipes, Shopping | 16 Comments

Pope Reinstates Islam Department

According to Catholic belief, the Pope, the head of the Catholic church, is infallible. When he downgraded the Council for Interreligious dialogue, and merged it with another office last year, many people thought he had made a big mistake.

So the re-instating of this department can be seen as an admission of the mistake.

I think this is a brave move. For the head of a religion larger than most nations to make a mistake, and then acknowledge the mistake, and even better – to correct a mistake – that takes a lot of moral courage. Bravo, Pope!

Here is the story, from BBC News:

Pope reinstates Islam department

The Pope has been repairing damaged relations with Muslims
Pope Benedict XVI has reversed a controversial decision he took a year ago to downgrade the Vatican department which deals with the Islamic world.

The Council for Interreligious Dialogue will be restored to its former position as a department in its own right.

It is not clear if the department’s former head, British archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, will also be reinstated.

His removal was seen as a sign the Pope was more interested in improving ties with other Christian denominations.

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says that by reversing his decision, which was interpreted negatively in the Muslim world, the Pope has tacitly admitted that this was a mistake.

Relations between the Vatican and Muslims have deteriorated over the past year, particularly over remarks made by the pontiff during a visit to Germany last September, in which, some thought, he appeared to equate Islam with violence.

The Pope insisted his words had been taken out of context and that he meant no offence to the Muslim religion.

Merger reversal

In a rare about face, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, that the Council for Interreligious Dialogue would again become “a dicastery in its own right”.

You can read the rest of the article here.

May 29, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Middle East, Political Issues, Relationships, Spiritual | 3 Comments