Don’t Turn on the Oven: Say Yes to a Delicious No-Bake Cheesecake

Not everyone who loves cheesecake has the patience to make one. And if you go out in search of one, it’s a confusing world out there. Sure there are restaurants that serve carefully-crafted, world-class, ingenious and to-die-for deserts. But more often than not, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with fabricated, icy and terribly sweet cakes and desserts that you wouldn’t even want to dig into for seconds. And this is why I’m going to show you how to make a cheesecake for which you won’t even need to own an oven, let alone learn how to use one.

We have Italy to thank for cheesecakes in general but the United States gets gratitude for the no-bake version of it. There aren’t many noticeable differences between the two but a dedicated cheesecake lover will be able to tell you that the baked one has a sturdy and firm filling because it’s baked with whisked eggs, cornflour and other binding ingredients while the no-bake one is a bit more cheesy, soft, luscious and cloud-like.

Let’s break this down, one step at a time:

Base – There are two main ingredients that go into the case: something crumbly which would mean graham crackers and butter (umm, yum!). You can either break the crackers by putting them in a plastic bag and breaking them down with a rolling pin or crush them bit by bit, using your hand. A food processor works well too but personally I think it grinds the crackers too fine and I like mine a bit uneven, chaotic. Mark Bittman does a great version of the no-bake cheesecake when he suggests you mix crushed nuts with the graham crackers.

Graham crackers are an expensive proposition in India so I’ve found the perfect substitute:  Digestive biscuits! They also lend something extra to a cheesecake, this slightly salty flavour which goes beautifully with the cream filling. One chef recommended the use of ginger as well and you can throw those along with the biscuits and butter in the food processor, if you’re a fan of ginger that is.

cheesecake-blueberry-plate

The filling – Melissa Clark puts it right “You can find a clear divide between cheesecake lovers, those who love the soft, creamy and dense cream cheese filling and those who adore the ricotta/goat cheese and more airy kind-a cheese layer.” We can create a perfect mix of both the worlds by using cream cheese and a bit of ricotta cheese, and I’ll show you how in the recipe that follows.

Eve O’Sullivan of the Guardian suggests another great addition to the filling, cream white chocolate! I mixed some with cream cheese and even though it didn’t set as well as it should have, the taste was absolutely divine! I’m a personal fan of coconuts and you’ll be surprised at how well desiccated goes in a cheesecake. Since this is a no-bake cheesecake, the quantity of sugar you use doesn’t change the texture of the cake. So feel free to adjust the proportions according to how sweet (or not) you want it to be.

What’s on top: Any kind of fleshy fruit goes well atop a cheesecake- berries, mangoes, raisins or alternatively, you can also puree any of the fruits and use that.

No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe

Serves: 6-8 people

Time taken: 25 minutes preparation and 5-6 hours chill time

Ingredients

For the base:

400 grams biscuits or graham crackers, crushed

100 grams unsalted butter, melted

10 almonds

5 walnuts

For the filling:

500 grams cream cheese, full-fat preferably at room temperature

40 grams desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

40 grams caster sugar

For the topping (optional):

Fresh fruits

Maple syrup

Method

1. Blitz the almonds in a food processor.

2. Drop the biscuits in a plastic bag along with the walnuts and crush them with a rolling pin.

3. Mix the almonds and crushed biscuits from step 2.

4. Pour the melted butter over this and mix well. Press the mix into a tin, cover it with a cling film and refrigerate till its firm.

5. In a big bowl, stir the cream cheese, desiccated coconut, vanilla essence and castor sugar and pour it over the biscuit in the tin.

6. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 3.5 to 4 hours.

7. Top with fruits of your choice. Cut and serve.

Inbox by Gmail for Web Gets ‘Smart Reply’ Feature

Google back in November rolled out the ‘Smart Reply’ feature to its Inbox by Gmail application. The feature, after four months has finally made its way in to the Web version. Just like the app, the Inbox by Gmail for Web users will now be suggested three email responses.

“10 percent of all your replies on mobile already use Smart Reply, so we’re excited to bring this same convenience to the Web. It’s particularly helpful when you’re jamming through lots of emails on your laptop,” said Taylor Kourim, Software Engineer, on the Google blog post.

Inbox by Gmail for Web Gets 'Smart Reply' Feature

When an email arrives to the Inbox by Gmail for Web, all you would have to do is to open the email and click on one of the three responses seen at the bottom. These responses are dynamic and are based on the nature of the incoming emails. As soon as one of the responses are clicked, it immediately shows up on the reply email body with the ‘Send’ option.

At the time of launching the feature for Inbox by Gmail mobile app, Google said, “There’s actually a lot going on behind the scenes to make Smart Reply work. Inbox uses machine learning to recognize emails that need responses and to generate the natural language responses on the fly […] And much like how Inbox gets better when you report spam, the responses you choose (or don’t choose!) help improve future suggestions.”

Last month Inbox by Gmail got two new snooze features – Later This Weekend and This Weekend, to make it simpler for users to snooze their email alerts and get back to it later.

Oculus Rift May Offer Better High-End Quality Than PS VR, Admits Sony Executive

After years of hype and development, high-end virtual reality (VR) headsets will make their way to consumers starting with the Oculus Rift this month, in 20 countries around the world. Sony’s PlayStation VR (PS VR) is one of its biggest competitors, and Sony Computer Entertainment vice president Masayasu Ito pointed out this week why he thinks its creation will be more popular.

“If you just talk about the high-end quality, yes, I would admit that Oculus may have better VR,” Ito toldvideo gaming website Polygon. “However, it requires a very expensive and very fast PC. The biggest advantage for Sony is our headset works with [PlayStation 4]. It’s more for everyday use, so it has to be easy to use and it has to be affordable. This is not for the person who uses a high-end PC. It’s for the mass market.”

Oculus Rift May Offer Better High-End Quality Than PS VR, Admits Sony Executive

The Oculus Rift and even the HTC Vive do indeed boast of more impressive specifications; the screen resolution is higher and so is the field of view. Ito said they looked towards their regrets with the problems faced by PlayStation 3 and the immense success of the PS4 to decide on a strategy for PS VR, which would allow it to be accessible to the widest audience possible.

Sony has yet to comment on an official price for the headset and the accompanying box, but reportsdo put it slightly below the $599 (approx. Rs. 40,000) price of the Rift and significantly less than the HTC Vive at $799 (approx. Rs. 54,900). Both of those need an accompanying PC in the range of Rs. 60,000 while PSVR will only work with the PS4, which retails around Rs. 30,000.

That does entail less of an investment if you’re looking to get into VR with first-gen devices, but you’ll have to wait till the end of the year to experience one yourself.

Flipkart Big Shopping Days Sale: Deals on Smartphones and More

Flipkart has announced its ‘Big Shopping Days’ sale from March 7 to 9, where the online marketplace will be offering discounts on smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets. In addition to the offers, consumers shopping on Flipkart can also get an additional 10 percent extra discount on every purchase made via State Bank of India (SBI) debit and credit cards during the Big Shopping Days sale.

Flipkart Big Shopping Days Sale: Deals on Smartphones and More

Some of the smartphones available under the new Flipkart offer are the Lenovo K3 Note which can begrabbed at Rs. 8,999 and it comes with an exchange offer that offers up to Rs. 6,000 discount for functional and display-intact devices; Motorola Moto X Play is currently available at Rs. 15,999 for the 16GB model after a flat Rs. 1,000 off and with an additional exchange offer of up to Rs. 9,000; the Asus ZenFone 2 Laser ZE550KL is priced at Rs. 8,999 after a flat Rs. 1,000 discount and has an additional exchange offer up to Rs. 6,000; the Motorola Moto G (Gen 3) 16GB model is available at Rs. 9,999 after a flat Rs. 1,000 off and also has an exchange offer of up to Rs. 6,000 off; the Nexus 6P is available at Rs. 34,999 after a flat Rs. 5,000 off and also comes with an exchange offer of up to 20,000; the iPhone 6s16GB model is available at Rs. 41,999 and comes with an exchange offer of up to Rs. 21,000; theMotorola Moto G Turbo Edition is priced at Rs. 11,299 after a flat Rs. 1,200 off and also has an exchange offer of up to Rs. 7,000; the Samsung Galaxy On7 is available at Rs. 10,190 and comes with an exchange offer of up to Rs. 6,000.

Some of the other handsets available under the Big Shopping Days sale include the Asus ZenFone 2(4GB of RAM) available at Rs. 12,999 after an extra Rs. 4,000 off and also has an exchange offer of up to Rs. 8,000; Xiaomi Mi 4 is available at Rs. 12,999 after a flat Rs. 2,000 off and an additional exchange offer of up to Rs. 8,000; the LG G4 is priced at Rs. 32,800 after a flat Rs. 2,000;

Consumers can also get discounts on smartwatches, tablets, laptops, cameras, televisions andheadphones. The offers available on smartphones and other products are valid till stock lasts, according to Flipkart.

No Man’s Sky Release Date, Price, Limited Editions Revealed for PS4 and PC

Highly anticipated PC and PS4 adventure survival game No Man’s Sky finally has a release date. Sony has also confirmed that the physical and digital editions of the game will be available for pre-order right away, incidentally the date coincides with a leak on the US PlayStation Blog a couple of days ago. The game will be available from June 21 in the US, June 22 in Europe and India, while UK gamers will have to wait till June 24 to play it.

“Sean Murray [No Man’s Sky’s Director] has been working with Dave Gibbons (co-creator of Watchmen and Kingsman), James Swallow (Mass Effect, Star Wars, Deus Ex writer) and famous sci-fi book cover artist Angus McKie to create a comic book sharing some of the lore of the game,” readsthe PlayStation Europe Blog. “We all thought it would be cool to include this along with a gorgeous art book from the game, a SteelBook with unique artwork of the Atlas, and a dynamic theme by Mr Div (well-known 3D visual artist and creator of the No Man’s Sky logo) in the Limited Edition we’re also releasing.”

No Man's Sky Release Date, Price, Limited Editions Revealed for PS4 and PC

On the PS4, the game will set you back by Rs. 3,499 digitally and Rs. 3,999 if you’re buying a physical copy. The Limited Edition is for $80 (around Rs. 5,371) and considering that other Sony titles like Uncharted 4 aren’t seeing special variants hit India, it’s safe to say that the No Man’s Sky Limited Edition will skip the country as well.

And if the PS4 isn’t your gaming machine of choice, there’s an elaborate PC version as well. Dubbed the No Man’s Sky Explorer’s Edition comes with a replica ship, decals, pins, and well, a code for redeeming the game instead of a disc. It’s being made and sold by UK boutique creative outfit iam8bitand costs $149.99 (roughly Rs. 10,000).

The standard edition of the game on PC is digital only and available for pre-order on Steam for Rs. 1,179. If you like your games DRM-free, it’s on GOG as well albeit for $60 (approximately Rs. 4,030). The minimum system requirements are as follows:

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core i3
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 480
  • Storage: 10GB available space

From what we’ve seen, No Man’s Sky has you going where every sci-fi loving fan has gone before – space. This time however you’re exploring its depths minus any heavy-handed direction, trying-too-hard-to-be witty sayings, or any of the other tropes we’re tired of from slew of sci-fi movies and games we’ve been treated to. In their place is a gorgeous galaxy that has you exploring planets galore, each of which has its own unique environment and creatures. It’s been often delayed but always present at each of Sony’s events. Looks like we won’t have to wait too long to give it a go. Unless of course it gets delayed like a certain other PS4-bound title.

Trolls Who Impersonate Others Online Could Face UK Charges

Britain’s prosecution service says people could be charged if they create fake online profiles in order to harass or humiliate others.

The Crown Prosecution Service says it is updating its guidelines to reflect “new and emerging crimes” in the social media age.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said Thursday that “we are seeing more and more cases where social media is being used as a method to facilitate both existing and new offenses,” including domestic abuse and violence against women.

Trolls Who Impersonate Others Online Could Face UK Charges

The new guidelines say that it may be an offense to create a fake online profile in someone else’s name in order to “damage their reputation and humiliate them.”

Prosecutors are starting a six-week public consultation on revising the rules for online crime, which were last updated in 2012.

In the meanwhile social media giant Facebook, which has been under fire in Britain for its tax arrangements, said it will stop routing its British sales through Ireland – a practice that had kept its UK tax bill extremely low.

Facebook, Amazon and other multinationals have been criticized for using complex tax arrangements to drastically reduce their bills.

Facebook said in a statement Friday that from April, “UK sales made directly by our UK team will be booked in the UK, not Ireland. Facebook UK will then record the revenue from these sales.”

The company said the change would “provide transparency to Facebook’s operations in the UK.”

Facebook paid just GBP 4,327 ($6,116) in corporation tax in 2014 in Britain, one of its biggest markets outside the United States.