Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cook the Books - May






Week 1:
Miss B's birthday was the perfect opportunity to try out a couple of new recipes.
She went through my Annabel Langbein books and we eventually settled on Tuscan Meatballs from Free Range in the City, - other options had included Duck Red Curry and Tofu Stir Fry, however as this is a meal for the whole family we decided to make it one that everyone (read  The Scout and Mr J) would eat.  Dessert was my choice and I came across a recipe for Chocolate Swirl Pavlova in the April 2016 issue of delicious Magazine .  I omitted the spiced maple pears which were meant to top the pavlova for serving.

Verdict:  Both meals went down a treat with the family.  The meatballs were quite light but richly flavoured,  and the pavlova was a big hit - no surprise there really.

Week 2:
 A cool blustery grey day, demands warming comfort food.  Devilled Sausages from my new Annabel Langbein Winter Annual certainly fitted the bill.  Pork and bacon sausages in a spicy brown onion sauce. served with mash and broccoli. This recipe differed from the more traditional recipe we Kiwis usually make, in that it didn't include apples.  However I slow-cooked some which I served as a side dish.

Verdict: The cayenne pepper used in this, makes for a tangy spicy sauce,  but everyone was able to tolerate it and I have been told I can definitely make it again.

Week 3: 
The cake tins were empty, I had a day off work, so of course I did some baking.  This is an old  slice recipe that I remember eating at my grandparents when I was little.  It doesn't come from any recipe books as such, more a collection of family favourites that my sister compiled for us all. Called Jumbles, this slice was apparently a favourite of my Grandpa's.  After making it, I decided my Gran must have loved him an awful lot, cos it was a fiddly sticky recipe to make.  There are lots of Jumbles recipes on the internet, but they all seem to be biscuits rather than a slice, so it would be interesting to have found out where and how the name and recipe originated.

Verdict:  It tastes delicious, brings back memories of afternoon tea with my grandparents and no doubt will be made - perhaps I can persuade Miss B to make them next time.

Week 4:
Sausages again - this time Basque-style Lentil and Sausages, again from my Annabel Langbein Winter Annual.  Served with rice, this was a hearty yet gently warming  and spicy meal, (due to the smoked paprika, chili flakes and fennel seeds) making it perfect for the wet gloomy weather that we have had this week.

Verdict:  Perfect winter comfort meal, I will make it again, but won't serve it with rice.  I had a good amount of the tomato lentil sauce left, so kept that to add to the next batch of vegetable soup I made.

I think that my challenge for June will be to use any book that is not one of my Annabel Langbein books.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Weekending




Cold, wet, windy wintery weather makes it very easy to justify spending most of the weekend sewing.  Still not a lot to show for it though
  • Pretty little scraps
  • A little sneak peak of sewing some on the birthday quilt
  • Only three more rows to stitch together then I can turn it into a pillow.
Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Weekending - A Sorbetto Top







Ever since I saw a picture of this Sorbetto top. I have  wanted to make myself one. So after the success of my Barcelona skirt, I went back to Spotlight to find a suitable fabric. I looked at various cotton lawns but ended up choosing  a textured chambray voile.

The pattern is a free pattern from Colette Patterns , which I downloaded  and printed out, then spent a wee while matching and taping all the pieces together.   Based on my not so large bust measurements, I ended up making size 2 for myself.  My darts and the front pleat turned out really well.  I contemplated doing a contrasting binding but in the end made continuous bias binding to match the top.  I figured any wonky stitching wouldn't be so obvious this way.   Rather than risk messing up the top stitching, of the binding, I hand sewed it down. I have decided that if there is more binding for dressmaking in my future I am going to invest in a bias tape maker.

I made the pattern longer than what was recommended for my size, however,  I think that next time I make a Sorbetto top,  I will probably make it a little longer again and maybe make the armholes a little lower too. This is a really easy pattern, that could be made up quickly if you had pre-made bias tape on hand and you weren't handstitching anything. I have an idea,  that one made from some of Anna Maria Horner's,  Loominous fabrics with the pleat inverted like my inspiration picture would be pretty fabulous.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Making for Me




Back in my twenties, I used to make a lot of my own clothing.  I had no fear of complicated techniques ( except zips -  I  didn't make anything with zips) and would make all sorts of dresses, shirts and skirts.  However life sometimes gets in the way of hobbies, so for a while I stopped sewing.  A few years ago, I discovered quilting,  and as much as I enjoy that, I have been wanting to make some clothing for myself for a while now.  Recently while visiting a friend, I fell in love with the Barcelona Skirt she had made and subsequently bought the pattern and eventually some fabric for it.  Over the past few days I have created it.

The A line skirt was the option I made.   I always find working out what size to make difficult, (my measurements are a mix) I ended up making the medium and it fits exactly how I wanted it too.  It was the first time I have ever put an invisible zip in.  Unfortunately I didn't see any other colour but white on the day I was buying it, how I missed the cream ones I don't know,  and while it is not perfect, I figure mostly it will be covered up.  Lining a garment was also a first for me,

The fabric I used is Tropic Canna from Amy Butler's Bright Heart Collection, and I have lined it with Bemberg - which is a satiny static free fabric, and the lady in Spotlight assured me I wouldn't have to iron it as I would a cotton lining.

I am really pleased with how this has turned out, the pattern instructions are really clear and detailed, and it could easily be made in a few hours, if one didn't have any interruptions. I see more of these skirts in my future, perhaps in a slightly heavier weight fabric for winter. Now I am pinning patterns and tutorials for future clothing makes for me.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Weekending




Still a way to go to get to the Trig Point



Cross section of a Ponga Tree Fern Trunk that has been sawn off.

Parataniwha


Signs of Autumn
  •  bright fungi around the base of a Pohutukawa tree,
  •  moss which always reappears in my driveway at this time of the year.  Though I have to admit, I did think that this would be an awesome masculine quilt design and colour combo.
Happy hexis
  • one more row to piece together, then it's onto joining the rows .
Mother's Day
  •  hiking the Mt William Walkway with The Scout, Miss B, Mr J and a few other scouting families. We hiked through bush,  up and down farm paddocks with sheep and cattle. Luckily the views out from the top were lovely.  The ice creams we got at Pokeno at the end were good too.
Hoping you have all had a fabulous weekend too.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Weekending





Autumn
  • the zinnias are way past their best now, but  the are still providing a fabulous splash of colour to my garden and even the partially dead and dried ones are still attracting lots of monarch butterflies - just not today when I wanted to try and photograph them.

Celebrating
  • Miss B's 14th birthday meant a special birthday dessert - Chocolate Swirl Pavlova
Hexi Making
  • Slowly plodding away - love all the bright colours.  I've made sixty eight, another forty odd to go, I need to cut some more squares
Reading
  • I have just started The Stargazer's Sister, but have been reading  the Kate Daniels Series- this is modern urban fantasy, where magic and technology collide, there are shape shifters, vampires, ghouls , witches and magicians and  normal people .  A very different genre from what I normally read, but I enjoyed them. 
Back to work and school for us all this week as holidays are over,  Hope you all have a great week too.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Cook the Books - April





Week One:
Being home alone over the weekend, means that I get to cook meals that cater to my tastes exclusively, this is one of those recipes I have wanted to try for a while now.  Roasted Beet and Rocket Salad from The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein.  I have to admit, I am still using her books a lot, but at least I am trying out new recipes.  This salad used freshly pulled beetroot from my garden, it was meant to have almonds, but I only had walnuts in the pantry.  A drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette finished it off.

Verdict: Absolutely delicious, the earthiness of the caramelised beets, combined with creamy salty feta and walnuts, was a beautiful combination,  In fact I liked it so much I had it for lunch the next day too.

Week Two:
Biscuits this week from Pearls from Jo Seager's Kitchen.  Chocolate Chunk Oat biscuits.  Recipe also available here.

Verdict:  Nice and crisp, perfect with a glass of milk or cup of tea.  An easy recipe, so next time I will get Miss B or Mr J to make them

Week 3
I had planned to  use the slow cooker  version for this recipe.  Orange Chipotle Pulled Pork from My Underground Kitchen, unfortunately my shoulder roast was way to big for it, so the oven instructions were used instead. Because of the increased size of my roast, I doubled the quantity of oranges, onions and garlic  but kept the chipotle sauce and water measurement the same.  The house smelt delicious while it was cooking, smoky barbecue infused with citrus,

Verdict: I probably could have doubled the amount of chipotle sauce, but it still tasted good.  Because it was such a large cut of meat, we had a lot of leftovers, so there have been pulled pork sandwiches, pulled pork nachos, and even some frozen away for another meal. Everyone enjoyed it, but we are a little sick of pork now.

Week Four:
I was recently given a jar of preserved lemons, so thought I should find a recipe that used them.  I remembered that hidden on my book shelf was an Australian Women's Weekly Moroccan Cookbook, where I found two recipes to try.
  • Lemony Chicken Kebabs - chicken marinated in a beautifully fragrant lemon, herb and spice mixture, that kept the meat tender, moist and very flavoursome.
  • Sweet and spicy vegetable tagine -lots of root vegetables and spices  - which I cooked in a stove top casserole dish.
Verdict: Served with couscous and greek yoghurt mixed with some reserved marinade, this was a delicious meal.  The kebabs will definitely feature again on the must make list. The left over tagine was turned into a yummy warming soup with the addition of a can of chick peas and Moroccan flavoured tomatoes.

Now lets see what May will have me trying.




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