Friday, April 30, 2010

Sneak peak: Wee Fairy Tale Folk

More details on these coming tomorrow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 15: Kashmiri Paneer

Yep, we're still eating vegetarian. This week I decided to experiment with paneer, a sort of pressed cheese - basically it's like taking the curds from cottage cheese and pressing them into a solid block. To be honest, it's kind of tasteless, but it has a texture I really like, so that makes it a great vehicle for sauces. I expect it to be using it quite a bit more. It also browns quite nicely, adding that bit of flavour.

I got this from here, a great blog on quick Indian cooking. I'm finding Indian vegetarian to be really great - the sauces are so flavourful that it kind of compensates for the lack of meat.

This week, baked beans. It's not that I've never made baked beans before, it's just that I'm still looking for a really good recipe. I've found one that seems promising, so we'll see how it turns out! And it's a great excuse to make cornbread.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stuffed Pony

I realized I never posted a picture of my eldest daughter's Easter present! This is the pony, made from the same pattern as the elephant.

I have to say, the pony was WAY harder. Sewing the nose was not fun, and sewing on the mane wound up being an enormous pain in the butt. Not sure I'll ever make another one of these, although man, is it ever cute!

Pattern is available here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Week 15: Butter Chickpea Curry

Our vegetarian adventures continue, with this week's star being Butter Chickpea Curry. Basically, I was thinking I really like Butter Chicken, so surely there's a version that uses the delicious sauce but without the chicken? And yes, yes there is.

Now, I forgot to photograph the finished dish. So I figured, no big deal, they'll be lots of leftovers, because no way are the kids going to eat this stuff!

Yeah, three servings later, DD1 was finally satisfied, and the baby ate her fair share too. Who knew?

And then a certain husband took the rest to work for lunch, so no photos until I make it again! Which will probably be soon, because it was awfully good.

I did change the recipe slightly. The version I made:

Butter Chickpea Curry


  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (full fat, please!)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
In a large pot of boiling water, simmer potatoes until tender. Drain, and set aside.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring. Pour in crushed tomatoes, yogurt, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Keep warm
until you are ready to eat.
Tastes best the next day, IMO, when the flavours have had a chance to meld a bit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Week 14: Spinach and cheese empanadas

Didn't get the best pics this week, but these are quite yummy! A spinach and cheese mixture wrapped in pastry and baked until golden.

The recipe I used can be found here:

I did make a couple of alterations - for the dough, instead of using all flour, I substituted in one cup of masa for one cup of the flour, just to add that bit of corn flavour. And for the filling, I skipped the melting cheese and tossed in a handful of feta instead, because spinach + feta is fabulous.

Getting ready to roll out the dough.

Rather than making small ones like the recipe suggests, I used a large bowl to make big empanadas. I like to have lots of filling, so I think you get a better filling-pastry ratio when you make a big empanada rather than a little one!

Dump on filling and brush water on the edges of the circle.

Fold in half and use a fork to seal. I also like the roll the edges over a bit after pressing.

Bake until golden! And I cheat a little bit - I like to stick 'em under the broiler for about a minute after they are cooked to get that nice brown on the top.

These are really good, and can be filled with anything you like (I think a mushroom filling would be fantastic, and for the kiddies, you could easily knock off those pizza pop things). However, they are a lot of work, with the rolling and the filling and so forth, so not exactly something I will be making every week. They are terrific for lunches, since they are pretty good cold, and they actually heat up not too badly in the microwave if you don't go too overboard. Also great for dinner if you put a big pile of veggies or a salad on the side.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I made a bunny cake!

Happy Easter!

I've never made a fancy cake before. Not bad for a first timer, I don't think! Of course, the bunny cake mold made it fairly easy, but I'm still impressed it didn't completely disintegrate.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Week 13: Welsh Rarebit

OK, really it's just fancy cheese sauce, but damn, is it ever tasty! Loved this dinner.

Welsh Rarebit, made from this recipe, served over homemade whole wheat baguette slices. Yum.

And since although one could just eat that, it probably wouldn't be the healthiest idea, there's also some steamed cauliflower and broccoli, and a zucchini/carrot/quinoa patty I invented. Basically, one shredded zucchini and one shredded carrot and a cup or so of cooked quinoa mixed together with an egg and a couple of tablespoons of flour. Season with salt and pepper, fry it up, easy as can be. Also great with the cheese sauce!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Easter Elephant

I was trying to think what I could make for the kid's Easter baskets, and not really coming up with anything exciting. So I was idly browsing sewing patterns at Etsy to see if I could find one for a stuffed rabbit, and I stumbled on this vintage stuffed animal pattern. And I just had, HAD to have it, if only for the elephant. Something about the elephant just screamed SEW ME NOW.

So, I bought the pattern, and raided my fabric stash, and I'm rather impressed with how it turned out.

I can't slip stitch worth a damn, so there's a lot of visible whip stitching where there really should be invisible slip stitches, but I'm just going to say that makes it more charming. And the pattern had a few tricky bits (like the instructions for attaching the elephant's ears made not a lick of sense, although somehow as I muddled through and made most of it up I think I actually stumbled across the correct method purely by accident), but overall the pattern wasn't that hard. I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner, I don't think, but if you fairly comfortable sewing this pattern is very cute.

The elephant will be going in the baby's Easter basket. Tonight, for my older daughter, I'm going to tackle the pony pattern (I have the pieces all cut out and ready to go), and if that turns out as well as the elephant I will be very happy.

The set also includes patterns for a bunny, a kangaroo, a pig, and a penguin. And two incredibly creepy looking dolls. The picture in the pattern kind of freaked me out. I don't think I'll be making those!