Friday, January 4, 2013

Cooking with Pinterest

I'm happy to admit to being a Pinterest addict, but one of the things I find it truly useful for is recipes. I meal plan, sort of, and I'm always looking for something new, quick and easy to try out. When I find it I pin it, and sometimes I just search Pinterest itself.

This week I picked two new recipes from Pinterest, Brown Rice Greek Salad and Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese.

Brown Rice Greek Salad

The Brown Rice Greek Salad is originally from The Lemon Bowl. I left out the corn, and I'd do that next time too. This one is a definite keeper though. Delicious. And will suffice as a vegetarian meal on a hot day! When it's hot I only want to eat salads, but it's a matter of keeping the whole crew happy too. Which is where the next dish comes in. Pasta.

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

The Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese is from Not Quite Nigella. I added a grated carrot and zucchini, to up the veg factor as I couldn't be bothered with a separate salad. Looked fantastic and went down really well with the boys.

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

 It got a little rich for me towards the end, but it was a warm night, not the best for a hot creamy pasta dish. Probably a crisp green side salad would have stopped that! Silly me. The funny thing was Jamie Oliver was on the television that night cooking the same dish! I'm going to compare versions. I can't help myself, do you do that too?

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Just remember - no corn in the salad, and don't forget the bacon in the mac and cheese!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

kitchen string crochet bowl and placemat

When I completed my last crochet project - the huge grey blue yellow and green blanket for my older son - I wanted my next one to be something quick to finish. Not sure where I got the idea, but I decided to have a go at crocheting something round and about the same time I spotted some kitchen twine, it looked like a plain unbleached cotton to me, whilst trawling the local supermarket. After a quick search I went with the Attic24 tutorial for crocheting a flat circle and quickly knocked up a cute placemat type thing with the cotton,  doing the final two rounds in the leftover grey cotton (Jo Sharp - Fog) from the big blanket. Actually I had to alter the design a little as after 10 or so rounds it wouldn't sit flat anymore, so mine had 10 'segments' rather than 11. This may be due to a difference in yarn weight? The cotton string is a bit thinner than the usual 8-ply cotton I use, but denser, and I used a 3.5mm crochet hook. And as you can see the resulting shape isn't awfully round, more a decagon!

I wanted to see if I could finish the last round before the yarn ran out. Nope.

Part way through, loving this make things quickly approach, I decided a little bowl using the same materials and technique would soon follow. I figured if you just stop increasing after you'd made the size circle you wanted, you'd get a bowl. So off I went...

And really that's all there was to it! When it was first completed the bowl was much rounder at the bottom, the bottom edge wasn't a sharp corner, but over time it has settled and now has a much squarer profile. I think this heavy little collection of shells that mr.5 picked up one day helped!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The ultimate Lego table

Okay so maybe 'ultimate' is a big call, but this 'Ikea hack' Lego table certainly fits the bill for our needs. My son has a lot of Lego. I know we all say things like that, but really he does. Not adult collector lots, but lots for your average 5 year old kid. Partly this is because we have most of the Lego my father collected for my brother and I when we were kids. Kind of disappointing we don't have all of it, we are missing crucial bits, like the trains for the old train set, and the track for the space train. Frustrating! But as our family moved so much really it's lucky we have any left.

With a new baby joining the family it became important to find a way to store and play with Lego that got it off the ground and behind toddler-proof doors. It also had to be large enough to hold all of the Lego. I don't subscribe to the 'chuck it all in a plastic tub' school of thought, I'm too anal for that. We keep each model in it's own ziplock bag, with the instructions and spare parts. Otherwise what's the point of buying models? Okay let's not go into that here! Ziplock bags aren't ideal, especially as for now they all just get shoved into the cupboards under the table. Another little problem to solve one day. We do have a lot of loose Lego, all of it vintage though. Is it just me or does old Lego seem so much harder to pull apart? Anyway for the loose Lego we actually have vintage Lego storage trays, which slide nicely into the shelves inside the cupboards.

There was already storage units from the Besta range in my sons room, so it seemed a good idea to adapt some Besta units for the job. Later we could pull the table apart and make shelves, or a long low entertainment unit, all we'd need would be the glass tops you can get for the Besta range. It seemed at first it was going to be a breeze, screw the units back to back, screw the elevated table top on (so you can slip large lego plates under for storing), of course nothing is ever so simple is it? There aren't many spots where there is solid material for screwing securely into. Under the short ends of the table we used aluminium plates (amazing what you find in the garage), 5mm thick, about 100mm wide, and about 5mm short either end of the length of the short side of the table. The wheels were attached through the plates, they still screwed in fine. Set behind the middle set of wheels, spanning side to side, is a plank of 18mm plywood. If anyone is keen I can provide better details on just how it all went together.

My husband was a total champ, figuring out the nuts and bolts of it after I brought home all the bits with very vague instructions as to how I saw it all working out. We are still to fit the child-proof catches  and push-openers, but we have a few months before the little one is mobile! Once he is pulling himself up on the furniture we'll have another set of challenges, the big one is used to leaving Lego out for days, weeks, on end, and that won't work with a little toddler around.

An unexpected bonus to having this table is I'm loving the limewashed top as a finish in my jewellery photos!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The big blue green yellow and grey crochet blanket

I love finishing a project! Unless of course I really don't want to finish it, like that scarf. Anyway this one I really did want to finish, and so here it is, all done. It is intended for my 5 year old but I'm having trouble letting go of it, so it's still out on the sofa. 

I wish I'd kept track of how much yarn and time has gone into it, but it was a fairly organic process. I started out intending to use up some yarn from my stash but have ended up with more than I started with! I'd originally wanted it to be mostly shades of yellow which proved incredibly hard to get hold of in cotton. Instead lots of blue and green and just a little yellow was added. Grey (Jo Sharp cotton in Fog) ended up being the background colour.

It is a basic crochet blanket, 140 granny squares, join-as-you-go joining method, with two very simple rounds at the end to edge it - one row of single crochet, one row of half double crochet. It is big enough to decorate a single bed, the last photo shows my husband holding it up, he isn't that tall, maybe 5'7", but as you can see the blanket is bigger than he is.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A week of food

One of the delicious new bakery treats I made this week!

I use a menu planner to keep the week from becoming just too absolutely hectic, and I'm sure many of you do too! However I do just throw the menu out at the end of each week, which is a shame really. It'd be useful to know which weeks worked well, which new recipes were a hit or a miss, and old menus could be useful when I'm having a total mental blank when faced with a new menu plan to fill in!

So here is this weeks plan. I only plan dinners, with the occasional new weekend breakfast or bit of baking thrown in.


Monday: Meatballs and pasta
Monday nights I'm exhausted, so this will be an easy dinner, with pre-made meatballs. I'll probably use a pre-made pasta sauce or tinned tomatoes and add some finely diced or grated vegetables to it.

Tuesday: Risotto or barley with chicken, red capsicum, onion and peas
This meal was planned to use up some bits and bobs left over from the week before! Tuesday is our shopping day.

Wednesday: Kedgeree
Cooked by the Mr, recipe from 'Slow Cookers' by Jane Price

Thursday: Pizza, homemade dough
Cooked by the Mr (I know, I'm a lucky girl!), he used our new pizza stone for the first time, I highly recommend getting one! He used the pizza dough recipe that came with the stone. Was fab.

Friday: Baked tuna casserole
I found the recipe here, pinned it here. See I do use the recipes I pin in Pinterest!

Saturday: Black bean tacos

Sunday: Chilli con carne sweet potato cottage pie
This is an adaptation of this recipe. I'm just turning it into a pie by adding sweet potato mash on top.

Other stuff

Bacon and fresh herb muffins, from 'Baking Day' by the Woman's Weekly, see photo above!

For breakfast this week I'm going to try this porridge recipe on the Healthy Chef website. No oats! Not that I have anything against oats, I love them, but looked interesting.

I'm also hoping to make another Pear cake, to refine my recipe, and I'm working on an adaptation of a muesli bar style slice that I hope to share soon.

So that's my week in food! Do you do a weekly menu plan? If you've blogged it please share!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pear and Oat Cake

Today I was in a baking mood, and had some lovely pears needing to be eaten. Pear cake! Perfect! We love a fruit based dessert here, and I knew a freshly baked dessert would make everybody here happy.

This recipe was based on my strawberry cake recipe, with slight modifications because I wanted to use pears, and have it be more of a dessert cake than a tea cake. Plus I love sticking rolled oats in things. It's an ad hoc recipe, and has only been tested once, if you decide to try it let me know how it goes!

Pear and Oat Dessert Cake
  • 100g of butter
  •  half cup of brown sugar
  • a quarter cup of golden syrup
  • half a cup of rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • one and a half cups of self raising flour
  • about third a cup of milk - as needed
  • two ripe william bartlett style pears
  • an extra tablespoon of rolled oats
  • raw sugar for sprinkling on top of cake before baking

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees, fan forced. Line a standard loaf tin with baking paper.

Soften the butter, mix it with the sugar. Add remaining ingredients except the milk and pear. Mix to combine, gradually start adding milk, until the consistency seems right. (Sorry about the vague instructions!)

Peel and roughly chop the pears into inch dice. Gently fold the pear through the mix, and tip into loaf tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with extra rolled oats and a sprinkle of raw sugar. Bake for about 60minutes, but keep an eye on it and check with skewer when it appears done. The skewer may not come out clean if you pierce a lump of pear! So check a couple of spots.

I intended this cake to be quite dense with fruit, quite 'desserty' so it was lovely served warm with a dollop of plain yoghurt.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

yellow still rocks

And because yellow still rocks we have our party 'theme' sorted. It's just got to be yellow. I've started to get preparations underway, although I think I should have got more done by now! Pretty sure I need way more straws too. A visit to Little Paper Lane helped my Loot Bag ideas crystallize, I picked up those snazzy little brown paper bags with windows and I'm going to make some tags to match the invite and sew them to the bag as I sew the top of the bag shut. I'll have to take a photo and show you that later, hope I'm making sense!

  1. Wooden forks for the fruit salad, from The Party Studio
  2. Biodegradeable gelato cups for the fruit salad, from The Bio Packaging Company on Ebay
  3. Adorable polka dot baking cups (not sure for what yet, chocolate crackles?) from The Party Studio
  4. Yellow stripey straws, from The Party Studio
  5. Mini yellow chevron snack bags for my smartie cookies, from The Party Studio
  6. Loot bags from Little Paper Lane
  7. Scalloped kraft paper baking cups for blueberry and apple oat muffins, from Little Betsy Baker


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