Monday, June 28, 2010

what's for dinner?

I discovered this morning just how mischievous my precious little poppet can be. 'We' made Anzac biscuits this morning. I'd just put them on the cooling rack and turned my back, then turned around again to discover a little person scurrying off and an empty spot where a warm, soft biscuit had been just moments earlier. Hmmm. At least I know she'll eat them!

I've decided to try to bake at least once a week so we have some homemade snack options for when the sweet craving kicks in. Today was my first attempt in a while at Anzacs, and I think I'll be trying a few more recipes before I find one I'm happy with. This one has too much flour and not enough oats. But they're still yummy!
Last week was not quite, but close to, a dismal failure in terms of sticking to the menu plan. I need to remember that I'm sick of bacon and leek pilaf (takeaway was a far more attractive option on the night, especially when I realised the pizza shop I've been hanging out for is now open!), and when I go on a crazy fast trip to Adelaide for 36 hours, I really don't have the energy to cook the next night, let alone source the missing vegetables. (Fish & chips was the fallback. Yummy, but not really part of the plan.) We're trying to stick to a Takeaway-once-a-month rule which survived the pizza but got trashed at the fish & chips. Hopefully we'll do better next month!

This week, I get to play single parent for four nights (fun, not), and a very good friend who taught me to crochet is coming from Perth to stay with us for a week on Wednesday. While the single parenting thing is something I'm not overly good at (cough), I'm really looking forward to seeing my friend! This is what (I hope) we'll be eating...

Monday: Vegetable & barley soup, take 2 (Everyday in the Kitchen, p. 35)
Tuesday: Frittata (my recipe, here)
Wednesday: Chicken with mustard sauce
Thursday: Pasta bake
Friday: Pot-roasted pork (delicious, July '10, p. 53)
Saturday: Madras Beef Curry (The Essential Asian Cookbook, p. 226)
Sunday: Welsh Rarebit

I also hope to make a Callum-from-MasterChef-inspired Chocolate and Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert sometime this week (as done so here)!

What are you making this week?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A dishcloth

During a flying 36 hour visit to Adelaide (with 18 month old in tow - will rethink timeframes next time...), I managed to find time to crochet most of a dishcloth. It was the perfect project for the trip: nice and small with a simple, easy to memorise pattern.

I finished it this afternoon, so it can go into circulation straight away!

Pattern: Tulip Stitch dishcloth, here.
Yarn: approx 40g Mission Falls worsted weight cotton
Hook size: 3.5mm

Ravelled here.

I've recently decided I need several more dishcloths, so there may be a few more made here over the next few months!

Monday, June 21, 2010

what's for dinner?

Dinners last week were a combination of brilliant successes and slight disappointments. The moroccan-style seafood stew was magic, and if it works again next time I'll post the recipe! On the other hand, the chicken & peanut stir fry was not up to the same standard as the first time we had it. Still nice, but just nice, not amazing. And I managed to steam up the cups and glasses cupboard with red curry paste fumes, so that every cuppa I made for the next few days tasted disconcertingly of red curry paste. Hmmm.
On my top 10 list of brilliant recipe books. I love it.

This week, pancetta pasta is making a repeat appearance due to morphing into puttanesca pasta instead last week. The planned visit to the deli didn't happen (it's hard to make pancetta pasta if you don't have any pancetta), but hopefully it will happen today! At least having had a plan last week (and a growing awareness of what's in my fridge and pantry) meant that it wasn't too complicated to come up with an alternative on the spot. Normally we probably would have ended up with takeaway!

This week in our house:

Monday: Pancetta pasta (my recipe, here)
Tuesday: Hmmm*
Wednesday: Leek & bacon pilaf (delicious Feb '05, p. 78)
Thursday: Moroccan beef stew (Marie Clare Cooking, p. 98) Hopefully with leftovers for the freezer
Friday: Out
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Vegetable & barley soup (Every Day in the Kitchen, p. 35) Hopefully with leftovers for the freezer

What's being eaten in your house this week?

*This Tuesday is our regular fortnightly dinner with friends, and we're on dessert. Unfortunately, last week one of them discovered he was lactose and fructose intolerant, and he loves good food, so it really is quite distressing for him! Obviously, now dessert needs to be lactose and fructose free. Any ideas??

Sunday, June 20, 2010

two things

Flowers for me, from me.
After a brainless mummy moment that involved leaving my favourite necklace within reach of inquisitive little fingers, I needed a bit of cheering up. Today the house is filled with the perfume of jonquils. Nice.

And something I've been meaning to show you for a while:
These lovely hand-dyed yarns are from Knitted Wit. I was fortunate enough to win these in a giveaway recently. Each skein is 25g of fingering weight yarn, just waiting to be made into something special. What would you make?

LoraJean has very recently had a baby so things are a bit quiet in her corner of blogland at the moment, but she has gorgeous yarn that she sells in her Etsy shop!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My creative space

This was last night.*

This is today.*

I really hate frogging things, but it was too long (due to me not following instructions properly... how unusual!). So rather than stick my head in the sand and pretending it will be fine (it won't), it's been pulled out and restarted.

It WILL be a Michelle version of the Leonie shrug, which I think will be perfect for keeping me warm this winter while making way for my ever expanding belly.

Gah! At least having started it once already, I know that it will come together really quickly! I'm giving myself 2 weeks, with not too many opportunities for crafty distractibility....

Lots of craftiness can be found over at Kootoyoo today. Go and check it out!

*Same yarn, different light. The true colour is somewhere in between.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's for dinner?

Last week's menu didn't go quite according to plan. Minestrone was substituted by pumpkin soup from the freezer after a seriously sleep deprived night of single parenting that made wielding a knife somewhat dangerous, and Saturday's meatloaf was so good that the leftovers were eaten on Sunday! (See that sticky glaze on the bottom of the pan? It was like a homemade barbeque sauce. Yum, yum, yum. Meatloaf will definitely be back on the menu before too long.)
Nothing festered in the bottom of the fridge, though. The veges for the soup were to be bought on Wednesday (so I didn't), and the chicken for Sunday night stayed in the freezer. Freezers are a wonderful invention!

The soft pork tacos were surprisingly good, especially when I was generous with the lime dressing, and my vegetarian variation of my frittata recipe was yummy (left out the bacon, added chopped kalamata olives and topped it with roasted cherry tomatoes). So all in all, a sucessful, flexible menu with no additional trips to the supermarket.

This week, we managed to get to the farmer's market on Saturday, so we've got lots of yummy veges to munch through. We will also have my Mum staying with us for the second half of the week. Here's what I expect we'll be eating.

Monday: Pea and Ham Soup (from freezer)
Tuesday: Chicken & Peanut Noodle Stir Fry (MasterChef mag, p.38) Yes, again. It's really yummy!
Wednesday: Pancetta pasta (my recipe, here)
Thursday: Spinach, Brie & Mushroom Freeform Pie (Delicious July 2010, p. 108)
Friday: Beef stew (from freezer)
Saturday: Fish stew (based on Moroccan Fish Stew in Everyday in the Kitchen, p. 178)
Sunday: Scrambled Eggs

Next week, I need to plan a couple of meals to restock the freezer...

What will be on your dinner table this week?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Please sit down...

...I don't want you to fall over.

I finished something! And not only did I finish something, I finished something knitterly! Does that mean I can legitimately start calling myself a knitter rather than just someone who plays at being a knitter?

Started Friday afternoon and finished today, this is a super-easy toddler beanie from Michelle at twoandsix.

It's knitted in a provisionally cast on long rectangle and joined using kitchener stitch. I've found this explanation very helpful for getting my head around this grafting technique.

It has an i-cord type of trim around the brim, and has a single seam along the top.

I like it a lot. It was quite popular with the recipient, too, who refused to take it off after I put it on her in an attempt to take some pictures. If only she would keep still!

Pattern: Pea-green Beanie by twoandsix
Yarn: Patons Wilderness in blue (about half a ball)
Time to knit: 2 days, on and off, which is considerably longer than the 2 hours it took Michelle to knit the prototype, but unbelievably fast for me!!

Ravelled here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

my creative space

We're in the midst of a crisis*. Sometime over the last week, my husband discovered that his favourite slippers ever...
...had developed a rather large hole!!
The question is: Can it be fixed? They're felted slippers from somewhere (can't quite remember where) that are really cozy and warm. The hole seems to have developed in the fabric near the join to the sole (but not in the seam) along the toe line. I'm stumped. I'd love to fix them but don't know where to start!

What do you suggest? Can they be saved, or should we just decommission them and relegate them to the dress-up box?
Find lots of creating going on over at Kootoyoo!

*In the loosest sense of the word. Possibly a mild (cough) overstatement.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Self sowing?

My post-exam celebrations were supposed to involve lots of knitting, but someone of the small variety has had other ideas. And the list of cleaning jobs is getting so long it can no longer be ignored! I have managed a few rows, but maybe tonight's the night!

We're in the process of getting our winter vege patch going, and added a whole lot of our own compost to the garden bed a few weeks ago. Along with several varieties of weed, there seem to have been several seeds waiting in the compost for just this moment, and we've got things springing up everywhere! But apart from the tomatoes, we don't really know what the other things are. Can you help?
I think this (above) is probably some kind of broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage thing. Do you have any other ideas? (The thing up the top on the left is spinach that I planted on purpose. And it came up! Woo hoo!!)

I'm wondering whether this one's a pumpkin or zucchini or something. Do you know?

The other question is about what to do with them. Knowing our luck, they'll all be summer veges, so I'm assuming that means pull them out (like I plan to do with the 57 tomato seedlings that have come up). BUT, if they're winter veges, is it silly or prudent to transplant them into a more appropriate place (than in the middle of the spinach)? Or are self-sown veges just a disappointment waiting to happen?

Monday, June 7, 2010

What's for dinner?

Things have been a bit quiet here over the last week or so, but as of this afternoon, things are looking up. I sat a church history exam this morning, and any available time has been taken up either by study or by doing all those 'necessary' things that suddenly become essential when you have something like an exam to study for! Needless to say, this week's meal plan has only just been done.

Before I get onto that, a quick update on last week. No extra visits to the supermarket required! Yippee! Cathy wisely suggested keeping a running shopping list on the fridge, which we already do, but often things aren't added until they're all gone, which is often a bit late! Something else to work on...

A couple of recommendations from last week: Firstly, if you can get hold of the first MasterChef magazine, the Chicken & Peanut Noodle Stir-fry is simply magnificent. So much so that I nearly cooked it again the next night! Even my 18 month old thought it was great. The recipe also has possible modifications if you want to make a vegetarian version involving tofu. I think I'll try that option sometime, too!

Secondly, T, who is a bit addicted to american style ribs, thought that Gary's Ribs (which T cooked, very well) were the best he's ever had. Which says a lot. So if you're even vaguely inclined, give them a go! Just one note: we used about 1/4 of the chilli powder the recipe called for, used regular rather than hot mustard powder in the sauce AND left out the jalapeno, and it was still bordering on a little too spicy for my very spice tolerant toddler (and me if I'm being honest), but, Oh. My. Goodness. They were REALLY good.

So what's the plan this week?

Monday: Roasted eggplant pasta (my basic tomato sauce with roasted eggplant added)
Tuesday: Chinese Chicken Wings (based on a Charmaine Solomon recipe)
Wednesday: Minestrone (my version)
Thursday: Soft Pork Tacos (MasterChef mag, p. 104)
Friday: Vege Frittata (my recipe with mods)
Saturday: Meatloaf (The Thrifty Kitchen, p. 129)
Sunday: Chicken Pilau (delicious June 10, p. 114)

What are you eating this week?