Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shopping again...

Did a bit of shopping at the Basement the past fortnight!
Some of my new supplies... wonder how I'll use them lol!

Glitter Beads (6 for $2.50)

Metal photo corners ($1.25)

Paper clips ($1.25)

Shaker Stickers ($1.00)

Also bought some new books ^^
The reviews are mostly my first impression, I haven't actually made anything from them!

Gourmet Crochet
Christen Haden (lol, makes me think of Star Wars) and Mariarosa Sala

I've seen this book on Amazon and it looked like it would be really cute, but since I can't actually crochet, I just took a quick glance as the book came up on the related/recommended titles. It was on sale so I couldn't help adding it to the pile >_<

The book itself is quite thin, about 80 pages but it has quite a few projects placed under different menu/food type categories e.g. fruit salad, vegetable dip, sushi platter, dim sums, cheese board. I found the sushi and the wedding cake to be the cutest designs. Some of the items only work in context of the whole menu so they just look like random crocheted blobs like the cheese and some of the veggies. The first few pages contain some notes about simple stitches.

Paper Pop Up
Dorothy Wood

This book was more the syle of craft I'm used to - card design! I haven't made anything from it yet but I've already bookmarked the wedding cake card (orginally I wrote wedding card cake here!! O_O) for an upcoming event. It's pretty cool, when you push down on the knife in the cake, hearts pop out of the top of the cake!

The book itself has three matching crafts/designs per theme, such as birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Graduation etc! They're not all cards so it's a versatile book although there are some designs I'd be less likely to use because I don't make craft for those occasions or it's not something that would be kept for further use e.g. some of the boxes. There is also a great section at the back showing additional ideas to adapt the cards for other occasions! For example, the card I mentioned before...

The Chinese Kitchen
Deh-Ta Hsiung (foreword by Ken Hom)

I wasn't planning to buy too many Chinese cookbooks but I happened to pick this book up (someone left it in the craft section) and I quite liked it because it went through ingredients used in Chinese cooking and talked about its manufacture, use and storage as well as giving an accompanying recipe. There was a brief section in the front regarding kitchen tools though not as extensive as the one in my Japanese Food book, although I originally bought this book for the similarities on how the ingredients were addressed. Not your standard cookbook (although it does contain around 200 XD) but a good resource guide!

The decorative art of Japanese Food Carving
Hiroshi Nagashima

Ok, it doesn't teach you how to make those giant watermelon artworks but this book is a great resource in using foods to make elegant (and usually edible) garnishes to complement your dishes. There are a few notes on colour coordination and it's not only about putting pretty swirls and designs on top of the food but also has a section on using limes and cucumbers as a base for the food, e.g. a lime food cup.

It's quite a small book, less than 100 pages which drew some criticism (on the Amazon reviews) but I found it to be a really nice book and great introduction to adding some flair to dishes. Some designs do take extra effort, but there are lots of quick and easy garnishes to learn! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Garden to Table cooking - preserving

Last weekend I went to a free community workshop held by the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living. It was designed for reducing food wastage by using your home grown fruits and veggies by preserving them in recipes. The workshop was taught by a chef (I didn't catch his name but he teaches the Thai cooking classes at Macarthur Community college!) and he went through four different recipes as well as giving tips on sterilising jars.

We were taught how to make strawberry jam, mint jelly, lemon curd and tomato concasse (which is good as pasta sauce and in casseroles), in previous workshops he taught tomato relish but figured that with winter coming on, we might prefer a sauce based recipe.

It was a nice cool day and pleasant to sit watching him cook in the afternoon light, we were also able to get up when we wanted to watch the stove at the back and sampled the mint jelly and tomato concasse. As a lovely surprise, at the end of the workshop, we were given raffle tickets and given a free jar to take home, turns out I was called first =D so I picked up a fresh jar of lemon curd and my sister chose the tomato relish, which he had prepared before the workshop.

For some tips that I learnt at the workshop and some recipes, there is a more detailed post at Curious Chopstix.

(The cloud that looked like a whale...)

Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living
1 Mount Annan Drive
Mount Annan NSW 2567
Phone (02) 4647 9828

Workshops and other great information can be found on their website or in local newspapers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

chocolate time

I was supposed to bake carrot cupcakes today but all I did was measure the dry ingredients because I realised I didn't have enough eggs XD Just needed another one! I've found myself in this situation before when I was making the double chocolate cupcake from taste.com.au. In that situation, I sat down and ate sadly some oreos when I came across the idea of looking up egg alternatives to use... I finally decided on:

2 eggs = 1 banana + 1 tsp baking powder

In the end, it was a good combo as the chocolate and banana complemented each other well. I did try the original recipe later on with an oreo base but that was a fail -_-. I also haven't made it with the icing as it doesn't get too dry with the banana added in (and I can never seem to get the icing right XD) so really it turned out to be chocolate muffins rather than double chocolate cupcakes ;)

I did end up making edamame hummus today from my Just Bento Cookbook, the flavour is a bit strange 'cause I'm not sure I measured the ingredients right or maybe because chickpeas and edamame are just too different, but it's still edible =D On the website, there is the standard hummus recipe!

Well, with that egg I do have, I could probably use it in her mini-hamburger recipe instead, since I bought the mince meat already... that is if someone doesn't eat the egg XD

This is the original choc cupcake photo linked from the site, looks so different from mine huh XD

Monday, May 16, 2011

Autumn draws to a close and we welcome the white snow...

With both blogger and my internet down, I haven't been able to work on posts... and I also started a new food blog with my friend Penguin which has taken up some of my time XD

http://curiouschopstix.blogspot.com/ TA-DAA!!!

Other than that, last weekend I made Japanese cold green tea somen noodles with dipping sauce :) I should have made carrot cake muffins today but ended up being too lazy because of the cold weather (you would think I'd want to use an oven) but I will make it tomorrow earlier in the day ^_^ I wanted to make red velvet cupcakes but the Coles I went to ran out of 600ml buttermilk
and only had the 1L which I didn't want to buy!

On another note, here is one of the cards I made for one of the volunteer coordinators who left last year.

It is quite simple, made with an origami flower and then decorated with ribbon, a ladybug, rub-ons, stickers and rhinestones. I mentioned that another card was also sort of based on it.

I really like this sticker too, I bought a set of them from Riot! Art & Craft and since they are clear stickers, they are quite versatile on different coloured cardstock :).

I should really get more rub-ons like that or maybe a more delicate stamp with a similar flowing design, as the stamps I have now have quite thick swirls.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

let's fly out of this world ---Saturn---

I was at the Sydney Observatory for two days during the Easter school holidays helping with the kid's workshop activity to make models of Saturn! It was basically made of recycled CDs and two halves of a styrofoam ball glued together, quite fun! The person in charge said he had a hard time finding the styrofoam balls, apparently he raided many Spotlight stores!

So what you do is cut the styrofoam ball in half (first time I have used a hacksaw, I was actually using it incorrectly which is why the "halves" weren't equal)... using a toothpick, stick one in the flat /cut styrofoam and using that and glue, stick it to the CD. Then DECORATE!!!

Here are my creations ^^

My colleague's creation...

My own mix of a light orange paint XD

Some of the ones made by the kids!

The second time I went there by myself so I went to sit in the sun before the workshop started and took some photos :)

Some of the flowers from the garden

The time ball is dropped everyday at approximately 1.00 PM

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Craft Punk - in the loop @ Powerhouse Museum

Yesterday Sodalis and I went to Craft Punk - in the loop at the Powerhouse Museum which was a craft weekend with various drop-in workshops with textiles, thread, knitting related craft :) It was the first time it was held in what is planned to be a series or quaterly craft weekends.

We went straight to the Turbine Hall and took a look at what was available, there were several tables for learning about bobbin lace, crochet and knitting, a workshop about to start which was making a doily and looked to involve both crochet and cross stitch. On the wall was a giant artwork made of plastic bags where the public could contribute by following the colour grid. In the transport area were several tables circled around the exhibit for kids to learn about knitting, french knitting and paper weaving as well as a spectacular set of giant knitting needles and a giant french knitting loom.

We headed over to the crochet table but there wasn't anyone available at the time so we headed over to the wrap knitting. Since S knows how to knit already, one of the lovely ladies showed me how to knit the square by transferring the wool between the needles and I somehow managed three rows.Although I did need help with the stitch increases in each row. We had a great time chatting to another one of the ladies as we knitted and I somehow created a button hole in my knitting which she corrected.

The knitting was actually run by a volunteer run charity organisation Wrap With Love who knit, crochet etc and collect completed wraps from all over Australia to be sent to perople suffering from cold and trauma. They are a fantastic organisation and also have an annual knit-in at Ultimo with 702 ABC Sydney which is approaching its tenth year.

Powerhouse Museum - What's On: Craft Punk

Wrap With Love