Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quilt number 2

Always satisfying to finish a project, especially when you have several others requiring attention.  Mr Maker is away at the moment so its a perfect opportunity to bang out a few projects; an evening sewing with the radio on (or trash TV) is my idea of relaxation.

Onwards and upwards.....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What to do with those courgettes (zucchinis)

First of the season in June
Most people I know who grow veggies grow courgettes. Most people I know who grow courgettes have an abundance (note to self; 2 plants are plenty for our family). Fortunately we all like them in their basic form - sautéed, griddled or steamed however to have a few recipes up your sleeve is great for when the glut kicks in and those lurking under the leaf canopy turn into bloated beasts.

Courgette or marrow pakora
2 cups of finely chopped marrow
2 small red onions chopped
2 green chillies chopped (more if you want them hotter)
3 cups of gram flour
approx 1 1/2 cups of water
handful of chopped curry leaves
Pinch of salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp gram masala

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Stir in the onion and marrow.  Gradually add the water to the flour mixture until a stiff batter forms.  You may not need all of the water.  Leave for 30 mins.

Heat oil (I used peanut oil) to just smoking point. We shallow fried so had about 3" depth of oil. Drop about a tablespoon of mixture into the oil and turn frequently until golden on all sides. Drain on paper towel and scoff.

Courgette chocolate cake
120g butter
125ml sunflower oil
100g castor sugar
200g soft brown sugar
3 eggs beaten
130ml milk
350g plain flour
2tsp baking powder  
4 tbsp cocoa
450g courgettes finely grated
1tsp vanilla 

Grease and line a 20 x 35cm tin.  Preheat oven to 180oC. Grate the courgettes first, draining off any excess liquid.

Mix the butter, oil and sugars until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time then the milk to the fats and sugar.  Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa together then fold into the mixture.  Stir in the courgettes and vanilla.

Spoon into the tin. Bake for 25-35mins until firm on the top and skewer comes out clean.  Cut into squares whilst still warm. It is a variation of carrot cake, moist and delicious!

This picture is from the Little Green blog as I forgot to take a picture of my finished cake!

Smashed courgette dip
This is a Jamie Oliver recipe

extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1-2 small red dried chillies crumbled 
(or fresh red if you have them in your garden)
Jamie says 6-8 small courgettes cut into chunks - I say use as many as you need to use up
salt & pepper
handful of mint, chopped
juice of one lemon

Put a good dash of olive oil into a hot pan and fry the garlic and chilli for a few minutes.  Add the courgettes and stir to coat them.  

Turn the heat down to low and put a lid on the pan.  Leave them for a good 30mins, giving them a shake now and then so they don't stick on the bottom. When the courgettes are really soft and mostly broken up take them off the heat.  Add a good dash of olive oil, lemon juice & mint.  Give them a taste, they may need more S&P and a chopped fresh chilli if you like things hot.  Serve with pitta chips or toasted bread.

Our courgette plants are coming to the end of their life so these recipes will not come out again for another year. I like that; I think you call it seasonal cooking.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mini quiches

My eldest had her first day of Kindergarten today and I am pleased to report all went well.  She has lunch at school (at the ridiculously early time of 11.06).  I have been trying to come up with lunch items that will withstand the morning in a lunch bag hanging outside in the 40oC sun. No tuna sandwiches here thank you! We are trying mini quiches this week which is actually something I used to make for them as toddlers (good finger food).  They freeze well, then I pop them in a pot in her lunch box frozen so by lunch they are nicely chilled.

Mini quiches
Makes about 12

4oz plain flour
4oz self raising
4oz butter 
pinch of salt

knob of butter
1 onion finely chopped
large handful of grated cheese
dash of milk
3 eggs beaten

350F (180oC) oven

First make the pastry, I always do mine in the Magimix.  Cut up the butter into small knobs and add to flour.  Blend flour and butter until it forms a crumbly texture.  Add cold water until the mixture comes together and forms a ball.  Wrap the pastry in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped onion.  Leave over a low heat with a lid on until the onion is soften (at least 15mins).  Try to leave it to cool a little before you need it.  Grate the the cheese and put to one side & whisk up the eggs in a bowl.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured work surface (you may want wait a few minutes to make rolling out easier).

As you can see mine cracked round the edges. Don't worry about that you can keep collecting it up and re rolling. I used the wine glass as a pastry cutter as couldn't find mine.  Put the pastry discs into a greased tin. I used my muffin tin this time so they were a bit more substantial for lunches but normally I would use a mince pie tin.  Next add the filling.

Onion first then cheese and finally the egg mixture.  I use a turkey baster to add the egg as you don't want to over fill.  

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they are golden on top & the pastry is cooked through.  Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

They are lovely warm, but as I said I freeze them when cool and they are just as good cold (or reheated).
You can add all sorts of other fillings - ham, peppers, courgette or sweetcorn.

I'm thinking savoury muffins for the next weeks lunches....

New baby gift

Finally I have finished the gift for my friends new baby who is now over a month old. I am not sure what took me so long; I am normally very prompt with my new baby gifts! The delay was partly due to my indecision on what to make for her.   I have done blankets in past, this one & this crochet one and bunnies but as my friend is a good sewer and her Mum even better (she's made the baby a quilt) I thought those options were out.  I spent a week or so toying with the idea of a mobile like these I saw on Pinterest but then this pin sparked an idea....

And here it is! Not quite sure what to call it? I finished it last night so no pictures I'm afraid, but I will take you through step by step, recipe style.

You will need:
  • fabric scraps
  • photo frame of choice
  • freezer paper
  • printer
  • scissors
  • sewing machine or needle & thread
  • fabric glue
  • Fray Check
First draw and cut out your letters. I ended up doing them free hand (as you can probably see!) but you could print out a template & trace them. Coat the edges with fray check.
Work out the text you want to use in Word, I decided on birth details.  Next cut a piece of fabric & freezer paper to fit the size of your printer (mine was A4). Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the back of the fabric. This will bond the freezer paper to the fabric and give the printer something to hold onto. Feed fabric into printer, make sure you work out which way round it has to go before you print (mine was fabric faced down). Then print text onto fabric.
I spent a little while fiddling about with the positioning of the letters then when I had it right I secured them with a dab of fabric glue before sewing them on. I also glued the fabric to the back of the frame to hold it all in place.

Welcome to the world baby Summer xx