Sunday, 31 October 2010

Our last dinner with Donna Hay…

… at least for this week!

beef salad

That was the last day of the Donna Hay series. Beef, it is not something we eat often here. But yesterday I bought some serious Australian sirloin beef. I did not have to add any fat to cook it; it was so nicely marbled, and ended up so tasty. Tomatoes and cucumbers for the salad, sesame oil with garlic and chilli for the dressing – that turned out to be an excellent AND so healthy dinner.

Next week’s menus might feel quite dull after what we had.

To my Dear Readers, I promise as from tomorrow I will blog again about craft!

Chicken Yakitori

I would have loved to prepare some seafood or fish for Friday night, but J. does not really like fish or seafood. I therefore went for something that would please everybody. I also needed something that would be super fast to prepare; you have to understand that I had been to a hand-on chocolate workshop all afternoon.

The good thing with this recipe is that the preparation is so fast (also I bought my chicken thighs already filleted). You start with the sauce, and while you prepare the salad, the chicken is marinating in the sauce.

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15 minutes later, tada!… our dinner is ready.

The verdict: Should I really mention it?…

Friday, 29 October 2010

Donna Hay, 3rd take

Wednesday was our night out; P. took us to Marina Bay (if you ever come to S’pore, you cannot miss it: it is a hotel in the shape of a boat. It’s huge and it’s the tallest building in the City. From the top, you have a great 360-view). To come back to my story, no cooking for me yesterday.

Making a decision for tonight’s meal was not easy. As I read the recipes aloud to A., she chose the salmon with pea and feta couscous, but I was more tempted by the ‘crispy-skin salmon with chilli salt’. So I had to compromise: ‘crispy-skin salmon with chilli salt’ with Adamame beans and couscous and peas salad.

Here is our dinner in pictures:

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The verdict:

  • Another success. The salmon was sweet and hot all at once, and the couscous has always been one of the kids favourite.
  • The salmon was a tad too cooked.

Personal message to Donna Hay: “My family and I love you.”

I am not sure what it will be tomorrow. I will need something very light as I am going to a ‘chocolate workshop’, making truffles!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Day 2 with Donna Hay

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Yesterday, I’ve tried the ‘sticky pork fillet with shiitake mushrooms’ (minus the star anise which P. does not like). The preparation was fast and easy (especially when you have a rice-cooker, and somebody that prepares the rice for you!). No fancy ingredients, and being in S’pore the mushrooms are easy to find. Wrapped everything, put it in the oven, just enough time to set the table, and it was ready. I served it with stir fried asparagus and mushrooms to which I added a bit of oyster sauce.


The verdict:

  • 110% success: everybody loved it, the parcel paper was almost eaten too, no grain of rice was left behind, and V. almost ate all his mushrooms.

We’ve got a keeper.

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PS1: I know my place mats look a bit dated, but I cannot give them away; my aunty offered them to me when I first started working

PS2: New year’s resolution, MUST take photography lessons.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Cooking my week with donna hay magazine

You’ve probably seen or read or heard about ‘Julie and Julia’.  I have seen the movie which I very much enjoyed, and partially read the book which I did not enjoy as much.

Although I like the idea of experiencing with each recipe, I am not that ambitious, and I have a family to feed, and no life crisis to cure (done that already).  So I am not going to cook every single recipe from Julia Child.  At the moment, I am more interested in Donna Hay and her magazine.  And I love the October issue : ‘Sweet as spring’.

I’ve decided that this week I will make my way through ‘donna hay magazine’.  Again, I am not that ambitious, and will restrict myself to the evening meals, 5 to be precise (NSAH2 might take me out at the end of the week, and Sunday, I will improvise with what’s left in the fridge – I should really change my grocery shopping day).

So, first dinner, ‘herb crumbed snapper’ (p70 if you have the magazine).  I bought some red snappers and had them filleted.  I served the fillets with cabbage and carrots stir-fried (the kids do not like rocket).  I replaced the parsley with Chinese parsley.

The verdict:

  • on the children’s side: they did not like it, too spicy!
  • on the adults’ side: we loved it.  Although I might put fewer herbs next time, we enjoyed the combination of flavours.

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Friday, 22 October 2010

1, 2, 3 and 4 (almost) done

Yes, I’ve done 4 Candle mats so far.  The pattern is easy, fast and I find that doing 2 at a time allows me to use a wider variety of fabrics while minimising my ‘leftovers’.   I need to add embellishment, choose the backing (one piece, or pieced?), then quilt them (machine or hand?).

Here are the lovelies:

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If you want to see more Candle mats from the swat, go and visit the flickr group.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

On the impact of S’pore’s weather on my children (!)

Yesterday, I took the kids shopping.  We are going to China (to be precise, we HOPE – but this is another story) next week-end.  On Friday, I’ve asked V. to try on his trousers, long-sleeved shirts, jumpers… and guess what, everything he tried on is going to the Salvation Army; nothing fitted, not even his underwear (I should probably say no more – I am not supposed to embarrass anybody on my blog).

So first stop, Gap.  For those of you who do not know me, I would say I am quite a nice person, polite, smiling, but I DO NOT like it when the sales assistant ‘jumps’ on me the minute I start looking at a display, and it is what happened at Gap.  The story goes like that:

Me, to the Sales Assistant, while looking at jeans in the adult section: “Please, could you help me with the size for my son?

Sales Assistant: “How old is your son?”

Me: “13”

Sales Assistant: “So you should go to the kids department.”

Me: “My son is as tall as you, do you dress in the kids department?'”

Then the kids started ‘Mum!’-me with embarrassed laughs.  I have a friend who says “Do not mess with the old women”, she is right, DON’T, we might bite.

Anyway, after the shock of having to re-dress V. from head to toes (Yes, socks too), I bought J. her first pair of shoes in the adult section.  OK, Asian ladies tend to have smaller feet, but it is a size 36!  So in the end, after a couple of hours of rambling, we came back with shoes for J. and A. (not on the list), skinny jeans and T-shirt for A. (not on the list either), and for V. jeans, shirt, sweatshirt, boxers, socks and bag-pack (his actual one look ridiculously small on his back! and the girls at school have mentioned it).

I cannot believe how much those 3 have grown in the past months.  When we moved in Singapore, a year ago, I started measuring the children and recording their progress on the utility room wall.  See what the hot weather does to their bodies:

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This one was a little girl when we arrived, she is now wearing adult shoes.

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This one was a nice teen, she is now thinking about University (and she is still a nice young lady).

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What can I say on this one? Soon I will be the smallest one in the household. And it is not only height, but muscles, voice, facial hair…

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Red, White and Lime

IMGP8993 Working on my Candle mat: red, white and lime.

I don’t usually wash my fabrics before working with them; I like the crispy feeling of unwashed fabric, I find it easier to cut and work with. But, we all know that you cannot trust reds. So I dipped them in vinegary water. I wish I took pictures, the water went bright fuchsia, even after 3 rinses. Next thing I did was to add a piece of white fabric to my ‘guilty’ red fabric, then more water, more vinegar, and I let it soak, went shopping, went to my Cello lesson, went and had lunch with J. When I came back the water was still pink (a lighter shade though), but my white was still white. Is it safe to assume that this red is now usable? I do not feel 100% confident yet, and therefore will decide later to include it or not.

Now some progress pictures:

CIMGP8982Cutting the triangles for the centres

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Centres assembled

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Almost there

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And YES, this is my bed. And YES, this is where I am going to sleep tonight, but P. (aka NSAH2never stay at home husband) is not around,
so might just push things a bit and remove any dangerous tools.

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Disapproving LaoShi

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Almost there! (I do not know why LaoShi is upset)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Inspiration

Before I start, I hope you won’t mind to much if this blog is slipping away from its original subject.  I realise that Quilting has given way to Knitting, Cooking, Non Crafted related subjects.  Sorry about this, and I hope you still enjoy the visit (if not for my blog, at least for the link to those fantastic crafters from around the world).

image I am a fan and a follower of Clover Lane blog.  I love the way Sarah speaks about motherhood: not in a rosy way, not is a crappy way, but she makes me see, if not always appreciate, what I have.  Motherhood is a full time job, I considered quitting so many times, to often I forget that I should dedicated the time I have with my kids to them and not think about what I would do if they would stop asking for this or that.

What I like with Clover Lane blog, is the fact that she has rules, rules to support her values (here one more post I love).  She has her ups and downs like all of us, she has weaknesses and strengths.  One of them being organised.

I stole this idea from her: making a diary/day-by-day recap of the kids activities.  They have been laminated, so we can add notes with a white-board pen.  OK, now my fridge looks less than tidy, but I think I can live with it, if it helps the children to be more organised.

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And just have a look at these posts from Sarah: a series of Q/A – so inspiring.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Project B I G L O V E - an update

I am knitting like mad (almost!), but I love this project. The name was initially a joke, but now I can guarantee that there’s love in every single stitch. The back is done up to the raglan, and I have started the front (half of the ribbing is done).

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And because I can not do only one thing at a time, I’ve knitted this.

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