Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sew much to learn

I am on a mission to relearn how to sew clothes. Back in highschool I managed to turn out a fully boned, strapless black taffeta dress, complete with scalloped over skirt trimmed with fouffy taffeta bows.

Sadly there are no photos of me in that dress but a small part of me wishes I'd kept it as a reminder of what I could do. I didn't sit at a sewing machine again til I was in my late 20s - making a belly dancing costume. As you do.

Last year I got a new sewing machine for my birthday and I tackled my first quilt and a dress for Olive. Pinking all those seams drove me crazy - Olive refusing to wear said dress made me crazier!

Last month was my birthday so I picked out a second hand overlocker (only used twice!) and a dressmaking dummy. I ordered the awesome Colette  book and a beginners dress pattern from local indie designer Blue Ginger Doll. I picked out some gorgeous fabric and matching thread. I sensibly made a muslin (test dress out of calico) and was stumped - my boobs were NEVER going to fit in that dress!

So now I am doing a crash course in Full Bust Adjustments.

I am impatient. I want to make this dress so I can move onto shirtdresses. This is my goal - a wardrobe full of lovely, perfectly fitting shirtdresses.

In the mean time I'm going to convert a beloved cotton sundress that no longer fits my boobs into a swanky full skirt and leave the zipper in (thanks to some tips I picked up from Frocks and Frou Frou).


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Apple & Yoghurt muffins {Recipe}

From time to time I lose track of what's in the fruit bowl or vegetable crisper. Oranges go soft, beans sweat and grow fuzzy.... I feel guilty when I tos them into the compost.

This morning I spied four forlorn apples languishing at the bottom of the bowl. Determined not to relegate them to the worms, I decided to turn them into muffins.

There are a thousand or more muffin recipes out there and for me I prefer ones that use oil instead of butter. A dry muffin is a sad affair so you want to add moistness. In this case, yoghurt comes to the rescue.

I also like my fruit to be soft in the muffin once its cooked so I actually pre-cook it in the microwave first. Just peel, dice, pop into a microwave safe container and cover with a lid or a folded piece of paper towel. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes until tender. You'll be amazed how much apple-ier they taste than had you used raw apple pieces.

You could substitute the apple for chopped up plums or pears.

RECIPE: Apple and Yoghurt Muffins
Adapted from Plum & Yoghurt Muffin recipe by Allan Campion and Michelle Curtis

125ml sunflower oil (you could use vegetable or ricebran oil instead)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt (I use Greek yoghurt)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
2 large or 4 small apples - peeled, cored, diced and cooked as described above in microwave

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line muffin trays with paper cases - I made 16 muffins
  2. Mix together the sugar and flour in a large bowl and then toss through the apple pieces to coat.
  3. In a seperate bowl or jug, whisk together the eggs, oil and yoghurt/
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix together until just combined.
  5. Divide amongst muffin cases - filling 3/4 full.
  6. Bake approximately 20 mins or until cooked through when tested.
  7. Allow to sit in pan for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  8. Once cool, store in an airtight container for 2-3 days or wrap individually in small freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Clipping recipes - the great magazine cull

I started collecting food magazines about fifteen years ago. I was obsessed with food, cooking and the ins and outs of the Australian food scene.

Fast forward to late last year, the top shelf of Olive's wardrobe was groaning with back issues of Delicious, Donna Hay, Good Taste, Vogue Entertaining, Gourmet Traveller & Cuisine.

They were organised by title and season so I could pull out a set of Autumnal issues in March and seek inspiration. But truth be told, less and less of the recipes grabbed my interest. I'm not interested in cheffy tricks and complicated processes anymore. Nowadays I'm looking for quick, simple recipes that get me through the week and stand up to being reheated when Mr Di-licious comes home late from work.

Faced with the prospect of moving boxes and boxes of magazines that I hardly looked at anymore, I decided to get rid of them...but not before one last flick through in order to clip any recipes that still caught my eye.

I made a big dent in the pile but I still ended up moving boxes of them to our new place..three months ago.  This afternoon I pulled an armful down off the shelf and started clipping again.

I've found a stack of recipes using plums that'll come in handy next December - roasted plums & spiced plum chutney. An awesome sounding lavender jelly recipe and more cake recipes. The nicest surprise was finding notes scrawled in the margins of meals we loved 10 years ago. Unsurprisingly, they're the type of recipes I want to cook now. 

Of course clipping recipes is all well and good. Instead of shelves of magazines I now have multiple boxes of recipes waiting to be filed. A project for another day......