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11  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Yummy sugar-free vegan currant loaf/muffins on: November 27, 2010 10:29:04 PM

This recipe is super yummy, simple, cheap and acceptable to all omnivores I've tried it on.

This might not be the most attractive photo, but I assure you it's very tasty. Quite muffiny in texture.

1 cup boiling water
1 tea bag. Any sweet herbal tea/infusion will do. I use Lipton cranberry, raspberry and strawberry infusion.
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup dried currants

Make a strong cup of tea with the water. Put the teabag in a bowl and put the crurrants on top and then pour the tea mixture over. Let this sit overnight or at least 6 hours. Mix in the self raising flour and bake 180c for 30 minutes (for a log tin, less for muffins).

That's it. Simple, huh?

Here's the tea I use: http://brandcom.unilever.com/b2Public/lipton/au_en/product/realCategories/LiptonHerbalInfusions/LiptonCranberryRaspberryStrawberryHI/detailsPar/fullsizeImage/lipton_berry.png
12  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Martial arts swap on: September 01, 2010 04:48:59 PM
Anyone interested in a martial arts swap?

We could make gear bags, mouthguard covers, martial arts themed crafts, embellished towels, water bottle covers...

I do karate, and know little about other martial arts, so maybe other people could contribute some ideas.
13  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / fleece backed blue quilt on: June 13, 2010 05:37:58 PM
This quilt is made from marble dyed cotton with a super soft grey fleece backing. I'm in a hurry, so I can't say much more.  Cheesy

14  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Snack Swap on: March 30, 2010 01:54:36 AM
So, in the craft kit swap there was some chat about having a snack swap. It would involve sending some snacks not available in your partner's country/region and some crefty goody.

So, what isn't available in your region?
What is available in your region that might not be elsewhere?
And, what crafty goodies can you think of?

My ideas are:
Australia has
-Tim Tams (choc biscuits)
-Starburst sweets/lollies
-Violet Crumble (Choc coated honeycomb bars)
-Pollywaffle bars
-Choo choo bars
-Eucalyptus drops (boiled candy - eucalyptus flavour)
-Caramello Koala
-Cherry Ripe bars
-Bertie Beetle chocolate
-Iced vo-vos
-Cheds biscuits
-Tee vee snacks
-Wagon Wheels

Australia doesn't have (or are difficult to find)
-Jolly Ranchers
-Reeses Peanut butter cups (but I think they're foul!)
-Candy corn
-Three musketeers
-Pixie sticks
-Junior Mints
-Altoids (they need to be purchased from an imports shop)
-Hot tamales
-Double decker
-Lion Bar
-Star Bar

Craft ideas
-snack bowls
-reuseable snack bags
15  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) - Lotsa pics on: December 18, 2009 08:29:39 AM

So, here's how to make the standard dish of Northern China. My delightful assistants (and one I call the dumpling master) are students at the Chinese university I teach at.

We made both these mixtures and ended up with over 100 dumplings. The 4 of us stuffed ourselves for lunch and another student and I will polish them off for dinner. Somehow 4 of us cooked all this in a Chinese university apartment kitchen.

Mushroom and cabbage filling
(I made this one because I am vegetarian)
A pile of mushrooms, diced finely or put through the food processor, about 4 cups diced so you need a generous amount
About 1/3 large Chinese cabbage, diced very finely or put through the food processor
1-2 tbs ginger grated finely
splash of soy sauce (about 1-2 tbs I suppose)
1/2 packet of dumpling seasoning mix (Asian grocer - or substitute with powdered spices and whatever to your liking, about 2 tbs in total)

You can use heaps of different fillings with cabbage being the key binding ingredient. Other than that you have a pretty free choice on veg/egg/other fillings)

Wash and dice the ingredients. Take small handfuls of cabbage and squeeze if firmly between your hands to get the excess water out from when you washed it. This is important as the water makes the dunplings burst open. Also squeeze out the mushrooms. Mix all the ingredients for the stuffings together in large bowls.

Take your dumpling skins (see below) and begin to stuff them. You need to have dry hands and a dry, floured board to put them on.

First put a dumpling skin on the fingers of your non-writing hand. Cup your hand a little. Put a small amount of filling in the dumpling, about 1 heaped teaspoon. You will get a feel for the amount you need as you are making them.

Next bring the two edges closest and furtherest from your body together. Squeeze the edge tightly.

Next put the two halves of the dumplings between your thumbs and forefingers. Squeeze tightly again, making sure you squeeze right to the edge.

Da-da! A dumpling.

Fancy-pants version.
Squeeze the top together and then make little pleats in the side which faces away from you. Squeeze each pleat nice and tightly. Each side should have 4 pleats.

You can also gather around the edges like a drawstring bag to make round ones

Or, sandwich some filling between 2 skins and squeeze all the way around the edges.

Next you need to put them in a pot of rapidly boiling water. Put the lid back on and boil them. Check after agout 5 minutes. They are done when, as the student put it, they have big, puffy, fat bellies.  Cheesy
The meat ones take longer than the veggie ones.

Dipping Sauce
Take about 6 cloves of garlic (Chinese garlic is not strong flavoured) and smash them up in the mortar and pestle or chop them finely. Also heat some oil and pour it over dried chillies - it smells great.
Each person should have a small bowl. In this bowl they put as much garlic and chillies as they like then top it all with vinegar. The dark vinegar is better, but white is ok too. Dip the dumplings into the sauce and eat. Mmmmm

You can freeze uncooked dumplings and then put them into bags to eat later. I've heard you can keep them several months, but I don't believe in having dumplings in the house. I feel it is my duty to eat them!  Cheesy Cheesy

Dumpling skins:
I buy fresh premade ones from the noodle shop around the corner. Most of you won't have that luxury, but you can probably buy the skins in an Asian grocer or supermarket. If that fails, why not make your own?

A recipe I found online at rom http://brooklynmasalanyc.blogspot.com/2008/02/dumpling-skin-recipe.html
Ingredients (enough for over forty dumplings)

4 cups flour, plus more for dusting

cold water

Put the flour in a large bowl and place under the faucet. Mix the flour in a swirling motion and turn the faucet to barely a steady stream. Stir until all the flour has formed into nubs the size of peanuts. Turn off the water and work the dough into a large ball, turning constantly. The dough should be slightly tacky without any dough actually sticking to your hands. Cover the bowl with a wet towel and let sit anywhere from two to four hours. It's important to let the dough relax or you'll end up with a tough dough that keeps shrinking on itself when you try to roll it out.

Break the dough into four pieces. Work one piece at a time and keep the others covered with a wet towel. Roll or stretch out the piece of dough into a rope, then cut the rope into sections--I like to use scissors. It doesn't matter how thin or thick you roll the rope, but each finished section should be about a tablespoon of dough. Flatten each ball of dough with your palms and dust well with flour. Roll into a three inch round with a rolling pin, making the edges thinner than the center.

UPDATE: I've moved back home to Australia and purchased wonton skins (still labelled jiaozi pi in Chinese) from the Asian grocer. They were a bit firmer and needed a bit firmer squeeze to close off, but they turned out exactly the same. The grocer also sold yellow-coloured square skins - these are not what you're after.
16  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Angels - how big should the package be to get FOC on: December 17, 2009 06:41:49 AM
I am running a photography swap needing 6 angels.

Each angel will document a week in their life through photography and send at least 36 photos in a small book or album. Does this qualify them for FOC status?

I did search but I couldn't find how big an angel package needs to be to qualify for FOC status.
17  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / Angels needed - photography swap. FOUND on: December 16, 2009 08:30:08 PM
Hello all!

6 people need angels in the "week in the life of... photography swap round 3"

This swap involves you photographing one week in all it's excitement/routine/boredom/whatever. You take 36 photographs across the week, averaging 5 shots per day. Then you print, caption and bundle off the photographs to your partner.

I would ask that you stick the photographs in a small notebook or flat album to protect them and allow them to be kept together easily. it also makes them easier to caption.

This is a fairly low postage swap, since you're not sending a huge box. If you are reversing negative feedback for a larger swap, please consider angelling for more than one person.

Here are the swappers needing angels:
CervenaRose - USA  (angel Smittenheart)
Mrs.LindsayLoo - USA (angel myklia)
Avabrowneyes - South Korea (angel myklia)
bente - Germany (angel pkwj)
Lunamione - Australia (angel Hika-chan)
Lilliepop - UK (angel Schnerby)

Thanks!  Cheesy

PS: Please PM me if you want to angel for these people rather than replying in the thread.
18  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Vegan tomato and veg cous cous on: November 20, 2009 03:24:26 AM
This was dinner tonight. I took a photo, but since it looks like vomit, I decided not to post the pic!

3 large brown onions
A butternut pumpkin
5 medium carrots
3 sticks of celery
small head of cauliflower
5 cloves of garlic (Chinese garlic is really mild, you might use less)
A finger sized piece of ginger (peeled and grated)
4 lajiao peppers - Chinese peppers that look like chillies but are quite mild. Substitute capsicums, chillies, chilli powder to your liking
black pepper
Tinned tomato paste (medium tin)
Asian greens (I used quin cai, and I have no idea what to call it in English)
1/2 box instant  cous cous

I roasted the pumpkin in chunks in my toaster oven then sliced it up nice and small. Do whatever you like to cook it a bit.

Cook garlic and ginger until they small delicious, then add onion and lajiao peppers. Cook until nice and translucent. Then add the carrot and celery.  Next was the cauli and pumpkin. I cooked it on low with the lid on and about 1/4 cup of water until the veggies were a bit soft. Next I added the tomato paste, pepper and cumin. Simmer the lot until the veggies are done. I added a splash of soy sauce here, but I guess you could add whatever you liked to flavour it.

So from this veggie mix I got a few meals.
Tonight I took a portion out, added some hot water and then added the cous cous. It soaked up some of the liquid, but was still quite moist. This meal can take about 1/2 a box of cous cous and very generously feed 4.

Tomorrow I shall stuff some more cous cous mix into some capsicums and bake them. Mmmmmmm

It's also quite good as a soup watered down a little, or left thick and baked with a mashed potato top. Mmmm for shepherd's pie!

EDIT: I forgot to say that I lightly steam the Asian greens and serve them with my cous cous mix for some freshness.
19  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Cutting the points off pointy-toes heels? on: October 19, 2009 03:56:59 AM
Ok, so I have 2 pairs of pointy-toes heels. One glossy red and one black. I'm a bit over the pointy toes, so is there any way to cut them off? Could I cut them ack and then ribbon over the edges to make peep-toes?

I can't really think of a solution.  Angry
20  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / Schnerby's ATC gallery on: September 30, 2009 02:12:46 AM
So, here are some ATCs I have been making. I'm rather new to the craft, but I really enjoy making these!

Anatomy theme (ATC swap). Embroidery on gold lame. Playing card base.

(Pic taken by recipient)

Music Theme (ATC swap). Coffee dyed paper on a playing card base. Inked edges

'Pinup' theme (ATC swap). It says meinu - or 'beautiful woman'. Ink on several layers of cardboard files glued together.

(Pic taken by recipient)

Bird theme (ATC Swap)

(Pic taken by recipient)

'Off the wall' theme (ATC swap)

(Pic taken by recipient)

Shou Symbol (ATC swap). Felt, transparent plastic and fabric on a playing card base.

(Pic taken by recipient)

C&C always appreciated!
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