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21  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Roasted Root Veg Soup on: March 22, 2011 01:51:53 AM
I haven't got any pics of this sadly, but I can recommend it! It's really simple, you just mix the seasoning and spices with the oil, add the vegetables and mix around to coat then bung them in the oven at 180C for between an hour and 90 mins - depends how small you cut your veg! When they're soft and golden take them out, add about 150 ml stock and blend. When it's smooth pour it into a pan and add enough of the left-over stock to bring it to the consistency you prefer. Done!

Here's the veg I used, although I'm sure you could substitute a mix of whatever you have at home.
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled (just before you blend the soup take the papery skin off the garlic, it'll be soft and sticky and gorgeous  Smiley)

2 tbsp olive oil
11/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
couple of grinds of pepper
good pinch of salt
enough chicken stock! (I used what I had in the freezer topped up with water so not sure of the quantity but approx. 400-500ml)
pinch of smoked paprika to sprinkle over the soup when serving (not vital)

It looks like more effort than soup where you just saute, add the stock and leave to simmer, but it really isn't, you're just roasting the veg rather than browning it on the hob. The roasting gives a really good flavour to the soup, and it's not too spicy if you're worried!
22  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Orange and rosemary roast chicken on: February 27, 2011 03:45:23 AM
I made this last night and it was pretty good, so I thought I'd share. The flavours aren't overpoweringly strong, so if you want a really orangey chicken you'll need to increase the amounts!
First crush two cloves of garlic (you don't need to peel them) and place them along with a sprig of rosemary and half an orange into the cavity of the chicken.

For the marinade:
Approx. 3 tbsp olive oil
Good pinch salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves stripped)
1 tsp dried sage
Zest and juice of half an orange

Mix all of the above together, giving the rosemary a good mash around to flavour the oil. Rub it all over the chicken, place the chicken in a roasting tray and put in a preheated oven at 230oC for 15 minutes, then reduce to 180oC for approx. an hour and 15 mins (obviously depends on the size of your chicken!)

Really simple but really good  Smiley

(sorry about the chunk out of the side of the chicken - I just couldn't wait!)
23  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Recycled magazine horse? on: February 20, 2011 02:15:16 AM
Sorry not good at titles  Smiley I've been dying to try one of the beautiful pics that I've seen on here with the strips of magazine paper behind a cut-out image but it's taken until now to actually make one. I'll definitely be doing more, they are so simple (if tedious - chopping up strips of paper...) but they look so good when they're done. Thanks for the inspiration guys!

24  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Steamed bread rolls on: February 07, 2011 03:50:14 AM
I just wanted to post a pic of the 'char siu bao' that I made yesterday - not the most authentic recipe since I used lamb instead of pork, but the principle of steamed bread roll plus sweet/salty/spicy filling is the same! I saw a pic of a 'pig' roll on a blog I follow and thought I'd give it a go - not perfect but cute I think - and tastes good too!

25  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Felt dragon! on: December 14, 2010 03:53:17 AM
I've really been struggling to think of something to make for my nephew this Christmas - last year I didn't make him anything as I thought he'd not appreciate it, but he looked so upset that I had to make something this year! Until the day before yesterday I was completely stumped, but I decided to give this a go and I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's essentially the dragon design that I've been drawing forever made 3D, with a little inspiration from the bird decorations that I make. And yes, I know it doesn't have front legs... but ssshh!
26  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Battlestar Galactica papercut! on: December 10, 2010 11:37:37 AM
I've been struggling to think of something to make my husband for Christmas, but this afternoon I sat down and made this, I think he'll like it. For those who don't watch Battlestar Galactica (and you should!) it's the BSG logo above a Mark II Viper - essentially a fighter plane! I was intimidated by the Viper and it definitely took longest to get right, but I think it turned out pretty well! (I'll probably change the fabric backing but thought I'd just try it out - think I might stick to some nice paper behind though.)
27  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Felt bracelet (Xmas present) on: December 10, 2010 02:05:29 AM
I saw some felt jewellery in a shop the other day and thought I could have a go at something like it, so last night I made this.

I'd like to give this to my friend, I can't afford to get her much but I think she's like this. The only thing I'm not sure about is how well the felt will hold up: it's just craft felt, not very high quality. I wondered whether I should double up the material for the wrist band and blanket stitch round the edges to give it more strength? Any ideas?
28  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Paper cutting tutorial link on: December 08, 2010 01:43:17 AM
A couple of weeks ago I posted some pics of some papercut Christmas cards that I'd made, and a few of you were particularly interested in this 'Joy to the World' one.
I was asked by a fellow Craftster to write a tutorial for something similar, and so there is now a tutorial for this 'Peace on Earth' version at Cynthia's site http://www.make-paper-crafts.com/paper-cutting.html - it's quite long so I won't copy it here but feel free to take a look!

29  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Sealing jars of chutney on: December 04, 2010 03:02:48 AM
Ok, last night I made a small batch of butternut squash and apricot chutney that I'm planning to use as gifts this Christmas. It's the first time I've made anything like this, and while I'm happy with the actual chutney I have some concerns about how it's sealed.
 I sterilised the jars by washing them well in hot soapy water, rinsing them with boiling water and drying them in the oven, then I filled them with the hot chutney, wiped down the screw threads and screwed the lids on. All as I've researched! What I'm concerned about is the number of air bubbles in the chutney. It's pretty chunky, and I was tapping the jar as I put each spoonful in and trying to smooth it out a bit, but after I put the lids on I realised there are still pockets of air throughout the chutney. I suspect these might raise the likelihood of mould, but I don't want to poke around in the chutney too much as I'm jarring it as I'm sure this will introduce airborne bacteria even more than the air bubbles!
Basically, I'd like some advice from people who have done this before  Smiley
30  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Felt 'gingerbread' house - new pic of second house! on: November 25, 2010 08:39:11 AM
This is what I made last night - it wasn't really planned but once I started I just had to get it finished! Having trouble loading pics, there's a few more on my blog (in signature) if you're interested though (the front and back are decorated differently but can only persuade my computer to upload one here!)

And here's the house I made yesterday - still having problems uploading more than one pic at a time but again, there are more pics on the blog!
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