Saturday, 5 August 2017

Chinese flovoured chicken in slow cooker or Instantpot

I've had an InstantPot now since last years Amazon Prime day and to be honest I have not used it half as much as I should do as keep thinking of it as just a pressure cooker but it does a lot more. So my latest trials with is using it's slow cooker function.  We were out yesterday morning so I wanted something that wouldn't take to long to cook in the afternoon.  I looked around at timings and then threw this in to the InstantPot

2 sliced carrots
2 peppers cut in chunks 1 red 1 green
small pack of baby corn cut into chunks
3 or 4 biggish spring onions cut up
1 small tin of water chestnuts drained
2 tablespoons Chinese 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon powdered coriander
pinch of chilli flakes
5 skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
few garlic cloves chopped
tablespoon of ginger puree, could of used fresh but had puree in fridge
salt and pepper

toss all this together and cook for 4 hours

It came out looking a little less appetising.  Smelt so good though.  I took a teaspoon of cornflour and a few tablespoons of pineapple juice we had and blended together and then stirred through the chicken mixture in Pot on Saute function until it thickened.  I added a glug or two of dark soy sauce for seasoning and colour and it looked a lot better 


The chicken broke up a little, and I served it over noodles,  definitely a do again recipe as went well with all.

This could be done on high in a slow cooker to if you don't have an InstantPot.


And just because I took a photo today here's a picture of the back of the king Alfred statue from the park and ride bus in Winchester.


That's it for today.  We have the granddaughters visiting and lots of fun going on, well I hope all that noise equals fun ;-)

Take care 
Jules 






Friday, 4 August 2017

Baking Ploughmans Tart


Anyone else been watching Nadiya's British Food Adventures on BBC2? I watched the first couple and bought the book that goes with the series. Last night I was up while the rest of the house was asleep and was watching the third in the series.  Nadiya made a 'Ploughmans Cheese and Pickle Tart' I knew last night today was going to be a baking day for this alone. I don't like pickle, there is no way I am eating that much cheese and pastry but the man in my life loves all these things so it just had to be done.

I am so kicking myself I didn't take a photo of the first disaster, and I was lucky it was the only disaster, where I lined the tart tin with pastry and chilled it, dropped in on my foot, then put it in the oven without blind baking it with baking paper and my baking beans.  By the time I realised, it had literally melted down sides of tin and was a mess. So whipped up some more short crust pastry and started again.  My only defence was my daughter was visiting and I wasn't paying enough attention to the instructions, to busy chatting. Apparently you can always tell when I am chatting according to the Mr. as my eyes will be open! And yet I still bake for him, I wonder why some days.

The basis of this Tart is pretty simple and only a few ingredients that we usually have on hand.
 Good strong cheddar, 
small chunk sandwich pickle, we used Branston Pickle
Milk
Eggs
shortcrust pastry
and paprika for jazzing up your store bought pastry, I
I made my own pastry though

Once I read instructions properly and blind baked my pastry, I realised I had some serious side cracks in 2 places. I artfully spread out the layer of pickle and 'cemented' the cracks with a little of the pickle.  It worked so well and I only had minimal seepage and no soggy bottom.



Lots of good strong cheese went on top. I found a really lovely Wookey Hole strong cheddar and used that. 


I beat the eggs and added the milk up and mixed together.  Carefully poured over and carefully placed in the oven.  Nothing complicated and even I was impressed it was going well.


It came out of the oven with a very slight wobble. and looked and smelt amazing.


I think the hardest bit for me was waiting for it to reach just warm temperature before I sliced it open to see if the layers worked OK and to make someone eat some to get a verdict. It went down really well with even talk of eating the remainder for breakfast tomorrow. 


I'm impressed I still have the baking knack and am looking forward to trying more recipes out of this book.  Anyone else watching the series and planning on trying any of the recipes? 

Take care
Jules 






Wednesday, 2 August 2017

August so far.

How is it August already? I swear I blinked and July just skipped by in that blink! In fact I am pretty sure I got short changed in July at some point time wise. Although there were some epic moments. There has been a lot of decorating planning going on lately, I saw this picture in B&Q, didn't buy it and should have as I love the sentiment.  


So far August has given us rain. I have spent a while trying to do some origami butterflies. This one is still the best one to date.  I never was much good with origami but I will keep trying I need 10 origami butterflies at least. Maybe some better instructions are needed?  Or perhaps I just need to not look at mine so closely.  Fiddly things never were my forte, but they are fun even if it is only laughing at my attempts at the end.

Last week I came across this fabric in Fabric Land. and knew I needed to make a Sorbetto top from it or a variation of it.  I have a few I have made before and wear them often.  I know there is a new updated version that offers more variations these days but I have yet to download and use them.  It's a free pattern if anyone wants to try it out.




This was how it turned out. I made an inverted (?) pleat down the front and left the bottom open instead of catching the bottom in the hem.  
I would say excuse the mess but it's a tiny room full of book cases and boxes and it really doesn't get much tidier on my bookcases as they are all overflowing. 

Here's a closer look of the front detail. 


I did a bias binding hem! I tried this before and read the instructions wrong and the bias binding was done like a bias bound quilt edge or similar, so was visible.  So I gave it a go on the hem and neck line today and it was so easy and neat.  This may be my new hemming method. This was the bottom hem.

I can tell I have made a few of these before due to fact it only took me an hour and 12 minutes! And that included cutting out the fabric.  I usually play an audio book while sewing so I know how long it took by that.


Here's the neck edge. Different colour bindings I know, I was left at the last moment remembering I needed bias binding and didn't have enough of either.  At least they were both colour coordinated though


I then decided to make some chilli cheese cornbread for the boys to go with dinner. Looked a bit unconvincing to me when it was being mixed up



Looked OK upon coming out of the oven


It was a bit to dry though but tastes ok apparently.  I tried a small bit and reminded me of the flavour of  macaroni cheese but a little wimpier.  Still it got a compliment from Luke and was eaten so I am happy with that outcome.  Been a pretty creative day today.


I was even a superhero whooooooooo, eldest sons car battery died so I went over to give him a jump start.  Drove home and he and his girlfriend had broke down again so went back out to find them and got them sorted and followed them to their destination.  All sorted now.


So for tonight I am ready for an early nights sleep and a good day tomorrow. First though a little family time TV and make plans for tomorrows adventures.

Take care
Jules 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Dancing Aliens birthday

Not sure how it happened but this little dancer is now 6! I got to watch her dancing on Monday with her outfit I had fun creating, I may be biased but I think she looked great.

I was asked to put an alien head on her shirt.  No worries I thought, then realised how small a shirt she wears.  If I had my thinking cap on before hand I would of unpicked the side seams, then sewed the head on the front of the shirt.  Then sewed the side seams back up. Of course I struggled with getting it sewn on until I clicked and was almost completed by then. Always leave it to me to do it all the hard way



The head band is just a simple plain little headband with glittery pipe cleaners twisted on and made into shapes.  Ever helped me with this, and I think added to the effect after it was given to her, and I super-glued two lots of big googly eyes on which I used four so they were double sided eyes.  My proudest moment of this piece was I used superglue and didn't stick myself or anything else to anything that wasn't intended to be stuck together.  I almost felt like a fully fledged adult for almost a nano second.


I didn't go to town to much with the tutu, as she still needed to dance and run around and not feel to hindered by it. Plus we have to show off the aliens silver leggings don't we?

So there we have it, I made an all dancing all singing alien outfit for a dance show, for the cutest alien going. I would do it again in a heartbeat as I had so much fun. Most importantly it was loved. 

I learnt I can use superglue responsibly.  Always check the remnant bin out in the fabric store.  I found the silver fabric for a ridiculous price.  Still have some left, so I expect that will come out to play in another project at some time. 

For now I am going to focus on smaller projects like bags to put Lego in. Similar to what I use for my knitting projects. I got asked to make a few to keep Lego kits in their own bags to save getting them all mixed up, and hopefully away out of the way of bare feet.

Take care
Jules