Saturday, 9 November 2013

Letitia's Pumpkin Soup


Hi everyone!
 
It's been a while since I've written, and I'm sorry! I was on vacation in Launceston, Tasmania for two weeks. I really enjoyed my time walking around and sight seeing. It's a gorgeous little town with lots of cute shops and beautiful dining places. Truly worth a visit.

The crisp temperature of Tasmania made me crave soup. Anything more beautiful than pumpkin soup? I was adding and adding bits and pieces to the soup and ended with something beautiful. At the last minute, I decided to share it with you, so I apologise for not having images for each step - you'll be okay!


You will need (for 4 people):

1 frying pan

1 saucepan

1 (Coles) can of pumpkin soup,

2-4 slices chopped bacon/ ham

1 diced brown onion

1 teaspoon of garlic

1 cup chicken stock,

1-2 celery stalks (diced)

1 teaspoons of ground ginger,

2 tablespoons of Clive's India curry powder (optional)

Salt & Pepper



Step 1: Simmer the pumpkin soup

Pour the pumpkin soup in the saucepan. Following the instructions on the can, pour 1 can of water and half can of milk in the saucepan. Simmer until smooth but never boil.

Step 2: Sauté the bacon/ham

Meanwhile, sauté the bacon, diced onions and garlic in the frying pan. Place the chicken cube in boiling water and leave to melt.


Step 3: Mix everything

For the final step, when the pumpkin soup is smooth, add the chicken stock, celery, bacon, onions and garlic to the saucepan. Afterwards, add the ginger and curry powder. Lastly, add the salt & pepper to taste. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes. 

Serve with bread!

Let me know how you like it, in the comments!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Upcyle: Magazine Jar


Hello there!

I hope you are having an amazing week. On my side, I ordered some lovely plastic hairbands from Ebay and the good news is that they arrived two weeks early! As you know from experience, hairbands and bobby pins love running away. To keep them safe, I am reusing a glass jar that used to have yummy onion relish. I am quite excited to show you how I redesigned their new house!


I first washed the jar then let it soak in soap water overnight to get rid of any food smell.


Let's begin! You will need:



The jar
Lovely magazine cutouts (large enough to cover the lid, obviously :D)
Scissors
Mod Podge (I have the 'gloss' version)
A sponge or a paintbrush
A pencil or an embossing pen (I created one using an old pen and a sewing pin with a 'ball' head. Simply remove the ink tube, push the pin inside the writing side of the pen and voilà!)


Firstly, place the lid on top of the image to draw its shape with a pencil/embossing pen. I preferred the embossing pen because it is simply invisible. If you use a pencil, make sure you are only slightly marking the paper.


When you're done marking the shape of the lid, proceed to the cutting of the image LEAVING A GAP OF 2CM around the lid, the gap will later be folder inside the lid.


Stick the paper to the lid using Mod Podge and make sure that the edge of the paper is even on every side of the lid. Cut 1cm sized petals around the lid with the scissors.

Apply Mod Podge evenly on the petals and on the inside edge of the lid. Fold each petal inside.


When the lid is dry, apply a layer of Mod Podge all over the paper to protect it.





 And you're done!


 If you enjoyed this tutorial, please share!
How will you use your jar? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Tatiana Tuesday: Pear Tart


Hey Guys!

I asked my lovely friend Tatiana to guest post on my blog from time to time.(Hopefully we can make this a monthly thing!) For her first post, she wanted to share her valuable kitchen skills with us. I hope you enjoy the recipe as well as her beautiful yummy photos!


Hi all,

Summer is on its way and I am really excited to finally spend some quality time with my family. We plan to laze in our garden sipping some margaritas and eating delicious home made dishes.

After spending the last two years studying and working full time, I needed a break. What a better way than to spend it in the kitchen baking? This summer I want to offer the best to my family - home made meals and desserts!

I am baking my first ever pear tart, which I've been longing to try.
One afternoon when I was ten, my mum came home from work with a small share of pear tart (I reckon she ate half of it on her way home.)Ever since, my taste buds fell in love with it (funny enough, I haven't had another pear tart since that day.)

This recipe will become your date for the summer. It will shake you and bring out your creativity.

Enough of me talking... Let’s hit our aprons and start baking this delish tart!

First of all and most importantly, the shopping list for this dessert. I tend to have a budget for everything (thanks to mum who taught me how.)

Coles, Safeway and Aldi are my favourite stores for bakery shopping.



PART 1 - Poaching our pears!


You will need:

1 quart (1L) Water
1 1/3 cups (265g) sugar
4 Pears (I used Josephine pears, which are Australian grown. They can be bought at Coles for as low as $1.49 for 1kg.) They need to be peeled, cored and quartered.

Addition: One cinnamon stick , 2 tsps whole cloves, black peppercorns, one split vanilla bean
2-3 anise, 6-8 fresh ginger slices. 


Preparation for your poached pears:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the water until warm and wait for the sugar to dissolve.

2. Add the pears and cover them with a round parchment paper (I used the egg poach paper. Cut 2-3 in half and use it to make the parchment paper.)


3. Keep the water at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through for 15-25 minutes depending on the pears. 10 minutes into the boiling process, add dried cherries, cranberries, or raisin.

4. Remove from the heat and let the pears cool in the liquid.

While waiting for the pears to cool, you can start the preparation for the pastry.


PART 2 - Preparing our pastry and filling!

You will need the following:

Pastry Crust from Coles (homebrand will do the job) or if you prefer buy the already made pastry case. I personally find the ready-made ones too thick and not crunchy enough when cooked. 


1. Place two sheets of the pastry crust in your 23–30 cm tart shell and let the pastry sheet soften for 10–15 minutes (room temperature). At this stage you should preheat the oven at 180ºC.


While everything else is settling nicely, we can make the almond paste. Believe it or not, I could not find one supermarket that sells almond paste – madness!! So I decided to make my own.

2.For this you will need

1 ½ almond flour (almond meal)
1-½ cups powdered sugar or icing sugar
1 – 2 tsps almond extract
1 egg white slightly beaten

3.Using a food processor, pulse the almond flour (almond meal) and powdered sugar a few times to break up any clumps.

4. Add 1 tsp of almond extract and pulse to combine. Add egg white and pulse well for 2 minutes by then your almond paste should be smooth and form a ball. If the dough is still sticky add 1 tsp more of almond flour. Wrap tighly and store in refrigerator for 10 – 15 minutes.

5. Moving right along to the tart shell. Once the pastry crust sheets have soften, cut any excess edges and put your tart shell in the oven for 10 minutes to precook.


For the final step you will need the following:

6 ounces (170g) almond paste
2 tsps sugar
2 tsps flour
3 ounces (85g) butter, salted or unsalted, cubed at room temperature
1 large egg, plus one egg white, at room temperature
A few drops almond extract (optional)
1 1/2 tsps rum, calvados or kirsch (if you like a little kick)


Process: 

1.Pears - 4 poached pears, cored, drained and blotted dry the cut into 1/2 inch (2 cm) slices.

2. In a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the almond paste with the sugar and flour until smooth. (The almond paste may get a little dry.) 

3. Gradually beat the butter, until smooth, then beat in the egg and the egg white, the almond extract, and the liquor.

4. Spread half of the almond filling evenly over the tart shell and add half of the finely cut pears on top.




5. Cover the pear with the other half with the remaining of the filling evenly and add the rest of the pears with the raisin and cranberries and any other dried fruits you added to the poached pears.

Taaddaaa! You pear tart is almost ready..


Bake the tart for 45 – 60 minutes depending on your oven. Cool slightly before serving and serve with vanilla ice cream or cream.


Bon Apétit!

Tatiana




Saturday, 28 September 2013

Aztec Notebook


Hello guys!

I hope you had a creative week. I was trying to think of ideas I could share with you on the blog and realised that I should really note them down in a notebook. Luckily, my dad has a stash of them, so I stole one from him. Thanks dad!

As you will find, it is very 'manly'. It is just a plain silver notebook and it lacks a girly touch! For a while now, I wanted to make a paper cut out, the kind that goes back to the kindergarten days in art class. Together with the notebook, the cut out gives it a nice Aztec style. Let's get to work!


 Things that you need:

A notebook

Coloured paper
Scissors
A sharp craft knife
Craft glue
A circle compass
A ruler
A mechanical pencil
Invisible tape
A thick cardboard to cut on (I used the back of a sketch pad) or A healing mat

 Firstly, cut your piece of paper into a square.


Secondly, cut out the circle that was drawn using the circle compass.


After folding the circle in four, create a scallop edge with the scissors. Of course you have the freedom to do any design you like. I also cut out a circle for the middle of the circle.


Using invisible tape, stick the paper to the background as you will use the craft knife to cut out shapes. I honestly randomly made shapes in it, I folded the paper a few times too to cut it with scissors. Get creative!


This is what it should look like when open! At this stage, you could use the cut out for anything you like.


Apply craft glue all over the circle, making sure that you don't tear the fragile paper cut out. Don't apply too much so as to not dampen the paper.


There you go, you're all done! It brings back good ol' kindergarten memories, not that I remember much..


You could frame the cut out that you've made and display it on your wall! How will you use it? Let me know in the comments!

If you liked it, share it!

Love,

Letitia

Saturday, 21 September 2013

DIY Bobby Pins


Hello!


This week, we will upcycle our average-looking bobby pins, into pretty and girly ones. Hopefully, you still have some at hand. Otherwise check under the bed or inside your handbags, where they usually like to hide.
 


[Title Font: Coconut point from here.]




You will need:
Bobby Pins!
A piece of stock paper/cardboard
Nail Polish (as many colours as you like)
Beads
Scissors
Craft Glue
Felt Scrap [A rectangle of about 2.5cm x 3cm]
A sewing needle
Black thread 


No. 1 The Nail Polish Bobby Pin



Simply place your bobby pins on the piece of paper/cardboard so as to hold the pins still and to protect your table from getting nail polish graffiti. This is the easy part, create any designs that you like, with any colour you want! The hard part is waiting for them to dry before using them. :p



No. 2 The Bead Bobby Pin

You will need:
A bobby pin
A bead
A sewing needle
Black thread
Scissors

Basic sewing skills are fine for this task. Use double thread for the bead to hold on strong on the bobby pin. The first step is to tie two knots on the pin placing them at the top of the bobby pin.



Pass the thread through the bead and make sure that you are working on the top part of the bobby pin. Tighten the bead to the pin and tie a knot on the bobby pin to secure the bead.



You now need to make sure that the bead won't move around on the bobby pin. Pass the needle through the other side of the bead, then secure with a knot. You will find that a horizontal thread has formed underneath the bead.




Secure the thread by passing the needle through it and keep making knots until you have completed the rounds. When you notice that the bead is tight, you are almost done. 




Finish off by randomly passing the needle through the knots to make sure that the thread will not get undone. Cut the thread off cleanly.





No. 3 The Felt Bow Bobby Pin

You will need:
Felt scrap
A sewing needle
Black thread
Craft glue
Scissors

Cut a thin strip off the felt scrap, which will go in the middle of the bow later. Fold the larger strip three times and sew the middle to tighten the folds to form a bow. Make sure the thread is securely attached and cut the loose threads off.



Fold the thin strip over the bow and using craft glue, close the strip off. If it is not doing the job, lightly sew the strip. Cut off any extra pieces of thread and felt.



You can choose to leave the pointy bow as it is or create a rounded bow like me. For this part, use the same technique explained for The Bead Bobby Pin tutorial to sew the bow to the bobby pin.


Do get creative and use whichever cute and decorative things you can find around the house to decorate your bobby pins. I'm sure just like me, you still keep that pretty button or that broken earring that you just cannot throw away. Why not use it on a bobby pin? I would love to hear how you went in the comments!




Thank you for your visit.
If you liked this tutorial,
Please share!


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Handmade Paper Rose

Hey guys.

I hope that you had a great week. On my side, I am always in the process of updating the look of my room. I realised that my walls lacked colour and came up with the idea of a flower garland! This week, I want to show you how to make this (extremely easy) paper rose.




You will need:
1 A4 paper (choose any colour)
1 pair of scissors
1 pencil
1 craft glue



First, you will cut your A4 paper into a square.



Use your pencil to mark the decorative spiral on your paper. As you can see in the photo below, I left a small space in the middle. This part will be glued to the bottom of my flower when I'm done. Don't worry, this will make sense soon.



Start cutting the spiral with your scissors. You do not have to follow the lines exactly but make sure that you are creating your 'petals' beautifully.


As shown in the photo, I stopped cutting the paper leaving the space for it to be glued later on



Cut off the straight part of the decorative spiral.




This is what it should look like all cut up!




Starting with the outer part of the spiral, curve the paper inwards to create the bud of the flower. Hold it together using craft glue.



Depending on the flower size that you want, keep curving the 'petals' inwards, making sure that you add a dab of glue once in a while to keep the flower together. 


Add glue to the bottom of the flower and close it off.


You now have a beautiful paper rose.


The previous ones I made were used in the flower garland and I gave this one to my love. How will you use the handmade paper rose? Let me know in your comments!