Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stripey Sticker Name Birthday Card

I haven't had time to any crafts for the best part of this year - I put my house on the market in February and we wanted to declutter for the estate agent photographs so all my card making and craft supplies went into storage. I secured a sale on my house quite quickly and we found our dream home almost right away - it was only the second house we looked at! But as regular readers will know, what should have been a straightforward process was held up by our council taking 10 weeks to do the local searches because they were short staffed (they normally take a week to ten days) and our vendors dithering, changing their minds about the place they were buying and 'forgetting' to do any of the necessary paperwork, so in the end we didn't move in until August 28.

We then redecorated the entire house, from getting new wood floors to repainting to buying and building new furniture, so while I have unpacked my craft stuff, I still haven't got time to use any of it! I am very excited though that I have a 'craft room' - a spare room with a futon, desk, and cupboard for my craft supplies, plus a whole wall of bookcases, my dressmaker's dummy and sewing machine. Unfortunately I can't fit all my craft supplies in the cupboard so will have to rationalise them down, or sneak them into the garage and hope my boyfriend doesn't notice!

So while I haven't made any cards in a long time there are still a few I haven't posted on here. This one was very quick to make but I quite like the jazzy style. I used a pre-printed card from a mixed box and some alphabet stickers I got very cheaply from the Works; the pack had letters and numbers so I decided to spell out the recipient's name, the word 'birthday' and his age. It's hardly the most sophisticated looking card but I think it looks quite fun, and this style might be a good idea if you are struggling for ideas for cards for men!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Viennese Apple Strudel

When I visited Vienna in November we went to the Schonbrunn Palace. As part of our Winter Pass ticket, we got entry to the Apple Strudel Show: a demonstration of how to make apple strudel with a piece to try.

Apple Strudel is said to originate from Austria and is a Viennese speciality in particular and the oldest known copy of a strudel recipe is a library in Vienna.

The demonstration was entirely in English which was lucky as though I speak German my boyfriend does not. As it was winter there were only a few of us watching; I don't think the other people were English and there were a couple of children who probably wouldn't have understood anything so I think we were quite lucky!

The demonstrator showed us how to make the pastry from scratch and after rolling it out, she used her hands to spread the dough further, much as people do when they are making pizza bases. She even threw the dough into the air and caught it a few times!

She explained that the dough needed to be thin enough that you could read the recipe through it, and proceeded to show us, which was amazing!

The filling was already prepared in a large bowl; she explained that it included apple, raisins, breadcrumbs and sugar, and then we watched as she placed some of the filling along one side of the dough and rolled it up using a tea towel. Part of the reason for this is that you end up with the rolled up strudel sitting on the tea towel, which makes it much easier to lift and transport to your baking tray.

The strudel went in the oven and I was expecting her to do a 'here's one I made earlier' and take the strudel from the previous demonstration out of the oven, but she didn't and the demonstration ended as the strudel went in the oven, so we didn't get to see it when it was cooked. We did get a piece to eat from a strudel which had been made earlier, served cold, which was really delicious.

We were also given a copy of the recipe to take home and since my boyfriend doesn't like apple, I decided I would make an apple strudel to take to his mum's house on Boxing Day as there would be plenty of people there to help eat it. I made the strudel on Christmas Eve as I knew I would be too busy after that!

To make the pastry, you need:

250g flour type 700 - I'd no idea what this was so used plain flour

2g salt

1 egg

100g lukewarm water (note that is grams, not millilitres)

20g oil

Preheat the oven to 190C. Mix all the ingredients and knead until you have a soft dough - I used my Kitchenaid. Form into a ball and "let it rest in vegetable oil for 30 minutes". I wasn't sure if this meant literally put the dough in a bowl of oil as that seemed like a lot of oil, so instead I rubbed oil all over the dough. My dough had been very wet and sticky but surprisingly the oil took away all of the stickiness.

Heat 50g butter in a pan and fry 100g fresh breadcrumbs until they are golden brown.

To make the filling, mix the breadcrumbs with 140g sugar, 10g cinnamon, 170g raisins, 10g lemon juice and about 1 kg peeled and thinly sliced apples, and a shot of rum. I used about half that amount of apples as it looked like an awful lot, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stretch my pastry out as big as the demonstrator so I didn't think I would need quite as much filling! I also left out the rum.

Roll out the dough on a floured tea towel. Use your hands to stretch it as thinly as possible. I wasn't quite throwing mine in the air and catching it like the demonstrator did, but it was a surprisingly pliable dough and easy to stretch.

I even tried the 'can you read the recipe through your dough' trick and I could - I was amazed as I'm not normally very good at making pastry!

Place the filling along one side of the dough, and use the tea towel to help you roll it up

It just fit into my grill pan with the grill part removed - none of my actual baking trays were big enough!

The recipe said to bake in the oven at 190C until golden brown - it didn't actually give a cooking time. I think I baked mine for about 25 minutes but you really do just need to keep an eye on it. Here's what it looks like from the inside: I can't wait to try it later today!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pork and Mushroom Adobo

Pork and Mushroom Adobo may not be new but I have to try it. Every time I visited supermarkets and groceries here in Australia I am always overwhelm with the availability of mushroom in the fresh vegetable sections. I like mushrooms and I have been picking some of it every time or most of my visits. I usually end up thinking what to cook out of them. Below is the list of some of the mushroom dish that I have cooked all these years, click link to check them out.

Vegetrable Stir Fry, Oyster Mushroom

Oxtail with Mushroom Sauce

T-Bone Steak with Mushroom and Oyster Sauce

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Pork Chop with Mushroom Sauce

Egg Noodles with Mushroom

Asparagus and Mushroom Spaghetti in White Sauce

Mushroom with Dried Fish Fettuccine Carbonara

Fettuccine with Mushroom and Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sotanghon Noodle Soup

Adobong Kabute

Mushroom and Tofu Pinoy Bistek Style

Pinoy Garlic Mushroom

Today I had this beautiful button mushrooms, I just can’t think of anything to cook it, in the end I cooked it the mushroom adobo style with some pork belly.

Here is the recipe of my version of Pork and Mushroom Adobo.


1/2 kilo pork belly, cut into large cubes

100 grams fresh whole button mushrooms

1/2 head garlic, peeled, crushed, chopped

3-4 pieces bay leaf

1-2 tsp. crushed peppercorns

1/4 cup dark soy sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar


Cooking procedure:

Place the pork in a sauce pan, add all the ingredients except the mushroom and salt. Pour enough water to cover at about 2 inches over the pork line. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the pork are tender, add more water as necessary. When the liquid is reduce to about half add in the mushrooms and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced to an oily sauce, correct saltiness if required. Serve hot with a lot of rice.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dairy-free Vegan Frozen Cupcakes - Golden Syrup Flavour

I love Frozen - and I'm clearly not the only one! In my opinion it's the best Disney movie in years with a strong feminist message and a brilliant song from Idina Menzel. Judging by the amount of merchandise available in the shops, from fancy dress costumes to Frozen shampoo and showergel at Poundland, not to mention all the Frozen-inspired birthday cakes I've seen online, children everywhere are captivated consumers of all things Elsa, Anna and Olaf.

My friend has a lovely daughter who just turned 6 at the end of November and I wanted to make some cupcakes when they came to my house a week or so later. My friend is vegan so I wanted her to be able to eat the cakes but I also wanted to decorate them in the Frozen theme. I didn't have time to do anything massively elaborate so I bought some rice paper Frozen pictures to use as cupcake toppers from Amazon. I already had some snowflake sprinkles at home which I thought would be perfect to add on top. Icy blue is the colour most associated with Frozen - it's the colour of Elsa's dress for instance - so that had to be the colour of the icing.

For the cakes themselves, I used the golden syrup cupcake recipe from Ms Cupcake's The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town. I didn't alter the recipe in any way so can't really reprint it as it isn't my own. Suffice to say if you are interested to know what goes in to vegan cupcakes, you replace the butter with oil, and use a little white wine or cider vinegar mixed with soya milk as a sort of egg substitute. These cakes contain golden syrup and are also drizzled with a little golden syrup while still warm which is lovely.

I made some vegan buttercream by using Pure margarine substitute, icing sugar and a little Sugarflair gel colour paste in baby blue, which I piped on top of the cupcakes.

I then added the snowflake sprinkles and the Frozen cupcake toppers.