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Archive for June, 2010

La Casa Pasta

Sometimes I forget that we have a food blog. I’m making something delicious that I should probably share, only to remember to take a photo after I’ve put the plates in the dishwasher. Either that or I’m feeling sorry for myself after having wisdom three teeth out last week, tucked up in bed watching Mad Men (almost worth the pain and misery, to be allowed to run away from the bebe to watch unlimited TV). I’m now sick to death of soup, ice cream and ibuprofen, but since having the stitches out I’ve been able to eat a wider variety of food. And what better way to re-enter the land of the living than with homemade pasta?

I missed most of the production of the pasta, made by our guests Aaron, Perrine and Keir with Perrine’s pasta maker, since I was upstairs in bed. But when I finally deigned to join the frivolity of dinner, there were ribbons of fettucini drying on the clothes rack and long rolled out pieces of pasta ready to be cut up. Fortunately someone reminded me to take photos.

Naturally I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, with three delicious kinds of sauce to choose from. I was too caught up in the pleasure of chewing something pain-free.

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One of the great things about being a no-good book-butcherer for the sake of making new journals and stuff is the hoards of leftover paper. You get random colour plates, off-cuts, old bits of atlas, marbled end pages and of course, dust jackets. This beauty came from something awesome in the pile of ‘good covers for journals’ (there is also a pile of ‘good paper-stock’ as Louis calls it) and another of ‘covers I will cut up for smaller journals’ where the binding of the original book is either too cumbersome or completely shot. So, I do like wrapping presents these days…

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Happy Birthday Mia!

Another day, another birthday party. Yesterday was a trip to Levin for Lola’s 2nd birthday, delivering her yellow spotty dress which has been blogged about already. Apparently whenever Lola sees something spotty she says ‘Lotte’. I think that’s pretty awesome. There was also a bit of op-shopping along the way, in Otaki and Levin. I’ve decided to make the most of op-shopping while Rata still attracts positive attention. Lola’s mum is a dedicated op-shopper, far better at it than I, but the other day she overheard one of the lovely old ladies in her local, fans of Lola when she was smaller, saying “If I was her mother, I’d keep her on a leash’. It would seem that once babies are past the docile, cute stage where they do sweet FA, children must be seen and not heard. Or not seen at all. The moment Rata starts walking, my op-shopping career is over. In the meantime, I scored a delicious haul of buttons, teacups, another teapot and some wool fabric scraps. Delight.

So on that note, let us celebrate Mia’s first birthday! Mia is Rata’s cousin of some sort, and I’m not entirely sure if this dress will fit in the right places, or if it will be something her parents will want her to be seen in, but hey, I can always make her a different, better suited ensemble. Rata is obsessed with the dress. But the M is for Mia…

The pocket fabric comes from a bedspread Louis found on TradeMe, which I intend to mostly make into cushion covers for Rata. But the end of it is rounded, so the squares at this end will be used for pockets and patches and general applique awesomeness. The bird is cool, as is the kite.

The dress was annoying to make, the wool pinafore was not a great sewing match for the cotton polka-dot. It also wouldn’t iron nicely. I found the pocket and then matched the dress to the mushroom spots, a combination that I’m quite stoked with. I like red and green together, even if I get sick to death of people telling me I look ‘festive’. Damn Christmas.

Also worth noting is the fact that this is the first item to be made on my newly borrowed (courtesy of Imogen) overlocker and sewing machine. Yippee! Machines that go!

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A little bit Jean Batten, a little bit Lawrence Arabia, a little bit Louis-Possum-Hat (which I copied) and mostly a machine-felted royal blue jersey, with cabled detail and a thick, ribbed knit, butchered by my scissors for a warm, worthy cause. A pre-wisdom tooth extraction jawline completes the set!  The cardigan was ridiculously unflattering to all who dared to put it on, but pure wool. Felting it was. Mildly successful, not in the sleeves. Work in progress. Watch this space-face.

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Cripes, it’s been ages…

It’s my dad’s 60th on Tuesday and tomorrow to celebrate we are all going out for lunch. I’d wanted to make him a nice warm hat, because the one he has currently is a polarfleece one I made in 1996 in sewing class at Evan’s Bay Intermediate. It’s black. Apparently it is also incredibly warm, which dad tells me whenever I see the hat and say ‘Is that the same one…?’ I thought it was time for a new one. But thanks to Theunis Kok and his sewing machine servicing, which seems to have been for the worse, I was not going to be sewing anything.

(I asked for my money back and was warmly greeted with an ‘of course, but please bring the machine to me to have a look at first’. Well, I haven’t yet organised getting the sewing machine to him, and these things have a way of working where one is positive that the second he turns it on, it will run like a dream. Cursed.)

Anyway, I went and bought dad a book that I’m a) pretty sure he doesn’t already have and b) will love. But also, feeling as though I should make something, I baked some afghans to use up some more of the walnuts. I’ve already put them on the food blog, but I think Sunday Crafternoon could do with some food porn. Especially in the lead up to blogging about what I made for my mum’s birthday next month…

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Toasty Roasty!

I’ve had an urge to eat delicious roast chicken for a few weeks now, and with the common cold being shared among flatmates it can’t hurt to have some chicken soup up your (freezers’) sleeve. So today I acted upon that urge, dived into territory unknown (the meat fridges at Moore Wilson) and purchased a free range chook, size 14. I have never cooked a chicken before. The concept is so foreign I can’t even remember my mum shoving a lemon up a chooks’ ass. I’d like to say I didn’t even know where to stick that lemon, but I’m not that stupid.

So, with a crash course in how to start roasting a chook from my stepmother, Kath, I cut up two miniature lemons from the tree (free from the suspected wax of bought lemons) and a few wedges of onion, picked some thyme from the garden and tucked it under its wings, balanced a knob of butter on the white fleshy bit, covered it with foil and put it in the oven. After twenty minutes I took the foil off. After an hour, I put some potatoes around it (not recommended). By this time, Kath had gone home, and I was left to my own devices. With my novice approach, I opened the oven far too often and it never reached temperature. But I must have done something right, because at 7.22pm, that chicken was ready. And cooked through. And delicious.

Vegetarians: look away now!

(With that sprig of thyme down whatever that part of the chicken’s body that it, it looks like I practiced some open heart surgery while I waited for the bus. The fact that I missed the bus and ended up walking home means I’ll probably be needing that chicken soup I have planned for later in the week. You get to Aro Park and the temperature plummets. My ears froze. I’m feeling sniffly now. Woe is me.)

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Walnut Love

Aww, look what happens when you crack open a walnut with a hammer, gently, along the splitty-bit between the two halves of shell? You get some lovin’. I do not consider myself a walnut lover, in that I do not derive a great deal of pleasure from eating walnuts on their own repeatedly. I will sample one and then decide to make afghans. I love afghans. And more importantly, I love eating walnuts when they are on afghans. I do not have time for you if you are going to say you like afghans but you don’t like walnuts. Afghans are not afghans if you pick off the walnut. Please leave this blog now.

I don’t need to tell you where I got the recipe from. Except to say that it is very similar to a Lois Daish one I cut out of the Listener a few years back and shares the same ethos that afghans should be little, not as large as the plate they’re served on (Midnite Espresso… I’m looking pointedly at YOU). I got so enthusiastic that I even let food within a few inches of the precious cookbook risking (the horror!) a splash of food.

(I know, cookbooks that have splashes of this and that on the best recipes are awesome. But this cookbook is too pretty for those kinds of shenanigans.)

Rata came home just as I was icing the last of the biscuits, and her grandmother gave her a taste (with my approval of course. The sugar-free-baby schtick went out the window when the three-times-daily-suspended-in-sugar-syrup-medicine came in) and it was gobbled up with what can only be described as downright greed. Here is said bebe eyeing up the rest of the batch.

They are small and perfectly formed, though a bit bigger than usual as I wanted to make them quickly. I trudged around town for my 2kg bag of Trade Aid organic fair trade cocoa as it is not worth cooking with any other kind of cocoa, full stop. And that, folks, was my Wednesday afternoon.

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