A tiny slice of my life

This is a look at my life, and the many things I try to learn and do.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hainanese Chicken with Chicken Rice

Now this is a recipe that I have wanted to cook for a while. On Wednesday while she was reclining on the lounge Miss Fish, still home from work with a cold , and I were watching the Singapore Edition of Food Safari, after watching this dish being made Miss Fish turned to me and said "yum, can you make this " .

As we were going to have to do food shopping the next day and it was fairly easy to make the chicken cooks itself, I thought why not.

I also teamed mine with some some stir fried vegetables in oyster sauce.

I served mine on long platters with the sauce in little dipping bowls that I had bought from several Asian shops over the years. I didn't make the chilli sauce I just used my " hot" sweet chilli sauce.

Mr CLI took one look at the platter of food and wanted to know why I had cooked such a special tea, I think he thought that I had a alterior motive to making him this meal. When I assured him that Miss Fish had been watching Food Safari and requested it and it was something fairly easy to cook till the end, when I had to co-ordinate cooking the vegetables and dishing up he was appeased.

After the first mouthful, well actually while eating it he commented that it was absolutely beautiful and if I wanted to I could make it again !

The paste that goes inside the chicken.

I used the recipe off the Food Safari site, the only things I changed was I used less ginger & garlic in the rice, but I did save the fat from the chicken and cooked it in that, also by mistake I put 2 tsps of lime juice in the rice. You couldnt taste it so I don't think that boo boo made any difference.


Also an added bonus was that I have half a large pot of beautiful chicken stock.

The chicken at the start.

The chicken when it is cooked.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sweet, Spicy, Smoky Beef Stir Fry

You will ask why this is sweet, spicy and smoky well the beef is marinated in a sauce that has some sugar the sauce has some "hot" sweet chilli sauce - bought by mistake and the smoky part if because I cooked the strips up the side of the wok till the had begun to brown and crisp.


Mr CLI was making comments from the lounge while I was cooking this that is smelt good. After the first mouthful he commented that it was wonderful and to make it again.


Beef Stir Fry

Marinade - 2 tbsps oyster sauce, 2 tbsps shaoxing wine, 1 tbsps cornflour, 2 tsps fish sauce, 2 tbsps hoisin sauce, 2 tsps sugar

Slice the rump into very thin strips add to marinade, stir leave while preparing vegetables.

750gm piece rump steak, 2 - 3 cups mixed vegetables sliced finely so they can cook quickly, I used red capsicum, carrots, celery, bean. I also used a small tin of water chestnuts, 1/2 red onion cut into 1 cm wedges, 2 cloves garlic either grated or chopped finely , 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 3 tbsps peanut or olive oil


Sauce - 2 tbsps oyster sauce, 1 tbsp cornflour, 2 tbsps light soy sauce , 1/4 cup water, 2 tsps sweet chilli sauce - as mine was hot only see a small amount, if you have the mild sauce you could use up to 1 tbsp of sauce

I mixed it in the bowl that had the meat marinating in, so that you can get all the marinade into the sauce as well.

Heat the oil in the wok til nearly smoking, add 1/3 of the meat spread over the base and sides. After 30 - 40 seconds turn over then shift to one side add another 1/3 of the meat repeat the cooking process, then add the last third. The beef should be slightly charred, but not dry or burnt. When you turn the last third of beef add the onion and garlic, toss together . Leave 30 seconds.

Add the vegetables, toss for 1 minute then add the water, cover and let steam/ cook 3 - 5 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked but still crisp.

Stir in the sauce it should thicken within 30 - 40 seconds.

Serve on a bed of steamed rice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hop in, Hop out ....

Just a quick blog today. Everything was going swimmingly yesterday morning. I was into the sewing early to make the last baby item a bag to be attached the pusher. Then the phone rang ........ Sigh ......... Miss fish had the sniffles and needed to be picked up from work and brought home :-(


She was meant to be in respite and not coming home till today after work.


So I have been house bound and trying to sew while there are plaintiff calls from the lounge room wanting to know if I had finished, which is impossible. Miss Fish is well enough to eat and drive me crazy but not quite well enough to go to work!


Her nose isn't running today and no more sneezing, so she is on the road to recovery she might be able to get back to work tomorrow or Friday. :-)


I better go because there is more requests for drinks.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Very Little Clothes & Portable Baby Changing Mat

Aaaaaaaah that's the sound that came from mouth on Friday afternoon. What had I been doing, well for the previous 3 days I had wrangled my over locker thread so it actually over locked. Then I had finished over locking around the seams on the " new cloth nappies" that I had been making for our soon to be here little treasure.

Hard to believe that her feet are going to be so little, so as to fit into these !


To my disgust on Thursday I ran out of elastic, so into town I went and got more elastic then I spent the rest of the day pining little bits of elastic into the waists of the nappies.

Some of the clothes I just got off lay by.

So first thing Friday with some mumbling under my breath because it is an actual bugger of a job, I sewed all the nappies. Each finished one, with a smile on my face :-) , I dropped it into a cane sewing basket that was given to Miss Le Coiffure as a child , which I was returning full of nappies.


The only job left was all the snaps to be put on, this is a job the Mummy to be is going to do.


Well that got rid of nearly the last of the baby sewing. What I did sew today was a portable baby changing map, a design of my own. This I will keep to give Miss Le Coiffure when the little one is born.

I will post full instructions this week.

Now I only have to make the nappy holder to keep at my house for when the little bottom needs changing, that's tomorrow's job.

Poor old Miss Fish was very confused when I was trying to explain tht when the baby is born I will become a Nana. With a frown on her forehead she went to work, trying understand how I can be a Nana when she has a Nana ! This is something she will have to think through before she understands.

I will see you on the flip side.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Quick Hello

Just a quick blog today as I am up to my knees in baby nappies. Not the old square ones you fold into shape, but the new cloth nappies which require quite a bit of sewing. I spent all day yesterday overlocking them, then sewing in elastic around the legs. This morning I only have to put in elastic in the waist.

Then I can ship them off to Miss Le Coiffurs to put the snaps on them, then we have to wait for the little bottom to fill it.


Some technical problems this morning as I can't load photos, hopefully by tomorrow it will be sorted.



Then I can ship them off to Miss Le Coiffure, for her to attach the snaps then we await the little bottom to got into them.


I have posted some photos of the current quilt I am making called licorice all sorts. Once the nappies are finished I can get back to it.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Sewing Room

Well I have finally finished tidying my sewing room. What originally started out as an office for Mr CLI, became my sewing room a couple of years ago when I decided that I wanted to try and make a business out of my quilt making.


So after completed quilt tops became like quicksand in the Sahara desert, they first took over a table then a chair then ever so slowly slipped to the floor. I sort of ignored them.


Then along came baby sewing. Well that took over the spare kitchen chair that is kept in the sewing room, then the remainder of the floor. So I only had a path to the desk, then my fabric cabinet.


Why did I let it get this way well for one every time I would think about doing something I was frozen in indecision, why ?


Because when we bought this house 6+ years ago the front room that is now my sewing room had a whopping big plastic pipe coming down from the ducted heating duct in the ceiling through the floor to the cellar, no not a basement as in American homes but a damp cellar. Why would you do that we have our suspicions of the previous owners Son, but nothing other than suspicions.

The inside of a wardrobe we found at an op shop, that already had these shelves. Mr CLI painted it in my favorite cream and put on new handles. All the fabric is sorted into colors, something I did on a previous tidy up.


This room also needed the plaster to be fixed it was the only room in the house. I had thought by now it would be done, then I could hang shelves and shift furniture and get more purpose built furniture. As this hasn't happened I had let the room get the better of me, but after looking at some of the ladies sewing rooms in the Moda Bake Shop sewing room hop. I knew I couldn't post photos of the room as it was so I got my backside into gear and tidied.


The actual desk where I do my sewing.


Now Miss Le Coiffure had get a set of shelves from Cheap as Chips for only $15 and I had seen baskets that would fit in perfectly. So of I went and got a set of shelves and 4 baskets 3 for the shelves and 1 for my scrap booking stickers, that was another area that needed a tidy up.


After trying to put the shelves together by hand, stupid idea. I ventured into Mr CLI's garage and borrowed his cordless drill, after one screw the battery ran out, so back to his garage swapping the flat battery for a charged one. I now know how the swap batteries, screw forwards and backwards.

My scrap booking things, these shelves will go elsewhere, along with the bill stuff and I will get a larger corner unit to hold more things.

My new ironing area the piles are fabrics I have bought for future quilts!

After filling the first one and having an every increasing pile of completed quilt tops and large pieces of fabrics I went back and bought another one with baskets on Saturday, this time I asked Mr CLI to put it together , thinking he would be heaps quicker than me. Not so his set of shelves didn't have any instructions and I walked out to find him putting it together all wrong, but I left him to it and he got them together.

Yes some of it has oozed into the hallway, but it is about 2 meters wide and I have a buffet and display cabinet in it the hat boxes aren't out of place.

There is still more to do in the room in the future once the pipe is removed and the walls have been plastered then painted but till then it is heaps better and I know where just about everything is! Lol


Monday, August 20, 2012

Pattern for Easy to Knit Booties

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I spent most of the weekend knee deep in my sewing room tidying it. So of course to tidy you have to pull everything out to sort and repack into new baskets I bought to put into 2 news sets of shelves I got from Cheap as Chips. So there are pockets of tidy surrounded by piles of mess. Lol


Now I thought I would post this pattern because it is a very easy bootee pattern using 8 ply wool. You could probably get them knitted and sewn together in under an hour.

Basic Bootee Pattern - variegated wool pink blue and mauve left side in picture

Cast on 35 stitches.

Rows 1 - 8 - knit

Row 9 - Knit 15 , knit 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 15

Row 10 - Knit 14, knit 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 14

Row 11 - knit 13, knit 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 13

Row 12 - knit 12, k it 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 12

Row 13 - knit 11, knit 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 11

Row 14 - knit 10, knit 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 10 (25 sts)

Rows 15 & 16 - knit

Row 17 - knit 1 "yrn knit 2 tog" repeat to end

Rows 18 - 22 - knit

Cast off knit ways.

pink bootees - I knitted in stocking stitch up to last decrease row.

Row 15 - knit

Row 16 - purl

Row 17 - as above

Row 18 - purl

Row 19 - knit 1 * yrn slip 1 knit 2 tog paso, yrn knit 1* repeat to last 5 stitches yrn slip 1 knit 2 tog psso yrn knit 2 tog

Row 20 - purl

Row 21 - knit 2 tog * yrn knit 1, slip 1 knit 2 tog psso * repeat til last 2 stitches, yrn knit 2 tog

Row 22 - purl

Cast of knit ways.

Aqua, pink and green variegated wool was done in garter stitch, k 1 , p 1.

Every row and when you do the decreasing rows knit the decreases and make sure you knit or purl next stitch as required to keep pattern correct.

If you have any questions just send me a message and I will try to help you.

Now I had better get back to my sewing room.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Thai Fish Cakes

Now this is my version of Thai fish cakes, a lot of recipes put red curry paste in, but as I didn't have any I " created" this recipe.


Very tasty they were. Mr CLI wolfed his down and commented that they were beautiful and he would eat them again.


I also made a dipping which was quite easy and very tasty. I even poured it over my rice so I could eat every drop.

This recipe is enough for 10 cakes 4 - 5 cm wide

Thai Fish Cakes

Fish cakes

500 gms salmon fillets, 10 green beans cut into 1/2 cm slices, 1 egg, 1 kaffir lime leaf finely sliced, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp coriander powder or 1 tbsp fresh coriander, 1 tsp sambal oelek, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp brown or palm sugar

Dipping Sauce

50 mls rice wine vinegar ( if you don't have it replace it with white vinegar) 100 gms white sugar, 2 tbsps water, 2 tsps each very finely chopped carrot and cucumber, 2 tsps fish sauce, 2 tsps sweet chilli sauce or to taste

Dipping Sauce

In a small saucepan place the water, vinegar & sugar. Bring to the boil, simmer 1 minute remove from the heat and let cool.

Once cool add remaining ingredients, taste it may need more chilli or fish sauce.

Fish Cakes

Place all ingredients except beans in a food processor. Process until just combined. Stir in beans.

Heat 4 tbsps oil in a frypan. Drop heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture into the pan, flatten with the back of the spoon.


Cook until you see the edges turn white 2 - 3 minutes. Turn cook a further 1 - 2 minutes. Drain on paper towel serve with the dipping sauce and steamed rice. I also served it with salad.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Licorice Allsorts Quilt and Very Little Pj's

Well last week I was wiped out with pain from my shoulder, yes I am still in pain and still being sent like a package in Australia Post from Doctor to Doctor, so after 8 months I have hit a wall trying to use my arm and the consequence was 3 days spent lying in bed trying to get some pain relief and the afternoon spent trying not to be sick because I am allergic to the pain killers :-(


So this week I am still trying to battle on because I have sold another quilt that I haven't finished. It is a nice feeling.


This quilt is much smaller than the last one and I am under less time pressure. I want to quilt this one by hand in Perle cotton. I called it licorice allsorts because when you look at the squares the have straight lines and are the colors of licorice allsorts.


I will show you the quilt as it progress's, at the moment it is still in the sewing squares together and there is lots of starching and ironing.


The pattern is from Moda Bake Shop.


Now for little Pj's, I went yesterday to pick up 2 laybys for my not quite here yet Grandaughter and couldn't help myself when I saw a sale sign.


What I found was 2 pairs of very cute Pj's. One mauve with little elephants on the flannelette pants and an elephant on the top and the other one is pink with stars, which she is going to be.

No justification needed for this purchase as the little one to be doesn't have any Pj's yet.:-)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Show & Tell - Very Little Knitted Cardigans

A bit of humor to start the day off.

Help comes in all shapes. Lol


I have a bit of show and tell today , some photos of cardigans I have knitted for our Grandaughter , who is due at the end of September. Only 8 weeks to go.


To us it seems like a long time, but to Miss Le Coiffure, it seems like forever.


Till tomorrow, have a good day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Basil and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

Well an update on the mammoth quilt, all the quilting is finished - happy dance. The 11 meters - yes I said 11 meters of binding has been sewn onto the edges, I just have to hand sew it down, a job for the weekend. Then it can wing its way to its new owner.

Now this recipe is super easy you just have to process 5 ingredients together, then massage them into you chicken fillets and cook in the oven, what couldn't be easier.


Mr CLI after his first mouthful commented that I cook these again, anther thing to add to the list.


I served these with a simple green salad and scallop potatoes , a pretty easy meal all the cooking is done in the oven and you only have to turn the chicken a couple of times.

Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

This is enough dressing for 2 chicken fillets which have been cut into 3 strips each.

10 sun dried tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic peeled 2 - 3 tbsps olive oil, 2 tsps lemon juice, about 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves.

Process all ingredients until it forms a paste.

Preheat the oven 180. C

Remove any skin and fat off the chicken fillets cut into 3 lengthwise, place onto a baking paper covered tray. Pour over marinade and rub into the chicken. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Slow Roasted Lamb with Morrocan Spices & Lemon Oregano Potatoes

You are probably going to ask we're I have been. Well over the last two weeks I have been busy finishing the last of the quilting on the very large quilt I am making. There was a happy dance yesterday because all the quilting is finished. :-)

Also a couple of weeks ago Mr CLI had to go to Melbourne for work for three days and as Miss Fish was in respite I tagged along.

I have never had so much me time in decades. It was lovely to just wander around the shops in Melbourne, if the truth be known I only ventured to the Bourke Street Mall.


One day I had a lovely time getting my makeup done at the Dior counter, such bliss.


Now I am having a bit of a Morrocan theme this week on Monday I cooked a chicken tagine which I served with Quinoa, lovely, but Mr CLI kept wandering into the kitchen afterwards to look for more food. So I thought I would fix his little red wagon last night and cooked quite a spread including cup cakes - even though they were a packet mix they still were lovely.


I originally saw a recipe in the Gourmet Traveller magazine, I took this as base and went from there.


I also served this with a chopped salad, my version of tzatziki, and mountain bread and souvlaki wraps, so we could make yummy wraps with the hot meat, salad and tzatziki. Yummy !


Now I used a half leg which is enough for 4 people.


Moroccan Lamb

1 half leg of lamb - mine weighed 1.4 kgs

Preheat oven to 100.c

Marinade - 2 tsps of each whole fennel & cumin seeds, 1 tsp whole cardamom seeds, 1 tsp whole coriander seeds, 2 tsps salt flakes, 4 cloves garlic peeled, 3 tbsps olive oil, 2 tbsps lemon juice

In a small saucepan place all the whole spices, move around until fragrant 1-2 minutes. Tip into a mortar and pestle grind with garlic and salt fhen stir in juice and oil or small food whizz add remaining ingredients, process till it forms a paste.

Place lamb into a baking tray pour marinade and rub into the leg. Cover tray with tin foil. Turn ever 1 1/2 - 2 hours, basting with juices and marinade. Cook for 5 hours. See what I mean about slow roasted.



Lemon and oregano potatoes

1 - 2 kgs of potatoes peeled and cut into 3 cm pieces, 1 cup chicken stock, 2 tbsps olive oil, 2 tsps dried oregano

If you have a double oven preheat second oven 200. C. Put all potato ingredients in a baking tray, toss well. Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour, turning 2 - 3 times during cooking.

If you don't have second oven when the lamb is cooked remove it from the oven and increase the heat to 200.c. Cover the lamb with foil then wrap in a couple of tea towels to keep it hot and moist while the potatoes are cooking.

Chopped Salad

2 tomatoes, 1/2 red capsicum, 1/3 Lebanese cucumber with the seeds removed all cut into 1 cm dice, 1/4 red onion finely sliced, 1 tbsp Italian parsley leaves or 1 tbsp finely chopped curly parsley, 1 tbsp chopped mint, 1 cup iceburg lettuce torn into 2 cm pieces.

Dressing - mix together 1 tbsp olive oil & 2 tsps lemon juice.

Pour over salad and toss.


1/2 cup Greek yoghurt, 1/4 cup grated cucumber, 1 garlic clove grated, 2 tsps lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt + extra for cucumber 2 tbsps chopped fresh mint.

While the lamb it cooking place the cucumber in a sieve over a bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt leave to drain.

To make sauce squeeze any excess water from he cucumber throw out the liquid. Combine cucumber with other ingredients, mix together. Taste it may need more salt or lemon.

Then dish everything up together sit down and enjoy.