Monday, 29 April 2013


This is very easy and very yummy, but it takes a looooong time... Best attempted when you're going to be in the kitchen for a while anyway (for example making and eating dinner, then doing the washing up!).

1.5L milk
500g brown sugar
a dash of vanilla extract

1. Start warming up the milk in a saucepan on a medium-low fire.
2. Gradually whisk in the brown sugar and add the vanilla extract.
3. Keep whisking regularly while the mixture is heating up. It can bubble up gently but do not let it completely boil (you all know the milk boiling over effect, well, add stickiness from the sugar to that... Hello clean up!).
In the meantime, put some baking paper in a rectangular dish pan, covering the bottom and sides.

The mixture should reduce and thicken. This could take a while (mine took 2:30hrs!).

You know you're nearly done when it has reduced by at least 2/3, and it looks like this (skin forming on top, bubbles that look like they're coming through something solid).

4. When you start feeling some resistance while whisking, it's good to go. Pour it into the prepared pan (watch out for burning splatter!)

Casualties: no burn on my side, but I did break my whisk!

Oh, one last little tip: clean your pan and utensils immediately after you're done, and with plenty of hot water. If you let the fudge rests harden, your pan is lost!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Ricotta, bacon and veg pasta

I usually cook pasta with whatever's in my fridge, however, quite often it's a variation of this...

For 2/3 people

250g pasta (I used penne rigate this time)
250g cherry tomatoes
200g diced bacon
2/3 spring onions
200g fresh spinach
250g ricotta

1. Boil the pasta in a big saucepan of salted water (you can add a dash of olive oil to make sure it doesn't stick together).
2. While the pasta is cooking, sauté the cherry tomatoes in some olive oil for a few minutes, then add the bacon and the chopped spring onion (I usually just cut it with scissors on top of the pan to save time).

3. When everything is pretty much cooked, add the spinach and stir it around the pan. It will only take a minute or two to wilt (I usually add it in 2 batches so it fits in the pan).
4. Add the ricotta and thyme, some black paper (no salt needed as the bacon is salty),
5. While the ricotta is warming up, drain your pasta, then add it to the sauce.
Ta-Da, it's done!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Next up: reversible polka dot skirt

I bought some fabric today, including these jerseys to make a skirt.

I had noticed this black and grey polka dot one last time I was in the shop, but I had the BF in tow and he wasn't too enthusiastic about it, which made me doubt so I didn't buy it. And of course I kept thinking I should have afterwards! So I went back for it today (obvious conclusion: don't ask for a guy's opinion on fabric!).

The fabric is a little thin for a fitted skirt I think, so I got the plain dark navy as another layer... Then I thought it'd be nice to make it reversible! It might be slightly more difficult (at least for a beginner like me), but I think it should work... Of course, the best laid plans etc etc...

We'll see... I'm planning to give it a shot tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Quick Thai soup

On Thursday I celebrated my birthday in a Thai restaurant with a few friends, and had very yummy food:)
The next day though, I wanted some more Thai prawn soup:D
I made some tonight with a few simple ingredients... It wasn't as fantastic as Baan Thai's one, but it still hit the spot.

So here's the recipe (makes about 5 bowls of soup):

1 red pepper
a bit of leek white (a spring onion would do nicely too)
2 big handfuls of fresh spinach
some rice noodles (I used a 2-3 people "wok-ready" pack, I'm guessing about 250g)
about 300g prawns (I used pre-cooked prawn tails)
1 or 2 chillies
my Asian food "usual suspects" (oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and lime juice)

1. Slice the red pepper and the leek as finely as possible and sauté in a pan.
2. Boil about 5 bowls of water (yes I actually poured bowls of water in the pan to get a better control on the final quantity - I always make too much food!), add the sauces and chillies to taste.
3. Add the fresh spinach, let it wilt (it should only take about a minute), then add all the rest to the pot.
You're done!

Now that was easy:)
The verdict: I had to add a bit more soy sauce and lime juice to mine, and thought it was pretty mild, but the BF found it quite spicy! (He's still not used to spicy food).

Friday, 5 April 2013

Awesome: Sheldon Cooper quilt!

Somebody in Nova Scotia (Canada) made a Sheldon Cooper quilt! I'm not really into quilting but this is brilliant!

Image source and details here.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Weird 80's thing to skirt refashion

I started out with this:

I got this from my mom. She has a lot of clothes, among which a fair few weird old things... And she likes to pass them on to the kids... Anyway, I only took this because I liked the stripes at the bottom and thought I might be able to make it into something somewhat wearable.

I decided to make a skirt from it (and use this project to test the stretch stitch of my new machine and practice inserting an elastic... hey, I'm still a beginner at this sewing stuff!).

So I measured the length I wanted, added a few centimetres for the waistband and chopped the top off.

Then I marked how much I needed for the elastic waistband, folded it over and pressed it, and tried that stretch stitch on it... It worked very nicely.

I then inserted the elastic using a safety pin (I need to get bigger ones!), tried it on for size and sewed the elastic together.

(Not perfect looking, but will hold up to wear and tear)

And here's the final result:

I have a new skirt:)

Yummy lemon muffins

I adapted this recipe from a banana bread recipe in a "cafe food" booklet from The Australian Women's Weekly (that I randomly found in an Irish supermarket a few years ago).

Now why start from a banana bread recipe? Well I'm a beginner baker so I don't have that many recipes under my belt yet... And that one is a favourite, so one day I tried pouring the batter into a muffin tray instead, and then tried making a batch with different ingredients... And it worked:)

So here we go:
- 185g flour
- 5.5g baking powder
- 100g white sugar
- 20g butter
- 1 egg
- 50ml milk
- 2 untreated lemons
- sesame seeds (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (200 if using a fan oven) and line the muffin tins/muffin tray.
2. Mix flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
3. Rub in the butter (you can also melt it in the microwave to mix it in easier).
4. Stir in the sugar and milk.
5. Juice and zest your lemons, and add the juice and zest to the mix (watch out if you have cuts on your hands the lemon juice will burn!).
6. Spoon into the muffin tray and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired (I did half with and half without in case somebody was allergic).
7. Bake in the oven for 15min (a little less if you want the center a little gooey).

And enjoy!

I made this for the Show&Tell meeting last week (meetings with cake are always more interesting;) ). One of my colleagues usually brings some cake, so I decided it was my turn this time (except I didn't mention it so I was one of 3 people that brought cake... So it was a very good meeting!).
It went down a treat and was all eaten:) And I got a great compliment as my colleague Gerd, who has been taking evening baking classes for a few years, asked me for the recipe:) Here's her blog about baking: Veel Afwas! (in Dutch). She's definitely not a beginner!

Here's the only picture I have (I saved mine for after the meeting as I was full from the other treats):