Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Garam Masala

Garam masala is a spice blend that is very commonly used in Indian cooking. Which I'm very fond of, and can't often eat at restaurants because of my severe dairy intolerance. (Ghee practically is its own food group, as it should be, cause it's delicious, but even clarified butter is still butter.)

While you can buy garam masala at the grocery store, it's also the sort of thing that nice to tweak to your own tastes. So after surveying the options elsewhere on the intertubes, this is the combo I tried for my first pass at making my personal blend.

Garam Masala Take 1

In a skillet over medium heat:

2 tbsp cardamom
2 tbsp peppercorns
2 tbsp cloves
1 tbsp fennel seeds
3 small star anise
2" cinnamon stick (broken up a bit)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds

Toast until they start to pop and smell amazing. Pour into spice grinder with 2 bay leaves, grind well. Pour into jar along with 2 tbsp coriander (I have ground, but not whole atm, use what I've got!)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chutney Chocolate Cake

I realized that I've a bunch of recipes that were in my dog eared and stained notebook that I will end up losing if I don't put them somewhere else, so I'm going to toss them here. This recipe doesn't do you much good if you don't have a jar of overly sweet apple tomato chutney laying around that you're trying to use up, but I expect any jar of preserves or chutney that you're trying to get rid of might work.

Chutney Chocolate Cake

100g AP flour
100g wheat flour
200g sugar
50g cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Combine dry together in a bowl. In another bowl (often in my house, a large measuring cup)

80g vegetable oil
140g overly sweet tomato apple chutney
3/4 c water
1 tsp vanilla

Mix well and then combine with dry. Pour into a 9" x 9" pan. Bake at 350 for about 30 mins. Dust lightly with powdered sugar to make it look pretty.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Birthday Bread Pudding

As it's the spouse's birthday, there was his choice of breakfast, Bread Pudding. Starting with an allrecipes version, we ended up with this.

In a 9"x9" pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray:

 8 slices of day-old farmer's bread ripped up in small bits and put in the pan.
2 generous soup spoons (kinda like tablespoons) of vegan marg, melted. Drizzle over the bread.
Sprinkle liberally with raisins.

 Mix together: 4 eggs
2 cups almond milk
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 T cinnamon (I really like cinnamon. adjust to your own taste)
Whisk it up well, and pour over the bread.

Forget to pre-heat the oven to 350, so let it all soak while the oven heats. Bake for 40 mins or so.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dear sweater..

Dear orange lacy sweater,

I know we haven't had the best of relationships over the years. You were supposed to be a quick fling, and it's turned into a ploddy dragging long term thing that neither of us are enjoying. The trick of having wildly disproportionate sleeves only at the largest size.. not really cool, and I know my short waistedness mixed with my love of shorter sweaters caused us some problems. 

It was a cruel taunt when I had you all finished, bound off, washed and blocked and then realized that something was horribly horribly wrong.

I'd carefully paid attention to the rate of decrease in your raglan shaping for the fronts and sleeves, blithely assuming that the back would take care of itself. It hadn't. The back was about half again as wide as it needed to be, and while there's a time and place for an off the shoulder boat neck look, a lacy raglan cardigan is neither time nor place.

There was a moment, it wasn't a good moment, where you almost ended up in the back of the closet that we just don't talk about. That moment may have lasted a while where I covered you up with a towel on the floor where you'd been drying and pretended that somehow ignoring you would make things fit. (Pro Tip: It didn't.)

You have to understand, I hate finishing. I hate working button bands, I hate sewing seams. The idea of ripping out that hard won button band out and starting again almost undid the resolve.

I am pleased (and vaguely dreading) that you are back on the needles, sleeves and fronts holding steady while we quickly grab over 30 stitches out of the back. 

Please work out this time? It'd be best for both of us if we could put this to bed.

Much love,

PS: I am, with every stitch, so profoundly sorry about the yarn. I really am. We'll get through this together. You're a fabulous colour, we'll just cope with the embroidery floss level of splitting going on here. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014


There are few who know me who don't consider me to to stubborn. I'm not fast, I'm not generally clever, but I get stubborn. (Weirdly, I also have an irritating habit of letting things slide once they're past their flush of exciting, so fleetingly stubborn?)

In any case, I read a fleeting throw away comment about making lucet cord on a couple of pencils and had an epiphany. (It was pre-coffee, it doesn't take much to have an epiphany at that point. Oh look! I have fingers! Epiphany!)  I started with pencils and a hair elastic holding them together at the bottom and quickly moved on to a couple of wooden dpns and a hair elastic. It works surprisingly well.

It does make for a good finger busy fidget task. Likely also excellent in the car, but I haven't tried that one yet. I might on the weekend in various road trips.