Friday, 19 January 2018

Falafel




 I have made falafel twice in the last week, they are fairly easy to make so long as you remember soak the dried chickpeas the night before.  Falafel make a nice addition to a vegetarian meal and this recipe is also a good option for the gluten intolerant.



Falafel

150g dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
500g packet of frozen broadbeans (defrost then remove the tough, outer pod) or
300g shelled fresh broadbeans (or 150g dried, skinless broadbeans soaked in water overnight)¹
1 ½ cups coriander leaves and stems ²
1 clove garlic grated                               1 tsp chilli paste or you can use cayenne pepper instead
3 tsp ground coriander                           3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ medium onion, chopped finely
Oil for deep frying

The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas, (if using dried broadbeans do the same) place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely minced (not too fine, you still want a bit of texture)

Make small balls or patties and place on a tray lined with baking paper, chill well and then deep fry in hot oil, (182-190°C/360-375°F) about 3 minutes per side or until they are golden brown. Remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon.  Drain on paper towels, best served hot

Serve with yogurt or hummus (I used this recipe)


Notes:

¹ I used a 500g packet of frozen broadbeans, once the tough outer pod is removed there will be a bit more than 300g of broadbeans.  I have also made falafel without taking off the tough outer pod, but the falafel aren't as nice.

² I roughly chop the coriander and put into a measuring jug, close enough is good enough.  Parsley is also another option.

The first few times I made these they started to fall apart when being deep fried, I found that by chilling or even freezing the falafel, they kept their shape when deep frying. 

I do my deep frying in a wok, it doesn't take too much oil and there is a larger surface area so I only need to do two batches.






Thursday, 18 January 2018

18 blocks down

So far, so good, still keeping up with the 365 Challenge.

I've been wanting a lightweight machine to take along to sit and sew sessions, so I had been keeping a look out for a second hand Elna Lotus.  One popped up on Ebay late last year and I was lucky enough to be the successful bidder.


Today I decided it was time to give the Lotus a real workout by making some 365 Challenge blocks.  I did have to spend a bit of time getting a scant 1/4" seam sorted out,  but once that was done I just had to cut some fabric and get sewing, I made blocks 17 and 18 as I hadn't had time to make the block yesterday.


Still enjoying making the blocks, they don't take too long, between 15 - 30 minutes for each one, depending on the size of the pieces.  Strip piecing and then cutting into sub units helps make it quick although you do need to think about the pressing so the seams all mesh together nicely.





Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Progress

I'm enjoying making these small blocks for the 365 Challenge,  however, looking at the quilt layout diagram I suspect that there may not be quite as much enjoyment further down the track.  There are some complicated looking blocks with quite a few pieces, although they are the larger blocks so maybe I'm overthinking it.

This is how the blocks are looking so far, there will be two rows to make a border surrounding the centre part, my plan is to keep the colours grouped together.  I'm really happy with how the black has worked out, it is providing a nice contrast with the other fabrics and it means there is one less thing to think about.

A couple of days ago I came across this BOM for a mood quilt, I'm on the fence about this one.  I've had a bit of a play and my effort looks rather ugly :(



I'm sure that if my mood colours were better curated then I would get a more pleasing result, not really sure if I want to go to all that effort sorting through my stash.

The IG hashtag is #moodquilt and the original idea came from @paige_holden14

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Channeling Angela

and the Midnight Quilt Show.  I have been making my 365 Challenge blocks first thing in the morning, things were a bit busy today so it was put it off until the evening. 


Angela often has a glass of "something" alongside while she sews, and as we were toasting what would have been Mum and Dad's 60th wedding anniversary tonight, I thought it would be appropriate to have my glass alongside while I stitched, note that it is well away from my sewing area.

Day 3 and Day 4 blocks

I ended up making two blocks because for some reason I thought I should trim the block back to three inches instead of three and a half inches.  Not a big deal, I just cut a couple more strips, a bit more stitching, some correct trimming and I had a finished block.  Time for bed I think...

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

365 Challenge

I came across the 365 Challenge on Facebook today, make a quilt block every day for a year, how hard can that be?  There is a webpage as well as a Facebook group (links on the webpage), blocks vary between 3" and 6" (finished).  The challenge is suitable for the confident beginner, although I think it will be a great quilt to make regardless of skill level.


I made my two blocks today so I'm currently up to date, they didn't take too long to make, about an hour for both of them, which including choosing fabric, cutting, sewing etc. I'm going to be using fabrics from my scrap stash and as I have a fair bit of black fabric that will work nicely for the dark fabric.


There are a few of these toadstools growing in our back yard at the moment, they are quite tiny, (maybe they are fairy parasols) maybe an inch across, something decided to have a nibble of this one, it didn't finish it so perhaps they don't taste very nice :)

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Contemplating

It is the last day of 2017 and Happy Christmas, (War is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono has started playing on my iPod.  I thought the first few words were quite appropriate for this time of the year:

 And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun

It has been a stop start kind of year for me, with not a lot going on or being made, I wrote 31 blog posts for this year,  nearly twice the number of blog posts in 2016.

I started a few small projects but have yet to finish them, that seems to be the way of things lately.  One project I did finish was my Necessary Clutch Wallet which I started at a workshop at Widebacks (my local quilt shop) and finished off at home the same afternoon.  I was really pleased with how the wallet turned out, it was made so much easier by being guided in the making by someone that had made several of these wallets already.


I started the Slow and Steady Quilt Along by Paula Storm and made six of the Scrappy Square blocks before being side tracked by something else.  I plan to get back to this soon.
 

Cody (our Maine Coon), had his 12th birthday in December, he is still in good health although he seems to be a bit deaf nowadays or perhaps that is selective hearing on his part.  Our cockatiel Alfie is still going strong and will turn 20 early in 2018.

Cody trying to "will" me into giving him a snack


I took out a year subscription for Quiltfolk magazine in November, they had a great deal which included the initial four issues for half price when combined with a subscription, the postage was US$23 for all eight issues.  I've been enjoying them, there are no advertisements, just photos and words.  I also managed to keep up my reading with another 45 or so books read this year.


Tomorrow will be 2018,  I wish you all a happy and safe New Year, no new year resolutions for me just this phrase - the only way is up.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Warmer weather

means that the backyard critters are on the move.  There is a pair of Adelaide rosellas nesting in the box this year, they are generally quite shy but they seem to be getting used to the comings and goings in our back yard. 


I nearly stepped on this blue tongue lizard, I didn't see him (I don't know if it is a him or a her but I will call it a him) until I turned around and realised that what I had thought was some gum leaves was in fact a lizard.  Normally the lizards will spend the day sun baking on hard, flat surfaces like rocks or pavers, I'm guessing that the grass was warmer on this particular day.  Our neighbour also has one that likes to lie out on the grass in the morning sun, it is much larger than this one and there is no mistaking it for leaves.



I'm not sure if this is the same or a different lizard, this photo was taken a bit earlier in the month on a cooler day, he was trying to scare me off by hissing at me and exposing his blue tongue.


This magpie has been following the Mister on his weeding travels around the garden, it is now at the stage where it flies down when it sees the Mister come out of the house, almost as if it is expecting a free meal.    I suspect it has a nest nearby and is feeding the chicks. We have never had any of the magpies in our neighbourhood swoop on us, perhaps it is because they consider us friendly -   Magpies can form friendships


Finally the koalas are on the move as well, we have heard a male koala bellowing the last few nights and this morning I spotted him in the neighbour's tree. At the very end of that branch is a female koala and he is blocking off her escape route (unless she decides to jump to another branch).  This afternoon he had moved down to the branch fork where he could have a sleep and still prevent her escaping.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

A loooong weekend for me

 We have just had a long weekend here in South Australia (some other states had one as well) but my long weekend is extra long as I don't have to work until Wednesday night, happy days.


It was quite a busy weekend as the AFL Grand Final was played on Saturday, the NRL Grand Final was played on Sunday and we put our clocks forward for Daylight Saving as well.  Now we just have to adjust to darker mornings and more daylight in the evenings.


I finished off my doorstop and covered the current doorstop box with some linen that I had, it looks a bit more attractive now.  I started hand couching the wiggly gimp thread decoration but my hand started aching so I ended up machining it down with a zig zag stitch, much quicker.


I also made my quilt for the 2018 SA Modern Quilters Challenge  - Broken Glass, we were given a piece of Alison Glass fabric and could add two different solids, and some low volume fabrics.  The finished quilt will be 12" x 24" portrait orientation, I will only show a portion of my quilt to preserve the mystery :) It is ready for the background quilting now, and as the finished quilts don't have to be delivered until next year there is no hurry to get the quilting done.


The sunset last night was quite nice, you can see the sea on the far horizon and the reservoir is just visible in the centre of the photo.


Saturday, 30 September 2017

One of five

I'm quilting five smallish pieces which will help me get used to quilting on my Simply 16.  The first piece is a test block I made for another quilt, I had already added borders and ditch stitched it on my Bernina 750QE in anticipation of needing something for quilting practise before the Simply 16 arrived.


I had no quilting plan so just had a bit of a play with my rulers to start with.  I was wanting to do something else with the circle ruler but the block wasn't big enough, (top left and bottom right corner) for what I had in mind so I had to improvise.  I finished it off with piano keys on the outside section, it took no more than 10 minutes to complete the piano keys on each side.

I've now moved on to the next piece which is a piece of cheater cloth in a log cabin pattern, I'm just going to practise doing straight lines with the machine set to Cruise Stitch Regulation, I'm thinking it will be good practise for Stitch in the Ditch. 


I've been experimenting with using a curved needle to bury my thread ends, it was a bit of a struggle using a straight needle and I think once I get used to using the curved needle it will work well, there are certainly a lot of thread ends on this fabric.


I found that it was hard to maintain concentration and keep the lines straight for more than one row, I do have electromagnetic channel locks fitted to my machine and I might experiment with that tomorrow and see that will keep me from going off track.

Monday, 25 September 2017

An upgrade

A couple of months ago I sold my Sweet 16 sit-down machine and upgraded to a HQ Simply 16 machine with Little Foot frame.  Lately I've been concerned about the amount of time that I spend sitting down (sitting down to sew at my machine, to quilt and of course sitting down at night watching TV) and it made sense to me to consider changing to a machine which would allow me to stand up more.


Another reason was that I had been having a lot of pain in my wrists and thumbs and I think that as I was doing a lot of quilting with a double batting this exacerbated it. An xray and ultrasound showed that I had mild arthritis in my thumbs, some visits to a specialist hand therapist helped and also confirmed that the way I was quilting wasn't helping my arthritis. 


It was a bit like a jig saw fitting the new machine in my work room, I moved my sewing machine table to a slightly different position which gave me a bit more floor space and allowed me to hide quite a few containers underneath it.


In the meantime there is a bit of a learning curve getting used to a slightly different way of quilting so I will be doing a bit of practise on panels and various other bits and pieces that I have lying around.  I am getting quite a stack of quilts ready for quilting once I'm up to speed.


This cushion cover was one of my first quilting practise pieces, it was a Trapunto challenge from the monthly Handi Quilter group that I attend.  Some of it was done using stitch regulation and some in manual mode, I enjoyed both modes.