March 31, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Cream Muffins !

Before there was designer fabrics there was my trusted hand held Kenwood mixer. Yup, I bake. I bake when I'm stressed out, I bake when I see a beautiful dessert but does not taste as good as it looks and I bake when I don't feel like dishing out exorbitant amounts of dollars for a vanilla cupcake ! But in general I guess I bake because I love the creating process and being able to eat it too :)

I thought its high time I contributed to the www by giving my recipe for this simple indulgent, foolproof, 10min flat, healthy muffin .

ok get these things ready
2 cups / 250 g self raising flour
1 tsp soda bicarb
1/2 cup / 125 g fine caster sugar ( quite low as its going to be distributed among 12)
( mix the above in a big bowl)

In a large measuring jug put in
100ml yogurt ( strawberry wud be yummy / or plain would do)
100ml milk
a dash of cream if u have it, if not doesn't matter
50 g melted butter / 50ml odourless oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1large egg
(whisk with a hand ballon whisk till all mixed nicely)

a packet of fresh blueberries

Now, make a well in the middle of the flour/sugar mix and dump in the liquid mixture and blueberries and using the ballon whisk just mix till its still slightly lumpy, too smooth a batter will make the muffins tough. Just spoon into 12 large muffin tins / cases ( or 24 mini muffins) and bake in the centre for 23 / 25 minutes at 180C till beautifully golden and the blueberries are just oooozing! Try to let them cool in the tin for 5 min before taking them out. Voila, enjoy them warm.

For presentation purposes dust some icing sugar.

Here are some baking tips:
1. Use 1tsp baking powder for every 1cup / 125g plain flour if you don't have self raising
2. soda bicarb only works if you have an acidic agent ie. yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, coco. Omit if you dont have those items. Just add an extra 1/2 tsp baking powder for the rise.
3. Better to have all your ingredients at room temperature so volume can double easily and end result is lighter. These muffins however are very forgiving !
4. Cut up strawberrys to make starwberry muffins, good way to get the kids to eat these great fruits :)
5. Get a set of plastic measuring cups and spoons, so much easier than weighing everything.
6. Invest in a non stick 12 cup large muffin pan, worth the sweat :)

These are quick awesome snacks and saves you those dollars! Your kids will definitely be asking for more. Don't blame me though when they keep expecting it everyday LOL.

Shasha and Danny with Yela enjoying the spring while gobbling their muffins :)

Enjoy the weekend everyone and bake some muffins :) To my long time buddy Sri, here it is finally ! I know I know hahaha ! Better late than never eh.

March 25, 2011

Look Mummy, I Can Cable !

I've done it, finished Danny's muffler, but it seems its a bit too late! The kids tell me that its passed over to Spring officially and so they are switching to lighter jackets. I admit its nice and bright now but still a little chilly, oh well, we can keep it for next winter :) 

He loves it though and still insisted on wearing it to school today, I'm a happy mommy

I changed the pattern from the one I started below. It became a bit too tedious making 2 baby cables every 2nd row, so to make my life easier, I used knit3, purl6, cable 6/6 ,purl6, knit3. So I ended up only cabling every 12th row which wasn't bad at all. However, even though purl stitches accentuate cables, purl6 stitches made the whole piece much to elastic and pulled the fabric in, so next time need to reduce the purls in between.

The whole cabling process was demystified by Lily Chin's excellent new book, Power Cables. She really explains the science behind designing cables, with illustrations and there is a cable stitchionary and lots of beautiful projects, but all are for winter wear though, thick sweaters and wraps. But I love the book, even feel confident about designing my own cable project.

But who can't be happy that spring is here, the whole country is blooming. Smiling happy faces are seen sitting outside cafes soaking up the sun. I could never understand before why westerners come to Malaysia and sunbathe till they become loabsters, but now I can say I do and I would definitely do the same !

March 20, 2011

For The LOVE of Fabrics

Yes, for the love of fabrics, I would go to the ends of the earth, weather any storm and jump over train tracks!! Well, not so dramatic, but yes I did walk, take a tram, then took a metro then sprinted the last few metres, forgetting again that I no longer have a perfect right foot! Total travel time :- 1 hour each way!! 

A sort of fabric convention was being held at the AHOY which is the Rotterdam Convention Centre for that one day only! Loads of stalls was expected to be there so of course, how could I miss ?! Set off at 9 am, I needed to arrive back home by 1pm for the kids so time was not on my side. But thanks to the excellent public transport system here, getting there was a breeze. It was already full of shoppers by the time I arrived and yes, it was fabric heaven! Everything from Denim to chiffon to jerseys, name it they had it. 2 hours of intense fabric hunting and here are what I came out with. 

Stretch cotton jerseys

Dress cotton from Germany ( between 12euro to 15euro a metre but so very gorgeous )

European dress cotton, discovered this stall in my last 1/2 hr and they had the whole rainbow spectrum of gorgeous cottons at 8euro, should really have bought more but was so blinded by the colors and ahem, money was running out :-(

Love love the appliques and the gorgeous ribbons, loads of prym 

I arrived at my door exactly at 1pm with bulging biceps and a throbbing foot, talk about efficiency hehe. Spring seems to be playing hide and seek this year! A few days of bright warm sunshine then the next it'll go back to near 0C. I can't wait to hang up my sweaters for good. Blooms are popping out now and familes are taking walks and cycling, a very pretty sight.

The pink blossom tree outside my bedroom :)

Enjoy spring everyone, wherever you are. My prayers go out to those in Japan, I cannot imagine how tough life must be right now for them some loosing their possessions but others also loosing loved ones.

March 11, 2011

A broken Ankle and some Knitting !

Its been quite a while I know. My stuff finally made it to my front door and finally the last of the paintings have been hung and the last book put on the shelf, so now it does resemble a bit more like HOME. Kids are also much happier with their toys and books around them, not to mention not having to wear the same clothes every week :-)

I broke my ankle! Yup, ran down these miniscule dutch steps completely forgetting I was not in KL anymore, missed the last 2 steps and crashed to the bottom. I opened the door to the postman with tears streaming and nearly dying of pain. And of course hubby happened to be away the whole week. I only managed to get it treated and put in a cast the following week. So, I was housebound for 6 weeks dragging my foot with nothing to do, what a bad start! 

So thats how my adventure with knitting started! and now I am totally hooked. It does keep one's mind and hands busy and to be able to create gorgeous things from a ball of yarn is amazing. Here's my first knitting creation :

A simple muffler for Shasha, its in alternating k2 p2 stitch, then single crochet the sides and added simple crochet flowers. I like the idea of making a sort of sleeve for the muffler to go thru, the kids were always complaining tying a knot at their neck felt like being stranggled! I got the pattern from this book, yes its in Japanese, but as usual they make it so easy because of the full stitch illustrations at the back and stitch schematics that a beginner like me can even do it :-) Below is a sample sweater schematic

I'm hoping to make one of these sweaters for the kids too, a bit daunting but i will persevere!

Danny complained 'why is everything for kakak ', so yes, have to be fair, I let him choose his yarn and I'm making him a manly little muffler too! Decided to up the ante a bit and try cables, and voila, I have cabled! As of today, its nearly done yeahhhh, then have to start on another for Adam!

I find crochet goes much faster though and its really great for making lacy motifs , knitting however makes a lighter flatter piece of material , better for garments. I found a great resource here that helped me understand the Japanese terms better, made sense of what number needles to use and gauge size. To start with knitting, I used Vogue Knitting, really excellent illustrations,  a stitch dictionary and even explains how to design and knit your own sweater. The best thing was I managed to get it at KL's bookxcess for just RM34 just before I left! 

My ankle is better now but too much walking and it starts to throb, I can't even run yet. But the weather has turned and its sunnier and the crocuses are poking thru, time to go exploring soon :)

Have I stopped sewing, not on your life! Thats in my next post, and shasha does need some new spring / summer tops haha. Auvoir for now


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