Friday, 29 March 2013

Weekly Recipe: Dumpling Soup

Good Friday.
We are at the beginning of a four day weekend in celebration of Easter and had an egg hunt for the toddlers in my parents' group, followed by a pot luck dinner where everyone brought something to share. This recipe is not what I brought along (that was a trout dip, a lentil dip, a loaf of herb bread and some gingerbread Easter eggs), but rather a meal that I made earlier this week.

It's an easy recipe to modify based on what ingredients I have in the fridge or pantry. For this one, I started by soaking a handful of dried Chinese mushrooms in some boiling water for about half an hour. Then I chopped an onion, two garlic cloves and a piece of ginger and cooked them with a little peanut oil in a saucepan until the onion was soft.

I drained the mushrooms and added them to stock to make a couple of litres, then poured the stock into the onion. I added in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and brought the liquid to the boil.

Then I threw in chopped vegetables (the mushrooms, cauliflower and asparagus)...

... and some frozen prawn dumplings. I boiled the whole until the dumplings were cooked (maybe 10 minutes).

At the last minute, I decided that there needed to be more substance, so I threw in some dried vermicelli noodles and continued boiling for a couple of minutes to soften them.

You should probably remove the ginger before serving, but I never do and some lucky person gets to bite into it (!).

Happy Easter!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Toddler Play: Making A Cubby House

The best toddler activities are generally the cheapest. In this one, the girls and I dragged chairs from the dining room and blankets from the bedroom out to make a cubby house.

Miss 2 and Miss 2.5 were super excited to have their own house to play in and happily rang the non-existent door bell to enter.

They invited me to afternoon tea!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Fox and the Hound

The Madeit front page has a different theme every day. A couple of weeks ago, the front pages were book titles ('50 Shades of Grey', 'About A Boy', 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', 'The Lord Of The Rings' and 'The Owl And The Pussycat'). This week is a film theme - so far we've had '2001: A Space Odyssey', 'The Princess Bride' (love that movie!), more to come over the week.

In the spirit of films, I've chosen features inspired by 'The Fox and the Hound', the first film that my mother took me to at the cinema. Click on the images to go to the listings.

Handmade by Plushka
Angelwing Jewellery

edward and lilly
Annelise Norman

The Crafty Little Fox
Sparrowhawk Designs

Neptune and the whimsical Duchess
Oiolin's Craft & Magic

Lilypad Designs

Ruby & Olive
dear mrs morris

Blossom Couture
A Scarlett Store

Pretty Little Thing

Friday, 22 March 2013

Weekly Recipe: Dyed Eggs For Easter

Not your traditional recipe today, but the instructions for dying eggs for Easter. My chickens are on strike because of the hot weather, so we had to use store bought eggs. Boo. We used hard boiled eggs because of the toddler element, but blown eggs can also be dyed.

When the eggs were cooled, the girls and I decorated them with crayon.

Then I mixed together half a cup of water, a tablespoon of vinegar and 20 drops of food colouring (no blue colouring, because that ended up poured into my carpet a month or so ago *curse*). Half of the eggs went into the dye intact, whilst the girls crushed the shells of the other half. We let them sit in the dye for about three hours, turning the eggs occasionally to get even dye.

The solid eggs had a beautiful strong colour.

When we peeled the shell off the cracked eggs, they had a lovely marbled finish, which would have been even stronger if we'd left them in the dye overnight.

Have a great Easter break!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Art Meets Science On Etsy

Monday to Wednesday, I am a molecular viologist working at a pharmaceutical company. Thursday to Sunday, I am a crafter (and I'm always supermum!). To bring the two parts of my life together, I've been working on some microbial notice boards, a couple of which I previewed earlier this month. Turns out that mixing art and science is actually pretty common. Here are some other geeky artists on Etsy.

U Plus Me Equals Chemistry by Fluid Ink Fine Letterpress of Australia.

Anatomical Lungs Cufflinks by Anatomy Art.

Double Helix Counted Cross Stitch Pattern by Charlotte Alexander.

Pelvis Brass Brooch by Your Organ Grinder.

Wallet Coffee Molecule by Sharlzndollz.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Toddler Cooking: Bird Feeders

I was walking the dogs and saw that the neighbours had a bird feeder in the front yard and lots of Rainbow Lorikeets on it. "I want that for my garden," I thought. So I came home, bought some seed and looked up some recipes for making bird feeders - in my memory, there was one that went solid and involved honey, but I couldn't find it. So we tried out some others.

(1) Peanut butter bird feeders

Peanut butter bird feeders were really easy to make. I got the support from a roll of wrapping paper (toilet rolls would work too), cut it up and smeared the segments with peanut butter. Then the girls rolled them in bird seed and let them dry overnight. The next day, I put string through the rolls so that we could hang the feeders.

(2) Gelatin bird feeders

I made up gelatin in hot water, using the directions on the tin, and then the girls mixed bird seed through when the water cooled a little. The girls then picked cookie cutters and we sprayed them with oil and put them on a baking tray. They spooned the seed into the cutters and let the mixture dry overnight. Turns out that I should have been more strict on the cookie cutter choices, because only the chunky ones worked well, the others just fell to bits. I threaded string through the surviving shapes.

(3) Corn syrup bird feeders

The girls mixed together 3/4 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water and then I mixed in 3 tablespoons of corn syrup. The girls then mixed in 4 cups of bird seed and we patted it out on some grease-proof paper. Then I picked out chunky cutters and let the girls press them into the seed mix. We let it set overnight. These were by far the sturdiest feeders and I wrapped the string around them.

We hung the feeders out in the front garden, away from the dogs. And waited for the birds to come. They didn't, but the possums came in abundance and had a fantastic time leaping off the trees to steal the feeders. The possums thought that the peanut butter ones were the best, but ate them all over a few days. Might have to come up with an ingenious possum deterring plan!