Gone Frisson

Erm, this week’s post is a little (a lot) late. I wanted to do a craft/product post, but that required actually doing something craft/product related and in Phoebe language “required” translates into “YOU-CAN’T-MAKE-ME!!!!”…

So… instead of sewing I revisited an old project; a comic I abandoned after running into some difficulty with writing dialogue. I hate writing dialogue – funny because I have no problems dialogue-ing aloud, in fact I’ve been told I dialogue too much.

Anyhoo, my cousin dropped in while I was photoshopping afore mentioned comic and resolved my 3-year-old problem in two seconds by asking “Why don’t you do it without dialogue?”.

Thus newly inspired, I did some new drawings, rejigged the layout and played around a lot in photoshop. And voila! Click on the cover image to download the PDF of Part 1 (its only three pages and about 500k – so clearly I’ve been really productive).

Part 2 is under way and I’ve actually got a plan, you know, written down. With one project moving on, I’ve felt inspired to chose something to sew and start sewing said something: a patchwork scarf in blue fabrics as a gift as well as a prototype for a Phoebe C product.

Yay! Progress!

Easy As Pie… Erm… Cake

This cake was first baked into chocolatey existence with a recipe from a battered green pocket-size cook book in residence at my aunt’s old shack. The recipe was so easy that I could remember all the ingredients (mostly – there was one sugarless disaster) and the method so simple that even at eight I could make it myself.

During the crazy birthday cake escalation of 2010 (posts pending) I dredged up the recipe from my hazy childhood memories, jazzing it up a bit for an extra chocolate hit. After numerous versions where the middle collapsed resulting in a cake with one hell of a belly button, I finally got it right.

So, let me present the Cuppa Cake (because it’s good with a cup of tea and it’s mostly made with ‘a cup’ measurements). It’s so easy I’m combining ingredients with the method. Whoa, crazy I know…

◊ Preheat oven to 180°C.
◊ Beat 2 eggs lightly in a large bowl.
◊ Stir a cup of milk (dairy or soy) and a cup of veggie oil in with the eggs.
◊ Add 1 and 1/2 cups sugar.
◊ Sift in a cup of cocoa.
◊ Put a cup of self raising flour in a sieve over bowl.
◊ Add a teaspoon of baking powder to the flour then sieve into bowl. Stir until well combined.
◊ Pour into 23cm diameter greased pan*.
◊ Bake for 45-50 minutes – cake is cooked if you poke a skewer into it and it comes out clean.
◊ Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool or eat while still warm.

This cake is a great base for something a bit more fancy; just wait for the Drunken Jaffa or Box Chocolate embellishments!

*I like using a spring form pan, covering the base with baking paper, tucking under the overhang then fitting the base into the tin’s wall. Once the base is securely locked in, I fold the overhang up against the outer side of the tin walls then grease over the paper and sides. A regular tin works fine, especially with a circle cut to cover the pan base. If you’re using a regular pan, I’d grease both above and below the paper.

Fanfare Please…

Hooray! My new wordpress theme is here!

After three long months I returned to my blog ready to post on everything from Lolita to origami gift boxes but alas, I’d grown unaccustomed to its interface. It didn’t seem as streamlined, as attractive as it had in our first heady days of blogdom.

But proprietorship compromised impartiality and I couldn’t decide how I wanted to spiff the ol’ blog up. So I revisited blogs that addicted me on sight (or should I say site… eh? Eh?) – a great excuse to spend hours on blogs like Sea of Shoes, Ink & Spindle and the delicious looking Smitten Kitchen. What do they all have in common? White backgrounds, white menus, white, white, white then BAM! Gorgeous colour images hogging all the attention (which they deserve – AMAZING photos on all of them).

Minimalism is not quite my style though (I look terrible in white). I wanted those clean lines, but I also wanted the vibrant colours and rich textures that got me addicted to art, craft and beautiful things in the first place.

So now for the design process, an actual montage! You’ll just have to imagine Eye of the Tiger playing for the genuine montage experience.

Also, I learnt how to make an animated gif! Saturday well spent…

***A huge thank you and eternal gratitude for my partner John who coded everything for me, then labelled it all so I could tinker with border colours in css code for hours… Hours…***

Oh, Beans, Lots Of Beans…

Apologies to anyone who now has Magical Trevor stuck in their head but I thought it was about time to share one of my favourite recipes; Moroccan Beans.

One fine Melbourne day I was struck by a craving for baked beans but had been forbidden sugar, so I scuffled around the pantry and found tins of cannellini beans and tomatoes (I’m obsessed with tinned food – we look like we’re stocking up for the zombie apocalypse when we shop but it makes cooking so much quicker). Having already discovered the flavour heaven of harissa, preserved lemon, ginger and coriander in an unremembered Moroccan recipe I spiced up my beans accordingly. A later addition of scrambled eggs made this a perfect breakfast for two. I’ve also made it as a breakfast side for family, then the below recipe works for four.

So, ingredients: 1 chopped onion, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 1 drained and rinsed tin of cannellini beans,  one teaspoon each of grated ginger, chopped preserved lemon and harissa with fresh coriander for optional garnishing.

Just fry the onion in a little oil or for the fat-conscious, substitute oil for a teaspoon of stock powder and 1/4 cup water. If anything sticks using this method, let the pan get hot, then slosh in a little water – it should boil on contact lifting the stuck food. Once the onion is softened add the tomatoes and beans. Leave to thicken a little – for about five minutes – stirring occasionally.

If you’re having eggs, get them going now. If you like your eggs firm Smitten Kitchen’s recipe looks delicious, otherwise if you like yours in soft curds, pour 3 lightly beaten eggs into a warmed shallow pan. Stir continuously with a fork making sure to scrape along the pan’s bottom and sides, breaking down any large cooked curds into the raw egg. Take the eggs off the heat when the curds are forming but are still very soft and wet. Stir for another minute – if they are still too wet, put them back on the heat for five or so seconds, still stirring.

To finish the beans, simply stir in the ginger, preserved lemon and harissa and serve, garnished with coriander if desired. Salt to taste, which in my case means a lot; I have the lucky combination of salt fiendish-ness and healthy blood pressure… for now anyway…