Monday, August 15, 2016

Fluffy Rye Bread

Recently, my favourite baking supply store started carrying imported spelt and rye flour. I decided to give them a test, and I'm very satisfied with the quality of the flour!

The recipe I tried was the Double Light Right Bread from King Arthur Flour.However, I halved the recipe and made a single loaf. This recipe is also great for freeform loaves (without a bread tin). It is 1/3 rye flour, 2/3 all-purpose flour, with blackstrap molasses to make it nice and dark.

The loaf came our delicious and fluffy! We finished eating it reaaaally fast.  Do give it a try!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mayonnaise and Egg-Free Roasted Sesame Dressing

My family loves roasted sesame dressing. It's perfect in salad with lettuce, capsicum, green apples, maybe some seaweed on the side. We eat a lot of it!

Here's a video where I make my Japanese Roasted Sesame Dressing from scratch. As you can see, making the mayonnaise is a lot of work!

Yesterday, we tried an egg-free, mayo-free and lower calorie version made with yogurt instead, and our family found we liked it just as much.

Here's the Simplified, Egg-Free Version:

 1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp castor sugar (or 2 tsp honey)
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Optional: 1/2 tsp mustard powder

1. Roast sesame seeds in a small frying pan, stirring frequently until they start to darken and become golden brown. Don't let the seeds burn.
2. Remove sesame seeds from heat and let them cool.
3. Stir yogurt, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
4. Blend 2 tablespoons or half of the roasted sesame seeds. They should be finely ground, and slightly "wet" (the sesame seeds release sesame oil during blending)
5. Add roasted and ground sesame seeds to the bowl and stir.
6. Taste and adjust flavor as need. Add more vinegar, sugar, or salt if necessary to balance sourness, sweetness and saltiness. Do not add soy sauce as it can overwhelm the sesame flavor.
7. Mustard powder can help the dressing taste more authentic as it is used in Japanese mayonnaise recipes.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Spelt Sandwich Bread

After receiving a gift of organic whole-wheat spelt flour several months ago from a dear friend in Australia, I set about making spelt bread using a recipe from the Dove's Farm website, adapting it slightly.

Today, I used the recipe as a base to make a country seed loaf, country seed buns, and a cracked wheat loaf. It's delish and really healthy!

You can watch my tutorial below, and go to Youtube for the full recipe! It's so, so, easy to make.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

18th Century Elegance

Isn't she just a darling? I love every moment of embroidering, stuffing, designing and embellishing her. 

She's not a doll, she's so much more - a costume replica, perhaps?

1) Stays - I made stays from an authentic 1780s pattern, out of felt and unboned though. The shape looks good laced on the doll
2) Hair - I actually made a hairpiece that goes on top of her head so that it can be done up 18th century style or left down
3) Petticoats are not just a panel, but actual 18th skirt that ties in the back and front seperately
4) Stomacher is a stomach, again not a sewn-in panel. I started to embroider it, but the dress
5) Dress is laced as it should be - in front and not behind!
6) The petticoats are pleated, and the overskirt/gown is cartridge pleated.
7) I had waaaaay too much time on my hands after the cello exam!  

She also stands up on her on two feet, if balanced properly, and is absolutely elegant.

I oogled at American Girl dolls when I was a kid, but now I get to make and live the dream *sigh of contentment*

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fun with DIY Playdough

I remember many fond hours with playdough as a child, and, honestly, you'd be hard-pressed to find a child who *doesn't like playdough*. From my experience, children are drawn to it and love it.


Why? Because they can play autonomously. They are in charge, and they don't have someone harping on them to "do this" or "do that" in the one, right, way. It's free from pressure, from stress. (It's great for children's emotional health and is used by therapists!)

With playdough, you can just be, be yourself, be a child, be free! You can touch, and no one's going to stop you from touching, squeezing, rolling, stamping, and punching. You can create. You can make sounds. You can talk to other children and make props to tell a story.

Now, playdough is expensive... BUT, it's also incredibly simple to make. The upside to homemade playdough is that it is safe to eat (not tasty) and non-toxic. I made a video detailing one method for super-soft, super-smooth and non-sticky playdough. It's amazing!

You can learn about colours, about cultures, about numbers, about textures, about patterns... the sky's the limit, and playdough is the ultimate tool.

Playdough mooncakes!!