Dec. 15th, 2013

janewilliams20: (Default)
I spent yesterday evening assembling some decoupage scenes from Craft Creations, and they deserve a link and recommendation. Beautifully detailed, die-cut well, good pictures, and surprisingly cheap. I'm using the "DCD" range, fully die-cut, but they do even more where you have to do your own cutting, if that's your thing.
The ordering page also gives links to sample cards made from each one, so you can get ideas on how to use them.

janewilliams20: (Default)
This isn't so much an "I want" or "I need" as an attempt to help those people who for some reason feel an obligation to get me Xmas presents.
First point is that as far as I'm concerned, no such obligation exists.

Second, since I don't need anything I don't already have, and a lot of other people do, getting one of those cards that says "a goat has been delivered to some people who really needed a goat" would make me (and them) very happy. Choice of charities? Nothing based on any religion, and nothing that gives priority to cuteness. I don't give to "Save the Children", because I see no reason to give them priority over adults - the other way round if anything. Save an adult, then they can go out and save several children.

If you still want to give something to me, there's usually the Amazon list. But over the last year or so, I've been moving over to getting as much as possible in e-format, probably Kindle. There's only about one book on there that I've requested as hard-copy (the final Robert Jordan, since I've already got the rest of the series as hard-copy), and I think there's a CD or two.

What else? After that, we get generic, and so I can't sensibly put it on the Amazon list even with their ability to add links to other sites.

Cooking bits
(that are either hard to find or treat-expensive)
Saffron. Pricey, even if bought in bulk.
"Doenjang". That's a "fermented soybean paste", apparently used in Korean cookery, and use by me as a nice thing to spread on a wrap before filling it with houmous and salad. I got some from a car-boot sale a while back, and am about to run out. I have no idea where to find more.

Card-making bits
I actually have rather a lot of these, but...
I have a Big Shot die-cutting machine. I have more than enough cutting dies of the sort that make frames, and a few that make "pretties", but none at all that do letters, and nothing recently out in the way of motifs and other pretty bits. If you spot something you think I'd like, it would be appreciated, but be warned that these things aren't cheap (and also that if you buy it, I'll assume you like it yourself, and will probably use it in a card for your next birthday).
For the same machine - embossing folders. I've got one that does flower background, one that does star background, and that's about it.
Don't get me stamps. I have stamps. I also have a total inability (so far) to colour them in (though the set of pens Santa acquired at half-price in Hobbycraft may help with that).
I do have a heat-gun, should that help with choosing other bits to buy. I don't have an electric die-cutting thingie (yet - it's making its way from France) so cartridges for one of them wouldn't be of any use.

Wargaming bits
I do NOT need additions to the collection of unpainted lead/plastic. Please, no.
What I could use is "stronghold" items: generic fantasy/medieval castles, or other bits of scenery that a fantasy army of any sort might want to defend (taverns are good). The sort of model sold in tourist shops, or to go in goldfish bowls, only without the snow globe, plastic monkey, pen holder, or whatever other attachment may disfigure it. (If I can get it off with a knife, fine). Ready-painted, so I just have to drop it on a base, and use it. The maximum base size for a 15mm army stronghold is 6" square, and smaller is better. Just be warned that this will be looked at by the sort of people who paint the whites of the eyes on a figure 15mm high, so detail is good, crudeness is not.

Bears
Dave says I do not need any more bears. The Hug disagree.

Chocolate and other nibbles
I'm supposed to be trying to lose weight!
(sigh)
OK, so we aim at things that favour quality over quantity, and things that come in individually wrapped small portions, so I can take ONE to work and not have to use will-power to stop. I like chocolate (milk or moderately dark, not white), I like savoury nibbly things, with spice levels up to about wasabi peas.
I still have problems with cream/milk, so fillings that say "cream" are probably a bad idea - I'd have to be very careful, and go for small quantities.

Alcohol
Yes, I like it (malts, some sweet liqueurs, dry cider, Belgian beer). But we have so much in stock already that the spare crates are still out in the garage.

I hope that helps? Honestly, I'll be perfectly happy just catching up on all the books I was given last Xmas....
janewilliams20: (food)
I was asked for the recipe, so I may as well make it fully public to all my friends, not just John

Here's the link:
http://keepingweightoff.co.uk/love-mince-pies-then-make-your-own/

What I did was based on that, but with quantities more like "what I have got left?", ending up as
350g Cox apples after the waste was chopped off (I didn't skin them), chopped in my mini food processor
A 500g bag of dried mixed fruit, a variety with no peel.
2 tsp Sainsburys mixed spice (mixes vary a lot from shop to shop)
420 ml of an extremely dry cider
1 1/2 tbsp brandy

No added sugar.

As it says:

1. Grate the apple and put into a pan with the mixed dried fruit. Add the mixed spice and cider and stir well.

2. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has almost gone and the mixture is soft and pulpy.

3. Stir in the brandy, whisky or rum and leave to cool.

That made enough to fill about 1 3/4 jam jars.

janewilliams20: (food)
Because I can't really justify the word "recipe"...
I read a few. Delia book 2, a Jamie version online, a few others. Then I decided I was cooking for two, not six, and examined what was in the fridge, what we both like, and the price of shell-on prawns.

Two big chicken thighs, skin-on, boned and halved. Browned in a pan that had been sprayed with Fry-Lite (I later realised that using Real Oil would have had advantages)
Once they were browned (and I'd done the next bit of chopping, carefully ignoring all the advice about prepping first and cooking afterwards), I put them to one side, and fried
  • some chopped up chorizo (about 3 inches of 1/2 inch diameter, that being what was left, and I'd have preferred more) 
  • half an onion (chopped up),
  • two cloves of garlic
  • about half a red pepper (thin slices)
Once they were nice and browned, I put in a splosh of chicken stock with a pinch of saffron soaked into it, and about a tsp of smoked paprika, the liquid being added just in time to stop things going from "browned" to "burnt". Two tomatoes, diced, went in at this point (no, not skinned, life is too short and I'm not that picky)

This was when I started working out quantities of rice and water (me, advance planning?) The rice box said 500g and a litre of stock, for four. So I halved it. 250g paella rice, and about 400ml of stock, since I'd already put some liquid in (I used 1/2 tsp chicken Bovril, not having real stock around for once, and should have made it stronger).

Put the chicken back in, brought it up to the boil, then covered and simmered for 10 min.

Pulled the frozen peas and prawns out, put a suitable quantity in a jug (10 king prawns, "yeah, about that much" of peas), and applied boiling water. When defrosted, moved the peas to the paella and let it carry on simmering.

After the 10 min was up, gave it a good stir, added the prawns, half a pack of mussels that had been on half-price (no, not in their shells, neither of us like fiddling around getting our fingers burnt) and a can of squid in olive oil from Aldi. Tested the rice, added a splosh more water. Realised that it was a bit lacking in flavour, and maybe I should have added some of the missing spices. Added salt, and a cautious sprinkle of Cayenne.
Put the timer on for another 10 min simmering. Towards the end of that, realised that while the rice was as soft as it needed to be, it was sticking, and chucked the oil from the squid in as well. Wished I'd done that to start with.

Served. Totally forgot to add the finely chopped parsley on top. Realised that while chicken quantities were fine, I had about twice as much as I needed of everything else.

On tasting, that cayenne had been a mistake.






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