Sunday, March 28, 2010

Curried fresh cod dish

It had been a long long time since the last time I had curry.
Useless to say I love curry.
Every time I think of curry my personal image of Africa comes to mind...
Let me explain: I was born in Africa and I've lived in 3 different African countries (then colonies) till my pre-teen years.
My dad was in the military and had been placed in several different places for all those years we were growing up.
One of those countries (then a Portuguese colony) was Mozambique and lots of Indian people (from India) lived there. And that's where the wonderful memory of curry smell comes from... as Indian cooking is very spicy.
After the Portuguese Revolution of 74 lots of the people living in the colonies came to live in European Portugal mainland, and as far as I remember the spicy food smell can now also be associated with some neighbourhoods.
I just loved it!
Anyways... all this to tell you that I've decided to make a curry dish a few days ago.
I had a recipe in my memory from the days I use to cook every single day, but just in case I rechecked it with some different ones from my cook books and the net.
This is the final product:
It was delicious! Even my niece (who doesn't like fish, period!), had seconds!
This is how I did it.

For the ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic gloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
3 or 4 fresh cod fillets, medium cubed
4 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh cilantro
cooked white rice

How to do it:
In a medium sauce pan saute the onion and garlic with the olive oil, until softened but not brown, for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. 
In a blender (or food processor) blend together the previous mix and the tomatoes, until smooth.
Return it to the saucepan and add the curry and coriander powder and the garbanzo beans, mixing everything together,
and let it simmer for about 15, 20 minutes.
Ad the cod fished cubed in medium chunks and let it simmer
for an additional 10, 15 minutes,
until the fish flakes when you insert a fork.
Remove from heat. Stir in the sour cream and rectify salt and pepper.
Serve with cooked white rice and top with fresh cilantro.
Yummy!!! It is good!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A little gardening and a little cooking...

This week has been much quieter than the last couple weeks...
J didn't had any medical appointment and has been doing fairly alright.
I've been working on my flower gardens a little bit...

Useless to say I love this time of the year,
and the way the gardens look after being mulched...
We can really see the difference between the front garden above
and the back garden bellow...
I'll get to them also, not as quick as I'd like but I will... :0)
Things being more quieter,
I had the chance to go to the kitchen and cook a little.
I am not really a celery fan,
but this time I did have some celery and lots of carrots
needing to be used or going bad instead...
so, I made a big pot of soup!
Celery and carrots puree Lena's way... lol...
When I was growing up I made lots of soup!
Being the older girl of the house (we were 6 siblings)
I was the official mom's helper and oh boy!, did I help!
I think I became a soup maker expert....
Anyway... going back to my celery and carrots soup...
trow into a big boiling water pot:

  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 5 peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cubed
  • celery, washed and sliced 

Let it simmer for about an hour, and then
blend the whole thing with a stick blender.
Season with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and let it simmer
for about 20, 30 minutes more.
Serve with a tablespoon of sour cream and mint flakes!
Hmm... it is good!
Of course, I've also been sewing a little, crocheting a little too...
I've finished a couple more Lolitas,
and I'm still working on the wall hanging with the pincushions
I told you about...
but that will be subject for another post!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's finally here!... and a print cloth doll... and some pincushions for a wall hanging

It's finally here!!!
Isn't that amazing?... Spring renovation...
It kinda feeds your soul and makes you smile!

I was out today, pruning and cleaning,
anxious to get everything nice and clean...

A couple days ago I got my new HP printer
(all the other printers were malfunctioning).
I got it from and so far I'm pretty satisfied with it,
it's a three in one (printer, scanner and copier).
Of course, since I got it, I've been surfing the net a lot more
to find ideas and projects,
now that I can print without a problem.
And, among so many others wonderful sites & ideas,
I've found a cute little doll here.
I enjoyed it so much I couldn't resist and made one!

It's really cute, isn't it?
It's a printed cloth doll made with a computer!
I think now I'm willing to try to create my own print fabric...
Thanks for sharing Timothy, from Fantastic Toys Blog, I love it!
For a while now
I've been wanting to make some fabric pincushions,
not for that purpose but to make a wall hanging like the one I made with the tiny weeny pillows.
Got inspired here and there
and so far I've come up with these:


I'll come back to it as soon as it's done and finished.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crocus, cats, spring cleaning, cute small soft critters and... cantaloupe jam!

Slowly but surely it's starting to look a lot like Spring time.
My crocus are out and they look beautiful!

The cats are enjoying the sunshine too,
and follow me everywhere when I am out in the yard.
The gardens really need hard work to be done, lots of weeds to be pulled and lots of mulching to do... not enough time for everything I reckon...
The creek does look good tough...
I think I'm done with Winter time...
I can't wait to get outside
and get my hands on the dirt... :0)

Last week I told you about my spring cleaning and
reorganizing my sewing/craft/office room.
I did finish it.
It took me a little while to accomplish everything
(this past week J had 2 medical appointments and it's always a big deal,
as he needs to be transported by ambulance).
But it's done and I'm quite happy with the results.
Not only it looks better as it's so much more functional.
I really do like it!
Also I finished some cute small projects I had found on the net,
like the chick

and hen...

They live now on my dining room, next to my Matryoshkas...
I love that neighborhood!
I've finished another soft softie... I like it a lot...
and it wasn't on purpose... but...
it does look a lot like Shred, doesn't he?

And to finish today's post,
I'll tell you about my latest experimentation in the kitchen...
I had bought a cantaloupe
(which I absolutely love!),
but it wasn't quite riped yet... :0(
and I just hate to waste... so...
I tried and made cantaloupe jam!
First I scooped all the cantaloupe's insides,
weight it and put in a big sauce pan,
adding the same weight in sugar.
Added a cinnamon stick and let it boil for about 20/30 minutes...
The cantaloupe chunks didn't look so good as I was wanting to make jam
so I got my stick blender out and blended the all thing.
 Let it simmer for about more 15/20 minutes
and pour it into prepared can jars... 
(don't forget to take the cinnamon stick out).
Put the canned jam jars inside the boiler again
and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
Remove it, let it cool, tag it, et voila!

Lena's homemade cantaloupe jam!
Open the jar,
get a little cracker and .........hmmmmmmmmm........ enjoy!


A walk down memory lane... and fried sweet rings!

Fried sweet rings!
A couple days ago my sister Isabel commented on my post
about the fish souffle and she said she remembered it
and also the fried sweet rings I use to make many years ago.
What fried sweet rings?, I couldn't remember!
Not a clue! Nothing! Nada!
So she emailed me the recipe hopping it would come back to me...
So today I decided to give a try.
And while making the dough an image popped up in my brain:
the shape of a pretzel!...
Was that it?...
I still couldn't be sure...
so... when I talked to my son today and told him about all this,
 he said he also had that image (pretzel shape) on his brain...
and he said he also remembered the plastic container I used to carry them
(a famosa caixa amarela)...
All this made me think about how weird the human brain is...
why would she remember something
I used to make
and I didn't had a clue...?,
and why did I only remember the pretzel shape...?,
it makes you wonder, doesn't it? 
Oh well... it was a good thing... lol...
and I certainly have to thank her for all this (obrigadinho sister),
because the rings are really good!
tough the recipe she sent me it was not quite accurate, I had to adjust the portions as I was going.
Here it goes if anyone wishes to give it a try:
  • 10 Tablespoons flour
  • 1  Tablespoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • orange zest (not on my sister's recipe, but it gives it a good taste)
  • sugar mixed with cinnamon to code after frying
Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, butter (room temp) and egg yolk. Add a little bit of orange zest.
Using your hands knead the batter.
Take a small portion,
shape it into a roll,
and then twist into a pretzel shape.  
Heat cooking vegetable oil in a deep frying pan
(I used a medium sauce pan) and fry the pretzel shaped rings (5/6 at a time).
It's quite quick, about 30/40 seconds or so.
With a fork help the rings to turn and fry on the other side (just about 8/10 seconds).
Remove from oil and let it drain on a plate covered with paper towels.
Let it cool for a bit and then code them with the sugar/cinnamon mix.
Hmm...Hmm... they really are tasty and good!

Serve with a little Porto wine, and you're done!
Comfort food, the Portuguese way!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring cleaning!... also flower hair pins and some more fabric bowls

Yesterday was my official first 2010 gardening day!
Pretty serious thing,  uh?...
Oh well... we had lots of sunshine for the last couple of days....
and it  felt really good!
Tough I only cleaned a couple of my little flower gardens (pull out weeds and dead/dried plants)...,
it was more than enough to make me feel the leg muscles today!
I've been busy all week long, as usual.
It was a calm week, nothing major going on.
I made some  flower hair pins
inspired by Lettie's tut 
from polkadotpineaple blog.
I had told you before about her blog;
she has some pretty good tutorials.
Thanks for sharing Lettie!
Obviously a pretty talented lady!
I liked it so much I just couldn't help myself: I made a bunch of them!
For myself,
and to give as birthday or Xmas gifts.
They look so awesome, don't you think?
Also I had been playing a little bit with felt and fabric
and made some brooches with flat back pins:

I usually use those as embellishments for my bags.

And because I'm always needing
containers for this and that,
I made a couple more fabric bowls/baskets:
Specially now,
that I decided it was time to organize my sewing/craft/office room.
This is what it looks like now:
Tomorrow I'm expecting a shipping with my new shelves, so...
I'll show you
how it all will come out
as soon as I´m done with the redecorating.
I already have a few plastic baskets and boxes,
and my fabric bowls of course!
See you all soon!