Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fish Casserole (receita para Bacalhau a Bras)

Last week
was kinda busy around here
and tough I intended to post before today I really didn't had the time.
The good news is that my follow up appointment
with the cardiologist went well and soon I'll be able to stop the medication that bruises me so much.
The so-and-so news is that I've got
to have a echocardiogram this coming Wednesday
(because I still feel like a pressure in the chest where one of the stents was placed, and the doctor says I shouldn't feel it anymore).
Oh well, we shall see...
The very bad news... little wee tiny white kitten, Miss Beca,
was killed yesterday.
I didn't had enough courage on me
to go and see her,
but the girls told me she was half buried in their garden.
Something killed her
and tried to bury her on the garden.
I had notice the night before last
quite a disturbance under my carport:
flower pots down, lots of boxes and stuff laying on the ground...
When we came back from the hospital
there were only 3 kittens left,
and I had been taking care of them...
 I can't bring them inside,
not only because of J
but also because I never know
when I have to leave and go to the hospital.
It's just not possible for me to have any pets in the house.
I am very very sad and feeling kinda guilty...
plus Miss Beca was the one who would run to me every time
I would go outside...
she was really precious.
 I don't know what got her,
because I didn't see it or heard it,
but in my heart I really think it was that old bulldog that was here before!
I know it's not the animal's fault
(he's doing what it's nature tells him to)
but I'm really aggravated that he is allowed out into other people's homes!

In a lighter tone now...
This last week I've cooked a little bit ,
and I made a fish casserole
(that's what they call it in here),
but it's actually a very popular recipe in Portugal for salted cod fish
(called Bacalhau a Bras).
I still had some Whiting Fish fillets... so I went with it.
Here's the recipe so if any of you would like to try it...
... I assure you, you won't be sorry!
Ingredients, for 4 servings:
5/6 fish fillets (like Whiting or Cod)
2 big onions
1 package shoe lace potato chips
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 eggs, beaten
salt & pepper to taste
lemon juice
green or black olives
How to do it:
First cook the fish in boiling water for about 15 minutes.
Drain the water and let it cool for a minute; remove skin (if needed).
Set aside.
Slice 2 onions the thinnest that you can.
On a fry pan (I used the wok)
add 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the onion rings.
Let it cook till the onions are trans lucid, not brown.
Add the fish and gently stir it for about 5 minutes,
incorporating well the fish with the onions.. 
Add the shoe lace potato chips,

and then slowly incorporate the 6 beaten eggs.
Let it cook, and keep stirring
so the eggs don't stick to the fry pan.
Remove from heat.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
Top with some parsley and olives.
A good lettuce and tomato salad goes really well with this dish
(seasoned the old Portuguese way only with olive oil and vinegar),
but I didn't had any but a bell pepper;
 so, I just roasted it in the broiler, peeled it,
and seasoned it with olive oil and vinegar.
Et voila!
Roasted peppers
 (pimentos assados)
the Portuguese way!
I hope you'll want to give it a try!
It is delicious!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How I've built an Ottoman

Before our last ordeal and going into the hospital
I had bought a case of red wine (12 bottles)
in a effort to lower my high cholesterol
(somewhere I read that one glass of red wine a day
will lower the cholesterol).
... the wine was packaged in cardboard boxes,
and they looked like this:
Each box would hold 2 bottles,
so I had 6 boxes just like this...
As soon as I unpacked the wine
and piled the containers
I started thinking: "I should make something with this boxes...
they are really sturdy and strong...".
Then the hospital thing happened.
But then...
... two days ago... EUREKA!!!
I had an idea!
The boxes had been sitting in my hallway,
in 2 piles of three side by side
and they just looked like a perfect seat or stool or...
... yeah!... "I think I could do it...", I
And I did, I did!
Just look at what I did!

I meant to take pictures of the all process,
and then I totally forgot about the camera laying on my work desk...
But I'll try to describe to you all how I did it.
First I started by taping (with duct tape) the boxes together;
a three boxes pile first, then the second set of three.
When the piles of three were taped securely and felt quite sturdy,
I taped the 2 piles together, making a cube.
After all the taping and trying it repeatedly
(to make sure it would hold me without collapsing...
... it's really strong!),
I padded the sides of the cube first (4 sides plus bottom).
I did use a staple gun at first,
but only to hold it in place and then I hand sew it.
For the padding I used old fabric bed pads
(I always keep them after they've gone bad for J's bed,
sometimes I even use them for bating small quilts or wall hangings).
For the top, or seat, I've used the same type of padding
and then on top of it lots and lots of bating scraps from my quilting,
and then topped the all thing with more padding.
Hand sew the all thing together
(like I said I've used the staple gun first just to stabilize it,
because it didn't permanently held it,
and then after the sewing I removed all the staples).
And then was easy: searched my stash for a pretty looking canvas fabric,
cut it to cover the four sides first. Hand stitched it.
Cut the bottom square and stitched it in place.
The hardest part was to cover the odd seat shape,
but not that bad... not that perfect neither but...
... I really think it came out really good!
Hand sew a pretty trim all around the seat...
...  et voila!
The girls (grand daughters) have been here
and they disputed the right to seat on it!
And that...
Oh! THAT made my day!
I knew then I had done good!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sharing some helenismos...

When I started this blog
almost an year ago I called it Helenismos(toshare). 
Blogging was one of the ways I found to overcome my frustrations,
my loneliness, my cigarette cravings, my willing to keep going if you will... When it all came about what name to choose
I remember remembering
my high school Deutsch teacher calling me Helena of Troia...
(the things our mind remembers!).
And that was it: Helen(a)ismos,
in reference to Greek mythology 
which so much influenced my teenager years...
...when I used to write novels
using Greek mythology character names
given by me to my friends and classmates
and share it with one of my dearest friends at high school
(named Helena as myself,
and tough I lost her track many years ago,
I know she became a judge and was living at the North of Portugal).
today is one of those days
when I just feel like sharing some helenismos...
... LOL...
Why am I telling you all this...?,
well... I reckon this past week
has been one of reflexion, memories, day dreaming...
Since we came back home
I had been busy caring for J,
getting my routines back on track
(still have tons of paperwork to file, bills to pay and whatnot's to finish up...), and didn't had much time
to think about everything that happened.
I guess this past week things finally soaked in...
in a way it made me feel a little bit depressed... 
and then... also this past week...
I've (re)found a very dear old friend from my childhood!
Ah!... walking down memory lane
can lead oneself into a very nostalgic path!...
Life can be weird and strange sometimes,
and tough I always thought there are no steps out of the path
(como dizia n... nao ha passos fora do caminho),
sometimes the missing (as saudades!) of my family, friends and my old live
can really become overwhelming...'s about time to pick oneself up, and just go for it!
So... that's what I did!...
... I've lined and binded a small tunisian crochet pouch today 
(it has been laying on my to finish projects tray for a long time)
and I really like how it turned on!
...and the inside look...
 I've also been practicing a little serging...
Did I mention before I bought a serger...?...LOL...
I know I didn't... it was a couple months back...
with my cigarette's money savings... LOL...
I was waiting to become a real good serger so I could tell you all 
about the fabulous projects serged with my new serger...
but... that's not the case yet!
I've just been sewing seams, regular serged seams...
Ah!... but I am waiting on a new book I bought to arrive early next week.
Then I'm sure I'll be able to serge beautiful things and blog about it!

Bellow you can see my new Brother Serger Lock!
Awesome, isn't it...??? Ah!... the possibilities!

And to finish today's nostalgic post,
a pretty pic of...
Miss Beca!
and a promise to tell you all about the kitten saga on my next post.
Till then!...
...and thank you for visiting!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A spiral quilted tote... and flowers in the garden!

Yes, we're back home!
We came back June 30th, but it has been busy...
So much to do after almost a month out!
I've got some pretty blooms in the gardens,
mostly gladiolus and lilies,
and a lot of work to be done!
J is stable and I feel good moving around,
no more chest pain.
I mowed the yard Thursday
and worked in the garden for a couple hours on Friday...
I was able to go grocery shopping
(you all probably won't believe it,
but I had not been at the store since February!).
It felt good
but like always it was just a go for it and hurry to come back,
no time to spare or joke around!
J's sister-in-law sat with him, allowing for me to go.

And today...ah!...
I was craving seewww much to sew!...
... LOL...
A while back I had been looking at spiral quilting
but never had the opportunity to try it
because we went to the hospital...
Well...I've tried today!
I love it!...
Really simple and easy,
and the results are quite impressive I would say.
Almost like strip quilting,
it also needs a foundation fabric, and that's it!
You just need to keep going around in a spiral,
starting with a basic shape at the center...

And this is how the tote came about:
the handles detail...
...and the other side.
Pretty cool, isn't it?...
And my cravings for sewing had a good outcome!