Sunday, 19 October 2014

Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional

I have always loved Japanese food so i was very excited when I picked up my copy of "Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional"by Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner full of all vegan Japanese recipes.

Daikon, Atsu-Age and Spinach in a Miso Broth

I also have "Artisan Vegan Cheese" by the same author and have never been focused enough to try anything. However, now that the Miyoko's Kitchen has opened you can buy all those amazing cheeses online!!

These are my first samples; Sharp Farmhouse and Smoked Farmhouse but both were amazing!!!!

Atlantis Rolls

I got this recipe from Matt Amsden on Raw Food Recipes. I found it really heavy on the mustard so I added some Follow Your Heart Tarare sauce which I know isn't raw but they tasted amazing! Real seafood flavor. I also found the original recipe very watery so they rolls were very limp and hard to cut - I think I would just reduce the amount of coconut water next time.

Atlantis Rolls


2/3 cup coconut water
1/2 cup of your favorite raw nuts (macadamia, cashew, pine), soaked
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 teaspon sea salt
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard

1 cup soaked raw sunflower seeds, ground in a food processor
1 1/2 stalks of celery, diced
2 green onions, diced
4 teaspoons of dried dill
2 teaspoons dulse flakes

2 sheets Nori
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
1 raw pickle, diced (I used dill pickles).


To make the Mayo, in a high speed blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
To make the mock tuna, in a mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients with the blended Mayo. Mix well.
To assemble sushi rolls, lay out 1 sheet of nori on a clean, dry surface.
Place half of the mock tuna in a narrow layer along the length of the sheet, about 1/2inch from the edge closest to you.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of mustard across the mock tuna layer.
Layer half of the diced pickle along the top, keeping all the ingredients in a narrow line.
Fold the edge of the nori closest to you over the filling.
Gently roll the nori away from you, tightly and evenly, into a snuggly wrapped roll.
Seal the exposed edge of the nori with a little pure water and repeat for the second roll.
Cut each roll into 6 pieces with a sharp knife.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I'm slowly replacing my expensive vegan household products with homemade vegan products to save money and the environment. Plus I know exactly what's going in there! I got this recipe from DIY Natural.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent


2 cup borax
2 cup washing soda
1 cup citric acid
1 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)


Each batch yields 24 ounces of detergent.
Store in an airtight container.
Use 1 Tbsp per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but we do not).

Homemade Stewed Tomatoes

The last of our tomato sad :( We won't eat those all before the go bad so I decided to stew and freeze them. We don't have a canner so freezing is the next best option!

First boil a large pot of water and add tomatoes. Boil for around 5 minutes and then blanch the tomatoes in cold water. The skin should just peel right off.

Add the peeled tomatoes to a food processor and blitz as smooth or chunky as you like.
I added in my herbs then too to save on chopping! I used parsley, basil and oregano.

In a large pot add the tomato mix and simmer on a low heat for around 30 minutes.
If you are making a base for a sauce then you can add in salt, pepper & garlic etc.

Once mixture is cooled you can add to sterilized jars, seal and freeze. 
I used Mason Jars because they are made to withstand heat and cold.

All the herbs from the garden I picked, washed and chopped and then freeze in ziplock bags until I'm ready to use them. 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I had some vanilla pods left after making vanilla sugar that need something doing to them so I'm trying to make my own vanilla extract. I got this recipe from The Kitchn...after a month i'll know if it worked!

Homemade Vanilla Extract


3 to 5 vanilla beans
8 ounces alcohol such as vodka, bourbon, brandy, or rum


Cutting board and knife
Clean jar or bottle
New bottle(s) for packaging (optional)
Small funnel (optional)
Coffee filter (optional)


Split the vanilla beans: Split each vanilla bean in half lengthwise. If you like, you can leave an inch connected at the end of the bean for an attractive presentation. You can also chop the beans into smaller pieces if necessary to fit in your jar or bottle.
Place the vanilla beans in a clean jar or bottle. Cover them with alcohol, making sure they are completely submerged. Cover the jar or bottle and give it a good shake.
Infuse for at least one month: Store the jar or bottle of vanilla beans in a cool, dark place for at least one month, shaking it from time to time. Taste the extract and let it infuse longer if you want a stronger flavor.
Strain it if you like: You may wish to remove the vanilla pods and decant the extract into a pretty bottle. The little flecks of seeds can be a nice touch, but if you want a clear extract you can strain them out using a coffee filter.
Or leave the pods in the extract: You can also leave the beans in the alcohol and top off the bottle as you use the extract. Eventually all the flavor will be extracted from the original vanilla beans, so you can periodically add fresh beans as well as leftover pods that you've scraped for other recipes.
→ Uses for spent pods. You can also make good use of the spent vanilla pods by drying them and then making vanilla sugar or flavored salt.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Halloween Totes

Obviously you could use this for any tote, I just happen to be making Halloween themed ones for my girls. I think they turned out really well considering it was only my third time using the sewing machine - clearly they are very easy!

I bought 1 yard of the candy corn material and 0.6 yards of the pictured material and that had two different pictures. I made two bags with that amount.

Halloween Tote
(Makes 1 bag)

What you need;
1/2 yard of patterned fabric (candy corn)
1 fabric picture
2x 22"x4" fabric (for the handles)
Filling (if you want your picture to puff out) - I used Crafter's Choice Polyester Fiberfill
fabric scissors
sewing machine
a piece of cardboard for the base of the tote (optional)


1. First cut the fabric for your bag and the lining, cutting them together will ensure the exact same size.

2. Cut the handles to size if not already correct.
I made the handles first.
Fold handle fabric in half longways, pattern side in and iron them flat.
Sew down the edges of the fabric and then turn the fabric inside out (which is really the patterned side up). 
Iron the handles flat and set aside.

3. Grab the patterned fabric and fold in half, pattern side in and iron.

Turn back out flat and grab the picture fabric.

 Cut the corners off the side of the picture fabric so that you can fold them back behind the picture.

 Iron in place.

 Pin in place on the patterned fabric and sew down every side but one. 

If you are not using stuff then you can sew all sides.
Push in the stuffing to how you like it and sew down the final side.

4. Fold the patterned fabric in half again, pattern side in, and pin the left and right side together.
Sew those sides together.

Fold the bottom sides in an perpendicular angle to the sides and pin.
Sew them together and turn the bag inside out so the pattern is on the outside.
Repeat the step 4 for the lining.

5. Place lining inside the bag, seams should be facing each other.
If you like you can place a piece of cardboard or plastic in before you put in the lining to flatten the bottom.

 Fold the lining and the patterned fabric in towards each so they both have a hem and iron before pinning together.

  Before sewing place the handles in between the hems wherever you'd like them to be and pin in place.
Leave a small gap on either side of the hems where the seams meet and you can sew this last.
Run the sewing machine over the hems and the handles.
If you like you can make an "X" over the handles to ensure they will hold heavy items.

 6. Lastly pin together the end hems and sew together.

Cut all lose threads and feel proud :) 

Halloween Bunting

Since having a beautiful sewing machine given to me last Xmas this lame child's shirt (see below-shameful!) was all I've been able to muster so I decided I needed to start practicing.
Bunting seemed like a pretty easy task so I started with that!

I bought a bunch of quarter yard pieces of Halloween themed material scraps, some pinking shears and some ribbed ribbon.

I made a template on a peice of paper, it was a diamond shape because I wanted a flap on top to turn over on the ribbon. Then I traced it onto all the different fabric and cut them out, using pinking shears on the "V" and just regular fabric scissors on the back part.

Then I decided where I wanted them on the ribbon and ironed the flap down and fasted it with a pin.

Then I used the sewing machine to run a line down the ribbon - during trial and error I discovered that the criss cross stitch to be the nicest to look at and easiest to use.

I sewed the ribbon together at the end to make a loop because I attached them to the wall with nails.

The End :)