Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wedding ring pillow



Hi!


Recently a friend of mine got married and I wanted to give her a special present. Thinking about it and looking for ideas in magazines and on the internet, I liked a lot the wedding ring pillows and I saw that making one was not a mission impossible, so, let's get to work!

First of all, make a lot of drawings, to find a decoration and a layout of the elements that you like. To make a decoration like mine, make the flowers and the leaves out of white and green felt (see the tutorial about felt flowers).


For the base, cut two squares of fabric 15 cm wide, leaving 1.5 cm to sew.

In one of the squares I stitched the initials of my friends, though an alternative idea could be to put the date of the wedding.

Now is the moment to sew the two squares; do it on the reverse side and leave a small aperture in one of the sides, so that you can later turn it inside out.
The depression that you see in the pictures is necessary so that the rings won't slide to the sides; so, before doing everything else, place the ribbons (two pieces about 20 cm each) in the middle of the pillow and two buttons, one over the ribbons and the other on the bottom of the pillow. Sew through the pillow and the buttons, pressing well, using a doll needle (it will be easier than with a normal one).

Finally, glue the flowers and the leaves with hot glue and, if you like, decorate with a bow of the same color of the stitch.

I hope that you liked this tutorial, if you have any doubt or question just post a comment!

Cheers,

Giulia

Monday, October 22, 2012

Aunt's tartelettes

That is: crust pie with custard enriched with delicated pine nuts and icing sugar...delicious...



Here is the recipe, copied from a bag of baking powder:

Ingredients (for a single 26 cm pie or 5 tartelettes):

For the dough:
300 g flour
150 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
150 g butter (at room temperature)
8 g baking powder
1 bag vanillin (or vanilla flavor)
grated lemon peel

For the custard and the decoration:
1/2 l milk
4 Tbsp corn or potato starch
6 Tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
icing sugar and pine nuts

Directions:
Mix the flour with the sugar, salt, egg, butter in small dices, grated lemon peel, vanillin and the sieved baking powder; knead it with your hands in the shortest time possible, shape into a ball, enroll it with film and let it rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

While you wait, prepare the custard: warm up the milk on a low heat setting, without letting it boil; beat the eggs with the sugar in a bowl, and then add the starch little by little. Pour the milk slowly and mix with a beater.
Put everything in a pot and cook on a low heat until a veil forms on the spoon (more or less two minutes since it starts to boil).

For the 26 cm pie:
take the dough out of the fridge, take 2/3 of it and store the rest. Roll it 1/2 cm thick, and put it on the mold (if you have one of those molds with the bottom that can be separated from the sides, you can roll the dough directly on the bottom). Leave a 3 cm tall border. Pierce the dough with a fork, pour the custard in, fold the border inwards and paint it with a bit of water to stick the cover of the pie.
Take the other 1/3 of the dough out of the fridge, roll it and, helping yourself with the roller, lay it carefully on the fop of the pie. Close the borders well, with a bit more of water if necessary. Pierce the surface and distribute some pine nuts on the top of it. Bake at 175º C for 30-35 minutes. When it has cooled down, dust it with icing sugar.

To make tartelettes, follow the same procedure, but divide the dough for the bottom and the top of the pie into 5 parts each. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 175º C.









Friday, October 19, 2012

Cream with pumpkin, potatoes and leeks



Hi,

with all this rain, changes of temperature and colds, a vegetable cream is just great. Moreover, a soup without pieces, for the joy of the kids.

Ingredients (serves 6):
500 g pumpkin
1 potato
2 leeks
1/2 shallot
70 cl water
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 dice of vegetable broth
steak spices, salt, pepper
(optional) sesame and rosemary for the decoration

Directions:
Clean the leeks, cut the white and light green part in slices, and sauté it in the pressure cooker with the olive oil and the chopped shallot.

Peel and cut the pumpkin and the potato in big dices. Add the diced vegetables to the pressure cooker, pour in the water, then add two pinches of steak spices and the half dice of vegetable broth and let cook for 10 minutes since the pressure cooker starts to whistle.

Once you open the pressure cooker, blend the vegetables with the immersion blender, and spice it with a pinch of salt and some ground pepper. Serve it and, if you like, decorate it with sesame and a bit of rosemary. And don't forget the croutons!

Enjoy!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Homemade sugar cubes



In the Internet you can find different ways to prepare homemade sugar cubes...I'll now describe you the one which, after many attempts, allowed me to obtain sugar cubes that don't crumble upon the lightest touch, but still dissolve rapidly in a warm drink.

What you need:
a small cup of sugar (white, brown, or a mix of the two)
water
an ice cube or chocolate mold
time and patience =)
Directions:
Soak a small cup with water. Don't leave water inside, but also make sure it does not dry. Then fill it with sugar. Stir a little bit, till you get the consistency of wet sand.

If you have a mold for very small ice cubes, like mine, fill in the mold with the mixture to the top, and then press the mixture down with your fingers. If the mold is bigger, fill only half of it.

And now be patient...you have to resist all night long without taking the cubes out of the mold...I know it's hard, but you'd rather wait rather than risk breaking them.

After several hours, you can take them out of the mold, and admire your lovely shiny little cubes!


Pumpkin risotto

A classic from Northern Italy: risotto di zucca (that is, pumpkin)...with some minor change caused by my fridge...



Ingredients (serves 2):
50 - 75 cl vegetable brooth
1/2 shallot
250-300 g pumpkin
1/4 glass red wine (I'll tell you why later)
rice for 2 (4 good handfuls)
Parmesan and butter as needed
Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

Directions:
How to cook the pumpkin?
Peel it and cut it into dices (they don't need to be too small). Cook it by steaming it in the pressure cooker, i.e., put it into the basket with a "fingerful" of water (how much is that? say 1.5 cm) for 10 minutes. Once ready, put the pumkin in a tall beaker and blend it to a cream with the immersion blender.

Now yes, the risotto! First of all, warm up the broth or make it with half a dice of vegetable broth. If you like, you can also use the cooking water of the pumpkin. Chop the half shallot and sauté it with two tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add the pumpkin and the rice. Let it toast and then pour in the wine...

Ok, now I'll tell you the secret of the red wine...while preparing the risotto this morning,  I went to the fridge to get some white wine and OMG THERE WAS NONE.
After a few moments of despair and frustration, I poured in a bit of red wine (1/4 glass) and then waited, lurking in silence and watching out for any possible strange smell...but no!! The truth is that, unexpectedly, the red wine fits well!

To summarize, back to the directions, when the wine has evaporated, lower the heat and cook the rice by adding the broth little by little and stirring continuously. When the rice is almost done, add a pinch of salt (no more) and turn the heat up a bit to let the excess water evaporate. Do the mantecatura with grated parmesan to taste and a knob of butter. Finally, sprinkle with a bit of ground black pepper.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkins time



Hi!

If you walk around for some shopping at this time of the year, you'll see pumpkins everywhere: from real and edible ones, to the fake ones, decorated and ready to be taken out for Halloween...
So, I saw so many of them, and they were so attractive that I couldn't help but look for a good tutorial to make a fabric one...what a pity, huh? ;)

Here is my pumpkin and the good tutorial:
 http://www.happyhourprojects.com/2011/09/well-i-dont-have-much-time-this-week.html



It's very easy and rather quick to make. For my pumpkin I used a 1m square of orange fabric, and for the filling I used cotton. The final diameter is about 30cm.


One more thing...from the fabric that was left over, I cut another square of about 15cm, and I made a mini-pumpkin pin cushion...how cute:






I hope you liked it! Cheers!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Felt flowers


Hi!

Time has come to tell you about these cute roses...back in 2011 I found a couple of very easy tuorials to make these flowers in a snap...and, since then, between presents for my friends...and for me hehe, I have never stopped! Really they are very versatile: depending on what you put on the base, they can be used as brooches, hair bobbles, clips, decoration for a belt or a pair of shoes, or whatever your imagination can suggest!

Here are the links to the tutorials:

For the big flower: http://lifeinlutherville.blogspot.com.es/2011/02/felt-flower-tutorial.htmlFor the small one: http://www.theaccidentalcrafter.com/tutorial/tutorial-felt-flower



 For any doubt you might have on the tutorials or the materials, you can post a comment here below, if you like!

Cheers.