Saturday, 27 February 2010

Am I asking for trouble?

As you may or may not know - exercise is not my friend. There's always some sort of reason for why which I won't get into but after spending a stretch (excuse the pun) of long days sitting in an office in front of a computer and having a mind clogged full of useless clutter, I'm now thinking of trying this out.

Courtesy of

Pretzel anyone?

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Toad Cakes

Well, that's a literal transalation of 'kuih kodok', or as we called it in my family 'goreng kodok' (fried toads), which is a something my Aunty Catherine used to cook up when I was a lot younger. It is also known as 'cekodok' and 'cokodok' and probably a whole bunch of other variation that I haven't heard of. It's actually a type of fried banana fritter where the banana is mashed up instead of being cooked whole. The only thing it has to do with toads however is the fact that the finished product ends up shaped a little like the amphibian so you can stop feeling a little grossed out :)

After buying a big bunch of bananas and having too many slices of birthday cake recently in the office (I don't know why half my team was born in February) I found myself stuck with 4 large bananas that were at least half black on the outside. Half black = a lot sweeter than normal, but too mushy to eat. I refused to throw them away and decided to 'recycle' them into something else yummy to eat. The standard banana muffins/bread/cake wasn't appealing to me, and for some reason I suddenly got hit with a craving for some goreng kodok.

Unfortunately I had a couple of things going against me:
1) No recipe
2) No ingredients (other than the bananas)
3) No deep-frying experience (and slightly scarred from seeing the results of a wok of oil overturning on someone - eek!)

Armed with just my blackened bananas, I did some research online (I so love technology and my iPhone) and found a few recipes (seasaltwithfood, Best Recipes, Foods and Travel, ptitchef) that looked like they might work. After a bit of umming and ahhing, I put together a trial recipe using the least amount of ingredients possible and a little extra sugar (I find Australian bananas nowhere near as sweet as the ones I ate growing up in the tropics).

I also made sure that I bought an appropriate oil for deep frying (sunflower in this case) and sussed out the dos and don'ts of deep-frying for safety reasons. One of the things I learned was that pouring the leftover oil down the kitchen sink was a no-no. Good thing I looked this up - last thing I need is a clogged sink!

The mixed batter

Sizzling away

The finished product - YUM

I thought they turned out pretty well for a first effort - I'm glad I put in a little extra sugar to compensate for the slightly less sweet Australian bananas.

I got four thumbs up from my two guinea pigs so I'm happy :)

Here's the recipe for those of you who are interested:

SuBoo's Goreng Kodok
Makes approx 12-15

* 4 big ripe bananas, peeled and mashed up
* 1 1/2 cup plain flour
* 2 1/2 tbs caster sugar
* 1 egg
* Sunflower oil

1. Place all the ingredient (except the oil) into a mixing bowl and mix until well blended
2. Heat up a wok and add in the sunflower oil for deep frying.
3. When the oil is appropriately hot, take a heaped tablespoon of batter and place into the wok - try to keep the batter together so that it makes a flat oval 'patty'
4. Fry until golden brown, turning the patty evenly.
5. Once fried, use a slatted ladle to lift the kodok out from the wok onto a plate lined with paper towelling.
6. Dab the tops of the kodok with paper towelling to remove access oil.
7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

It's arrived!

After seeing several mentions of this book being released, I decided that I needed to get it ASAP. I found the other two Built By Wendy books very clear and easy to read (and I can finally put the 2nd one to use now that I have my overlocker *hurrah*) so I ended up placing an order from The Book Depository a week ago.

Here it is freshly opened from its cardboard packaging.

I know what I'll be doing this lunchbreak.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


On top of it being Valentine's Day today (lots of love to all!), I'd also like to wish everyone a very Happy Year of the Tiger!

(Johannes Eisele/Reuters)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Simplicity 2884: My new summer dress

Based on both online and offline comments about my previous blog post on which summer dress to make, I decided on the girly Simplicity 2884. I have to admit I was leaning towards that design so everyone's feedback just reinforced that I had made the right decision.

Here's what I found:*

100% cotton voile for the outside, with some soft white cotton to line the entire dress. Lining was a must for this dress since the voile is fairly transparent.

I also used a 14" dress zip in an off-white colour and a hook and eyelet to ensure the zip can be done up easily.

Pattern (Simplicity 2884: View B with View A halter-tie)
I chose to make View B with the gathers and shorter skirt, but used the halter tie on the neck as I wanted to have a bit more give and flexibility on where the tie would occur - the button halter neck measurements might not have been exactly the correct length for my torso and I'm too lazy to have to revisit and adjust it multiple times.

The pattern was overall not too difficult to follow, however there was a moment of confusion for me when I had to line the bodice section to ensure all the internal seams were hidden. After re-reading the step several times over, analysing the diagram and then making use of my many pins, I managed to work it out.

I decided to forgo using any boning in the dress, as I thought it might be a little restrictive and unnecessary for a casual summer dress. This may have resulted in the bodice now crinkling up a little when I breathe in (yes, it's not holding me in - eep!) but it isn't too noticable.

I also understitched the top of the dress, which was not part of the pattern, but I find that it nicely finishes off lined garments.

The last alteration I made was to cut a slightly larger width bodice front and back to cater for my wide rib-cage. I have to say that that was the best thing I did with the dress since it now just fits me.

I have to say though for an 'It's So Easy' pattern from Simplicity, I didn't think it was particularly easy compared to some other patterns I've looked at.

Would I do it again?
I really like the femininity of the gathered skirt. I'd be interested to see how the pleated version would turn out, and also how this would work in a more flashy fabric, but I do have some reservations about how long it took me to sew this up - from start to finish it took me over 2 days.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, considering lazy me didn't create a muslin and didn't really do much in the way of measuring myself. I also think I really need to work on my zips - the zip on the dress eventually worked out but I wouldn't want anyone to look too closely at the stitching ;)

* I'm experimenting with my iPhone camera a bit so apologies if the photos are a bit grainy.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Decisions decisions...

I haven't really had too much time to get a lot of sewing done recently, but when I have had the chance a lot of it has been kiddie-focussed what with having 2 very cute nieces around and also lots of friends with babies. I find that making children's clothing a little more rewarding as well as kids either fit or they don't. No unsightly lumps or bumps where the pattern and your body don't quite match up (which seems to happen to me fairly often *sob sob*) and just oh-so-cute due to the general little-ness of the garments.

I have now however decided to take the plunge and get back to sewing something for myself. A pretty summer dress is on the cards, but now the dilemma is which pattern to use... I have told myself I am not allowed to purchase any more patterns if I have something suitable in my ever-growing pike of patterns, so I've narrowed the choice down to one of these:

Simplicity 2884 - I'd make the knee-length version (view B) with the tie at the neck as opposed to buttons

McCalls M5652 - Floor-length for this one, and unsure if I'd put a ruffle down the bottom of it

I'm pretty much 50/50 on the two of these, so maybe I need to re-examine my stash to see what fabrics I have to help with the decision...