Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cheats Dry Mee Siam

I think it's funny (to me anyway) that we often use short cuts to create Asian dishes, but usually make things from scratch for Western recipes we like to try ~ unless it calls from pastry in which case we head to the frozen aisle of the local supermarket (seriously, who has time to make pastry from scratch?!)

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We've been craving more "Mee Siam" ever since I bought some takeaway for lunch from Madam Kwong's Kitchen a couple of weeks ago. Mee Siam ("Siamese noodles") is a tangy/spicy flavoured noodle dish. I prefer the dry version but there is a version with a thick gravy. This cheats version of dry Mee Siam can be made in minutes!

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Halve some hard boil eggs and let it cool - we had the eggs under our retro style green mesh food saver
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Defrost the Mee Siam paste which is made of ground onions, chilli, dried shrimps, shrimp paste and seasoning. The shrimps make it a bit pungent but once cooked it has a mild flavour
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Let's begin! Add a little oil to the work and stir fry some shelled, devein prawns
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Toss in match stick sized Chinese chives, and add the Mee Siam paste
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Toss in rice vermicelli noodles and bean shoots and mix until the noodles are covered in the sauce.
To cut the spiciness, add a squeeze of lemon (lime if you have it) and serve with the hard boil eggs. It is also common to add fried firm tofu and fried shallots which we didn't have on hand. It was nevertheless tasty and authentic, and I had two servings!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rainbow Granny Stripe Crochet Blanket

I can't stay away from crochet for long, and I was eager to start a new blanket even before I finished the Murano blanket towards the end of May. Having made six crochet blankets in the past two years, I thought it was time to make a striped design rather than squares. I've long admired Lucy of Attic24 and am in awe of the colours she uses and her generosity of sharing patterns, so I wanted to try making a granny stripe blanket too. Spotlight was having a sale (A$1.99 for 100g ball) on Thorobred acrylics so I bought 10 balls to practice on before I use the beautiful Stylecraft Special DK yarn I bought from Deramores earlier this year.

I chained 240 and had real trouble crocheting the first row as my stitches are quite tight (I'm a rather intense crocheter!). I ended up using a 5cm hook to make the foundation chain, and then used a 4cm hook to crochet the rest of the blanket. Yeah, problem solved! I'm not sure whether I followed Lucy's pattern correctly (probably not), but after I made the chain of 240, I chained 3, * skipped 2 stitches, worked 3 trebles into one stitch and chained 1 and then repeated from *. Thankfully I did start with 240 chain stitches, but the first row looked weird and curled. Despite this, I continued to crochet, changing colour after the third row, and it started to look alright (to me anyway since I can only crochet 2 kinds of stitches). I figured it curled because the foundation chain was too tight, and I solved this by spraying the area with water and having a little stretch and iron, and voila - the blanket is now even!

Yep, I wear pink polka dot slippers!
Do you know what the best thing about making a striped blanket? Minimal ends to sew! I see many granny stripe crochet blankets in the future, and considering buying another lot of Murano yarn as the colour variation would be gorgeous. I crocheted three rounds for the border using navy blue yarn, and the blanket measures 100cm x 140cm. OK, next crochet project...