Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Pasta with Purple Sprouting Broccoli - Sicilian style? #TriedItFree

If you read my husband's blog, you will know that he is passionate about growing - and eating - Purple Sprouting Broccoli (henceforth known as PSB). One slight snag with it, though, is that a huge amount tends to be ready all at once, and as we don't eat "meat and two veg" style meals every day, it can start to mount up in the fridge.

However Mark was recently told about a Sicilian dish that somebody had enjoyed, which combined pasta, PSB, sultanas, pine nuts, chilli and cheese. We had no idea what the proportions were, how the ingredients were used, or what the finished dish was supposed to look like, but when I was sent vouchers to try Tesco Finest Pasta through their scheme "The Orchard"  I thought it was a great time to test out the combination of ingredients and see what kind of a dish I could come up with.  I decided to try the Fusilli Lunghi, simply because they look so pretty! And here's what I made.....

Pasta with PSB

serves 2

150g pasta
120g purple sprouting broccoli
25g pine nuts
50g sultanas
 ½ tsp chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
40g finely grated parmesan
½ tbs olive oil
10g butter

cook the pasta as directed on the pack. Place the PSB in a steamer and cook above the pasta until just cooked – I like to cook it for 4-5 minutes.

While the pasta and PSB are cooking, heat the oil and butter in a small frying pan and toss the garlic, pine nuts, chilli flakes and sultanas in it until the pine nuts are lightly browned,  season and then set aside.

Drain and dish up the pasta, top with the PSB, spoon the pine nut mixture over it and sprinkle with Parmesan.

The result was absolutely delicious and is a dish we'll come back to again and again. Next time, I think I'll try adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the pine nut mixture. Very little effort but a great combination of flavours and textures. And we loved the pasta - it kept its shape well and didn't go to soft or mushy, which meant that it was very satisfying, as well as being the perfect shape for the dish.


Something beginning with S at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's Tuesday, it's 9 o'clock and it's time for Cardz 4 Guyz new challenge - and this week we want to see "Something beginning with S".

I've chosen S is for...... SHIRT. Some years ago there was a craze for making little origami shirts to use on cards, and a quick internet search showed me that there are still lots of instructions for it available. I followed the one you can find here to make my shirt, using a check paper from the Docrafts Heritage Press range.  The buttons, tie-fabric print background, side panel and sentiment all came from the same range with just a scrap of ribbon to finish it off.

Monday, 30 March 2015

The great, big, enormous TAG

Usually when I make a tag, it's the size of a standard parcel tag or just a little bigger. But this time I wanted it to fill the front of an A5 sized card, so I cut a HUGE one from kraft card.

This is my interpretation of the inspiration photo at the current Tag You're It challenge

As it's all made from snippets, I'm dropping into the Snippets Playground at Pixie's Crafty Workshop again - my second visit to the playground this week - and I'm also sharing with Flowers at Make My Monday.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Pastel petals

It's been snippet central chez Onions and Paper today! Cutting out all these tiny die cuts means that even the smallest scraps of card in my snippets box have justified their existence.

I cut the four brighter green squares with the die that came free with my old Cuttlebug - I hardly ever use that die and I can't think why. The squares were then embossed with the Swiss Dots folder.  Then I cut and embossed the flowers and leaves in lots of pastel colours.

I'm sharing this with Pixie's Snippets Playground  - week 170
AAA Cards - game 36 - Easter Colours

A Brayer-and-Salt background

This week's challenge at Less is More is to combine  any THREE past challenges. I thought this would be a great opportunity to try some of the challenges that took place before I started to play along, so I looked at the very earliest challenges and chose:

Week 11 - Acetate
Week 12 - Off centre
Week 31 - Metallic

I die cut the Tattered Lace dragonfly panel (this is the cover mounted die from the current issue of their magazine) in a green metallic card, then cut a panel slightly larger than the die cut - off centre of course - in a white card and backed it with acetate, and mounted the die cut on the acetate.

I felt it needed something to show through behind the acetate, so I cut a piece of card slightly wider than the acetate panel. I used normal stamping card, not the glossy card I would normally brayer. It needs to be quite heavy card to prevent buckling when wet.  I brayered it with a Kaleidacolor Caribbean Sea inkpad, then spritzed it thoroughly with water, and immediately sprinkled coarse sea salt over the surface. I left it to dry (well, actually I encouraged it a bit with my heat gun) then used a stiff, clean stencilling brush to sweep away the grains of salt. I was left with a panel that reminds me a lot of the ripples on the surface of a pond  - I mounted this on the back panel of the card to sit under the acetate window.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Orient Excess

So, I've been having a sort out of old stickers. Many years ago, I bought a collection of Oriental clear peel-off stickers from QVC. I used most of them right away, and ever since then the odd few bits and pieces left on the sheets have looked at me reproachfully every time I open my sticker folder. Admittedly, that is less frequently than is used to be, but nevertheless those almost-empty sheets are taking up valuable space and I really ought to use them up.

I picked out a few sheets, gold and silver butterfly borders and corners, and bamboo borders, and decided to combine them with some stamping. For my first card, I stamped and embossed the butterfly and bamboo image in gold on black card, then stamped it again without embossing, in back on white card. I then cut out the two main butterflied and applied them over their own images on the first piece using 3D glue. I put this onto a white card, edged with gold bamboo and butterfly corners. Half of me wants to throw something else at it - some gems or Chinese coins in the white space either side of the image, the other half of me is sternly reminding me that I've got lots of experience of CAS cards now and am no longer afraid of white space!

For my second card, I stamped the image in black on white then coloured it in very lightly with soft shades of pencil. This I added to a black base card, with silver borders and corners, and on the inside I added a plain white writing panel with the last few stickers from the silver butterfly sheet.

I'm joining in with
Butterfly Challenge - C is for Corners
Use Your Stuff -  #178 Stickers
Oh, and why have I called the post "Orient Excess"? Well, partly because I was using my excess stuff, and partly because I only set out to make one card but ended up making two!

If the shoe fits......

I have very mixed feelings about the Viva la Divas CD-ROM from Joanna Sheen. Sometimes I decide to get rid of it, thinking the images on it are so big and inflexible that there's not much you can do with them except plonk them on the front of a card. And then an occasion comes along that one of the pictures on it is perfect for and it earns a reprieve.

This time, I decided to try to do something more than just plonking the image on the card - each sheet contains the main image twice, so why not cut out some of the elements of the second image too? And why not separate the image from the sentiment? By doing it this way, I was able to position the sentiment partway over the image, positioning one of the cut out parts of the image over it so that the lady wasn't obscured.

I think this is the "least uncreative" way I've used this CD, and it has satisfied me that it DOES deserve a place on my shelf rather than on the charity shop pile!

I'm joining in with Ooh La la Creations #176 - She's in Fashion.
and Suzy Bee's challenge - Add a sentiment
and a second visit to the current CD Sundays challenge - Sentiment