Thursday, December 25, 2014

on my dining table: christmas edition

Darlene's Dinner Table at Christmas

Whenever my family celebrating any festivities - birthdays, anniversaries, or even whenever guests are coming over - I get to be in-charge in the kitchen. So its no surprise that, I did the cooking this Christmas.

I have planned the menu way ahead, like 3 weeks before Christmas. I got my ingredients a week before, and since 24th December, is a usual working day for us except that I get to leave work no more than 2 hours early, I started cooking 3 days ahead.

Darlene cooked this: Straciatella, Lengua Estofada, Steamed Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes
The Menu: Straciatella, Lengua Estofado, Steamed Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes, Yule Log 

So with little time a day, I managed to pull a 3-course menu with 2 side dishes and here is my strategy:

22nd December: Since I read from one of Julia Child's cookbooks: if you know how to make a Swiss Roll, you can make a Yule Log. I pulled my basic Swiss Roll recipe, replace part of the flour with a cocoa powder and bake as usual. While the cake is cooling, I made the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Then, spread some of the buttercream onto the cake, roll it, wrapped it in cling wrap and kept in the fridge. The rest of the buttercream is stored as well.

My brother, promised to help me decorate the Yule log, made some leaf with a store bought ready to roll white icing.

23rd December: The menu I planned called for Lengua Estofado, which is something new to me. I know, trying something new in this festive occasion could lead to a disaster, but I read the recipe for a good number of times and I found it too simple to messed up. I got my lengua (beef tongue) frozen and unclean. Since, my dad has some knowledge in butchery, I delegated to him the task of cleaning it. So he spent the afternoon cleaning it. I took over when I came from work, slice the lengua diagonally, marinate it in soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, garlic and onion. After 2 hours, rendered some sliced Spanish chorizo,  fry the marinated lengua, put all back into the pot, add the marinade, put enough water to cover and boil for at least an hour.

24th December: So my Lengua Estofado is half way done, the Swiss Roll need to look like a Yule Log, I still have some veggies to cook, mashed potatoes and soup to make. Time to multi-task.

Lengua is till tough so I added more water and let it simmer away, whilst making some chicken stock for the soup. Meanwhile, I took out the chocolate buttercream, peeled and roughly chopped some potatoes and chopped my veggies. My stock is done, and set it aside.

At this time, I decided to steam my veggies instead of blanching it then putting it in an ice bath (to save more time and dishes). I used the good old metal steamer, so while the potato are into the boiling water at the bottom of the steamer, my veggies are getting steamed.  Steamed veggies is tossed into a bowl with a little butter, chopped parsley and seasoned with salt and pepper. So one is done, four more to go.

The chocolate buttercream is already at room temperature, got to do the Yule Log. I actually enjoyed making the log, I  used a dinner fork to frost the cake to give that texture and arranged the leaves that was made earlier.

Darlene Cooked this: Yule Log
Yule Log
I have plain Swiss Meringue Buttercream sitting in my fridge so I took some, add few drops of red food color and pipe 3 dots with a small round icing tip. Pretty, right? Two done, 3 more to go.

I checked my estofado, lengua is tender so I added a small tin of tomato sauce and a handful of chopped olives. My sous chef, a.k.a. my brother (again), fry the plaintains as I set the table, plate the veggies and finish my potatoes. Dinner is almost ready, time to take some pictures ;)

I finish off my estofado by adding the fried plaintains and adjust the seasoning. Then finally, made my Straciatella. Clock strikes at 9; dinner is served.

Darlene cooked this: Lengua Estofada
Lengua Estafado

So, this is my Christmas dinner for this year. I hope you enjoyed your festivities too.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

the quest continues...

Darlene Made this: Belcarra Blouse

Its been a while since I made something to my mom. I often ignore her request, as I always find it difficult to please her. There were even times that I don't understand exactly what she is asking. For instance, she asked me to make her a blouse she could wear with a skirt - - since I wear blouse/tops interchangeably with pants or skirts - - I have no idea what that means.

I saw Belcarra blouse pattern - a simple top, no closures, just bias binding and top stitching is required. I made a muslin first in size 16; she liked the fit, and the length; she only  asked to make the neckline narrower.


So I adjusted the pattern, pulled fabrics from my inventory, cut, put in on assembly line  and sew away.
Three finished blouses later, mom came to me and ask for another blouse.

Wait, what?

It turn out that she doesn't like the blouses I made her, and the neckline is not narrow enough.

Oh dear...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Back to basics


Blouse: Vogue Pattern 8772

Finally, I am revamping my work/casual wardrobe. It took me a while to do this since I made quite a few big projects these past few months.

So I made a button down blouse as a start. 

When I bought this light weight printed cotton fabric more than a year ago, I initially thought of making a bow blouse. Though there are many tutorials on making one floating in the blogosphere, I still patiently waited for a pattern to come out. So when I stumbled with this Vogue pattern, I immediately bought a copy. 

Unfortunately, my fabric wasn't big enough to make a bow blouse (more than 3 meters is required, while I have 2 meters of fabric), so I have to settle with a classic collar blouse. I didn't do a muslin however, I did a tissue fitting  and went ahead cut and sew away.

I really love the print and I like how it turned out.

Off to the next project...

Happy sewing...!!!