Veggie Day: vegetable curry

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Oh – give me a break. It is snowing again. Everything is white and it is cold. I am so done with this. I so badly needed a bit of color and the freshness of better days, so I made one of my favorite dishes today. Yes, the ingredients are not quite seasonal yet, but I hope you forgive me for giving in to my yearning for summer. When I was a student I would eat this dish several times a week (whenever I had time to cook instead of being stuck in the lab for most of the night…). I love this dish because it is very versatile, you get a big portion of mixed vegetables, you can vary the spices to your taste, which keeps the flavor interesting, and it is relatively quick (a small portion can be put together in about 30 minutes). This dish is great on its own, or you can add cashew nuts or shrimps. The vegetables listed here are my favorite combination, but you can add/substitute any vegetables you want.

One word about the curry: you can use any curry powder of your choice. I personally like to use a mild Thai curry paste and/or I mix turmeric, ground ginger, ground coriander, paprika with my standard curry powder, which allows me to vary the flavor a bit depending on my mood (and the kids’ liking). Just don’t overdo it with the spices, you still want to taste the vegetables.

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You’ll need:

  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • curry (*see comment above)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1-2 red and/or yellow bell peppers
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 can coconut milk (or heavy cream)
  • small pack of frozen peas
  • if desired: cashew nuts / shrimp (for a non-vegetarian version) /feta / some freshly ground ginger root
  • fresh parsley or cilantro
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan over medium heat and very gently brown the garlic together with salt and curry – don’t let it burn!
  2. While the garlic and curry brown, cut the carrots in fine slices and add to the pan. Cover the pan and let all simmer on medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile cut bell pepper into small cubes and add into pan.
  4. Cut zucchini once length wise then cut small slices (you’ll get half circles) and add to the mix.
  5. Add coconut milk. Bring to boil and let simmer on medium heat.
  6. When the zucchini start to get soft, add the peas (and shrimps or nuts). Increase the heat until the mixture boils again, then continue over medium heat.
  7. Let simmer until vegetables are soft (or shrimps are cooked through), but not overcooked. I personally like my vegetables al dente, therefore I add peas etc. relatively early. After you turned off the heat you can also add some freshly ground ginger root, this adds some light freshness to this dish. I didn’t do it today, because I forgot to buy ginger.
  8. Serve on rice and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley or cilantro. I like to add some crumbled feta to the non-shrimp version.

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How I cook my rice: In a small pot heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seed, three cloves and three cardamon pods. Add the washed basmati rice and let everything fry a little, but don’t let it get brown, just dry and crispy. Then add twice the amount of water, steer the rice once so that none sticks to the pot. Bring to boil, then turn down heat to small, cover it and let it simmer until all liquid is gone. I usually switch the heat off when the rice is almost done and let it just sit until done.

Enjoy!

This is my contribution to Veggie-Thursday, following siebenhundertsachen‘s example.

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Und nun noch auf deutsch:

  • Olivenoel
  • 2 Zehen Knoblauch
  • Curry (Paste oder Pulver)
  • 3 Karotten
  • 1-2 rote und/oder gelbe Paprika
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1 Dose  Kokusnussmilch (oder Sahne)
  • Schachtel gefrorene Erbsen
  • je nach Laune: Cashew Kerne / Feta / frischen Ingver
  • Frische Petersilie oder Korreander
  • Salz
  1. Brate Knoblauch mit Salz und Curry bei milder Hitze in Olivenoel an.
  2. Fuege die in feine Sscheiben geschnittenen Karotten hinzu und lass alles bei milder Hitze zugedeckt duensten.
  3. Fuege die gewuerfelten Paprika hinzu.
  4. Fuege die in Scheiben geschnittenen Zucchini hinzu.
  5. Fuege Kokusnussmilch hinzu, lass alles kurz aufkochen und lass es dann bei milder Hitze koecheln bis die Zucchini anfangen weich zu werden.
  6. Fuege nun die Erbsen hinzu. Lass alles nochmal kurz aufkochen und lass es dann bei milder Hitze weiterkoecheln bis alles gar ist.Ich mag mein Gemuese al dente und nehme die Pfanne vom Feuer, wenn die Zucchini noch Biss haben.
  7. Serviere ueber Reis, streue fein gehackte Petersilie oder Korreander drueber und wenn Du magst noch ein bisschen zerbroeselten Feta.

Guten Appetit!

Aller Anfang ist schwer…..

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My first big sewing project in jersey is done. And I am not very happy. The fabric is a very high quality cotton stretch jersey from hilco, but it is also relatively thick and stiff. The tunic doesn’t fall as light as I had hoped and I am afraid it looks more like a maternity shirt and me several months pregnant….. The fabric feels great, though, and the shirt was relatively easy to sew. I even managed to do the seams with a twin-needle on my neighbor’s 80 Euro sewing machine from Aldi! The pattern is Violetta from Mamu Design.

Me and my boys will spend the easter holidays at my mom’s where I will also visit my friend tragtat. Maybe she has some ideas how to rescue improve this shirt?

Finally!

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Finally! Last Saturday the order from stoff.de finally arrived – after over a month (I ordered 11.02.13!)!  It contained the cotton Teddy fur I was waiting for. My big boy was supposed to get a nice warm hat for cold days – well, now he has a cozy colorful dino hat in time for spring. (Papa thought it looked more like a rooster than a dino?!? Easter is in the air.)

The outer fabric is the same as here. The pattern is a free pattern from Hamburger Liebe.

Borscht!

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I love soups, thick hearty soups. A good soup is easy and quick to make and gives a delicious and healthy meal. I guess it goes without saying that pretty often we have soup on our table. One of our favorite soups is the Russian borscht. It always contains red beet, but otherwise it is very versatile. It can be made as warm or cold soup, with meat or as vegetarian dish. Here is how we make it as warm hearty soup.

For a big pot of soup you need (of course, you can freely vary the amount of all ingredients!):

  • 2 big red beets
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 celery root
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • ca. 3 carrots
  • 2 liters beef stock with meat
  • parsley, dill
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt to taste
  • oil
  • sour cream
  1. Prepare beef stock by boiling meat with bone for several hours. We use a slice of beef shank with bone, which is a relatively inexpensive meat, even when purchased in organic quality. Alternatively you can use ready made stock or vegetable broth.
  2. Skin and shred red beets and sauté in oil with sugar and vinegar for ca. 30-40 min or until tender.
  3. Meanwhile skin and cut into cubes celery root, parsnip and potatoes, and add to beef stock.
  4. Add sautéed red beet to beef stock.
  5. Sauté onions and shredded carrots in oil until tender. Add to beef stock when potatoes and celery are almost tender.
  6. At the end, when  all vegetables are tender, turn off the heat and add finely chopped parsley, dill and garlic. Let sit for a few minutes.
  7. Poor into plates, add a spoon full of sour cream, sprinkle some chopped greens and serve with bread.

Priyatnogo appetita!

One year old

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My baby, you are one year old today. Ten things I love about you:

I love

  1. your loud and hearty laughter.
  2. your five little teeth with which you bite me into my shoulder.
  3. how you disassemble Matryoshka and try to put it back together.
  4. how you smile and come to me when I pick you up from daycare.
  5. when I carry you and you put your little arms around my neck and your head on my shoulder.
  6. how you come to cuddle.
  7. how you wind yourself out of my hands when you have other plans, that’s when we call you our little gusenica (caterpillar).
  8. how you happily and proudly toddle, still a bit shaky on your little legs, around the living room, swinging the little rattle.
  9. when you look at me with your mischievous smile when you do something you know you are not supposed to.
  10. And I love that I have the privilege to spend this precious time with you.

The gift of kreativity

Our oldest son will turn six in September and will start school in the fall. Right now we are in the process of trying to decide which school will be right for him. We have to decide and sign him up for primary school withing the next couple of weeks. This is a nice TED talk about education by Sir Ken Robinson. Really great is also this talk: click here.

As a side note: those TED talks are totally addictive! Don’t go their website if you don’t want to be clued to your screen for the next few hours…..

Upcycled skirt

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Inspired by Sanne naeht I transformed my old jeans, which just tore at the back, into a skirt. The large tear made the transformation a bit tricky, and I needed about a billion times to try-it-on-tear-it apart-put-it-back-together-again.

Unlike Sanne I used one of the cut-off legs to make the gussets in front and back, which I needed because of the tear. And it made the skirt a bit wider than the quite tight jeans, an added benefit…. I even added some embroidery (haven’t done this since school years)!

Will I do this again? Yes – especially because now I know how to do it and next time it will be sooooo much easier.

Buying fabric

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Before I write something about the fabric shown above, I need to loudly complain about stoff.de!

Hello you, there at stoff.de! I ordered some fabric more than three weeks ago and haven’t heard from you since. I tried to call, tried to write, tried to login(!) – nothing. Finally, last week I found a small note on your blog (not on your website) that you are relaunching your shop and are too busy for anything else. Thank you very much! How about a clearly visible note on the website possibly before everything is getting screwed up?!? Or at least a short e-mail notification, that everything takes a bit longer? This is my first purchase at stoff.de and a very disappointing experience! The most annoying part is, that I had ordered fabric for a hat for my older boy, which I don’t need anymore. Spring is here now – finally!! But I can’t even cancel my order at stoff.de, because I can’t reach anybody!

But now about the nice fabric which you see above. I did some shopping at hilco! I had a chance to go to their store in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, close to Stuttgart last week. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so you have to take my word that they had very lovely fabrics. Lovely prints from Hamburger Liebe, great stripey Jersey, absolute fantastic linen, impressive deco-fabrics, and on and on. And the staff is super friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. An overall very pleasant experience. The fabric is not cheap but of really good quality. Here is what I got (from left to right): dark blue Easy Cotton (100% cotton) for a pair pf pants for my older boy, and matching thick cotton for strong knee-pads. Than this lovely stretch jersey in purple (it is in real life less bright and more of a a pinkish eggplant-color), which will be a tunic. And last, a small piece of lovely two coloured wool (100%), which, I hope, will be enough for a skirt.  Hurray!