29 June 2011

Basic Shortcrust Pastry

This is the easiest pie dough ever. I use this basic short crust pastry to bake all tarts, quiches, pop-tarts, pies, anything. This is an absolutely easy pie dough to make that turns out flaky and buttery, yet will hold its shape well and be easy to slice through.
I use three simple ingredients - plain flour, butter ( I use the regular salted butter we use for breakfast) and cold water.
Some recipes do call for an egg/ egg yolk, but I don't use that because I live in India and lot of people here are purely vegetarian and don't eat eggs. This makes it easy to bake something for them.

Basically what we are doing is using butter that is half in quantity to the flour. So you can customise this to your needs.

Here's the recipe:
It is enough to line one 9-inch pie tin.

 -225 gms                 flour
 -110 gms                 butter
 -8-10 tbsp               ice-cold water to bind it all together...

Measure out the flour and add in the butter. Now rub the butter into flour with your fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs.
Slowly add water, a few tablespoons at a time and knead it into a dough. You will need just a few tablespoons for this so be miserly while adding it.
Don't knead the dough too much - it may look a little lumpy but that's alright.
                  
Wrap in cling film or put in an air-tight box and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes if pastry feels too soft or the weather is too warm.  
To use roll out to fit your pan and use as directed in your recipe.....



15 June 2011

Pouches from Jeans

A wallet and a pouch from cut-off legs of old jeans....
I made the wallet (the one in the background) with a patchwork heart on top and a button and loop closure.
...I'll put in pictures and  details about the pouch in the foreground later....that one is a cover for my girl's Gameboy.
9
I didn't use any pattern for this. I just measured the cards that were to be carried in the wallet and cut out the pockets accordingly.....
 close up of the heart patch....I left the edges raw to get a shabby chic effect....
Inside the wallet.....I made two pockets and sewed them down the centre to give four pockets in total that were big enough to store cards in. 
I used cheerful colours inside to brighten up the look...
close up details....


06 June 2011

Mahabalipuram, Chennai.

Chariots of the Gods
Wonders in Stone - the stone temples of Mahabalipuram...
Mahabalipuram is a port city  50-60 km south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, South India while travelling along the East Coast Road....and the home of these monolithic temples.
They are also called the 'rathas' or chariots as they resemble wooden chariots of that time.
Built during the Pallava dynasty, these temples, along with the Shore Temple close by, have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But be warned the weather will be hot and humid - any time of the year. It does let up a little in December but just a little.
And what you see in the first picture is all you get. The entire collection of the five rathas is all there in that picture.
You do have the Shore Temple and the Lighthouse close by.
Another bonus is the Crocodile Bank (I'll write a post about that soon) that lies on the Chennai- Mahabalipuram route....this one's a must-see if you have children along.

The five monolithic chariot-temples were cut from one huge sloping rock. The rock was cut into different forms of temples with a few animals thrown around.
There a few unfinished structures too where few of the pillars were left without finishing the carvings.
A few more structures....
another view...


There's the famous shore temple overlooking the Bay of Bengal....
...when we visited it was under renovation hence the scaffolds.....
While the chariot temples were carved out of granite, this temple used dressed stone. This monument is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here are some pictures of the Shore Temple....
 ...you can see an old lighthouse nearby too....been trying to upload the picture but keep getting an error....will put them up ASAP.
Enjoy!!

03 June 2011

Make your Own Slime - Kids' DIY Craft

Kids LOVE SLIME!!!!! 
So why not let them make their own slime this summer...?? They'll love it, trust me.
And it will not take them more than 10 minutes to make this gooey stuff.
 Looks terrible, I know. But it's SLIME!!!!!
This slime has a fantastic property...if you pull it apart slowly it stretches like dough....
....but if you pull it apart suddenly, it breaks with a clean cut.
Ingredients........
               - 1/2 cup         white glue, like fevicol, elmer's, etc
               - 1/2 cup         water (for glue)
               - 1 tsp             borax crystals or powder,
               - 1 cup            water (for borax)
               - 3-4 drops      food colouring (optional) - you can leave it white
               - 2                  old plastic glasses or cups.

To begin with mix the borax in 1 cup water and stir well till dissolved. Keep aside. In the picture below, the transparent solution is the borax mix.
In another glass mix the glue and water together (the other glass).
Add the colour to the glue-water mix...
mix well...we added a little of yellow and green....


Now add 2 tablespoons of the borax mix and stir well. As soon as you add the borax mix the constitution of the glue changes...so  add it a tablespoonful or two at a time and mix well......
.... add some more borax and mix...
...you'll notice the mix coagulating and  the water content splitting....
....add some more and mix.....
...till you get this lumpy dough-like thing....
...take it out of the glass and knead it...
...and knead some more.....
....till you get a smooth dough...
...now get ready to play with it...
....stretch it...
...break it....
 
 ...roll it.....



















.....roll it into the shape you like...my daughter said it was a dinner roll...I thought it looked like something a Martian Dog 'did'...:P



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