Fingerless gloves and lacy scarf

I have not been working on my recipes lately as I’ve been busy with all things crotchety. It was my sister-in-law’s birthday last week and I wanted to make her some finger-less gloves and a wrap. The patterns for these can be found in Knitty Gritty . Some of the patterns in there are very dubious in terms of fashion but I do like the clear instruction and the use of photos. EXCEPT the last stage of the gloves as it was unclear which part to sew up!

I used Sirdar Flirt DK yarn, shade 225 which is called Hypnotic. S-in-L loves purple so it was a good choice. And my goodness, so nice to crochet with after all the cheaper yarn I’ve been using of late. So much so that I’ve bought loads more to make a giant granny square for tot!

I first made the wrap but thought it wasn’t very big so frogged it all and decided to turn it into a lacy scarf. I used size 8 needles and alternated 4 knits rows then 1 eyelet row. I liked the end result very much and so did my sis-in-law luckily!

Load of wo(r)k

I bought a new carbon steel wok from John Lewis a few weeks ago to use instead of a karahi. This afternoon I finally got round to taking it out of the bag and have spent quite a lot of time trying to season. I’ve washed it, burnt it over a hot flame, oiled it and am now in the stage of slowly burning the oil off.

It’s a lot of work and not much fun on a hot day. I’d much rather concentrate on a new recipe for snacks to have while watching the box. Ah well.

Paneer jalfrezi (paneer with onions, peppers and tomatoes)

I was going to make saag paneer (spinach and paneer) but I took a fancy to the paneer jalfrezi recipe in Monisha Bharadwaj’s India’s Vegetarian Cooking.

As usual, I made a few small amendments. The recipe calls for garlic / ginger paste. I couldn’t be arsed with that so just grated the ginger and crushed the garlic. I also added fresh chili as I like my dishes spicey. Finally, I added red pepper too as I had some in the fridge and it looks pretty in Indian dishes. Peppers are a really good source of vitamin C, and red peppers in particular are full of bioflavonoids which helps your immune system and is good for preventing bruising and bleeding.


  • 3 tbs groundnut oil (tel)
  • 1 tsp cumin (jeera)
  • 1 onion – sliced finely (dungri)
  • 1 inch ginger – grated (audoo)
  • 1 large clove garlic – crushed (lusan)
  • 1 small green chili – chopped finely (murcha)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (murcha)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1 tsp coriander, cumin powder (dhanna jeeru)
  • 1 green bell pepper – sliced finely
  • 1 red bell pepper (optional) – sliced finely
  • 750g paneer (Plumstead bods…I got mine from Superfruits). Diced in 1 inch cubes
  • 2 ripe red tomatoes – diced finely
  • Coriander to garnish


  • In a heavy based saucepan or large frying pan,heat oil then add cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds are sizzling, add onions and fry until they are soft
  • Add garlic, ginger and chilis. Cook for a minute
  • Add spices and cook until blended well
  • Add the sliced peppers and cook for about 8 minutes. The recipe calls for them to be soft but still holding their shape
  • Add the paneer and tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes
  • Garnish with coriander

Ms Bharadwaj recommends eating this with rotlis but I’m going to have it with plain rice.

Rice krispie cakes and banana cupcakes

I wish I was like Rachel Allen or Jane Aster and could make up cake recipes. But alas, I have to turn to Google to find me the way. I’ve promised a friend who is having a charity tea party tomorrow to bring along some fairy cakes. I thought I’d also try out some rice krispie cakes. In my youth, I would buy flat chocolate covered cornflakes andchocolate rice krispies. But the Cookery Club cakes that I ended up making weren’t quite so chocolatey…next time, less rice krispies and much, much more choccy! I also noticed that I have a lot more than 12 bun cases full. I think my kitchen scales may be lying to me…oh how I wish that were true of the scales in my bathroom.

Cruelly, I decided to make the banana cupcakes whilst my hubby was putting toddler to sleep. So she’s got the smell of lovely cooking bananas to help her waft off to sleep. I used the Tesco Magazine Banana Cupcakes recipe. As you can see, they are slightly brown on the top (dare I say burnt) but tomorrow morning, before taking them to the party, I’m going to cover them in yummy buttercream. That’s if we don’t end up eating them all tonight. Scoff!!

Update: Woke up this morning to cream my cakes. The first batch of buttercream icing went wrong as silly me used caster sugar. The second batch was perfect and I had great fun with my new piping bag…not a professional finish but so much fun!

Babies jumper

I finally finished a jumper for my latest niece. The pattern was from the Sirdar First Steps Learn to Knit booklet. Project 13, striped round neck jumper though I decided just to do it in one colour. The pattern was very easy to follow and consists of a body of stocking stitch and edging of moss stitch.

The pretty pink buttons were from John Lewis, and the acrylic washable wool from Wilkinsons.

Buffalo milk pudding

OK I admit I was trying to make buffalo milk burfi following the Mamta’s kitchen recipe¬† and it went wrong. The resulting pudding was tasty so hence the post though in future I will try to make actual barfi.

Recently, I’ve taken to making my own pizzas and on the one occassion where I used proper buffalo milk mozarella (bought from Tesco) transformed my pizza into a heavenly delight. So I decided to be good and make khoya (the base ingredient of barfi) from buffalo milk. The only place I found it in London was Waitrose – Laverstoke Park Farm buffalo milk, ¬£1.99 for 750ml.

It took about 1 hour to reduce the barfi down. As I didn’t have a non stick pan, I stood over the pressure cooker like a worried hen continually stirring to stop sticking. It reduced down but in retrospect, I didn’t reduce it enough as the pudding did not have the solidity of barfi. Hubby describes the final consistency as “more like caramel fudge”.

It’s odd milk. As it cooked, I could smell buffalo in the same way as you can smell goat when cooking goat’s cheese. I guess it’s to be expected but I’ve never noticed the smell of cow’s milk.

I ended up with 750g of khoya.

So I decided to make syrup of 750g of caster sugar and 100ml of water. This is when things started to go awry. The recipe says cook to 3 string consistency – I have no idea what that is so just kept going. Suddenly after ages of cooking the sugar water went dark and very thick. I turned off the heat and quickly poured the syrup in the khoya – burning my finger in the process. Wow, the whole mixture started to bubble up alarmingly but at the same time the sugar started to solidify. I stirred the mixture and then put it into a small ghee greased dish, topped with crushed pistachios and a bit of cardamon and prayed to the kitchen gods for it to solidify into barfi. Today, it’s still gooey. Very sweet and edible but definitely not barfi. Hubby states it has the consistency of caramel fudge. It’s edible, and very sweet so will be eaten with a strong coffee. I have named it, rather unimaginatively, as buffalo milk pudding and will claim for ever more that that’s exactly how it’s meant to be.