Friday, 22 January 2016

Homemade Paper Gift bags.#BostikBloggers

I love making homemade cards and gifts as they really make the gift more personal. To add a more unique touch it's nice to present  the gift  that is beautifully wrapped. Making homemade paper or pretty gift bags are a wonderful way to make that gift all the more prettier.
I always find that I can never find the perfect sized gift bag when I want one, so I have started making my own gift bags. They are easy to make  using newspaper, brown paper, crafting paper or any scraps of wrapping paper.

To make these pretty gift bags you will need:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paper of your choice (20cmx20cm) you can use any size depending on how big you want the bag.
  • Glue
  • Motifs- flowers, buttons,stickers
  • Glue Dots
  • Ribbon

NB- Try not to use card lightweight paper works best.
To make a small gift bags:

1. Place the paper right side facing down and draw a 1 cm margin .
2. Fold the paper on this line this will be the top of the gift bag.
3. Draw a vertical centre fold line. 

4. Fold  first the right side so that it overlaps the centrefold pencil line by 1 cm and then the 
 left side so it also overlaps the centrefold line by 1 cm.
5. Glue the left and right sides where they overlap over each other.

6. Turn the paper so that the top of the bag is furthest away from you and make a horizontal fold 4 cm  from the bottom edge. (This fold must not exceed the width of the bad)Make a crease to mark the fold.
7. Lift the folded part so it's standing up horizontal.
8. This is a little tricky, but open up the folded part and  fold the right and left sides of the paper so that they almost meet at the centre fold line as shown in picture. Form a crease so that the paper lays flat like a diamond shape.

9. Fold the bottom edge so that it slightly overlaps the horizontal center line and stick them down. Now fold the top edge so that it too overlaps the horizontal central line and stick it down.
10. Fold in the right and left side margins of the gift bag and crease firmly to form sides. Shape the gift bag on the creases.  

11. Fold over 4 cm on the top edge of the gift back to form a flap.Using a single hole punch or a sharp pencil made two holes approx 1 cm from top edge on either side of centre fold line for ribbon to be threaded. Thread the ribbon through the holes and tie a bow.

12. To make handles do not fold the top, mark two holes approx 1 cm from each outer edge and punch holes. Thread a ribbon and knot each side to make two handles.

13. Alternatively just add a glue dot to seal the flap once you have filled your gift bag. 

14. You can add motifs to decorate your bags as and how you like. Fill your bags with chocolates , sweets cookies to make the perfect mini gift, for any occasion such as valentines, birthdays, Easter, Mothersday, Christmas and even wedding favours.

I was sent a collection of papers, motifs, ribbons and glue by Craft Merrily to create anything I liked using some of the contents from the craft box.This post is part of the Monthly Bostik craft challenge.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Strawberry Almond Milkshake

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Strawberry Almond Milkshake
Delicious and creamy strawberry and almond milk blended together with ice to make a frothy milkshake.
  • 12 Strawberries
  • 200 ml Almond Milk chilled
  • 4-6 teaspoons Stevia sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup Ice cubes
1. Hull the strawberries and chop them up in bite size pieces.2. Add the ice to the Optimum 9400 blender or any blender that crushes ice and blend for 30 seconds.3. Add the strawberries, almond milk, vanilla and the stevia sugar (you will need 4-6 teaspoons as it's not very sweet) . Blend all the ingredients for another minute.3. Pour the Strawberry almond milkshake into two tall chilled glasses and serve immediately. 
NB You can make the almond milk in the Optimum 9400 to see how check  here.
This milkshake is vegan and very healthy, if you prefer your milkshake thick you can add a ripe banana to thicken it.
Prep time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

I made my Almond milk in the The Optimum 9400 blender which was sent to me by Froothie to try out, you can see the original review here. The Optimum 9400 not only makes amazing smoothies, it, blends, pulses, grates, chops, grinds. makes cold icecreams and even cooks hot soup.
 It is available to buy at £329.00, It comes with a 1 MONTH TRIAL - MONEY BACK GUARANTEE (includes return postage costs for UK customers) Currently it is available on special offer only £299 for a limited time  and you can also get an extra two year warranty if you order through this site using code "Brand Ambassador" If you like the sound of this awesome blender, please orders it through here.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

New brass plates for my prop collection.

New year brings new collection of brass plates to my ever increasing prop collection.  I love the look and feel of authentic silverware, brassware and copper ware. The tarnished look of the silver, the dulled copper and unpolished brass is what I love. When I handle these I start to day dream of who may have owned them where or what country they have come from and the history behind them.It just makes them that little bit more special.

This year my family and friends have gifted me some lovely authentic copper and brass plates.  I am guessing most of these are sourced from someone's grandma, ebay or charity shops. They range in different sizes and I am seriously in prop heaven at the moment because I love them all. I could not wish for nicer presents.

This plate is really pretty with a scalloped edge. I believe its Indian Origin judging from the motif 
in the centre.

These two oval plates are beautifully etched with intricate patterns. The top one seems to have some sort of animal design whilst the lower one is more floral .They are quite small  
in size but still gorgeous.

 This plate with the leaf design is about 12 cm in diameter and has a lovely scalloped edge.I love the scalloping and its one of my favorites.

The round plate above is the largest with a diameter of 24 cm, it has a few blue spots on it so I am not sure if I should try and clean them or leave them to give it the aged look.

The above two plate are from Jordan. They are unusual in that they are metal but are actually really deep brown in colour and almost look like wood. Both have some geometric pattern on they which makes them really eye catching.

These two small beauties are actually shallow bowls rather than plates. They are only 9 cm in diameter and they compliment the plates beautifully. The one on the right has a love red etching in it. I am not too sure if this is wear on the plate but whatever the reason it makes it very pretty. and the one on the right is just plain gold

I am so excited to feature all these plates in some of my blog posts. This year I am going to work on better styling and food photography so I am excited to use them in some authentic recipe posts.

Here is one example of where I used them.

If you have any ideas or suggestions of where these may have originated from do share with me, I would love to learn more about  their whereabouts and history.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Rajasthani Panchmel Dal

Rajasthani Panchmel dal is a lovely dal made with five different types of lentils. The word "Panch" means 5 and "mel" means mix hence the name "Panchmel Dal." The dal is very popular in Rajasthani cuisine and it became one of my favorites when I visited India a couple of years back. The flavours of the dal is delicious although it is tempered with only a few spices. It is perfect when served with a bowl of hot steaming boiled rice, a dollop of mango pickle and crispy poppadom scrunched on the top for added crunch. This is my perfect home comfort food for a rainy day.

The basic mix is made with equal proportions of 5 different dals Urad dal (black lentil dal), chana dal (chickpea dal) , masoor dal (orange lentils), moong dal(green lentils)  and tuvar dal (pigeon peas dal)all without the husk. The key to get this dal flavoursome is in the tempering. You can get these in any wholefood shops or oriental section of any large supermarket or Asian grocery stores.

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Rajasthani Panchmel Dal
Mixed lentil dal tempered with aromatic Indian spices.
  • 1/4 cup Urad dal
  • 1/4 cup Chana dal
  • 1/4 cup Masoor dal
  • 1/4 cup Tuvar dal
  • 1/4 cup Moong dal
  • 2 Dried red chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons Salt
  • 3 Garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Fresh ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 Green chillies Finely sliced in round circles
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Coriander finely chopped
  • 6 Curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1. Mix together all the dals and wash in few changes of water. Once washed soak the dal in water for few hours.2. Drain the water from the dal and add it to a large saucepan, add fresh water and cook the dal on stove top for about 35-40 minutes until dal is cooked but still holding shape. Intermittently remove the scum and froth from the simmering dal and discard.(Avoid pressure cooking as dal becomes mushy)3. Add the turmeric, lemon juice and salt and mix it into the dal. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer. For the tempering: 4.In a small pan add the oil and wait for it to heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, red dried chillies, curry leaves and the green chillies. Wait for the splutter, next add the garlic and ginger and saute for few seconds. Pour the tempering over the cooked dal in the sauce pan and mix it through. I prefer my tempering to be stirred through the dal, although the authentic Rajasthani way is to just pour the tempering over the boiled dal and then add a generous dollop of clarified ghee on top.5.Turn off heat and transfer dal to serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander.
Soak time: Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 4

Also I am so excited I have a new prop addition to my already expanding collection. See the lovely brass plates and kadai in the pictures?? They are my latest find. I am going to do a whole new post about them but just wanted to share my joy about finally getting these beauties!!!