I Host the Lazy Way…

… after all I’m lazylinchen…

As I’ve written in my last post, we’ve had guests over quite frequently lately. I love having people over, as then I have unsuspecting test subjects the occasion to try new recipes. Sometimes, however, I feel like taking the lazy route, which has happened quite often lately, I have to admit. This might be due to my low energy levels at the moment. Or the fact that I like to spend time actually socialising instead of being the cook in the kitchen just listening to the conversation. (I flatter myself with thinking it’s the latter…) Therefore I love to have social foods like Fondue or Raclette, which require minimum cooking, but make a great impression. So that’s what we did the first several times we had people over after coming back home. However, we soon ran out of the 3kg of cheese I had brought back from Switzerland. Also, I got a bit sick of molten cheese. Then PB reminded me that we could make one of his favourite dishes:

Crepes/Galettes with Spinach Filling

What he calles crepes, what I call omelettes, and what we probably should call galettes. I loved the idea, as they are quite easy to prepare beforehand. And it’s also easy to cater to meat eaters and vegetarians alike. It’s also perfect for surprise guests, as I usually have everything that is needed at home. Somehow, it also seems to impress most guests, even if they are super simple to make. So quadruple win!

Up first, the base, also known as galettes/crepes:

Galettes/Crepes – Nicely piled

Galettes / Salty Crepes
Recipe is for one person, just multiply for the needed amount

Ingredients
50g flour
1 egg
0.5dl milk
0.5dl water
1 pinch of salt

Preparation
Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately first, then mix together. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Heat a little bit of oil or butter in a pan on medium heat. Pour a little of the dough (I use one scoop of a soup ladle per crepe) in the pan and let it spread evenly throughout. Cook until top is dry enough to turn and underside is golden brown, then turn (I use a ladle, but if you’re brave, flip it in the air like you just don’t care (I know, I rolled my eyes at myself, but couldn’t resist…)). Pile on a plate and keep warm in the oven at 50°C. You can also prepare a day or so beforehand and then re-warm it in the oven half an hour before the guests arrive.

I know it’s super basic, but hey, I said it’s the lazy way! But what’s making this guest-appropriate are the fillings. You’re free to use any salty or sweet creamy filling you can think of: tomato sauce, cheesy sauce bechamel, sauce bolognaise etc. for the salty, or nutella, apple sauce, jam etc. for the sweet. Of course shredded cheese, fried bacon strips/cubes, sliced mushrooms etc. and fruits like cubed pineapple or bananana* also work really well. My favourite is a spinach filling inspired by Aloo Palak or Palak Paneer. I say inspired, because it’s not quite as exotic and doesn’t require many spices. Basicall all you need is

Ingredients
1 onion, diced
frozen spinach (I use 100g per person)
1 tsp garam masala
cream (optional)

Preparation
Heat a bit of oil or butter in a saucepan, saute the onion until transparent, add the garam masala and spinach, cover and let cook on low heat until all the spinach is unfrozen and hot. Add the cream if desired and let everything get hot. Tastes best with grated cheese rolled in the crepes/galettes/omelette.

That’s it. I’m almost embarassed to admit my lazyness in hosting. But then again, this is one of PB’s favourite dishes we talk about, so it’s got to be worth something. So if you visit me and I cook this, don’t be offended at my lazyness, now that you know my secret. Instead, think that PB considers you special enough to be served one of his favourite dishes. 😉

*Of course a tip of the hat to one of my favourite fictional characters Nanny Ogg: “Nanny Ogg knew how to start spelling ‘banana’, but didn’t know how you stopped.” ― Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

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More Sewing!

If you were waiting for a “getting settled” update, I’m sorry. I am currently not so happy with my surroundings (I’m easily affected by weather, it turns out):

Grey, grey world

It’s cold(ish), grey and rainy outside. Also, since we changed to winter time the day has become considerably shorter, it being dark at 4.30 already. And it gets worse every day. I’m even looking forward to Christmas because that means it will get lighter and lighter every day after that. But enough of the whining. I manage to keep myself happy with (you guessed it!) sewing. So let’s focus on the happy thoughts, i.e. the new clothes I made.

First up, the inevitable By Hand London Anna dress. I’ve seen so many gorgeous versions out there. Most notably nishiink’s Tropicanna, Deer Anna, and the Lovestory, as well as, all of Sewbusylizzy’s versions. Seriously, go google image the Anna dress.

I had read that most people had troubles with the back neck gaping, plus I wasn’t sure about sizing, so I made the following version as a wearable muslin out of some stash fabric:

A Purple Anna – Made from viscose flannel

A Purple Anna – Side

A Purple Anna – Back

There is some gaping, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I cut a size 8/12 on top, tapering to a size 10/14 on the waist, using a size 10/14 for the bottom. I could have stuck to a straight size 8/12 for the whole dress, as I took it in quite a bit at the back in the waist and skirt afterwards. I should have done a swayback adjustment, as there’s a little pooling in that area, and the hem is unintentionally hi-lo. However, all in all I like it, but I’m not as enthusiastic about it as other people. Maybe it’s the dark and boring fabric, maybe it’s that I’ve seen too many versions by now, who knows.

As you can see, I’m wearing the Anna layered with a long-sleeved shirt. As I don’t have enough of those, I went ahead and finally made some. I had recently seen some nice renditions of the top 123 from Burda Style issue 09/2012, so chose that pattern. It was a rather fast make, taking me about 3 hours including tracing.

Burda Style 09/2012 – Top 123B

I made my usual Burda size 36 (which is 1 size smaller than the measurement table suggests). However, I should have gone with the size 38, as it is a bit snug. But I’ll mostly wear it layered under dresses, so that’s not such a big issue. I really like the neat look of the front neckline, though:

Burda Style 09/2012 top 123B – Neck detail

This is achieved by sewing in a facing. Unfortunately I messed up the back facing a little bit, so the keyhole opening doesn’t lay flat:

Burda Sytle 09/2012 123B – Back view

Again, not an issue under dresses. But then I wondered if a simple neck binding would also work (it does) and made another version just now. This took me even less time, having done the tracing already.

Burda Style 09/2012 123B – 2nd version

I widened this one at the side seams by about 1cm on each side, so it fits less snugly. The neckhole is big enough for my head to go through, and while it’s not as neat with the binding it’s still pretty nice:

Burda Style 09/2012 123B – Neck binding

The light grey one is a cotton elasthan blend, the darker one is an extremely soft and cozy cotton double-knit (which unfortunately doesn’t have too much recovery). The shoulder inserts for both are from some mystery fabric I got from the remnants bin. I rather like the textural detail it adds.

Both the Anna, and the tops were fairly quick makes. Something which I cannot really say about this next make. Ever since it was published in Burda Style issue 08/2011 I wanted to make this dress:

Burda Style 08/2011 dress 119

But I knew I wanted to line it, and waited for inspiration on how to go about that. Moreover, I wasn’t able to find the adequate length and colour invisible zipper. Then I decided one day late in September that instead of thinking about it, I would have to just try and wing it. So I worked on it pretty much through all of October. While cutting and sewing the shell and lining separately went really well, attaching the two to each other gave me some headache, but It turned out ok in the end. I even managed to find a zipper in the exact same colour, but it was neither the right length, nor invisible. So I tried my first centered zipper ever:

Burda Style 08/2011 dress 119 – Back

It’s ok enough, but I prefer the invisible one.

As I said, I lined it and decided to play with that a bit. I chose a sunny yellow striped acetate and used red bias tape on the facing edges:

Yay, colour explosion!

I also used the lining fabric for pockets, which I added using the pocket pattern piece from my Saltspring.

A Glimpse of the Sunny Pocket

Nobody will ever see it, but I know that there’s a bit of sun with me when I wear it. Which I did for the first time today. It’s nice and warm, as the turquoise fabric is cotton flannel. It’s quite cofortable as well, even with the high neck.

Again I made a size 36, with a 3cm seam allowance at the center back seam, which I ended up needing, so again I should have gone up a size. Let’s hope I’ll remember next time I make a Burda pattern!

Oh, can you believe that I forgot to include a garment in my September roundup? And it’s even one I love!

But that’s it for now. I’ll try and come up with a cooking post soon, as we’ve been having guests over every week recently, and I have been cooking up a storm!