IKEA Project 5: The Veggie Ball cook-off

November 9, 2015 | Recipe, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

So just when I thought all my Ikea posts were done, I got asked to participate in an extra surprise challenge – a cook-off!

Ikea recently added a new item to their menu (and shop) in the form of some yummy veggie balls, so we were tasked with creating our own recipe using the balls. Really, anything that involves food is fine by me. So before I knew it a big bag of frozen veggie balls were being couriered to my door, just in time to throw them in the oven for Arlo’s dinner (he approves by the way!).

But that’s not going to be my recipe. I wanted to create something I was excited to eat! So I chose to make a delicious lamb curry with veggie skewers :) YUM.

Lamb curry with veggie skewers

I first tasted this curry at a friend’s place and have since made it a couple of times at home. It’s always pretty yum, but the addition of the veggie balls gives it a really nice taste and texture. You can choose to eat them straight off the skewer, or take them off and dunk them into the curry sauce.. either way is good :)

Lamb curry with veggie skewers

So here’s the recipe.. it’s been adapted from this one here. I’ve changed a few little things, as well as halved the recipe as there was only 2 of us eating it.

Lamb Curry with Veggie Skewers

IKEA Vegetable Balls (4-8 per person)
Skewers
Vegetable oil
400g lamb cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tbs ground tumeric
3/4 tbs garam masala
3/4 tbs ground cumin
1/2 tbs chilli powder
1/2 tbs plain flour
3 tomatoes, chopped
200mL coconut milk
300mL chicken stock
A handfull of baby spinach leaves
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
Plain yoghurt
Coriander
Cooked rice to serve

* Tip – prepare and measure out the ingredients before starting, it’ll make it easier as you go.
* I used this cast-iron casserole pot instead of a saucepan, but if you’ve only got a saucepan that’s fine – just simmer it on the stove for an hour instead of putting it in the oven like I mention below.

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

2. Heat a cast-iron casserole pot (or large saucepan) over high heat and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the lamb and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the lamb is golden-brown all over. Remove and set aside.

3. Reduce the heat and add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onions, garlic, chillies and ginger and fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden and softened.

4. Add the turmeric, garam masala, cumin and chilli powder and fry, stirring well, for one minute. Then add the flour and cook for a further minute.

5. Add the tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

6. Add the lamb and enough chicken stock to just cover the lamb. Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any of the good bits that are stuck there.

7. Once the curry has come to a simmer, put the lid on and carefully transfer it to the oven to cook for 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender and cooked through. If you’re doing this in a saucepan, just put the lid on and simmer for 1 hour.

8. When there’s 15 minutes remaining in the cooking time, put the veggie balls on a tray and into the oven.

9. Once the balls are cooked, take them out and thread onto skewers, being careful because they’ll be hot to handle.

10. Skim off any excess fat from the surface of the curry, then add the spinach. Stir until the spinach has wilted.

11. Serve the curry in bowls with steamed rice. Garnish with yoghurt, coriander and pomegranate, and of course your veggie skewers. Dig in!

Lamb curry with veggie skewersLamb curry with veggie skewers

Thanks so much to the lovely team at Ikea! It’s been so much fun, and I’ve loved testing out the new veggie balls :)

Hope you’ll give this recipe a go too, it’s totally worth it!! x

Lamb curry with veggie skewers

Make Art That Sells – Week 2

November 2, 2015 | Design, Drawn, Make Art That Sells, Personal

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Phew, week 2 of Make Art That Sells was a doozy! In a good way, of course ;-)

This week was all about the Home Decor market, and we were tasked with using Staffordshire Pottery as our drawing inspiration. If you don’t know what Staffordshire Pottery is (like I didn’t), do a google search and you’ll find some of the weirdest, scariest, and definitely not-to-my-taste ceramic figurines. Huh, crap. How was I meant to get inspired by a subject matter I didn’t find very attractive?!

Luckily I don’t think I was alone in feeling this way – it seems like a lot of the people in my class were also struggling with it a little bit which made me feel reassured! Nevertheless I managed to get over myself and find some time while Arlo napped to try sketching a few of these funny figurines without being too self conscious of the outcome (kinda tough for me!). The idea is to experiement after all. And whaddayaknow – I actually started to enjoy it. So then I moved onto watercolour and it only got better! Wha. Amazing – and the funny thing is, because Staffordshire pottery is already kinda quirky, I found that the less precise my illustrations were the better, and the fat watercolour strokes seemed to just fit right in.

claire dalgliesh MATS PartA

Yay! So now that I had some icons to work with, next up was to tackle the main assignment for this week, which was to create a set of 4 ceramic plates using our Staffordshire illustrations. By now I was really loving the assignment, so had fun putting the plates together :)

Here’s my final piece.

CLAIRE_DALGLIESH_SECRETGARDEN

So despite the slightly unsettling start to this week, I’m really happy with where it ended up! :) And looking at our class Flickr group I’m blown away by just how varied our work is. All 200 (or so) of us got the same brief, and no one’s work is even close to similar, it’s kind of amazing!

This week we’re onto Children’s picture books… bring it!

Make Art That Sells – Week 1

October 27, 2015 | Drawn, Make Art That Sells

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Have you guys heard of Lilla Rogers and her wonderful online class Make Art That Sells? If not (and you’re interested in getting your art into the world and onto products) you should definitely check it out!

I don’t consider myself a very strong illustrator (or, I don’t think I have a very distinctive style), but I’ve always felt like it’s a side of design that I’d like to explore a bit more, be pushed a bit more in, and get better at. I guess ultimately I think it’d be amazing to be able to licence my art and patterns to shops – to see my work being produced for people to use. That’d be cool, right?!

Well yes, but how to get there? I don’t seem to work very well when I set my own briefs, and need a little nudge in the right direction sometimes. So, after visiting Lilla’s site about a hundred times (and talking myself out of it the same amount of times) I finally signed up to Make Art That Sells Part A a couple of months ago. And last week, class started! Eeeek! So I thought I’d document it here too so you can all follow along :)

Week 1 was all about making art for the Bolt Fabric market. Lilla gave us lots of tips through the week about bolt fabric and the market, along with our mini assignment to draw lots and lots of pasta and vintage pyrex. Such cool subject matter! So I got to drawing. The idea is to be free and just experiment with styles and mediums at this stage…

sketches

I did most of my drawings in pencil and black pen.. it felt right for this one.

Then, once we’d all done about as much pasta and pyrex sketching as we could do, we got our main assignment – Using the pasta and pyrex as our subject matter, make an artwork or pattern that you would send to a bold fabric company in order to get a collection. Bam.

After loads of fiddling around in illustrator with my various sketches, these are the elements I came up with…

Elements

Then it was time to put it into a pattern. My final submission is below, along with 3 coordinating prints.

It’s terrible to say, but I was actually surprised at how happy I was with the final piece! I’m ashamed to admit that.. but I’m my own worst critic, and generally at the end of an illustration I pick it to pieces.. but this one I really liked! So I’d have to say the course is doing wonders already :)

Perfectly Pyrex Pattern by Claire Dalgliesh

This week we’re onto the Home Decor market, and it’s already put me way out of my comfort zone! Stay tuned! x

5 Halloween DIYs To Try

October 21, 2015 | 5 DIYs To Try

Man, this year is flying. I’m sure I say that every year, but I can’t believe it’s the middle of October already! I got a bit of a wakeup call when I noticed the halloween party fliers go up in our condo lobby… it can’t be halloween time again already?! Well, I guess it can. Eesh.

I thought it might be helpful to pull together a few fantastic, quick DIY’s and printables from around the web to get in the spooky spirit – just in case you’re like us and Halloween just crept up on you this year! Time to get my craft on!

Halloween DIYs

1. Printable Stick-o Treats from Oh Happy Day  2. DIY Pun-kins from Studio DIY  3. Jack-O-Lantern Balloons from A Subtle Revelry  4. Carved Pineapple from A Subtle Revelry  5. Halloween Coloring Pages from Mr. Printables

For the first time in years we live in an apartment building with lots of kids, so I might have to craft up some Spook-pops to give the trick-or-treaters :)

In case you’d like to check out some of the other Halloween DIYs I’ve done in years past, here they are… oldies but goodies!

Halloween DIYs by Fellow Fellow

6. DIY Creepy Crawly Insect Lamps  7. DIY Houses by Night  8. DIY Spook-Pops

Happy crafting! x

IKEA Project 4: Kitchen – Organising the Pantry!

September 28, 2015 | Personal, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I can’t believe this is the last of my IKEA collaborative posts! Big sad face. It’s been so fun, I don’t even know where the last 4 months have gone.

For this last challenge we were tasked with doing something fab in the kitchen. Yeaaahh kitchen! I love cooking. Well, I used to anyway, before I had a fussy toddler who throws my lovingly homemade meals on the floor, preferring a peanut butter sandwich over 8-hour slow cooked lamb tagine. Phht.. whatevs, his loss.

Instead of cooking for this challenge though, I decided to attack a problem area in our kitchen – the pantry. Uhh, the pantry. In my head, the perfect pantry is a gorgeous walk-in number, with plenty of shelves to hold rows of jars with little labels and scoops… like these:

dream pantryLeft: Emerson’s Pantry via Apartment Therapy  Right: NEAT Method pantry via Arianna Belle

Ahhhhh, perfection.

Back in reality though, our pantry is just a large cupboard in our kitchen, with 4 very deep shelves. Don’t get me wrong – I’m in no way complaining.. our last apartment didn’t even have a ‘pantry’, just a few small cupboards we’d deemed good for food storage. So the one we have now is actually pretty amazing.

Exceeeppptt.. we had no order. It was madness! Just look at this embarrassment… try not to shudder.

Pantry disgrace

Finding anything took a lot of time, and we would buy double-ups of things because we didn’t realise we had them in the first place.

Pantry disgrace Pantry disgrace

Uhh, look away! Needless to say this pantry needed a makeover like, yesterday.

So off to Ikea I went. And I bought about 50 (not kidding) of their 365+ food containers in all 3 sizes. And I got some very strange looks. And Arlo was super embarrassed by all my containers and got angry and loud. But I was excited because I was going to have an organised pantry!

I particularly liked the 365+ containers because they have a flip lid on one end, making it easy to pour the contents out without opening the whole lid. Win!

Then when I got home, I unpacked the pantry and repacked it into my wonderful new containers, labelled them all and stacked them back into the shelves in all their organised glory. I’m glossing over this part because it actually took a while and was a bit messy, especially with a toddler thrown into the mix. But we got there, and it was absolutely worth it!

Bask, in my pantry…

Pantry perfection

And side-by-side:

Before and After

Perfection! And, no surprises – it’s SO MUCH EASIER to find things now!

Pantry perfection

The bread-making box.

Pantry perfection

High-use foods.. rice, cous cous, quinoa…

Pantry perfection

And on the top shelf I even managed to get some baking ingredients in that were previously stored elsewhere!

It’s still not like those spectacular Pinterest pantries I started the post with, but it’s the greatest pantry I’ve ever had – and I love it. I’ve found that when I organise things around me, in our house, I feel a bit like I’m organising my brain.. I feel better, lighter, clearer. Less highly strung. And it was the same with the pantry, it’s a happy place now :)

So a huge thank you to Ikea for making my life easier in the kitchen – and the rest of our house for that matter. We’re big fans over here, and I feel so lucky to have been able to work with them on this series. Thank you!