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

IKEA Project 2: Living Room – A nook for Arlo

July 27, 2015 | Personal, Shop, Singapore, Sponsored

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

I was so excited when I heard that the Ikea theme for this month was Living Room! It’s the most used area of our house (maybe after the kitchen) and is where we tend to gravitate to at all times of the day. It’s where guests relax, where we eat some of our meals, and where Arlo plays most of the time.

Earlier this month, after 4 years in our old place, we moved apartments to a bigger, brighter space (happy dance!). I’m so excited about the possibilities for our new space (particularly the living room) and wanted to rush out and buy a bunch of stuff as soon as we moved in to make it more homely. But I stopped myself, and have instead decided that I really shouldn’t rush into this decorating project.. I need to live with the space for a month or two before deciding exactly what we want and need.

Here’s our living room before we moved in, and as it is now – not finished or perfectly styled, but a work in progress.

Living Room

But what about the Ikea challenge?? Well, even though the ‘adult’ area of the living room is still under maintenance, I’ve managed to finish another little part of it that’s just as important.

Adjacent to our living space above, I’ve created a little nook for Arlo. At this age, he doesn’t seem to like to play in his room and wants to be out where we are, so when I saw that this living room had a cut-out nook in one wall I thought it’d be perfect for Arlo. That way, I can keep his toys condensed in one area, but he still feels like he’s part everything happening in the living room. Here’s the before and after…

Nook for Arlo

We already had the Kallax bookcase, so I bought some perfectly-fitting baskets to put Arlo’s gazillion toys in (down nice and low so he can pull them out himself), and added the little kitchen because, well, it’s cute. So far his favourite thing to do with it is to open close, open close, open close the doors. Open close.

Nook for Arlo

On top of the shelf I used a bamboo basket to hold some balls, added some artwork that used to be in his room, and repurposed an old bathroom basket to hold a few rattles that he’s grown out of (that are too cute to be stored away in a cupboard).

Nook for Arlo

So far he loves it! Once he’s started playing with everything it quickly becomes a big mess, but I like that he can reach and explore things on his own, and that it’s easy to clean up at the end of the day.

Nook for Arlo

And if I step back a little, you can see a few other little corners of our new place, with stuff still waiting to be unwrapped and unpacked. It’s kinda nice seeing all our possessions in a new space.. :)

Nook for Arlo

So there we go.. I know it’s not exactly a re-do of our living room, but I love that Arlo now has a little space of his own, where he can keep an eye on me, and I can keep one on him.

These are some of the pieces we used from Ikea (which, btw, is a brilliant place to grab kids toys.. they’re fantastic!)…

Get The Look

1. KALLAX Bookcase  2. MULA Shape Sorter  3. BRANÄS Baskets  4. DUKTIG Felt Veges  5. DUKTIG Play Kitchen  6. GADDIS Basket  7. NIPPRIG Boxes  8. SPARKA Ball.

Cooking up a storm

.. and if you missed my first post in this Ikea series, you can find that here.

 

IKEA Project 1: Bringing the Outdoors In – Terrarium DIY

June 27, 2015 | DIY, Singapore, Sponsored

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

A couple of weeks ago I put a photo on Instagram eluding to an exciting collaboration with IKEA that was coming up, and I’m finally able to share a bit more about it – and show you my first project! :)

I was pretty thrilled to be asked by IKEA Singapore to take part in their blogger program for the next 4 months – I mean really, anyone who’s been in my house knows I love everything IKEA (our housing agent even described our style recently as ‘IKEA Concept’ haha), so I knew it was going to be right up my alley! Here’s how it works: for the next 4 months, 6 bloggers include myself are given a monthly theme/task by the lovely team at IKEA. We then interpret that task however we like, make it happen in our homes, and then share it with our readers. Simple, and oh so much fun!

At the initial meet-and-greet a few weeks ago (fuuuun!), we were given our first task – “Bringing the Outdoors In”. Okay. I can do that. Teepee? Balcony overhaul? Hanging planters?… so many ideas!

Ikea - Bringing the Outdoors In

I tossed and turned my ideas for ages before settling on making over my dining table with a terrarium DIY – yay! I decided on this idea specifically because it focussed on an area of my home that always drives me crazy and could use some livening up. Also we’re going to be moving house in a couple of weeks and I wanted something that was going to be easily transportable and would look just as good in our new space.

So, here’s the before and after.. Please don’t judge me for my shamefully uninspiring dining table in the before photo – we’re good at sorting things into piles in this house ;) 

Ikea - Bringing the Outdoors In

I’d never made a terrarium before, and have a notoriously brown thumb (poor plants), so I read through this post on Little Green Dot and watched the video she shared before I started, to get the basics. Then I went shopping! I had to make two stops – first to IKEA, and then to the nursery.

If you want to create something similar to mine, here’s what you’ll need from IKEA:Ikea - Bringing the Outdoors In

1. CYLINDER set of 3 vases
2. FRASERA whiskey glasses
3. INGEFÄRA terracotta pot (I just used the saucer)
4. Various plants, cacti, succulents and ferns (see what’s in store at the time)
5. TOMAT spray bottle
6. BITTERGURKA watering can

Then from the nursery you’ll need:
– Soil appropriate for the plants you’ll use (mine was good for ferns, cacti and succulents)
– Charcoal (to keep everything fresh)
– Small stones (for drainage)
– Larger stones (for decoration – optional)

Ikea - Bringing the Outdoors In

Now to make your terrarium:

Step 1: Take one of your vases, and put down a layer of small stones. These will act as a false drainage, so make it about 1cm deep.

Step 2: On top of the small stones, add a layer charcoal. This keeps the water fresh.

Step 3: Then put a layer of soil on top of the charcoal before adding in your plants. I de-potted the plants first, knocked off a bit of the soil and then planted them in the terrarium, adding soil as I went to really bed them in. Then, once you’re happy with the layout of the plants, add in some larger rocks, little mini statues or fake mushrooms if you want to, but it’s not necessary. Also if you can find some moss, that always looks good too – I just couldn’t find any.

Ikea - Bringing the Outdoors In

For a different look, and some height differentiation on the dining table, I then did a more open terrarium using the saucer from the INGEFÄRA terracotta pot which was quite deep. I really love how it turned out! :)

Ikea - Bringing the Outdoors In

It took a little bit of playing around to get the plants in the right positions and looking cohesive, but I think I got there eventually :)

So there you go, easy as that! I did 3 terrariums and 2 normally potted plants in total to make the arrangement on our table, and it just makes it all look so much more fresh. I love it! You could even try making mini terrariums in drinking glasses, or tea cups..

Ikea - Bringing the Outdoors In

And just because I had a couple of plants left, I tackled another one of my pet-peeve areas of our house. This bookshelf just collects bits and pieces as we go past, so it was nice to clear it off and give it a bit of life :)

Ikea terrarium DIY

Now me and my brown thumb just have to keep all these plants alive :-/ Wish me luck! x