Thursday, September 10, 2009

Biryani for dinner

My first attempt at making a biryani last month was such a sucess, I decided to make it again a few weeks ago when we had company for dinner. Second time around, it didn't turn out quite as well. Why does that happen when you have people over? It passed the taste test, but I made some basic mistakes. I used too much rice (and then over-cooked it), and I didn't cook down the chicken curry enough before layering it with the rice. It made for a tasty but slightly mushy feast.

A biryani is primarily a rice dish made using a lot of different spices in combination with meat or vegetables. It is different from a pulao (pilaf) in that the rice is prepared separately from the meat. The semi-cooked rice and meat are then layered in a large pot, which is then sealed tightly (with dough) and the biryani is cooked on dum (very slowly, traditionaly using hot coals) till it is ready. I used quality basmati rice, chicken, potatoes, and a gas stove! Attempt number three was perfection.

Dinner 080909

Third time lucky. I served it with a mint-cucumber raita.

Zampa Syrah 2007

The 2007 Zampa Syrah complemented the biryani nicely. It made for a memorable dinner.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A new top

New top

I bought a couple pairs of tights recently (the wonderfully pleasant weather made me do it), but I didn't have a sigle top in my wardrobe that I could wear with them. So I decided to make one.

Using my pattern making book and the Burdastyle website, I finished drafting a basic bodice block. I then lengthened it to make a hip block. It had to be sleeveless, since I only had about a meter to work with, and I hadn't drafted a sleeve block yet. I made a few sketches, and had a lot of different ideas in my head, but this is what I came up with in the end.

New shirt

It was very breezy on the hill!

New top

I kept it simple, but threw in a waist band and pleat for interest. I used bust darts and back darts for shaping, finshed the neck using interfaced facing, and made bias tape using the left over fabric to finish the armholes.

I really enjoyed my outfit yesterday - I wore it all day long! Thanks to my wonderful husband for taking the photos.