knits by sachi

Eight treasure stir fry?

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Easter is one of the events that I wish my kids were still little. I used to love egg hunt with my children, and we visited many parks and National Trust gardens to enjoy it.
Now my kids are way too grown up, and I guess I have to wait for grandchildren to arrive some day.

We don’t eat much chocolate at home, but I love those tiny chocolate eggs. They are very cute.

They reminded me of quail eggs. In fact, I bought quail eggs instead this year. No sugar.

I know it is not too common to cook quail eggs in England. The bird is often eaten, but not the eggs. I have seen mini scotch eggs, but that is pretty much all I know.

In Japan, it is opposite. It is very difficult to buy the bird, but we often enjoy the eggs.They are boiled, peeled and cooked in soy sauce or fried with bread crumbs. They are also favoured for Bento box (lunch box).
I found incredibly cute Bento box art with quail eggs on internet.

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I love this one. It is perfect for Easter! It is too cute to eat!
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My favorite dish with quail egg is “Happosai”, literally meaning eight treasure stir fry.
It is stir fry with lots of lots of different kinds of vegetables. Basically, you can add any vegetables, meat or shell fish and add the sauce at the end. I am sure each family has their own recipe. My mum used to include quail eggs in it, and now I cannot think of Happosai without them.

Makes 4 servings
Ingredients:

Hakusai/Chinese cabbage 3-4 leaves
50g Broccoli
1/4 bell pepper
mangetout
1/4 carrot
3 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 tin bamboo shoot
quail eggs (hard boiled) 12 eggs
100g pork (can be chicken, ham or any meat)
5-6 large prawns
4 crab sticks
1 tsp grated ginger
Sesame oil

sauce
300cc chicken, pork or vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp rice wine
white pepper to taste
1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp water

How to make:
1. Chop up all the veggies and meat.
2. Mix the sauce ingredients except corn starch. Set aside
3. Cook the pork in a frying pan. Add the ginger.
4. Add the veggies.
5. When the veggies are half cooked, add sauce, eggs and prawns. Cook for a few minutes
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6. Add corn starch and cook until the sauce thickens. Done!

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This is how my mum used to cook. Some people like to add oyster sauce or soy sauce, but I like this simple salt and pepper flavouring.

The beauty of this dish is that you can add anything in your fridge. This time, I added a bit of corn kernels and tofu. You can cook pretty much any vegetables together. If you are vegetarian, you can use chicken style Quarn pieces or chick peas.
The dish can be enjoyed over steamed rice or egg noodles.

You can feel very healthy just by looking at it? Happy Easter.

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Quilting challenge

I have done a variety of craft, but I have never done quilting. In fact, I have never even thought of trying the craft.

Quilting seems to require a lot of precision and commitment. People make large throws, bedspreads and table runners. I always found it daunting. This is certainly a skill you develop with lots of practice, and I have great respect to quilters.

But I wanted to make something using this patchwork method; a small play mat for my Hare and tortoise set.

I made a knitted version a couple of years ago for Knit Now magazine.

This one. It is one of my favorite.

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I found very stretchy white fabric in my stash and decided to sew some bunnies with it. For tortoise, I am using felt.

I tried my first sample. I thought it worked well.

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Then, made the whole lot for the game.

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Now, I needed a mat. This is where quilting come into play.

Did I have any idea how I should do this? Not at all. I watched YouTube and got a basic idea. It is a very small mat, it cannot be too difficult or is it?

Yes, it is small, but you do need a lot of patience and precision. I did simple maths wrong at some places and I had to pick stitches and sew again. What I found extremely helpful was the fabric roller cutter that I invested just for this project. I don’t know how I manage without it. It was a star buy.

After some trials and errors, I came up with this.
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I know, I know, it is far from perfect, but I shouldn’t be too harsh on myself. This is my very first patchwork and I even used sewing machine for it.

And my animals look happy on it.

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It is good to go out of your comfort zone and try something new.

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Yaki (roasted) Onigiri

Almost good to eat? My knitted Sushi box.

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I thought we bought a very large bag of rice the last time when we shopped at the Asian supermarket.

20kg of rice!

But it is gone, all gone! I have to buy Japanese rice from local supermarket for now.

Japanese cooking is popular now, and Sushi rice is widely available at supermarkets. Many people even enjoy making Sushi at home in the UK.

Sushi rice costs more than other kind of rice for some reason, but I have found cheaper alternatives.

To make Sushi, you certainly need short grain rice which are much stickier than long grain rice, but you do not have to buy rice categorized as Sushi rice. You can use pudding rice or Paella rice. I recently found packets sold simply as “short grain rice”. It looks and tastes exactly the same as Sushi rice, and sold for £1 per 500g.

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My boys loves steamed rice. If they had rice and soy sauce, they are happy. I occasionally make Yaki Onigiri, Grilled rice balls.

Yaki onigiri is a crunchy savoury rice balls, with or without filling. It is often eaten as snack or lunch and made with my boys favorite two ingredients, rice and soy sauce. They are grilled until the rice is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

I make them in a frying pan, but you can use your oven. You can even BBQ.

Grab some hot rice and mould it into a triangular or round shape with your hands, making sure to compact the rice as much as possible to stop the onigiri from falling apart when you grill it. I make them into triangle shape, the conventional way.

Very lightly grease the pan and cook until the both sides are crispy.

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Brush with soy sauce.

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You will enjoy lovely smell of soy sauce being cooked.
Done.

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My mum sent me lots of lots of Japanese food recently for my son’s birthday. She sends me large parcels three times a year. We absolutely love them.

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If you travel to Japan, make sure you visit supermarkets. It is so much fun just to browse, and I am sure you will find many interesting items.

[Only available in Japan; so many different flavours of Kitkat.(I an not too sure if I want to try “Watermelon flovour” or “Apple vinegar” but “Caramel macchiato” sounds good)]

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Baby step to a dream

My builders and an architect.

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Having waited for 5 weeks in agony, my son finally got an interview invitation from the university. This one is his first option.

He applied for the architecture course along with other 1400 applicants.

The applicants were told to submit 5 drawings with specific instructions, and wait. If the school liked your work, you would get invited for an interview.

Only 400 would get invited. If you didn’t, you are out of the game.

I have seen my son’s work and was confident he would get an interview, but we both were getting more and more anxious.

But yes! He got it. He is invited.

Initially, he was looking for automotive design courses. Ever since he was little, he has been drawing cars and had an ambition to become an automotive designer. But at the same time, he had a strong interest in studying architecture.

Just a week(!) before the Ucas deadline date, he finally decided to go for the architecture.

His trip to Kenya may have influenced on his decision. He worked with locals to build a school, which people desperately needed. He engraved the school sign board at the end of the project. Somewhere in a remote place in Kenya, there stands a school sign with his writing on it. I think it is rather nice.

My son says he is not too interested in building fancy or quirky buildings to become a famous architect. He doesn’t need to build another Shard. “I just want to design something to help people live comfortable life.”, he says.

He quite often draws war zones and natural disasters with sadness. I think he is very kind-hearted.

Hiroshima dome where the atomic bomb hit in 1945.

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Tsunami, 2011.
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He also paints spaces and buildings.

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He certainly has great interest in this area.

Choosing your future is really tough, but I wish him very good luck.

He produces lots of artwork everyday. I believe in his talent.

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