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May 2005
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July 2005

Green, green, green new Shoes!!!

I am wearing my new green shoes, though I took my new green top off to eat as I didn’t want to spill salmon and avocado on it. It was a tiny tin of smoky flavoured salmon and the most delicious avocado from the Fruit and Veggie shop in Charles St. Only about $1-19?? Can’t exactly remember.  Even the Labradors ate the skin and the avocado left inside. I must go and buy another one or two tomorrow. I have a nice recipe that follows.

Peri is slightly in disgrace as she was naughty – and took the scarf outside and up two lots of stairs to the garage. Luckily it was OK, just a bit spitty. Harki is happy and we had to play all morning with ball-on-a-rope and then with DingleDangle toy this afternoon. They are both having a nap now.

I bought new bamboo needles to try today and a ball of wool to finish the bands on the Fibonacci jumper. I am going to Aunty Captain Mrs Archer’s for tea and to help write a difficult report tonight but I can knit and read and talk and think!!! I am taking apple, rhubarb and raspberry crumble.

Last night at sewing, where I knitted the scarf, Sue did pasting pictures onto card for school, Gaye fed us, ACMA told us about the Tosser ( very VERY below standard student teacher) and Mary did actually do some embroidery -  the general opinion was that anything smeared in mustard or pate, wrapped in bacon and filo pastry and baked is excellent. We are having a variation on this theme for tea tonight.

I saw a new  knitting magazine in the shop today : Knitter’s magazine from the Knitting  Universe. It is Northern Hemisphere, USA and so it is the Summer edition, but I will need to think about it, as there wasn’t really anything I wanted to knit and I would rather buy a Rowan, Bliss, Sharp etc  book instead I think. There were some nice patterns ,ie, stitches in a leaf shape , but not many of the tops were ‘me’. There was a green one : peridot!!!

Today is the official end of the financial year. Teachers are in the ATO's sights this year. How many deductions does a teacher have?? Pens, books, a bit of kilometre-age ( mileage???)?? You can't claim much else really.

Smoked Salmon, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

  • 100 g smoked salmon

  • 1 ruby grapefruit

  • 1 avocado

  • ½ a bunch of parsley

  • 2 tbspn olive oil

  • fancy lettuce

Over a bowl, cut skin and pith off the grapefruit, and segment it. Cut each little portion of fruit out of the membrane. Place the fruit in another bowl with the sliced avocado, chopped parsley, torn smoked salmon and similarly sized lettuce pieces.

To make the dressing, add the oil to the reserved juice, season to taste and whisk. Pour over salad. Delicious as an entrée or for brunch.

I ate it for lunch ( though my salmon was out of a tin!!)


Blink and Blow

There I was, in the shower, face and hands covered with don’t-get-this-in-your-eyes expensive lovely shower gel. I didn’t want to waste it, but I needed to open my eyes. Blink and Blow!! The Learn to Swim programme came to my rescue!! You blink your eyes rapidly and blow out through your pursed lips, just like arising from the water Annette Kellerman style – and it worked!!!!! I could see!!!!!

The cardigan is finished. I am ready to block. We never blocked or swatched at home. Everything just always worked out, because we fiddled with every pattern. I have never, ever, in my whole life, followed a pattern faithfully from go to whoa.

It just never happens. I like to make it longer, or change the pattern, always change the wool, add a knitted on band etc.  There are people who follow a pattern.  I am not one of them.

So I will lay out the cardboard graph thingy, cover it with thick clear plastic and block away tomorrow. I have the tiny bit of the back neckband to knit from each front, and then graft together at the back, but that’s it.

I have also knitted 1 ball of the scarf, for 45-50 cm. Three balls are apparently enough so I will finished that quick smart. Then what??? I will order the most excellent green wool for my own scarf.

Today was far less manic, I have knitted, had afternoon tea and then tonight a couple of hours of ‘sewing’ where I will knit a scarf and then to bed.

Citrus Biscuits

  • 125 g butter

  • 165 g icing sugar

  • 225 g plain flour

  • 1 tbspn finely grated citrus rind

  • 80 lm sour cream

  • 1 tbspn lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180 C ( 160 ff) Grease and line trays.  Rub butter into flour then add sugar and rind. Mix in the sour cram and juice till well combined.  Roll tablespoons of mixture into a ball and bake for 15 minutes or so. Place on a rack and ice when cool.

Icing : Mix 220 g icing sugar, 2 tspn grated citrus rind and 2 tbspn juice.


Just another manic Tuesday

I have whiled the day away with nothing concrete to show for it.  Up late, slept through the foggy morning and woke with a headache. Scrambled eggs on toast for brunch and then off to see the GardyGardeners with a lovely David Austin rose as a gift, but they were out. I had a little shop at the  supermarket and then realised I had 20 minutes to get to the Hospital for my blood tests!! Made it with minutes to spare and then I remembered I had until Thursday to buy new glasses or I missed out on my lot for the year from the health fund. Barry at Eyelines has a gift from the gods and the first pair he chose were excellent – purple. I know, you expect me to have green, but the purple just look better. Then off to see if the newsagency can order #1 of Simply Knitting, as I somehow missed it. I have #2 though. Now I am typing and eating THE most delicious yoghurt in the world : Tamar Valley Greek Style Yoghurt with Mixed Berry, a whole thick layer of fruit. The Labradors think it is great too. I am all manic. I must have another cup of green tea and a nap. I bought a new green hot water bottle too!! And 6 Labrador cards and wrapping paper with baby Labradors too. So cute.

Tomorrow I must rest all day as I am going to afternoon tea for an hour or so with Jessie before she leaves again for Darwin. Knitting? What knitting????

Now I need a calming recipe – this one is calming to make and to eat – no harsh tastes at all:

Chicken Asparagus Rolls

  • 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry

  • 100 g cooked and chopped chicken

  • ¼ cup asparagus, fresh or tinned

  • 1 tbspn sour cream

  • 1 tbspn chopped chives or parsley

  • 30 g grated cheese

  • 1 lightly beaten egg for glazing

Preheat oven to 200 C ( 190 ff)  and lightly grease and line trays. Gently combine all the filling ingredients.  Cut each pastry sheet into 4 strips and then divide by 3 the other way. Roll out till they measure about 8 x 10 cm. ( 24 pieces)  Softly spoon a teaspoon of filling into centre of each pastry piece, fold in long sides, then ends. Place reverently seam side down on the tray and brush with the egg. Cook for about 15 minutes.  Make a cup of tea while they are cooking and rest your eyes. Nice hot, warm, or cold the next day!!


Scarf Jack

Thanks Cathy and Rose-Maree!! Thanks for you help, I will try 30 stitches on 5.5 mm with garter stitck borders and stocking stitch innards!!!.  I can start today now - while the thick fog reflects extra light!!!! Scarf Jack was such an excellent show and it had a terrific theme song too. I think someone like barbara Dickson sang it - I googled and couldn't find out. There is a very versatile scarf knitted on circular needles in the new Australian Stitches. It can be : a hat, a cowl, a shrug, a scarf, a wrap and much, much more!!!


Wintertime, and the livin' is easy!!!

The typepad blogs are having a hissy fit. I can’t see mine, let alone post anything. Maybe by the time I have typed this it will be back. Alas, I haven’t finished my cardigan. I foolishly talked on the phone for 3 hours and then went to bed. This morning we went for a walk in Antarctic like conditions, worthy of gloves and bushwalking polar fleece!!! There is beaming streaming sun, but it has been wintry all day. I like winter. It was all Lord of the Rings on the way home from the dam. There were shafts of light through the trees and a rising mist. All very eerie.

I am knitting AmandaMoo a scarf in black Feathers-like yarn. Her mum dropped it off. How many stitches?? I thought about 35, and on 5 mm. I will try that, but garter or stocking stitch?? I am not a real fan of this yarn: black is not night friendly and it is not good for the knitting without looking either. But needs must, so I will be day-time scarfer -  night-time cardiganner. I will have to wet block the cardigan as it is acrylic. I like real wool, but this was at a giveaway price not to be ignored.

2 magazines came at once : BH&G and Australian Stitches. Stitches has Jumbuk wool. It looks awfully green, I really like it!! The address is- www.jumbukwool.com.au   I am off to look there now.

I made this soup earlier in the week – no recipe really, but it is so yummy.

Easy Wintry Soup

  • 500 g Desiree potatoes ( or any mashing potato)

  • 500g sweet potato

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 red capsicum, finely chopped

  • 1 leek, finely chopped

  • 2 or 3 rashers of bacon, chopped

  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic

  • 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock

  • cream and grated cheese to serve

Peel and cube potatoes. Sauté the onion, capsicum, garlic, bacon  and capsicum till softened. Add potatoes and fry for another minute or two. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are all crumbly. Let cool a little and then just mash with a potato masker. That’s all it takes. It is quite thick, so can be diluted with a little milk. You can add some chilli or parsley etc as the fancy takes you. This freezes very well.


Vovo voom!!!

Unfortunately I don’t own the Stitch’n’Bitch books, the Library does, but bright and late on Tuesday morning I’m off to order them from Petrachs. I can pick up my 3 new Dr Who books with the new Doctor and Rose. What a great episode tonight – Daleks!!! I have 2 Daleks by my computer and TARDIS in the hall. I am thinking of making a K9 handbag. I know it is weird but I really want one. People already think I am ‘interesting’, so I might as well confirm their suspicions!!!

I am knit, knit, knitting the final piece of my cardigan. I still think it can be finished by the end of the weekend.

I’m going to a baby shower so I think I will make the lovely Bunny Hat from S’n’B Nation. What colour though? Pink and blue are so gender defining and I have no idea if the baby will be a boy or a girl – obviously one of these. I think I might make it in Peter Rabbit colours. I would prefer to make it green, but it is not everyone’s favourite colour so I will have to show some consideration!!

Nothing much else to tell. Today ACMA and I watched the last 3 episodes of Season 2 Babylon 5. It was redolent with references to 1984-ish things that are being mirrored here in Australia today. Very creepy foretelling.

Oh and last night on my way home from Di’s I was waved into a RBT by the police at the bottom of my road, 50 metres from home!!!!. I had drunk one glass of bubbly red a few hours earlier so I wasn’t worried. I never drink more than 1 glass if I am driving. But when the RBT unit came near me it went all boogelly. I blew and it made interesting music and wouldn’t give a reading. I blew twice more and then the policeman rebooted and I tried again, but nothing. I was getting a bit concerned. Then the policewoman came over and the same thing happened again. Finally, as I was almost out of breath, it worked and I blew 00000.000000. I did say I had my metal port but it had never interfered before. It must have been a Bermuda Triangle. The police have been out and about everywhere, and I have managed very well considering what happened with the infamous Police accusing me of using a mobile phone when driving Incident.

Now I need some comfort food….

Homemade Iced Vovos

Biscuits

  • 60 g butter

  • 110 g caster sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 200 g plain flour

  • 2 ½ tspn baking powder

Icing

  • 100g pink marshmallows

  • 40 g butter

  • 60 g sifted icing sugar

  • 50 g coconut

  • ½ cup raspberry jam - warmed

Biscuits : Preheat oven to 180 C ( 160 ff) and grease and line some trays. Cream butter and sugar, add egg. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder. Knead briefly till smooth and then roll out to about 5 mm thickness. Cut out rectangles about 4 x 6 cm and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on tray then transfer to a rack. Icing : Melt butter and marshmallows over a low heat in a pan. Stir constantly until smooth. Stir in icing sugar. Sprinkle coconut onto a tray. Ice each long side of the biscuit, leaving a space in the middle. Dip into the coconut and then spread jam along the centre.  Yum yum, all home-made Australian icons!!!


I should knit a Lucky, Lucky, Lucky, Lucky!!!

Yesterday they were still in transit, but today they are here!! Stitch’n’Bitch and Stitch’n’Bitch Nation!!!!  I am drooling over the picture and pattern of the Lucky Clover Wrap Cardigan and I am thinking of knitting it in the round - less seams and less sewing. This will be my next project for knitting. There is apparently an error in the sleeves so I have found a correction or two, though I haven’t been to the S’n’B site yet. Must do that!!!

On the other cardigan front, oh very funny…..there was no chance the extra needle full of rib was for the right front as it was too narrow and had no button holes. I unravelled it and I’m doing the clever casting off and casting on button hole from the Vogue All-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-Knitting book. They are stylish and much better than plain yfwd ones. I will have to write down the method to use again.

I have started keeping a kind of notebook/journal of knitting. It started off because I always write down the rows, increases, decreases, pattern etc in a book. I like the fronts to have exactly the same number of rows as the back.  I like the sleeves to be exactly the same and I like the pattern repeats to match when there are increases and decreases. Am I obsessive???  All it needed was a few more notes on needles and wool and a few labels stuck in and Voila!! A knitting journal in my 4 cent exercise book. I will have to cover it in green paper and reinforce the cover, but it is great!!! I will look out for some cheap hardcover books for my next one. It will be a fair way away as this exercise book has about 296 pages. Oh well….

Nut Caramel

  • 690 ml cream

  • 125 g unsalted butter

  • 220 g caster sugar

  • 2 tbspn golden syrup

  • ½ cup finely chopped nuts

  • 1 tspn vanilla extract - optional

Bring cream to the rapid boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until amount is reduced by half. Add the butter, sugar and syrup and stir till caramel is thick and quite golden and add the nuts and vanilla if desired.  Pour into a rectangular or square 16 cm tin and refrigerated until set. Cut into squares and eat.

You can add anything you like really : dried fruit, chocolate, glace cherries etc!!!


Wizard of Earth - See???

Welcome to the Twilight Zone. There I was, about to watch Black Books and the phone rang. I answered it to find someone I hadn’t heard from for literally years. It wasn’t a call for me really, it was via her, from the Bolter. Too ashamed and cowardly to ring me himself!!! Are we divorced? Like, well, Yea-ah!!! For 10 years, and happily!!! The Bolter was such a moron, no, wait, that is being too kind to Morons. Did I have any divorce papers? I asked her to tell him to get in touch with his lawyer. Far from making me feel sad, cross, or distressed – I felt happy, free and infinitely better off, and basically indifferent. A good way to be now, I think.

On the knitting front I am on the downward slope to the end of the second sleeve. I have cast off for the underarm, and I am decreasing ( if only this were true). I am watching ‘Earthsea’, the miniseries from Ursula Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea trilogy, though now there is a fourth, and a fifth book. It is pretty much rubbish compared to the books, but it is keeping my mind off the mindless boredom of stocking stitch, so it isn’t all bad. I have even done the ribbing for the right front, the last piece to be finished. I am looking forward to finishing this over the weekend. I think I need to invest in some bamboo needles though. They are meant to be better for your arms and hands and I feel a little gyp in my elbow. Too much knitting – knitting overload. I am spending anticipatory happy hours looking at wool to order for a new project…..

I am still tired, we all slept in till 9 am this morning but we did go for a walk. It has been sunny and warm, not at all like Winter. So, a recipe that is not at all like Winter…

Chocolate Orange Syrup Cake

Cake

· 8 eggs

· 300 g caster sugar

· 75 g cocoa

· 150 g plain flour

· 75 g unsalted butter, melted

Syrup

· zested rind of 1 or 2 oranges

· 250 ml water

· 250 ml orange juice

· 330 g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 C ( 160 ff),and grease and line a 20 cm tin. Beat eggs and sugar for 8-10 minutes until light and creamy. I know it sounds like a lot of eggs, but I can buy a dozen free range eggs for $3-50 at the fruit and veggie shop, so 8 eggs only cost $2-33, not much really. Gently fold in the other ingredients, pour into tin and bake for 50-60 minutes , or until a skewer poked in the centre comes out clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes then put on a rack over a pan, or the sink, as you are going to pour syrup over it!!! While the cake is baking make the syrup by putting all the ingredients into a saucepan over a low heat. Stir till sugar is dissolved and then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. You then pour it over the cake slowly, and serve warm or cold, with a dollop of cream.


Ding dong dell, I was not feeling well!!!

There had been too much excitement in my life: well, brunch on Saturday, DVD viewing on Sunday and Dinner on Monday, and so yesterday I felt the after effects. I woke up with a headache and it lasted all day, along with dizziness and general lethargy, more than usual. In a way yesterday was a good day to be not well : the shortest day, and Winter Solstice. Less time to feel unwell in my twisted logic.

Three days of pretending to be a ‘real’ person and that was enough. I took my most powerful tablets and tried to recover. I didn’t even turn the computer on, so I was really unwell. This morning I felt relatively normal again, but I am taking it easy. There was no walk for the Labradors, no laced up shoes, and no cooking anything – boiling the kettle is allowed!!!

Dinner was delicious at La Carafe. Various people had baby octopus, steak, rabbit, mussels, cassoulet and it was all divine. I had peas and speck for entrée, then sugar cured smoked salmon and beetroot salad ( entrée size) for main and then two berry crepes for dessert, all topped off with a glass of bubbly.

Aunty Captain Mrs Archer liked all her presents and even though I was not well I dropped off what would have been tea : lamb chops on sticks smeared with mild English mustard and wrapped in bacon to be baked for 30 minutes in the oven, and a potato casserole thing – the  recipe follows!!! 

Now you would expect the Fibonacci Jumper to be finished as the birthday has passed, but after it was blocked, I was worried it would need more ribbing on the lower edge, and I was right. ACMA loved the colours but we both agreed it needed more length. So I will be ribbing on. It does mean that I can go on with something else though. The Winter 2003/4 Vogue Knitting magazine I bought on ebay arrived. It has quite a few things I want to knit: there are  some cardigans, a zip-up jacket, lots of scarves and lots of ads to tempt me, so I will need to buy some wool from the Bendigo Mill. They sent me a Shade card update of their newest wool. I will order some next week. First I want to finish my cardigan!!!

Oh, the Fresh TV show people have emailed me again!!! It seems my persistence has paid off at last. Apparently the threat of writing personally to Geoff spurred them into action and they sent me not one, but three addresses of shops!! Huzzah!!! Now I can write and ask about the cutters. That is all I wanted in the first place, they obviously knew the names of shops and just chose to be obstructionist. I feel all ‘people power triumphy.’

Potato Casserole

  • 1 kg potatoes – Desiree or Brownell, a mashing kind

  • water

  • 3 cloves or garlic, crushed, chopped

  • ½ a bunch of parsley, chopped

  • 400g tin tomatoes ( with basil and oregano)

  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes

  • olive oil

  • Brie or Camembert cheese

Peel and slice potatoes about ½ cm thick and cut the cheese similarly. Layer them , overlapping, in a flat casserole dish, season and add enough water to give a depth of about 1 cm. Bake for 30 minutes at 190/200 C. Then add the other ingredients on top and cook for another 30 minutes. I had bacon with the chops, but otherwise I would add some chopped bacon at the beginning stage.


Fresh out of Luck

I must spell check and then re-read my posts as words from other languages keep popping up, like ‘si’!!!!  I must say that I am an abysmal typist, fast and terribly inaccurate.

Today I saw Aunty Bed and Breakfast in Spotlight. How exciting. I had written her a real paper and pen letter a week or so ago and there she was, in person!!  Aunty B&B had knitted a lovely sparkly scarf, I was admiring it before she even said she had knitted it.

The people from the Fresh show on TV emailed me, a real person emailed me, but can you guess what they said? Well, I quote :

Thank you for your email in regards to Gingerbread house cutters. We suggest any decent cookware shop in your area would supply the cutters.

Do they think I am an ignoramus?? Do they think I have been emailing them weekly in my quest to obtain the eponymous cutters on a mere whim???? Apparently, YES!!! I emailed them back to inform them that I had tried all the shops in town, they had asked their suppliers and I had tried on the net as well. I will have to start sending proper snail mail letters to Geoff. I need those cutters: they have the shapes of  a small gingerbread house – the sides, the front and back, the roof etc, and you just press them out of the dough with no tracing around or measuring. ACMA’s class would love to make these at Christmas time, and so would I. I think my friends would like them, I could fill them with a few little truffles or chocolate things.  Rest assured I will not be deterred from this task. I will write a letter tomorrow and post it off along with one of my poems.  I do feel patronised. I don’t like the feeling at all……

On the knitting front, the neck of the Fibonacci Jumper is excellent. I did it in the stripe pattern : 1,1,2,3,5, and I decreased either side of a centre stitch at the 4 corners of the neck, and then increased again on the part you fold over. I am very pleased , though I tried it on and I shall have to undo the lower bands and reknit them on 8s ( is that 4 mm?) and pick up more stitches, as it is too gathery.  I have the wool for blanket stitching the last of the wrap as well. I have about 40  cm to go and then a good wash and it is done.

The Labradors are happy and hungry, nothing has changed there. I have a little bone for them for when I go out tonight : a few of us are going to La Carafe for ACMA’s birthday. Expect a detailed account of the food later on…….. Oh and the general consensus seems to be, from everyone I know, that Shepard out rates McKay by a bazillion votes to one ( that's me). Well, all the more McKay for me!!!!!