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June 2012
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August 2012

Citius, Fortius, Altius: Carrot-us.

Yes, Peri and Gilly are faster, higher and stronger when there are carrots involved, month old carrots on the top of the green-things-to-go-to-the-tip or compost heap, and they can help themselves too. I knew Gilly was stealing carrots and radishes, but as the supply diminished so its value increased, and at the very last Peri was making sure she stole her fair share as well. As Pierre De Coubertin said: The most important thing is not to win, but to take part.

Carrot sneakers
I've been a little sad, not for me, but for my friends. The funeral for Lucy was perfect, but I was so sad afterwards that by the time I had made three previously composed and smiling people cry, I thought I should go. Not even a sweet cup of tea could have cheered me up. I wasn't sad for me, but for my friends: there was nothing I could do to make them feel better. I have been worried I might slip into a small depression. I haven't felt very social and I have been sleeping A Lot. So I've been taking my Vitamin D tablets and sitting in the Sun and trying to be cheery. I am somewhat cheerier now.

Baby Zoe is stable and I have a lovely picture on my phone of her being cuddled, but for the life of me I can't work out how to get the picture from my text inbox to my computer. I suspect I need a cable I don't have!!

Added 5 minutes later: and where are my manners?? Thank you so much for all the beautiful comments and kind words on the last post about Lucy. It was very comforting to read them and I passed them on to the family. Thank you.

I haven't been reading other people's blog posts, or checking my phone or email. I made an effort this morning and read an email from a friend just checking to see if I was sad or not well. Just sad, but it spurred me to write a post for my blog. And here it is.

I started knitting a doily for my mum, but I am counting it as a large tension circle. The No. 40 DMC cotton is just too fine. The pattern called for No. 50, but I don't think it correlates with modern cotton sizes. I'm going to start again with a perle or 2ply thread. I also didn't copy the abbreviations so I had to work out what to do each row by counting how many stitches I needed on the next one. It is very pretty and I shall enjoy starting the doily proper this week.

Doily 1.0
I bought some material to make a Spring dress. It is a modern 70s print. I'll be making a sleeveless Amazing Fit 2247, the dress I discovered fits me!! With a voucher and discount it only cost $13.

70s dress fabric, new
My lemon tree has one solitary lemon that has survived the Winter thus far and some Spring bulbs are already out.

In the garden
And on my car I now have our 'family': two K9s!! And you can see one real canine (Peri) looking through the icy back window, wondering what I am doing and why we haven't already driven off to go for a walk.

K9 family
Peri and Lorelai Gilmore love the cold weather and play outside even if it is raining. We have had fog and below zero temperatures in the mornings, but that always means a lovely sunshiny day!!

Peri and Gilly, lovely Labradors


Lucy's In The Sky With Diamonds

Toddler LucyToddler Lucy died this morning.

My friends rang a little while ago to tell me.

And what a hard job that is, ringing to tell people so they don't hear it on the news or read it somewhere first.

I really appreciated that.

We're all very sad.

I am so lucky to have been able to know Lucy and to have her in my life, albeit ever so briefly.

She was so loved, so wanted and sometimes a rummun!!

I know that her mum and dad and family will find the strength to cope, and to continue to care for Baby Zoe, but it is hard.

Hard and unfair and just wrong.

Farewell Toddler Lucy and we send you on your way with Labrador kisses and lots of snuggly cuddles.

Bye Lovely Lucy: you sparkled.


Friday Food: Apple, Pecan and Gingerbread Loaf

The GardyGardeners are ginger fanciers: fresh, glace and crystallised. This is a quick and easy loaf and I love the combination of soft apple, crunchy pecans and then the heat of the glace ginger. This will keep for about a week, wrapped in clingfilm, and the flavour will only improve. Which is a good thing as it was raining so much that there was no gardening on Wednesday and the loaf is stored away for the coming week!!

I pretty much followed the recipe, except I replaced the crystallised ginger with glace. Somehow the chewiness of the crystallised seemed wrong and the glace has proved perfect.

The recipe is in the apple section of the July Delicious magazine. I especially like it as it really is melt and mix.

 

Apple Pecan and Gingerbread Loaf    serves 10-12

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 200ml milk
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1 tspn ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 75g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 pieces of crystallised ginger, chopped -I used 9 pieces of glace ginger
  • 2 green cooking apples, peeled, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • extra butter for greasing

 

Grease and line a 1.5litre loaf tin, using the extra butter.

Put the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a medium heat and stir until it is all melted and combined.

Melting 

Stir in the milk and leave to cool.

Adding milk
Now preheat the oven to 180*C. Sift the flour, spices and baking powder together into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the cooled mixture. Mix gently together.

Flour and spices 

Fold in the chopped apple, pecans and ginger.

Eggs and tasty bites

Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake comes away from the sides of the pan and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

In the tin
Rest in the tin for 5 minutes and then cool on a rack. Slice and serve. They recommended marscarpone. I like it as is.

Apple, Gingerbread, Pecan loaf


It Is Better To Have Gloved And Lost.........

After my careful reconstruction of the cuff of my Dog Walking mittens, I lost one. I don't know where, and of course if I did it wouldn't be lost.

So I have started knitting some new Almost Gloves, in some lovely Zara Merino 8ply in a dark forest green. There was a slight misreading of the pattern last night which led to the unravelling of thirty or so rows of stocking stitch, but they are on track now. Always read the pattern carefully!!! I'm using 3.75mm needles and I am glad because they are not too snug a fit. I plan to knit up to the start of my nails, ending the last few rows with rib. Then I'll have my fingertips free to fiddle with dog leads and dispense seaweed rice cracker treats.

Slightly fingertipless gloves
Judy-May is off on an adventure and a few knitting friends met for brunch at the Milkbar for a farewell. I made her a Conversations Zippy bag in which she can possibly put some socks on small needles. It's a new twist on the normal pattern where the bottom of the zip is external and serves as a tab for pulling the bag shut again. I used to love Conversations lollies, not for the taste, but for the conversations. Happy and exciting new Adventure Judy May.

Conversations zippy bag
I made a conservative choice of toasted ham, cheese and avocado baguette, but everything was so perfect that I was very happy with my brunch. There was a wide choice, but I have to avoid semi sundried tomatoes. I just thought that as they make everything right there, I could have asked for my brunch without them. I shall be going back to buy a Colette pattern or two and check out the vintage fabric. I spied a piece or two I fancied.

I succumbed and bought Lorelai Gilmore some Plastic Cuppies, which are her favourite toy. She was like a dog with forty-two tails. She was so wriggly and fast that I could barely take her photo, she was a blur.

Not so good photos of Gilly and her cup
I did manage one picture that was passable.

Gilly's best cuppy picture

Peri was a bit subdued yesterday, but she was full of energy and played rough and rowdy rebel games while I was putting on my walking shoes this morning. Here she is doing an Arctic Roll on the icy grass at the dam.

Peri's arctic roll
I have finished my first plain 8ply sock, and I do think it looks very nice.  8ply socks knit up so quickly, I had finished this before I had my new Almost Gloves ready to start. I am doing cheat's twisted rib at the momennt, K1 tbl, P1. P1 tbl is just too much trouble.

A plain sock
It's been quite mild today and dull but we have had some lovely sunny days, and Peri and Gilly like to nap together on the couch. There is still, just, room for me!!

Sunny pups


The (Almost) Great Escape

When I came home on Saturday Peri wasn't waiting at the gate. As I walked down the steps Gilly came racing around the corner with her Naughty Ears on and when I asked where Peri was she ran to the fence. And there Peri was, on the other side of the fence. I suspect both of them had wriggled their way through the fence and pushed the palings aside, but Gilly is wrigglier and smaller and she managed to get back. Peri was caught red handed.

Luckily they 'escaped' into a little enclosed garden and so they were safe. I took a photo and as soon as she saw me Peri ran to the gate, all wriggly and wiggly. Her tail was going twenty to the dozen. She's looking at the opening side of the gate in the second picture.

Peri almost runs away

"Please rescue me," Peri says plaintively!!

Saving Peri
When she came home, Gilly and Peri ran about like mad things, over-excited and mad with joy, and then it was over and they both trotted off inside to look for a treat!!

Madness, then back to normal
I made temporary barriers and then MrsDrWho very kindly gave me some bamboo screening and I was able to make a more permanent temporary Girls' Carpentry fix. At least until I decide on what to do next. I am just very glad they were both safe.

Yes, girls' carpentry

I made a knitted cosy for my mug and it works well. I used some Bendigo Neon and the pattern is very good, it covers the base of the mug too. Of course there is no photo without Gilly in the background.

Warming Brew 2012

I finished the sleeves, again, for my You Only Rib Twice cardigan. I haven't sewed one up to check if it fits though.

The sleeves
I am helping at the knitting shop with some sock knitting. I've unravelled the Dalek sock (sob) and knitted a plain one so the ladies can see what a sock looks like and we can knit along together.

This was a dalek sock

MrsDrWho and I ordered some Christmas Fabric from the Christmas Cloth Shop (Fat Quarter Shop's Christmas section) Here's my lovely set of 18 fat quarters!!!

Christmas fat quarters
It has been very cold in the mornings. I always open the windows in the car when we drive to the dam and the other day the window ice made a lovely sculpture. It soon melted in the sun.

Window ice
It has been a quiet time here, Peri and Gilly like to sleep all day: inside if it is cold and outside if sunny. We've been napping in the afternoons and I've even caught up with TV shows stored on my DVR from last year. MrsDrWho and I finally watched the last three episodes of Doctor Who 2011 and when we watch the Christmas special we are all up to date. We thought we should as Doctor Who 2012 will be starting soon. I don't know how we could have waited so long. MrsDrWho thinks we missed one episode and then it all went to hell in a hand-basket!!

Oh and how could I have forgotten, I've knitted another beret which I love. I have another, recommended by MohairMama, ready to go. Soon I will have three berets, I will be spoiled for choice. I must remember to take a picture for my next post. I did take a picture of the fairy, or butterfly, cakes I made for the doctors and nurses at the vet. We paid the last part of Lorelai Gilmore's bill and so we can stop being poor at last. It's taken three months, but knowing what is wrong with Gilly, and what can be done, is a positive thing- though I may yet to sell her for medical experiments!!! 

Half the cakes are filled with my mum's raspberry jam and the other half with lemon curd. We used to have jelly in our cakes when I was a little girl: jelly, whipped cream, the 'wings' and then icing sugar. I think these are a little more sophisticated, though not much.

Fairy cakes


Friday Food: Creamy Mushroom Soup

I was going to cook something from the SBS Feast magazine, but we had our Knitting outing last night and I was a bit tired. Instead I made some creamy mushroom soup from Coles free Winter magazine.

It was quite quick, very easy and could be served at a posh dinner party or on a cold Winter's afternoon. I bought a mixture of small mushrooms and brown mushrooms. I used Philly Cream for Cooking and the cute little Stock pot jellies.

I expect if I had a MasterChef sieve I would pass the soup through it for added poshness, but I like the mushroom texture. It makes about 2 litres and I would eat some nice sourdough or crusty bread with it.

Creamy Mushroom Soup  serves 6-8

  • 60g butter
  • 20g extra butter
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 700g mushrooms
  • 2 tbspn plain flour
  • 1 litre chicken stock - or vegetable
  • 300ml cream
  • 120g crumbly feta or goat cheese to serve

Heat 60g of butter in a big pan or pot and fry the leeks gently for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the crushed garlic and fry for 1 minute more. My garlic is local and it has a green part in the centre. I always remove this as it adds a bitter taste.

Leeks and garlic
Put 4 mushrooms aside for garnish and roughly chop the rest. Add to the leek mixture and fry for 4-6 minutes over a medium heat. The mushrooms filled the whole pan. I let them sit for a few seconds and then stirred for the entire 6 minutes and by the end they had reduced to only 1/4 of the pan.

Mushrooms
Sprinkle the plain flour over the mushrooms, stir it in and cook for a further minute. Then gradually add the stock, stirring all the time again. I use boiling water for the stock as it saves time. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Thickening and stock
Using a stick blender or a food processor (make sure the soup is cool enough) and blend, then return to the pan. Add the cream and gently reheat. Meanwhile, melt the extra 20g of butter, thinly slice the 4 mushrooms set aside and saute them till brown and tender.

Blend, cream, garnish
Crumble the cheese over each bowl of soup and top with some black pepper and the mushroom slices.

Creamy Mushroom Soup