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Ill Met By Daylight

At out house, there are The Well, and The Ill. I am the latter. I have a cold and a headache and so I have taken to the couch with my hot water bottle, my new quilt, Earl Grey Tea spiked with extra lemon juice and my Clayton's Cold Tablets: the one's you have when you're not having real cold and 'flu tablets. There's noting terribly wrong with me, just enough be very annoying and very boring.

Peri sun bathing
I knew I wasn't going out for lunch when I stamped my foot and growled at The Labradors for nothing in particular this morning. Typical: the school holidays come along and I can't join in. Bah Humbug. Now Peri has a plastic bottle and she's chewing the lid off and Lorelai Gilmore is leaping from Otto to the couch and back again with just the squeak from a toy in her mouth: squeaking madly as she goes.

Gilly is quiet at last
I am indulging myself by browsing the internet and making discs on my DVR, freeing up space. I don't trust myself to knit.

Luckily I had a back up recipe for my Monday Munchies!! Good planning never goes astray. I haven't taken a proper picture of my OPAM quilt, so I might make that my whole task for tomorrow!

Monday Munchies #22

Back Up recipe to the rescue.

Old fashioned sausage rolls. Whatever rolls your boat

Tips and Tricks:

  • Buy the best quality mince you can, HeartSmart or 5 Star here. The better the meat, the less fat, the better the finished sausage roll.
  • Be prepared to squelch the mixture for a few minutes at least. Wear disposable gloves if you hate the feel of the meat. The more you mix it by hand, the more it emulsifies naturally, in fact you don't usually need to add an egg at all if you are prepared to mix for 5 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven and line the tray
Old-fashioned Sausage Rolls makes 16 
  • 300g best beef mince
  • 1 onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or chives or a mixture of your choice
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
  • milk  or egg wash for brushing onto the rolls

Preheat the oven to 220*C and line two trays with baking paper.

Place the mince, onion, carrot, herbs, seasonings and egg into a bowl and squelch about, mixing with your hands until you feel the texture of the mince change. It will 'come together' (right now!!) If you don't wish to use an egg, you can mix for about 5 minutes.

Cut each pastry sheet in half, and leave the backing plastic on, if there is any.

Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and then arrange each part down one long side of the pastry. In a sausage shape. Make sure you go right to the ends, no-one wants a half-empty pastry casing.

Use the plastic backing to help you roll the pastry, quite firmly, around the mince to make a 'roll' and then place seam side down. (Remember to discard the plastic!!)

Cut each roll into four equal parts, brush with milk or egg wash and then prick decoratively with a fork

Arrange on the tray and bake for 20- 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them, I rotate the trays. Peek underneath a roll, lift it up with the edge of a knife, they can catch quite easily. They will be a lovely golden brown when they are cooked.

Then cool for a few minutes and eat, piping hot or cool or cold, with tomato sauce.

These freeze well as cooked rolls, or at the ready to cook stage and really, they are quite healthy and economical to make. 16 sausage rolls at our local bakery cost almost $40.

Our Andy's Gone With Kettle Now.

Yes Henry, the kettle's gone, though it wasn't Andy, it was PoP! 'PoP!' goes my kettle.

I set it to boil and after a while I thought it strange I hadn't heard the button click and then I heard the PoP! I was too afraid to boil it again to see if it was OK, so I used my rubber gloves to unplug it and then threw it away. Yes, Girls' Electrickery. We have a device called a Cable PI here, and it didn't alert me to any electrical emergency, so that's comforting!!

I bought a new kettle, virtually the same. I am puzzled by their cup measurements: 10 cups measure 1.8 litres. For me, a cup is 250m at least when I have a cup of tea and 180ml is just not enough. Still, it is nice to be able to boil 360ml of water in one minute. Because let's face it, why would I want to waste any more of my precious time waiting for the kettle to boil?? I obviously have far more important and urgent things to do. Boiling speed was not a criterion for choosing a new kettle.

Now I have had to watch Hugh Grant and his special dancing four, five, six times in a row.

I meant to rest today, but then:

  • I walked The Labradors in the teeming rain
Rainy Day Peri
Rainy Day Gilly
  • We popped into town to get some money
  • Which I dropped off as an errand
  • We walked to the supermarket
You left us waiting
  • Had 'breakfast' about 11-30 whereupon the 'PoP! happened
  • I went to I've Been Kidnapped By K Mart to buy a kettle
  • Oops, then I needed more drugs from the chemist
  • So finally I am home and it is 4pm

Now I might go to bed for a nap, or just write today off and stay in bed tomorrow!!! Of course it has stopped raining torrentiallly, and the rhythm of the rain on the roof is such a good soporific. I will knit this week's hat #2 and catch up on some more Chuck. I make myself get up at every ad break, instead of fast forwarding, and reply to some comments. Time for another cup of tea I think.

Hat 2

School Holidays start today: Hooray!!!!!

Much Binding In The May-rch

I would just like to say that I am not old enough to have listened to this the first time around!!!

But there was much binding, I think about 20m worth. So MrsDrWho has two crawl rugs(?) for babies she knows, or is about to know, and I have my Fat Quarter Swap Quilt/OPAM project!! I was in The Zone and even though I was so tired, I kept sewing until it was all done. And dusted. I sit under my little quilt, and Peri and Lorelai Gilmore have a new blanket each. I bought one for Peri, because she loves being under her blanket and then Gilly was all sad and lonely and stealing the blanket from Peri. Last night she scared the willies out of herself when she hopped off the bed to come back out to the lounge room, and the blanket followed her, no matter how quickly she came. I had to rescue her from the blanket on her back. So now we have two blankets on the bed. But everyone is happy. Thus far.

Much Binding
Bells asked if The Labradors eat cabbage: they do. They eat all the vegetables I cook for them and some raw ones too. Vundy the German Shepherd would not. She would pick out the things she didn't like and arrange them around her plate Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor style. The way we did when we were little and ate stewed fruit: we picked out any stones or pips, and put them around our bowls and then to find out who we would marry we counted them and said: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief!! Here is Peri eating some boiled carrots in stock and Lorelai Gilmore eating Silver Beet.

Peri loves carrots 

Gilly Loves Silver Beet
I am tired this week, I have done too many things, things I wanted to do, but I must have a rest soon. Monday I was sewing, Tuesday I has a delightful lunch with Onyi, Judy-May and Mif, today I went to the Physio and had some more acupuncture, tomorrow I am having my haircut and going to Sewing and so Friday I think I will have a day in bed. Any more than two things, including dog walking, and I am pushing my limits, so I have been doing less craft lately.

One of my sewing friends is soon to be a grandmother so I knitted a baby hat today. It is the Aviatrix Hat, a free pattern designed by Jussi. I called mine The Nancy Bird Baby Hat. It used less than 90m of 8ply and it knitted up so quickly and easily. I knitted an extra short row repeat and a shorter strap after reading the Life Buoy Helpful Hints on The Ravelry. I also took notice of how many stitches I had to knit from the 'turn' to the next wrapped stitch. I made a list as I find it easier to turn and knit 13, than to knit to the last 12 stitches. You can see the wrapped stitches because I used a coloured wool, but I care not a jot!! I love this hat and I hope there are more babies any moment now so I can knit another!!

Nancy Bird Baby Hat
The Labrador food bin was emptied today and so obviously easier prey. I found t like this when I came home but missed my chance to take a snap of Gilly almost entirely inside, licking the crumbs!!

Bin knocked over
Now I have a lovely big plate of vegetables to eat for my tea and Gilly's nose sniffing hopefully at my side!!!

Monday Munchies #21

Pears are at their best in Autumn, and so I thought I would cook a few pear recipes. This week's is a crumble. A crumble is quick to make and very tasty. It can be on the table in about 45 minutes from go to whoa, or you can make it in the morning and just pop it into the oven in the evening.(I would add the crumble topping just before baking) I used Beurre Bosc pears, some Granny Smith apples and frozen mixed berries. I like adding apple because by themselves, pears can be a little bland I feel. You may not. Using fruit in season is also very economical!!! Don't use mixed frozen berries with strawberries. They just don't work.

My recipe is cobbled together from this month's Delicious Magazine and Stephanie Alexander!! Crumbly Jumbly

Pear and Berry Crumble serves 4
  • 4 to 6 pears, peeled and diced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 600g frozen or fresh mixed berries
  • 50g butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1-2 tspn cornflour if you like
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 90g butter, cubed
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180*C.Place butter, sugar and pears and apples in a pan on the stove and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. If you prefer your crumbles to be less runny, you can add a teaspoon or two of cornflour and boil for one minute to thicken the fruit. I didn't.

Make the crumble by sifting the flour and baking powder into a bowl, adding the sugar and cinnamon and then rubbing in the butter with the tips of your fingers. It is ready when it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Shaking the bowl gently will make any lumps of butter rise to the top so you can rub them in.

Pour berries into a 4-6 cup casserole dish or pie plate and then pour over the pear mixture. Cover with the crumble mixture and then place on a tray- to catch any juice that might boil over- and bake for 25-30 minutes. It will be cooked when the crumble is golden brown. I sometimes turn the temperature up to 200*C for the last 5 minutes and keep an eye on it.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard. I used Ashgrove cream, it is wonderfully thick and from dairy about 40 minutes away from home.

Bad News Labs

I was going to call my post 'An Ice Day for a White Walking', and then I would have shown this very cute photo:  

Ice ice babies

and this very cute video because it was Zero Degrees this morning and the whole of the bush was covered in a crunchy layer of cold white ice:

and then I would have shown you the front and back of my quilt:

Front of quilt
but  I can only show you the front because we had The Incident.

The Labradors will insist on going beserkers-bonkers (running madly about inside) and the last two mornings I've shown them The Lemon Juice and then shut them outside because they were jumping all over the bed. They are heavy when they land on you.

I was sewing the aforementioned quilt and the ironing board was set up next to it and while I was making a cup of tea they ran wildly in and out and under the table and somehow pulled the iron off the board and the sewing machine off the table.

The sewing machine seems OK, it has a bit of the front that has slipped out of the other bit, but if I undo the screw at the side I think I can press it back in, I'm just not strong enough. The iron is fine, it still shoots great clouds of steam on demand.

Consequently I am not talking to them. They are in disgrace. I have been ignoring them since about 2 o'clock. Peri keeps winding around my legs with a toy in her mouth and her tail wagging madly. Lorelai Gilmore keeps leaping up and trying to cross my field of vision and gain some attention. They are really in disgrace. It's not as if they are allowed to run about inside, I always send them out to play. I raise my arm and point my finger at the door and say 'OUT!" in my best Teachers' Voice. And they had plenty of exercise on their walk and we had a big game outside as well. I shall have to instigate Operation Discipline for the next few days and pull the into line.

Oh and I found that someone (Lorelai Gilmore?) has been digging away the back door mat. Revenge for being shut out? Or a misguided attempt to dig her way back inside? It was at the hinge end of the door...

Mat decreases

So I consoled myself with four episodes of Terminator:The Sarah Connor Chronicles and some nice knitting in the round. I shall further console myself with a nice cup of tea and an episode of Monk, possible followed by some more Chuck, my latest favourite show. I suppose all's well that ends well......

Curb Yawn Enthusiasm

Today I had an unexpected outing to LSG*. There were egg sandwiches!! I had emailed about some information and an email came directed in a writing unexpected saying : Morning Tea!! So I fed The Labradors, had a shower and off I went. Have I said there were egg sandwiches? By the time I got back home after a trip to the supermarket and PO, it was 2-13pm. All my plans went out the window and I sat outside and read the new Delicious magazine and Peri and Lorelai Gilmore played.

This is what I usually see when I go to get the letters from the letterbox:

Peri and sleepy Gilly
Peri up high and Lorelai Gilmore down low. It must be so boring waiting for me to climb back up all the steps!!

But yesterday this is what I saw instead:

Gilly and Peri both Uppy
Peri no longer holds sway over the high ground. Lorelai Gilmore is there too. They are so happy to be up so high, they love looking up the street and looking down on me too.

The Doctor Who ZippyUppy Cardigan is repaired. I tried to take better photos but Gilly ran across the cardigan every time, she would not be stopped. She's a wicked girl sometimes, and Peri is so good. Peri didn't walk over my cardigan at all. I can see where I grafted the left sleeve, but with a wash and a press I think it will be fine. The stripes look as if they have always been there!!

DWZUC is well again
And the back...

The Stargate Cardigan is midway through its transformation as well. I took out the zip, unravelled the button bands and cut off the ribbing and about 32 rows. Then I started knitting the ribbing down, increasing one stitch at the side seams every third row. I have no idea how this will actually work out, but in my mind I imagine it to be OK.

The weather is colder now, so cold that there is ice on the prickly weeds at the dam. I wore my scarf and I may have to break out my mittens too.

Icy cold 

Tomorrow we don't go for a walk so I think I will make some crumble for MrsDrWho and maybe do a little more sewing. On Sunday I had another turn on her Wii. My Mii is wearing green and has dark glasses just like me. I am good at going down the river in a bubble, heading a soccer ball and the ski jump. We shall not discuss hula hooping!!!!

*This Wednesday is the very first Myeloma Day in Australia. It is a disease few people really know about and it is difficult to diagnose.

Monday Munchies #20

Today's recipe is not for the faint-hearted. It contains Brussel Sprouts. They are ameliorated with bacon, stock and cream, but since I like them simply steamed with salt, pepper and butter, this is just fruit for the sideboard.

This recipe is in the Winter Family Circle, but I think sprouts are Autumnal. If you buy your Brussel Sprouts at the greengrocer they may be much larger than the magazine assumes and so they take two and a half times longer to cook. If you buy ordinary teeny tiny ones from the supermarket you will be OK. Brussels give you muscles

Creamy Brussel Sprouts with Bacon for 4
  • 4 rashers of bacon, chopped (rind removed)
  • 1 kg Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and halved*
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • salt and pepper

Fry the bacon in a non-stick pan over a medium/high heat for 3 or 4 minutes until browned, then remove to a plate with kitchen towel to drain. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.

*When you halve the Brussel Sprouts, cut a cross into the base, or even nick out the stem a little, it helps to cook them quickly.

Add the sprouts to the hot pan and cook for 4 minutes, turning two or three times. I start with them all facing one way and then it is easier to make sure you flip them all.

Add the stock and simmer for 5-8 minutes, turning the sprouts a few more times, until they are tender. This is where I found I needed to use more stock and increase the cooking time.

They should be ready when the stock has almost evaporated.At the last moment add the cream, bacon and salt and lots of pepper.

I think it could also have some grated Parmesan cheese on top.

The Dentalist

Simon Baker is an independent consultant for the DBI (Dental Bureau of Investigation). Although not a dentist of any sort, he uses skills and knowledge from his former career as a successful psychic medium to help a team of dentists solve various decay crimes. His unorthodox and bizarre techniques for solving plaque crimes often clash with the dentists he helps. Ultimately, his input into the team's work is almost always instrumental in closing the case. (instrumental: I didn't even have to change that, it was already there!!!)

Tooth and nail, open and shut mouth cases: The Dentalist.

With thanks to Wikipaedia!!!

I am working my way, tooth by tooth, to a career as an authentic actor in medieval TV and film productions. Yesterday I had another filling replaced with a gleaming white one and my tooth rebuilt. Yes, the Six Million Dollar Tooth: we have the technology!! Anyway, before my tooth was fixed it hurt not a jot, after it was rebuilt it hurt like the blazes once the injections wore off. I had to take to my  bed and when I put my head on the pillow my tooth throbbed. I am glad we live now and not way back when. When I was small it was gas mask delivery for anaesthetic at the dentist. My dentist is excellent though and my tooth is fine.

No hard food for at least three hours he said, and I hadn't had breakfast and it was 11-41am, so I had soup and then made myself some golden syrup dumplings. Just what I needed.

Today I went for my physiotherapy session. My shoulder had been shaping up very well until The Labradors were milling about under my feet and I stopped myself from falling over by using my left arm to grab a post outside.  I am still improving and I had some acupuncture. I have never had acupuncture before and it Does Not Hurt. At all. On the other hand the Holman Clinic has some new needles for accessing my port. They hurt a lot. They hurt going in and going out and they don't work on my port, so they scrabbled around and found an old painless needle for me. I think everyone involved in making the new needle should have had to have it stuck in and out of them one hundred times before they signed off. I have cartooned and B&W-ed to save your sensibilities.

Needle me
On the sleeve front, I am almost to the end of the grafting. It will need a wash and a pull and push about to sit correctly but I am happy and I am over it.

ZUC sleeve repair

Now to the Chappa'ai or Stargate Cardigan refashion. 

Then I am in two minds about what to knit next. Oh I have lots of cardigans in my Ravelry Queue, but I am torn between two of my own making:

  • a new Doctor Who cardigan with two Daleks in profile facing outwards on the back and the new DW logo in relief on the front or
  • the cardigan with paw prints on the yoke
Pawprint cardigan

Both would be raglan, with a circular yoke and ribbed sleeves and sides for shaping.

In the comments: Discuss please!!!

Peri has been teaching Lorelai Gilmore new tricks.

New tricks
They have been rampaging about at the dam: collision in 3,2,1 (Only joking it looks like there will be a crash but it was the middle of a running pass)

Watch Out
They have their best cute looks on here. Maybe a treat they ask???

Gilly is here, having a pat and hoping for more food. I poached some pork and apple sausages so I will cook their cabbage and spinach in that to counteract the vegetable flavour. Now I am going to settle in on the couch, sans little quilt as yet and knit a cuff, and watch TV and go to bed early tonight. I do like Autumn, I sleep right through, no more listening to the ABC Overnights every night any more. Now Peri is here for a pat too, lots of waggy tails, lots of Labrador love.

Gettin' Squares

No walks on Wednesdays, it is our Designated Day Off, as is Sunday. Yesterday there was quite a lot of running about at the dam. We could hear the wild goats bleating and it spooked Lorelai Gilmore.  Peri knows the sound so she wasn't worried at all. Gilly's running away while Peri surges ahead.

Ruuning Labs love little white dove
I am in the middle of a Fat Quarter Swap and today I sewed some some squares for the little quilt I am making myself. It is for sitting under on the couch when I watch TV. I am using five of the squares sent to me, which have green in them, and then I have four more from my Green Stash!!  The swaps are the four on the right. This also ties in with this month's OPAM goal: make a little quilt!! Two Birds. One Stone. Say no more.

Hip to be squares
Six squares was as long as I could work for. I have three more to go tomorrow, after I have been to the dentist to have my tooth fixed.

I am knitting up my Doctor Who Zippy Uppy Sleeve. I consulted my Ann Budd Book of Jumpers (Sweaters) and it was easy to rewrite the pattern and I am striping six rows because it is six rows between increases the further up I go, so I don't need to count.

DWZUC sleeve
I bought two giant drumhead cabbages at the supermarket. They weigh about 10kg together and @ $2 a cabbage that works out to 40 cents a kilo. The Labradors will be having a lot of cabbage in the foreseeable future!! On top is a large Brussel sprout. I am having Brussel sprouts with my tea tonight.

My little cabbage moth
Last week I managed to buy almost a whole other set of Golden Hands. I have a complete set now and Onyi has almost a whole one. Ours were $1 each but Sharon found some on The Ebay for $18 a piece and I have seen them for $5 or $12. So instead of $324, I paid $18 so I feel well and truly bargained up. Onyi and I have both been spending some happy Golden Hands Hours perusing our books.

Hands across the water, hand across the sky

I am not feeling so full of ennui any more, which is a jolly good thing!!! Tonight I plan to knit my sleeve and catch up on some TV. I want to start a new cardigan ASAP so I have to fix the other two before I am allowed.

The weather is turning very cold: in the Highlands this morning the temperature you would experience was Minus 13*C. And snow is forecast down to 600m. Winter is almost here. Hooray!!!