Friday, 20 January 2012

Food, glorious food

I've made so many yummy things over the last couple of weeks. With a proper kitchen space, a food processor!! (thanks mum!) and plenty of time stuck at home without a car (still), my food magazine collection has been getting a good run. Just before Christmas, I sat down at the table with my hefty stack of food mags and went through each and every one, ripping out the pages of recipes I wanted to try, or keep, and discarded all the ones I had no interest in. My poor bookshelf was starting to bulge and droop with the weight of all the magazines, so I decided something had to be done about it. Of course, while I was flicking through all the pages and ripping out hundreds of these recipes, inspiration struck. Since then, I have tried everything from biscuits and puddings to stews and curries, and thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

I even baked bread! What is it about making a loaf of bread by hand from scratch that makes you feel like a superhero? I've always been a little scared of baking with yeast, as I know it can be rather fickle. I was pleasantly surprised to check on the dough after an hour and find that it had indeed risen, and even more impressed when it came out of the oven actually looking like a loaf of bread.

I was overjoyed by the fact that it tasted just like 'real' bread. But the best thing? The kids absolutely loved it :-)

I had to line my loaf tin with aluminium foil though, as both my loaf tins are looking a little the worse for wear. I grumbled a while about this (you know the old saying, 'they don't make things like they used to'), thinking that these loaf tins just hadn't lasted very well, when it occurred to me that these were a gift from our engagement party. Fourteen years ago. Perhaps it is time we got some new ones...

I have many more recipes lined up to try out over the next few weeks, and will probably keep going for a while before I start to miss the 'regular' meals, but I'm already thinking of goodies I can make for Christmas presents. I just have to remember them all come December! Now there's a challenge for my colander-brain.

Another new thing that's started with moving into this place is gardening. Ooh, just remembered I have to water my herbs! Wait there...

Okay, I'm back. Now where was I? Oh yes, gardening. Alright, so my idea of 'gardening' is more or less just weeding, but for me that's quite a huge step. I've been really good, and have weeded the garden every week since moving in here, and kept the courtyard swept and looking tidy. I've watched some lovely flowers bloom:

Although I have no idea what they are. I know I have several camellia bushes in the garden (are these a different type of camellia?) - one of the few plants I recognise (or maybe not) - and a decrepit lemon tree by the kitchen window that I think has done its dash and won't be producing any fruit for the foreseeable future.

My herbs are still alive and growing slowly, but unfortunately are far from the edible stage. (Patience.) Many people will laugh at me and my meagre attempts at 'gardening' (my sisters would find it hilarious) but I'm happy that I haven't killed anything yet - for me, that's progress :-)

Speaking of progress, the knitting is going slowly at the moment. I finished the socks for my sister:

Knit in Vintage Purls Max. They're a little on the short side because I ran out of yarn, but I rather like the 3x1 rib, so will do that again on the next pair (I have another skein of Max I bought at Knit August Nights last year that I'm looking forward to cracking into some time soon). Ugh, speaking of Vintage Purls, I just signed up for the Summer Sock Club. It's gonna be great, but eek! I wasn't going to buy any more yarn at this stage. But I just couldn't help myself. It's a sickness! Ask any knitter.

I cast on a Mandel sweater with some lovely natural Touch Yarns Merino Possum - it's beautiful to work with, very soft. And thankfully, not much in the way of shedding. I was a little concerned I'd be spending a large amount of time rubbing my nose and blowing away loose strands of possum fibre, but it seems to be pretty well woven into the yarn. Okay, so there's a little bit of shedding onto my shirt while I'm knitting, but it doesn't fly around in the air much. So yay. This is quite a slow knit compared to the last few projects (such is the danger of knitting with thicker yarns - they lull you into a false sense of speediness, then you pick up a fingering weight and BAM! Reality hits). I think its coming along nicely though, and hope to have it done in a few weeks. Although I'm starting to have thoughts of straying to other projects. Perhaps a pair of socks? Maybe casting on a shawl? Or that other worsted weight sweater I was thinking of knitting? How about that cotton short-sleeved sweater? Hmmm, I shall have to see how quickly I get bored with the acres of stocking-stitch. On the plus side, I can read at the same time, as stocking-stitch doesn't require concentration or eye focus. I'm currently reading The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale which I'm finding quite good (love my historical novels). Sadly, as it is an 'actual' book, I find it tiresome trying to find ways of holding the pages open, so I may move on to a book on Hedwig or my phone - just downloaded the last Melissa Marr book from the library, so perhaps that will do.

Just randomly, thought I'd share (I'm good like that), I got up this morning at about 4.40am for the usual nocturnal bathroom visit, and noticed the most beautiful fingernail moon (what my older sister always called a waxing or waning crescent moon) perfectly framed by the bathroom window. It had just a touch of fluffy cloud, with moonlight illumination. It really was rather lovely. I would have taken a picture, but I had just had the most bizarre bad dream involving large, shiny black spiders that looked remarkably like scorpions, and scary, creepy, fluffy attack kittens (I did mention the word bizarre, right?) and I didn't want to wander all the way down the stairs and stick my arm into the hall cupboard to get the camera. Plus, it was 4.40am and my eyes were all bleary, and I just wanted to go back to bed. If I see another one though, I'll be sure to take a picture ;-)


  1. What recipe did you use for your bread? I've tried making it from scratch a couple of times with mixed results!

  2. I used the basic bread recipe out of The Great New Zealand Baking Book by Alyson Gofton. If you want it, PM me on Rav and I'll hook you up ;-)