Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Weekend De-Brief

I've mislaid my camera charger. That's why there's only been dodgy iPhone photos on here for the last few weeks. I must find it before our impending trip to New York.

This weekend I refused to leave the house. I cleaned, I baked, I knit, I gardened, I was in bed by ten p.m. Oh, except for Friday. Friday evening I met City Boy in town after work. We cosied up in a pub with scrubbed pine tables, then ate tapas and drank too much sangria.

In the garden I sowed mizuna, pak choi and perpetual spinach under cloches. We'll see how they go - it's a little late but our garden's very sheltered so I thought I'd chance it. The kale that made it through the snail attack in September is doing well and will be featuring in a meal shortly. I stripped one chili plant of green chillies to freeze and brought the other in to ripen for red chillies to dry. Only two plants made it this year.

I have spent a few weeks feeling very uninspired in the kitchen, but now the weather's turned cooler I find myself cooking proper, hearty meals. This weekend I turned all the veggies hanging out at the bottom of the fridge and the last of the ripened tomatoes and basil from the garden into a golden, bubbling, cheesy lasagne. Served with homemade garlic focaccia which was sooooo good and so easy. Will be doing that again soon.

Not only do I want to cook, I want to eat. I want to make and scoff all the seasonal goodies that I'm craving now London has turned chilly. Hot blackberry crumbles with custard. Figs, quartered and eaten with strong, sharp cheese. Roasted butternut squash pureed to a rich, smooth soup. Roasted beetroot. Apples and brown sugar. I want to eat it all, and I'm supposed to be calorie counting for a few weeks.

On Sunday evening I made sweetcorn chowder flavoured with lemon thyme from the garden and baked seeded wholemeal bread to dunk in it. As suggested in my River Cottage bread book, I used a ladle of the sourdough starter I've been cultivating for a week. I couldn't tell much difference between these loaves and our usual recipe, but I'm excited to try to bake a proper sourdough loaf at some point.

I'm quite enamoured with my sourdough starter. I've fed it every day for a week and made City Boy smell it frequently. He may or may not have caught me talking to it the other day.

But my weekend wasn't entirely about food - honest. This was the scene on the coffee table this morning.

The beginnings of a little fair isle slouchy hat in tweedy English wool. Actually intended for a Christmas present, but I'll have to see whether I can bear to part with it. I'm currently captivated by the pattern slowly emerging - I seem to have a lot of patience for this sort of slow and intricate knitting at the moment, which isn't always the case.

Yes, it is something new on the needles. No, I haven't finished the orange cardi. But, in my defence, I did get a little closer to the end of it this weekend (I'm now 2 rows round the sleeve away), and I did finish up two other projects.

First, I give you Catkin, a sweet little cape.

I don't yet know if I'm a cape wearer. I hope so. I imagined myself skipping through Autumn leaves with my boots and my cape on. I'm not entirely sure where or when this cape-wearing skipping might occur.

It's knitted in Rowan Scottish Tweed 4ply, which I believe is now discontinued, picked it up in a sale at some point. Blue and grey. It's nice and springy and thick and tweedy for a warm cape, yet light enough that it doesn't drag downwards. The wooden toggles were ordered on eBay - for some reason I knew from the beginning that it would have toggles.

It was a really fun and easy knit - the slipped stitch pattern is great. So much so that I want to cast on another one immediately. Must finish the orange cardi...Must finish the orange cardi...

Friday, 7 October 2011

Baby Alpaca for Baby

I can't get over how cute this is. It makes me want to squeel, and I'm not really a squeeling kind of girl.

I made a baby hat!

Although when I showed it to City Boy I took great delight in telling him it was for our baby, just for the fun of making his blood run cold, it is in fact for the baby of a friend, who's due to make an appearance any time now. She doesn't know what she's having, so I picked green, thinking it was unisex. It actually looks more boyish, so I'll have to make another one if a girl pops out. That's fine, I'm itching to make a few more anyway, but City Boy tells me that's weird. I think he's just concerned I might get broody.

I should have included something in the photos for reference to show how teeny it is. 80 stitches cast on to 3.25mm needles in fingering weight baby alpaca. Knitted in one evening. I had to phone my mum to check babies' heads really are that small. I'm reliably informed that they are, a fact for which I'm told I may be grateful for one day. Hmmm, they're not that small.

I'm wondering whether it needs a pompom or if that would be too much cute?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

An Autumn Evening

Brrrrr, it's cold outside tonight. I just walked home from the station in the dusk, hurrying because I didn't think to take a coat after all the unseasonal warmth we've been having. On Sunday I was swimming in the sea, and this evening I've lit the first fire of the season.

Mia Cat is most perturbed by this development. Last winter, when she was a baby cat she managed to singe her whiskers. She clearly remembers because she shot out the room when I put the fire on. She's back now, but sitting next to me eyeing the fire with suspicion.

The other cat has just wandered in and barely glanced at the fire. Hopefully he doesn't need to learn the same lesson that Mia did last winter. I'm tucked up with my slippers on and my knitting, feeling very autumnul. I'm hoping to cast off on this tonight, but that may be a little ambitious.

Dinner's in the oven - falafels from mixture made earlier and defrosted today - to be devoured in pittas with yoghurt and salad. Roll on autumn - I'm ready now.