Tuesday, 20 January 2015

This week in my kitchen :: Reclaimed :: No more sand in the sink

It was there, tantalisingly out of reach at the tip of my fingers.  Just when I thought I could grab hold for a big hug it would toddle off like a two year old with a mischievous giggle. 

As the talented craftsmen left the kitchen at night, we would clean and mop and claim the counters and window sills back from the tools and debris. I'd cook supper and wash the dishes and sigh a happy sigh. Next day we'd leave it behind to buy door knobs or hinges, or tootle off to Bristol, the car brimming with boxes of books and kitchen tools for Hannah's new flat. 

That's when the mini revolutions would occur.  More-than-mini volcanoes spewing out more sawdust than you could imagine, making the kitchen look like a 1930's butchers shop. Not just a gentle powdering but full-on Vesuvius's. That was fine, it could soon be swept and mopped again...All part of the process. But the big power tools, the drills and chargers would creep back onto the window sills or the counter top and the nails and bits of dirty wire mingle in with the fish slice or ladle. Maybe I was being impatient and should have waited to re-claim my little domain. 

But the worm turned. There's room for everyone, other surfaces to use, lots of sockets to charge those tools. It feels a bit like a small insurgence.  I am not by nature a fighter but a peacemaker. I choose my battles carefully and even then they are not usually for me, but for someone else. But this weekend after we had cleaned and mopped again and tweaked and painted and filled the cupboards with tea and mugs; pots and pans. We decided that a gentle protest may be required. 

So today I am going to sit tight. At least at the working end of the kitchen. There's room for everyone. Me with my spatula and others with their saws and hammers. No more sand in the sink...

What I've been making in my kitchen this week...

  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Kale and Mushroom lasagne
  • My vegan coconut milk rice pudding with vine fruits and maple  syrup and yoghurt (non vegan)
  • Ob Ghoost, Persian lamb and chickpea broth
  • Pan fried river cobbler with roasted root vegetables, spinach salad and puy lentils
  • hearty tomato soup made with seasonal vegetables and barley
  • spicy cray fish tails with spaghetti and brocolini
  • my version of toss kabab, Persian casserole with tomatoes, potatoes and dried limes. I substituted the requisite lamb with chicken and added capsicum for extra flavour. Serve English style with mashed potatoes and peas. Frozen because I miss them and the season for fresh ones is miles away. 

Oh and have you seen this yet...He's so cute. I can empathise with his dilemma...

What's been happening in your kitchen this week?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

New Year Knitting - Erika Knight mittens for mum

Ooh it's been snowing... The first snow that we've seen here.  Perfect knitting weather.

I love my Dolan berets and don't want to take them off when I come indoors. Sometimes I don't. The grey and the mustard Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester ones were followed by a 'True Navy' one.  A's sister fell in love with it when she came for Christmas, so I made one for her birthday. I've just posted it off today. I think I'll always have one on the needles for someone. 

I've been making cute fingerless mitts from an Erika Knight pattern that you can download free, here. The yarn is also British blue wool, but by Erika Knight. It comes in lovely colours like 'Classic', a gorgeous petrol/grey, in cute little dinky 25g skeins. It is so soft and silky. But any DK weight would work. I've made a classic  pair and a honey coloured pair and now there's a true navy pair on the needles, to match the hat. It's another easy, make-in-an-evening project that would be great for a beginner, or pick-up-and-put-down one for when you're busy. Good for when you're sitting by the computer uploading photos and it's taking so long that it  seems like the snow has got into it's works...Ahem.  Perfect for a Mother's Day gift or stocking fillers...I'm thinking ahead...

...and reading? I'm pouring over Sarah Raven seed catalogues and making mental lists. Imagining the garden billowing with lime green Nicotiana, Sutton's Apricot Digitalis, subtle blue and white Scabious, Ammi visnaga,  and towers of White Lady or Polestar runner beans. 

Knitting next? I'm looking for a sweater to make for A. Something that will knit up quickly and  keep him toasty now that the weather has changed. Maybe in Icelandic lopi wool...but it doesn't have to be...Have you any suggestions? 

Projects: Mittens for mum by Erika Knight 
              Dolan Beret by Leah B Thibault 
Yarn:      Erika Knight British Blue Wool 
              Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester DK 
Ravelry: my ravelry page

joining ginny and nicole

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Christmas catch up...



Wow it's the 7th of January and I haven't even wished you a  happy new year yet. I have missed you but I was poorly with a horrible virus that came just before new year,  muddling up all our lovely plans and making me loose my voice, and sound like Ann Widdecombe when it came back...(Not a good sound.) 

But the Christmas holidays were lovely and busy and full of friends and family. A couple of days before I seriously doubted that I'd even have a kitchen.  But in a cat's whisker things fell into place with beautiful synchrony. Miraculously everyone pulled together giving up their weekends or evenings. They put down oak floors, fitted radiators, the new cooker and our old 1950's school sink. And even though the plaster is still pink and some things are a little unfinished (well actually a lot is unfinished) and the floor tiles didn't get laid in the kitchen or the cupboard doors put on and I was a bit shell-shocked with all the noise and bluster, my sweet neighbours brought me a big bunch of yellow roses to keep me going; it was fine and we were ready for everyone to arrive.

Hannah came the day before Christmas eve and we decorated the tree together. The one we thought we'd never find at such short notice. It was big and wide and beautiful and bright green, and reduced to a quarter of the price because there were only two days left. 

We cleaned and tidied as much as we could, making up beds for everyone to sleep. When they came, we roasted the birds and cooked the vegetables, played games, listened to music and exchanged gifts. We watched the controversial Boxing Day Hunt meet in town and someone mentioned Downton Abbey. Went for walks, ate afternoon tea like Miss Marple would and watched the latest Hobbit movie at the cinema wearing big black 3D glasses. We cooked pizzas and fish and steaks and  spicy Indian scrambled eggs and made this chocolate torte. Everyone helped doing everything, even the washing up. It was so much fun but sad to wave goodbye to everyone.  

Here is wishing a happy, happy new year to you and yours. May 2015 be the  (whoops) better that you could ever hope for...