Monday, June 30, 2008


I seem totally incapable of looking 'normal' on a photo. But then I always seem to look like this, so perhaps this is normal for me. Oh dear oh dear! Anyway, here I am wearing the Aleita shell which I've just finished. And you know all those bad things I said about it? I've actually decided that I was wrong and I really quite like it after all. So I look bigger than I would like, but then if I stopped eating all the 'bad' things, then I would be thinner. So it's my fault, not the poor tank top's.

Greedy pig, that's me.

It hasn't helped that today in school we had loads of very over-ripe bananas. Do all junior schools have this free fruit scheme? Well, due to some incompetent person giving out apples last Friday instead of bananas (er, oopsie, that'll be me then) we had 150 very brown and spotty smelly bananas. Some were salvageable and were duly eaten, whilst others were beyond all hope. So not liking wastage of any sort, I brought them home and spent my afternoon off in the kitchen.

Now I know I've promised not to go on about food again, so I won't show you any photos. But imagine if you will the wonderful smells emanating from my kitchen as I made white chocolate and banana muffins, banana loaf, strawberry and banana choc chip ice cream, banana and rhubarb jam (I kid you not, it's strange to say the least!) and in an effort to be healthy, strawberry and banana smoothies. Most of the cakey stuff has to go back into school tomorrow as my penance for messing up the fruit, but the ice cream is definitely staying here!

Anybody fancy some strange jam? Warren?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saturday pudding

Lemon Meringue Pie.

I know we've had this one before quite recently, but the boys requested it again.

Can't stop, I have some knitting to do - trying very hard to get Aleita shell finished for tomorrow. But being very realistic here, it won't happen. Slow knitter here with other stuff to do (like feeding the family, ironing, washing, etc etc...)

But before I go, let me leave you with this - has anyone else seen this pattern (scroll down below the pegs) ? If so, why didn't you tell me about it? I love it and if it wasn't for this blooming yarn diet, I'd be ordering the yarn straight away. This will be top of the list in Ally Pally.

Friday, June 27, 2008

WIP Week - Day 4

Aleita shell from Interweave Knits. What can I say? If it wasn't for the facts that
1. I don't frog and
2. I don't think this yarn would be happy at being frogged
I would frog this right here and now.

I don't like the pattern, the complicated decreases are doing my head in and I've ignored this for so long I have no idea where I am with it. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I will look enormous wearing it. (Horizontal stripes are never such a good idea are they?)

The only good thing about this is the yarn - Posh Yarn's Camel. I can see it being very useful in the winter at football matches when I have stand for 2 hours freezing at the side of a wet and windy football pitch.

Must force myself to finish this. In fact I may very well not let myself knit anything else all weekend just to see if I can get it done. OK then, there's my goal. Come back on Monday to see if I've been strong in my resolve!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A cake interrupts WIP Week

So last night I was supposed to be ironing, decorating a cake and knitting some of yesterday's WIP. But I got side tracked as I so often do and ended up not ironing or knitting. Had to finish the cake though. This is going to be a raffle prize for my mum to give to their local church - all ready to have a suitable message iced on the top just in case the winner wants it for a special occasion. (Mustn't forget to put ribbon round the board)

But the real reason that I didn't get much of anything done was that I blog browsed. I spend too much time on this machine as it is and can ill afford to spend hours 'playing'. But play I did last night and amongst many other blogs, I found this absolute gem. What a lovely thing to read, and what beautiful photos. The pictures of the gin yesterday made me run to the cupboard and pour myself one (sadly no lime though Mrs Magpie).

So let me know will you, have you found any new blogs out there lately - new to you that is? And isn't it about time we all started up a petition to Monkee Maker to come back soon? She's had long enough off!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WIP Week - Day 3

Day three brings another sock which has been on the needles for a very long time - high time it was done (yet again have the second one to do). Not sure how much I'll get done of this today though as I have a cake to decorate tonight and a pile of ironing to attack.

I've been on a Food Hygiene course today. With all the new rules and regulations, it makes you wonder how we ever survived before anti-bacterial sprays were invented. Surely this is all a vicious circle - we use more anti-bac stuff, the bacteria become more resistant, so we have to use stronger anti-bac stuff. Surely if we had just left well alone we'd not be in the mess we're in now would we?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WIP Week - Day 2

Today's UFO is my wonderful Trudie. I just love this and really must get round today to starting on sleeve number 2. Laid out flat like this, she looks very wide and quite short, but hopefully the fabulous drapiness (made up word?) might make her fit like I'm a tall slender super model. Yeah right, Michaela, dream on.

I managed to finish the sock from yesterday - hardly surprising as there was only 10 rows left - and cast on for the second one. Sadly though I fell asleep and didn't get any further than the rib. When I woke up there was a good film on - The Bone Collector - a bit scary (I don't usually do scary) but since it had the perfect Denzel Washington in, I felt obliged to stay up late just for him. It was a bit too scary in places though, so I spent most of the time holding the remote control changing channels, rather than holding the knitting needles! And tonight I'll be so tired from last night that I'll just end up falling asleep again.

Briefly on the subject of films, anyone have any good recommendations for me? My Amazon rental list is getting low and needs topping up. Am I the only person in the world who hated Atonement by the way?

Monday, June 23, 2008

WIP Week - Day 1

Feeling very guilty about the lack of knitting that's been going on lately, so I have decided to really get down and do some this week. So I bring you 'WIP Week'. Feel free to join in if you wish!

Every day I will concentrate on one WIP in the rather vague attempt to get something finished. Never having been the sort of person to just have one thing ongoing, I like to chop and change. So first up this week is Yarn Harlot's Sock Recipe using the delicious yarn that Ring a Rosie sent to me. I think the colours are very much suited to my sister in law, so I suspect a Christmas Present may very well be nearly half-way done. (SIL having 2 legs, unfortunately, meaning that I have the dreaded second sock yet to make).

And yes, I really did say Christmas Present. We have now officially passed the longest day (although the weather was so horrible we didn't even notice) so it's all downhill from now on. The nights are closing in, summer will soon be over before it's even begun and Sainsbury's will start selling tinsel and mince pies.

Life. It goes so fast as you get older doesn't it?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Pudding.

Chocolate roulade filled with white chocolate and strawberry cream.

I've had to quickly make this while the boys are at a football tournament. It's chucking it down with rain (whatever happened to Flaming June?) and I have now got to go and relieve husband. He needs to come back home and do his weekend jobs, me having completed mine gets to watch football in the rain. Whooppee doo!

This will be the last foodie post all week I promise. It will be all about knitting next week, and I hearby pledge to post more than once or twice!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This blog is fast turning into a food report rather than knitting - which it was originally supposed to be. Back to that another day, first we need to talk jam.

I went to Sainsburys yesterday and found a big box of strawberries for only 99p. They were going a bit mushy, so I decided to make jam. Rather than plain old strawberry, I wanted to try something a bit different, so bought a packet of frozen summer fruits. Home-made jam is such fun to do, so easy and makes the house smell so good, I urge you all to have a go.

3 ingredients in my jam - 1lb of strawberries, 1lb of frozen summer fruits, 2lb bag of sugar (I always use the sugar with added pectin - in the red bag).

Put the frozen fruit in a big pan and heat very gently until the juice starts to run out. Cut the stalks off the strawberries and chop each berry in half. Add to the pan and raise the heat until boiling.

Pour in the bag of sugar and stir until dissolved. If you don't stir, the sugar will burn, your jam goes black and it all tastes horrid. Then raise the heat even higher and let the jam get to a 'rolling boil'. This is what a rolling boil looks like - you can stir like mad, but it won't go back down.

After a few minutes doing this, test for a set. Take a spoonful of jam and place on a cold plate, leave for a minute, then drag your finger through the jam (try not to burn yourself!). If it wrinkles the jam will set, if not, boil for another couple of minutes and re-test. When ready, take off the heat and leave for 5 minutes. This stops any fruit rising to the top and makes it much more even looking in the jar.

Pour your jam into hot clean jam jars, put the lids on and wait until cold. If you possibly can.

If you possibly can't, then make some scones while it cools and eat warm scones, warm jam and cold whipped cream.

Believe me, every single calorie will be worth it and you will wonder why you ever bought jam in the first place when it's this easy to make.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another pudding!

I decided to be kind and make a Sunday pudding as well this weekend, it being Father's Day and all. It was a sort of cheesecake, with chocolate, of course. And it tasted quite nice. In fact, there's some left, so I'm off for a slice - anyone else fancy some? OK then Kerrie, I'll get the kettle on, see you soon....

(Today I feel the need to make jam - photos tomorrow, might even share the recipe if it works out!)

(Ah yes, then I'm going to knit - hoping to finish Trudie this week. Ever the Optimist!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wedding Cake and Saturday Pudding

Bride wanted a very plain cake so she could fit fresh roses between the tiers and have an arrangement of roses on top as well. Hope it's ok for her - I made her sister's cake some years ago and that was more elaborate - pale blue flowers and cornflowers (made by me). Far prettier, but I suppose this will look pretty with the flowers on. At the moment it just looks unfinished. Which it is.

Very blurred picture of the detail round the side (I made the pearls too).

And lastly on this very brief post, Saturday Pudding. A very English one today - Rhubarb Fool, with rhubarb fresh from the garden. Even eldest son, who apparently hates rhubarb, guzzled this one down. Yum, yum, yum, for my big fat tum!

Just must quickly add this - since the sadly missed departure of the totally insane Monkee Maker, here is another nutcase blogger - this post made me laugh so much. The woman is crazy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Plain cake.

It's very difficult when a complete stranger phones up and asks for a Wedding Cake. I was told that a friend is doing a decoration for the top, the bride doesn't want anything too fussy and wants orange flowers round the cake. And that was it. That's all she said. Oh and she doesn't want to spend too much either. It really is not easy. But this is what I've come up with.

Got a 3 tier Wedding cake to concentrate on tonight, then hopefully it's soon back to the knitting. (In my mind I have cast on so much from my new book, but haven't had chance to really cast on yet!)

And on a very p***ed off note, whilst this lady is very happy with her postman, I am very cross with Royal Mail in general. Remember the felted jumper blanket I made for the tutorial? Well I posted it to a lady who has been very kind in donating huge quantities of wool jumpers to use in school. Sent over 2 weeks ago first class, it STILL hasn't arrived. I am seriously thinking it is now lost. Very not pleased Royal Mail. Very not pleased at all.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Haven't shown you a picture of Trudie for a while, so I thought you'd like to see how she's coming on. Back and one front finished (well apart from an inch of the front). I love the way it's going, such lovely swingy yarn - I want to knit more with this! It winds up beautifully, feels so luxurious and is, I think, quite a bargain considering you're getting 100g of pure hand-dyed silk. And I personally know the people who dye this stuff, and believe me, they are every bit as lovely as their yarn!

But I am feeling a bit ill at the moment. Startitis is very bad. Quite the most severe case I have EVER had. And that's saying something. You see, I ordered this book and oh dear oh dear oh me. It is wonderful, there are probably only 3 things in it that I don't want to knit. (What is with that lace peignoir thing?). I have the yarn in the stashbasket for many of the projects and can feel myself slipping under the cover of the book just to check on my tensions.... And just incase you too might be tempted, The Book Depository offer free delivery to anywhere in the world.

There really is no hope for me.

I have absolutely no will power.

I am a bad, bad woman.

(No, I am a good, good woman with a slight yarn, book and casting on problem.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Pudding - and a cake

Following your suggestions, I decided to amalgamate a few ideas. I loved the idea of yours Marianne though, make a big rice pudding so I could knit! Sadly I'm the only one who likes it. No, I love it. Really love it. To the point of being greedy! This pudding is adapted from one of Phil Vickery's recipes - Crunchie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. It's a lemon cheesecake, with chunks of Crunchie in - you chop up a crunchie into chunks, coat each chunk in melted chocolate and then mix them into the cheesecake mixture. Topped with chocolate strawberries.

I can hardly wait until pudding time tonight. I licked the bowl and let me tell you, it's bloody good stuff. Calories? Yes, quite a few, but hey, why not eh? You've got to eat something to survive haven't you. Can't fade away. Must build up my strength for the Wii Fit!

Made another cake too. Similar I know to the last one I showed you, but it was easier to make a job lot of yellow roses. Fancy being married for 50 years. Blimey, if I ever get that far, I will need a very big medal!

Enjoy your Saturday everyone. I'm off to work up an appetite for pudding!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ideas please!

Eldest son and husband are all out at a football tournament tomorrow. Yippee!!!! So I've got the day to myself. Any requests for Saturday pudding? Anything you fancy looking at? I've just been to Sainsbury's so my cupboards are all bulging with goodies waiting for the perfect recipe. (But with the disasters that seem to accompany every Saturday pudding, it may not be the perfect result!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Swap package

Love my Postie! Ages ago Lucy Locket persuaded me to go in for her mini quilt swap. I was a bit wary, thinking that a mini quilt was suitable for a single bed not a double! I'm so glad I got persuaded though, as I got my package today from Lucy herself. There is the most wonderful card, full of all things baking orientated and 3 pressies all wrapped up in cupcake paper. It took a great deal of self-restraint not to rip these open straight away, but to look for the camera first.

I have been sent a beautiful brooch, a very useful notebook to keep in the kitchen - Lucy how did you know that I never ever ever have a piece of paper to hand in the kitchen? And then there's my quilt.

It's me! Did you get that I was shouting and squealing very loudly then? I just adore my little quilt. It's going to hang up in my kitchen. Thank-you so very much Lucy. It is perfect! (Hope you'll be doing one of these swaps next year!)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Those of you who know me know that I don't do exercise. I hate it - always have. The PE teacher at school knew that I was a lost cause and often used to let me sit out, sit inside or generally do anything except attempt (and always fail) to hit the tennis ball, get the netball in the net, climb the ropes etc etc. I just hated it! I even joined the Red Cross just so I could get out of Sports Day and man the First Aid post instead!

I once went on some lessons to learn golf - 10 lessons of 2 hours each. And at the end, I still couldn't hit the ball. Never saw the point of golf anyway - why hit a tiny ball with a thin stick, walk miles to find it and then hit the darn thing again?

No, me and exercise just don't hit it off!

But then we got one of these. A Wii Fit . And you know what? It's fantastic!

I must point out that those beautiful legs are not mine! I wish!

This is my eldest skiing on it. I'm not too good at skiing, but love the jogging, hula-hooping and steps exercises. I'm apparently a 'Yoga Master' too and am now able to touch my toes for the first time in years!

It weighs you every day and tells you how much you need to lose (or gain - ha, ha, ha) according to what you tell it. I said I wanted to lose 2lb in 2 weeks, thinking that was quite achievable. I have exercised on it every day for an hour, cut right down on the chocolate and biscuits and eaten loads of fruit.

And you know what? I've put on 2 lb.

Bugger this exercise lark, I'm going to eat what I want and revert to being a couch potato from now on!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Saturday pudding

Oops, sorry, but due to very high stress levels at the Stashbasket, I forgot to take a picture of our pudding. Yesterday was not a good day.

But the sherry trifle was very delicious and I ate it all up. (Well, I didn't eat all of it, I had help from Mr Stressy himself.)