Saturday, January 31, 2009

How long?

Oops, has it been so long again? Sorry about that. No excuse this week.

Anyway, this morning, as seems to be the norm on Saturdays when I can have a lie in, I woke up at 5.30. Not good for the bags under my eyes. So I crept downstairs and made some bread and a cake. Well, it was either that or ironing. Hmm. Why didn't I knit instead? Stoopid me.

Postie came calling at 8.00, not with the latest installment of Mystery Blanket yarn, but with a package from Wonder Woman. I won a competition over at her blog and just look what delights arrived...

There's also a knitting book but for some reason that hasn't been photographed. There are some really good things in there though, right up my street! Thank-you so much Wonder Woman - so kind, so generous and so lovely! Wonder how long it will be before Startitis rears its ugly head again. (Have wanted to try this Freedom Spirit yarn for some time. I feel wrist warmers or stripey scarf happening very soon. Or both)

The following 3 pictures are for Monkee Maker. I had a severe reprimand last week for there being no Saturday Pudding. It was a parlous state of affairs and I promised to try and do better this week.

So today you may choose which one to sample.

Chocolate cake with chocolate chunks and Mars Bar icing.

Nigella's Banana and Walnut loaf from the Domestic Goddess book (possibly my most favourite cook book)

Steamed banana and ginger sponge with fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Calories? Pah. Who needs them eh?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Charlotte and Emily

Have you ever had one of these parcels? They are very lovely parcels containing the very loveliest of squishy knitty stuff. It is unfair and even rude to say that Posh Yarn is 'stuff'. But it is very, very gorgeous and if you are a novice to the Sunday Night Scramble, I suggest you settle down for fun one Sunday at 7 pm. It's like the first day of Harrods sale. Show no mercy. Take no prisoners. It's each to their own out there.

And just look at what I managed to grab this week. This is Charlotte - Merino and Silk - in Three Wishes colourway.

And when I first saw this one on the Preview page, I squealed. I actually squealed. It is Emily. My favourite ever of all my many favourites. I have made many things in this yarn. It is as close to perfection as yarn can get. And as we all know, yarn is practically perfect anyway.

Oh those colours. Enough to brighten up any miserable January day.

I have been tempted further by this Queen of Sock Makers into buying this book. As Emily is a perfect yarn, this is a perfect book. The writing, the photos, the patterns, everything. It was described to me as 'Dangerous' and how right is that. I want to give up work. I want to give up cooking, washing, ironing, hoovering (OK, so I wanted to do all that before). I want to stay inside and lock the doors, take the phone off the hook, unplug the telly. I want to knit every single sock (bar one) in the book. And to be quite honest, I have enough sock yarn to do just that!

To complete my rather wonderful few days of loveliness, I have been given an award. I could do the whole Kate Winslet thing, but I shan't (too much knitting to do so must hurry up). Yes. I have been given a Premio Dardos Award.

Is it wrong to admit that I have never heard of this? But it sounds very grand indeed. The Award says - now get this - it “aims to acknowledge the values that every blogger shows in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web”.

I'm really pleased to get this award, I don't understand what it means, but it sounds good. I am naturally quite a modest being. The thought of anybody reading my ponderings on life makes me feel very happy and somewhat humbled.

So I thank you Dee for giving me this award. I curtsy at your graciousness. (And also the cleverness of the hand-spun on your blog today!)

I have to pass this award on to 15 other people. 15? Blimey, that's a lot of people. I couldn't possibly pick 15 though from my list of Blogs I Like from the side. I might upset the ones I leave out. So I won't do that. I love reading all the blogs in my side bar. So I pass it out to everyone there. I'm sure that some of those people don't ever pass this way, so that'll bring it down to the right number won't it?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

No Saturday Pudding - again...

Sorry I've been away for so long, but life has been busy here at The Stash Basket. Having had months of cake free knitting time, the orders are starting to trickle back in.

I used to work for a firm of Ship Brokers in London. I was their cook. It was great fun, working for a bunch of men who were always hungry and who were always appreciative of whatever I made for them.

I have kept in touch with the cook who took over from me (a wonderful lady called Carol who has the most amazing Scouse accent and who drinks like a fish!). Occasionally I get a call from her to make them a cake. This one is for a 65th birthday party tomorrow and I thought you might like to see it being made.

So expect lots of photos today. I have tried to take pictures of each stage.

I normally hate making shaped cakes - so much faffing about and hideous amounts of wasted cake trimmings, but this time it's been different. A tanker is basically a rectangle, so cutting, shaping and icing has not been too bad.

And by some strange fluke, the cake rose fairly evenly without that big dome in the middle that I normally get with square cakes. So there aren't many trimmings (just enough to make a trifle for tea perhaps!)

The board is 20" long just to give you an idea of size.

When Mr Stressy saw these grey wiggly bits he was a little worried that they looked like worms. When I explained that they were waves, he was even more worried. 'They still look like worms to me'.

But when I covered them with icing, he got a better idea of the effect I was after.

Just a few more hours to finish it all off and here is the cake, all done and ready to be delivered.

But then there was a problem with delivery. It had to be in Central London by midday on Monday. So Mr Stressy volunteered to drive it down there himself. On Sunday. Left the house at 7am and is hoping to be back in time to watch eldest son playing football at 1.30 this afternoon.

So today I will be nice to my husband and not call him Stressy. Even though he will be by tonight!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Yes thank-you everyone, I am feeling much better. The wonderful news is that I managed to lose 6lb on Friday and Saturday. Six whole pounds!!!! Damn, I must have been poorly! However, now that I am all better, the 6lbs has reappeared. Bugger.

Much to the relief of my children, I have managed to get back in the kitchen too. Normally on Mondays, I don't know what's for tea until about, ooh, 5.45, but today I had got it sussed yesterday! I bought my ingredients and got myself organised.

Presenting Spicy Pork Burgers with healthy chips. And you know what? For the first time in ages, we ALL had clean plates. Tasty and very cheap. And fruit salad for pudding, which means we were actually healthy too.

For the burgers, take a 400g pack of pork mince (or turkey) and plonk in a bowl. Throw in 2 handfuls of bread crumbs, an egg, 1 teaspoon curry powder, a chicken stock cube, a finely chopped onion (cook it first in a little oil) and salt and pepper. Mix it all up well and divide into 4 (though this would easily make 5/6, we're just greedy!). Flatten into burger shapes and cook in a non-stick frying pan. Serve in warmed bread rolls stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes and some of Kathryn's Spicy apple Chutney (if like me you are lucky enough to have some of this) and healthy chips.

To make healthy chips, peel 4 big potatoes and chop into big chip shapes. Bung in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for about 3 mins then drain. Pour in half a tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, shake pan and tip onto a baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for three quarters of an hour. These are really low in fat and make you feel very smug!

Let me know what you think if you try them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


1. Why is the Noro virus named after a lovely yarn?
2. Why did everyone get this delightful virus before Christmas and it waited until yesterday to attack me?
3. Why can I lose 4lb in one day and then put it back on again very quickly? (life is just not fair!)
4. How come I take my first day off sick for ages and be so poorly I can't even knit? (see above comment about the fairness of life)
5. Why can I diet for a week and only lose 1lb?
6. How can my son go out with his friends and come back with trainers like this when they went out looking brand new? (His are the muddiest ones of course)

There is no Saturday Pudding this week. The mere thought of food makes me go green.

Oh, and here is a cake that was made earlier in the week - thank goodness, could not have done it yesterday or today! (Vegetarians and people against shooting birds look away now)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Here's the last of this month's squares - this one has really dragged, not enjoyed this one so much. Don't really enjoy doing cables, but hey, it's very pretty and was worth it in the end. (I've sewn it onto the blue and yellow 'envelope' one.)

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow, when I start doing some other knitting. Maybe I'll finish something else off before casting on a new project, but then again, maybe not!

Our heating is on the blink - the pump is making a dreadful noise that sounds like the whole house is about to collapse. So I called out the little man and arranged for him to come on Saturday (as in 2 days ago). I explained to the receptionist that it was not the boiler but the pump, so please don't send the boiler man out because he won't be able to fix it. And guess what - yes, she didn't take a blind bit of notice and sent the wrong man out. So the proper man is coming tomorrow. He left a message on the answer machine to tell me that it was an anytime call and I had to be in from 8 until late at night. Hmm. Highly convenient, thank-you very much Mr Pump man.

Oh, and you know what else? The pump is behaving today and is as quiet as, um, something very quiet...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Can of worms...

Well, I seem to have opened a can of worms with this blanket business. I've had lots of comments about why I've decided to knit individual squares and sew them together rather than picking up stitches. Apart from the fact that I never thought of picking up stitches, I quite like sewing together. I don't find this any hardship, I like doing it.

It looks neat enough to me. What do you think? I would be very interested to see how the 'picked up' squares look. I'm beginning to feel that I'm being picked on a bit here because of the way I'm joining my blanket. Just because one way is suggested doesn't mean that it's the right way or the only way.

But perhaps I'm just being over-sensitive.

Anyway, onto the more important things in life. Saturday pudding. Presenting Queen of Puddings. Have you ever made this? If not, I'll let you into a little secret. It's easy, cheap and very yummy!
Put jam in the bottom of a dish, top with a mixture of milk, egg yolk and bread crumbs, bake, top again with meringue, bake again and eat.

So much less stressful than knitting blankets.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yes, another one...

Are you bored yet? There's a whole year to come of pretty squares so I hope not! I have to say that this is my favourite square so far. I love the colours and the simplicity of this one. It looks like an envelope to me and as I really like getting letters, I find this a very happy square.

My last square to make this month has already been cast on. It does not seem as easy and straightforward as this one. In fact it seems about as complicated as the red lacy one. Cables, bobbles and beads, increases and decreases. Send positive vibes please everyone.

I need inspiration for tea tonight - anyone got any great ideas? Wouldn't it be just the height of luxury to have your own cook who could decide what you were going to eat. And then go out and buy all the ingredients. And then make it all for you. And then wash up all the dirty pots.

Dream on Michaela, dream on...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't say I didn't warn you...

I said I'd bore you all silly over this blanket business! Here's the latest square - the troublesome one. I've had real difficulty with this one - mainly because it involved concentration every step of the way. And I don't do concentration! It's very pretty though so I will forgive it!

Monday, January 5, 2009


So here are my first 2 squares for the Mystery Blanket. They are the same size really, it's just my photography that isn't right.

We're just all trying to work out what the theme is - apparently you don't get to find out until a few months into the club. I am now working on (er, struggling with) the next square - lace, cables and beads. It's a hard one (But deep red, so a lovely colour) - even had to frog it once!!!!!

I am quite surprised by how long these little squares actually take. Lots of hours!

Sorry to all you lovely people who comment on this blog. It appears that the spammers have caught up with me ('Jordan Shoes'? Bah - sod off and find someone else to irritate) so I'm having to start using the word verification thingy which I find a bit of a pain. Hopefully jordan won't tell all her mates about me and they'll keep away.

Back to school tomorrow so my knitting time will be drastically reduced. Boo hoo.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Saturday pudding

Well Saturday Pudding was actually blackberry cake and ice cream, but I forgot to take a picture of that. But here's one of Friday's pudding instead. Banoffee Alaska.

Very loosely based on a Baked Alaska. It's clever stuff this, bunging ice cream in the oven... It was also very easy, using left overs - cake trimmings from the freezer, 3 over-ripe bananas, half a tub of 'dulce du leche' ice cream and egg whites lurking at the back of the fridge.

This pudding is nothing short of miraculous. And rather tasty too. Especially covered in cream.... (yes, the diet's going well!)

The knitted squares are coming on well, photos tomorrow...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Progress - of sorts.

I have cast on for the second mitten. I have been good and not let it stay languishing at the bottom of the pile. However, I also picked up Rosedale and played with her for a little while.

Oh these colours. I just love these colours. And stripes. Oh how I love stripes. I don't even mind that there are nearly 200 stitches on the needle and knitting one row takes ages.

BUT. And this is a big BUT. Postie brought me a parcel today. I've joined the Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket Club and parcel number one containing the yarn for the first 5 squares is here. Not just yarn, but beads and buttons too. Look away now if you're in this club and don't want to see the yarn (not everyone has had their parcel yet)

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this. But I am quite excited. I've never knitted with beads before. Never joined a club like this before. Never knitted a mystery anything. This is fun, people!

So I should be ironing. So I should be making tea. So I should be hoovering. So I should be thinking about Saturday Pudding.

But I'm not. I'm going to knit. See you another day when I'm not quite so busy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy New Year everyone - hope you have a good one, healthy and happy with loads of time to knit or sew or generally craft and enjoy life. No stress OK?

Hey look at this great start to 2009 - a finished project already! Well, I suppose it's only half a finished project really, unless I stuff the other hand in a pocket...

I now have the problem though of starting another one - all I really want to do is knit something else. I've made a mitten and need something new for the needles. Rosedale remains unfinished, but I am seriously loving that so might alternate between projects again. Ooh, but then again, my first 'Mystery Blanket' package should be arriving soon, so I'll have lots of new things to cast on then. Decisions, decisions. What's it to be? Rosedale, mitten, blanket (not yet as it's still not arrived), St Dunstans blanket (thanks btw Lesley for the squares sent before Christmas), quiviut scarf or new socks using something from the stash basket?

Do you think I can persuade the family that eating today will not be a good idea? Toast will be much more beneficial to knitting time and their health. And they might even be able to make that themselves without my help!!!

Have you seen this? A lady made a scarf for a 'Secret Santa' type thing and was laughed at and humiliated by her fellow co-workers for being so cheap. Ah little did they know how gorgeous this scarf really was. Anyway, you can sign up to be part of the Scarf's Revenge by modelling the said scarf. Stand up for the rights of the scarf and the humble knitter. Wear the Scarf with pride!