[Sob !]

My Noro Silk Garden ! – it’s in there, somewhere.

No-one in Australia Post is saying “Oh look: here’s one for that Stringer woman .. put it on the next flight, ’cause she’s been ordering on-line for the last umpteen years !”, like they should !

This is what I get for living in a regional centre.

Shall I be grumpier than ever today ..?

Naah; the weather’s good (I think: it’s dark outside right now ! But it was good yesterday) and I have a Coles delivery arriving this-arvo. I’m ploughing ahead with my “mosaic” crocheted shawl while awaiting my beautiful Noro to be able to start on Michele’s Minerva knitalong .. I just watched Obama’s video in support of Biden and am, as ever, buoyed by the site of he who still represents everything good about government. Can’t be bothered being grumpy today.   :)

My first lentil recipe

I went to a shop that sells bulk foods, a couple of weeks ago, and bought (inter plura alia) half a kilo of small sort of green lentils. Today I decided it was time to cook the little buggers – not the whole ½k ! – and found in my recipe files the following:


Borlotti & Lentil Casserole

Prep: 10’ – Cook: 1 hr 30’ – Servings: 6 portions

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1 red capsicum,finely chopped
  • parsley – stalks chopped fine, leaves rough
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika
  • 2 tsps dried oregano
  • tin chopped tomatoes
  • tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g puy lentils, rinsed
  • tsp Massel vegetable stock powder
  • 3 squares dark chocolate

Instructions

  • In a large casserole heat the oil and add the onion, leek, pepper, parsley stalks, garlic, chilli and spices. Fry gently for 4-5 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture gets too dry.
  • Add the tomatoes, then refill the empty tin with water, tip this into the pan, re-fill it again to half-way and add this too.
  • Tip in the borlottis, lentils, stock cube and chocolate, stir, then bring to the boil.
  • Turn down to low, cover and cook for 1½—2 hours until the lentils are tender and sauce has thickened. Remove the lid for a while if there’s too much liquid. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  • Stir through the parsley just before serving, and top with sour cream.

OK. That’s the recipe and here is my dinner a little while ago:

See the sort of hazy part inside the right-hand top quadrant ? – that’s steam.   :)

Because I’m strange, I had it with couscous rather than rice; and I can tell you from my own somewhat gluttonous experience that it tastes very nice indeed !

HOWEVER ! See what I put in red text ? – the cooking time ? Well, I dunno what lentils are like where this recipe comes from (and I have zero memory of where I found it), but my small more-or-less-green lentils were perfectly cooked in half an hour ! So please keep in mind – should you, like me, like the sound of lentils and borlottis together – to keep tabs on your cooking time, yes ?

And if you do, you’ll derive as much enjoyment from this yummy and healthy vegetarian meal as I did. And will ..

WIPs are multiplying like rabbits   :(

It took me forever to finish another cardi; and as I ran out of wool I was obliged to crochet the drop-shoulder sleeves out of a much darker blue. In trying to provide an (unspoken) excuse, I used the same darker blue to edge around the whole thing. End result: wearing it, I look as if I have peripheral artery disease of the arms. Sighh ..

I was stuck doing this bloody thing for so long that when I finally finished it I instantly began on something entirely different to excise the V-stitch from my mind: having found a very appealing afghan square that a crocheting Pom I admire, the inexhaustible Dora Does, had come up with, I started in on that.

I call it ‘my bed of nails’. Imagine a whole afghan of these squares !   [grin]

But then, I was completely sidetracked by coming across a faaabulous scarf/shawl created by the talented Icelander, Tinna Thorudottir Thorvaldar. She based her design on her idea of a tartan; but it’s open to endless variation. I have begun this, too – 297-stitch chain !

I’m expecting – nay, hoping for, rather – a delivery of Noro Silk Garden on Tuesday morning; this I was informed by Australia Post would be delivered last Thursday ! Pfuh ! The porpoise of the Noro is a knit-along on the site of Michele Lee Bernstein, of whose work, too, I am an admirer.

From Michele’s site I’m going to learn how to knit entrelac without using several different balls of yarn at once ! I already know how to make tunisian crochet entrelac, and have a photo of a swatch I did to show my eldest sister of an array of blues:

by which she was unimpressed, thank all the gods. I mean, all those ends ..

Unlike Hannah, who thrives on WIPs by the dozen, they only make me feel stressed. I have decided that although I’m now well in to the other two, it’s Michele’s entrelac I shall actually make my next project. WHEN I lay hands on my wool.   [grump grump ..]

We use the term W(ork)I(n)P(rogress) largely to mean something sitting somewhere not being worked on, do we not ? Or is it meant to describe everything that’s actually been started but not finished, including the one we’re working on ..?

Boodie on the wander

Looks like a little angel. Is actually a very small monster .. Well, OK, not that bad; but he was making my life a misery with wanting to escape. And then he found out how. Did my best to prevent it, but couldn’t block up the escape route. For a while I was intending to spend a painful amount of money on having a professional bit of cat-fencing-in done (which would’ve brought his cost, so far, to over $2,000, what with the vet fees); but before that came about, the solution did !

After yet another escape, I simply gave up. I opened the front door and went about whatever I was doing at the time. Boodie was back in an hour or two; rushed about excitedly and went out again. Came back in half an hour. Repeated the activity, and returned in about ten minutes. From then on I didn’t bother about anything: I knew that there was nothing to bother about.

Last night for the first time he went out into the dark before I’d gone to bed. I decided not to panic when he didn’t return for half an hour, and shut everything down, including myself; but I left my bedside light on.

At some stage he leaped onto my stomach from the ground – fairly likely to wake me up – and settled down to sleep. At some other stage he went out again. When he woke me up this-morning, the dent in the duvet told me he’d been asleep there for a good long while.

Made my teeny adorable cat happy. Stopped myself from being driven mad. Saved almost $700.

Yes, I do know cats are not meant to be outside at night for fear of their eating the local wildlife; but there isn’t any around here – except one very large goanna, which would in all likelihood eat Boodie in any confrontation – but he is not a confrontational moggy – and this is a very singular environment. I like it so much, here at MACS; and now I like it even more.

This is me being helpful, see ..?

Phil, the gasp-making knitter I posted about some days back, has herself posted about re-growing vegies – one of her many “gardening” activities (inverted commas to divide this one from those where she is actually out in the garden). Definitely worth reading, as it’s couched within writing about knitting !

This is of great interest to me: buying seeds is fairly expensive; and the whole process fraught with the difficulty of dealing with flying or crawling or hatching pests.

So I draw your attention — in the event that you, too, should wish to have in your kitchen some vegies that are much easier to produce than are their seeds alone — to this YouTube video.

You’ll find that it actually IS helpful, once you can get your head around the mechanically- (I s’pose I should say ‘electronically-‘) produced voice-over .. I find these largely entertaining, as they’re generally appalling with phrasing: I’ve heard some that have so puzzled me as to prevent comprehension of some sentences; but this one isn’t as bad as that. Promise.

OK, that’s it – my contribution to the Covid-19 time-filling agenda.

:)

This made me laugh like an idiot (shut up !)

I do like all the Covid-19 memes and jokes and spoofs that are going about: they often make me laugh – A Very Good Thing, eh ?

But this one ! – it was meant for a crochet site, so mine will have to do:

I laugh every time I look at it !   :D

And here’s another one, that’s just nice:

Whaddya reckon, eh ?   :)

P.S.: you probably need this – I did !

A rave about a blogger

There is a Pom up there in the country where Spring is happening who has a blog called “The Twisted Yarn”.

She is without peer in her field – mostly because her field is not small. Phil is a truly expert knitter, hence my choice of category; but she has a wonderful garden in which she does wonderful things; she has 9-y-o twins (“the twinnage”) upon whom she dotes in a practical manner; she has an almost tame robin (“Robyn”) who consumes meal-worms with an appetite more than merely voracious and is fast becoming tame; she takes photos to die for; and more than any of that she has a sense of humour that is immensely appealing and, to me, satisfying because I recognize it.   :)

She is compiling a book. This is not one iota surprising because her knitting prowess is amazing; but it IS amazing when considering how much she manages to fit into her life.

I hope that anyone reading this will take the time to check out Phil(ippa)’s blog: it is so very worth it that you will thank me.

:D

I told you she’s an expert !

 

Here I go again ..

.. and I hear no trumpets blowing, even though my coming across a (to me) new and impressive knitting stitch is very exciting !

(It’s actually a stitch that’s very probably been around since knitting began !)

Pleasing. Monocolour. Large needles and medium weight wool.

Horrible. Monocolour. Needles far too big and totally unsuitable yarn.

To die for. This kind of extremely short colour-change wool is perfect, with small needle size.

None of them is mine. Here’s all I’ve done so far:

The usual quality of photo (what else ?) with edge lighting confusing the image. Sport weight pure wool, 3.25 needles. Coming along well ..

Does that help ? Probably not. Sighh ..

ANYWAY. Linen stitch is exactly like material, from which fact comes its name. It isn’t reversible, meaning that the back is different: looks like an incredibly neat moss stitch.

Lots of pros and 2 cons:

  1. My sample is 20 rows ! – imagine the time it would take to knit a long scarf ..
  2. The stitch requires (from me, at least) concentration: it’s easy to suddenly fall out of sync.

But I’d never done it before, and now I have.

:D

 

 

My music: the little clever fellers

When I say “clever”, I mean that these two blokes wrote (write ? – that I don’t know) songs that were wonderfully melodious and appealing, but also meaningful. I refer to two of my favourites who were both big stars in the ’70s but are still writing and performing – Paul Simon and Paul Williams.

(The “w.m. and a.” part could be truly applied to, say, “What a day for a daydream”, but certainly not the “m.”, for instance ..)

Whereas Simon’s career has been that of an absolutely successful and admired around the world musician,

as indicated by his official website (link behind screengrab), Paul Williams’ career has been much more varied,


as is clear from his website (link also provided behind screengrab).

Paul Simon has performed his own compositions I believe exclusively – that is, in terms of actual recordings, anyway. Some of those I love most are:

One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor

Loves me like a rock

— which are from the album “There goes Rhymin’ Simon”; and also

50 ways to leave your lover

Have a good time

both from “Still crazy after all these years” album, and I delight in the title track.

The ’60s and ’70s weren’t just rock, not by any means: in fact it was during those two decades that some of the loveliest songs ever written in the ‘pop’ genre (which is to say, music listened to by the youth of the day) were released.

Two of Paul Williams’ most haunting tracks are

Evergreen – an Academy Award winner !, and

The Rainbow Connection. Now THERE’s a novel version .. or not really – the song is Kermit’s, after all.

Williams has written so many wonderful songs that I can’t possibly enumerate them; but “Rainy days and Mondays”, “Out in the Country” – yesss ! Three Dog Night recorded it !, “Someday man”, “Ordinary Fool” – dozens and dozens of examples of beautiful music with terrific lyrics. If I don’t link to them it’s only because I know I would immediately wish I’d mentioned different songs.

But here’s one from Randy Newman written about Paul Williams ! You will soon learn why .. [grin] It’s a great song, btw, and you’ll enjoy it, I think. As to why Newman wrote this song .. you have only to listen to the lyrics of Williams’ Do you love me babe ? ..

So my use of the adjective “clever” should now be clear: these are men almost without peer in their industry, and they deserve all the accolades their fans heap on them.

Easy on the heat, this time

Can it be true ?, they all cried: she’s posting ANOTHER recipe ? What is wrong with this woman ? – why can she not be stopped ?!

Heh heh .. because I’m on a roll re cooking at this time. But I will have to stop as of tomorrow, for there is zero space in my freezer. (And to be brutally honest, I don’t even know if what’s already in there will all re-heat entirely edibly ! But I’m pretty confident ..)

Today I present for your delectation the recipe I didn’t make when I said I would, but only the night before last ..

Oh, before I forget:

THESE are shallots !
Whereas these are spring onions,

SLIGHTLY SPICY PEANUT STEW

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into ½” dice
  • 1 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp chilli
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (use peanut if you have it)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5cm ginger, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced small
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • smallest can tomato paste
  • can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup unsweetened peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1 large-ish zucchini, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced ¾”
  • 2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
  • ½ cup coarsely-chopped parsley, plus some for garnish

PREPARATION

  • In a large pot, heat 3 tbsps oil, medium-high heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring often, until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a bowl, leaving oil in pot.
  • Raise heat to high and add eggplant (probably some more oil as well). Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shallots.
  • Add oil to pot and heat over medium-high: add ginger and chilli and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  • Add all spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more.
  • Add onion and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  • Add diced tomatoes, stock, eggplant and shallots and a sprinkling of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.
  • Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add one or two ladles of the hot liquid, and stir until emulsified, then pour mixture back in.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, add zucchini, cover and cook 10—15’, until it’s tender.
  • Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and chopped parsley. Let cool slightly and taste; add salt if necessary.
  • Serve in bowls with rice, garnished with parsley (and chopped peanuts, if you like).

I must be honest about this recipe: it is not the easiest or least finicky I’ve made. I did promise only to post simple recipes, amongst which this one isn’t entitled to be listed.

HOWEVER ! Whilst I did not even eat it on the night it was cooked, but left it sitting there overnight and then divided it into containers and glommed the contents of one down last night, I am here to tell you that it is REALLY, REALLY DELICIOUS !!

So I s’pose that boils down to saying that the end justified the means; or, basically, that it was very much worth it !    :)

Yes, it’s another chilli – but even healthier !   :)

I can’t seem to get enough chilli recipes to keep me happy !

Friday night ago I had 2 friends to dinner and fed ’em a chilli based on Quorn mince – which recipe is, I promise you, DELICIOUS ! The Quorn simply provides .. well, bulk, really; it doesn’t make you think you’re eating meat (even if the manufacturers would like that). But on the other hand, were it real mince in that chilli, you wouldn’t be aware of the taste of meat – if you see what I mean.

I forgot to take a shot of it.

Anyway. Last night, having made my friend S (yes, the one who monsters me about my crochet) take me to the 7am to 8am elderlies’ shopping hour at Coles and then, having discovered the largely empty shelves, go shopping for me elsewhere, I was in the happy position of having the ingredients of no less than FOUR major meals – so I made the first on my list.

Apart from the somewhat mucky state of the sides of the dutch oven, does that not look good ?? – so I provide herewith ..


MULTI-BEAN CHILLI

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped small-ish
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 medium onion (or 2 small), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (mine is, like, hot)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • can diced tomatoes including juice
  • can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 125g tomato juice / passata
  • salt

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the carrots, capsicums, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the chilli, chilli powder and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  • Add canned tomatoes and all three beans, tomato juice, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil ..
  • .. then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the flavours are blended, about 40’. If it begins to look too dry add some water (see below) as needed.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings.

To be noted: be aware of the strength of whatever chilli powder you have !!! The recipe actually requires a tablespoon of chilli powder (ACK !), but I was wise ..

As you can see, there’s no bulk liquid in the ingredients. I found I needed to add more passata; and I also filled the emptied tomatoes can with water and added some of that.

Having stuffed my face last night with this yummy chilli, I found that this-morning it tastes even better (no, not chilli for breakfast: just tasting while putting into containers for the fridge) ! But I shall ignore it for a bit; because tonight I’m making Slightly Spicy Peanut Stew !

FO from a few weeks ago

A VERY big cardigan ..

This was the WIP I posted about before. I am somewhat embarrassed to put photos of it in my post, as I clearly remember raving about the yarn colour/s.

Ahem.

Well, I’m always ready to admit to my mistakes.

Meant to show the ‘cabling’ better, but another fail !

I’m sort of pleased with it, inasmuch as it’s an FO .. and I intend to wear it out in the cold weather, in spite of my friend S who reckons it’s for inside only.   [grin]

And btw, it’s meant to be that long !

See ?