Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Not Knitting but Cooking

Whilst (almost) everyone else was at Ally Pally this weekend, my husband decided it was time to make the Christmas Mincemeat. Since I was a child I have had an aversion to Mince Pies and would not eat them. By the time I was an adult I could just about manage to eat a small one politely without gagging but other than that - YEEEEUUUUKKK!
In the early 1990s Delia did her 'Christmas' series and I was hooked (I had serious cookery ambitions then). In the book is a recipe for Mincemeat with Delia's comment that 'once you've tried it, you'll never go back to shop bought Mincemeat'.......
That year I made an enormous amount of her recipe and then used ready made pastry to make Mince Pies. Everyone who tried one said they were delicious and my husband fell in love - not with me, with the Mince Pies. Encouraged by the flattery, I tried one myself and do you know what? They aren't my favourite food but they were actually edible without gagging - I too was in love with the Mince Pies.
Shop bought Mincemeat and Mince Pies are sickly sweet and for the most part, textureless gloop with too much filling in proportion to the pastry - Mr Kipling and Supermarket Own label being the worst offenders. Home made mincemeat is sweet but not overpowering and is full of Christmassy flavours, it retains all the texture of the ingredients and there is hardly any liquid in it - fabulous stuff. Delia was right, we've never gone back to shop bought Mincemeat and it's been 15 years now.
Anyway, it's normally MY job to make the Mincemeat and the Pies but last year I bought a new Food Processor and Husband decided to MAKE THE PASTRY HIMSELF - yes really! Every weekend he would whip up a new batch of pastry and bake some more pies......This year, he decided he would make the Mincemeat as well and sent me out on a shopping expedition for all the ingredients, oh and 'get me two new bun tins as well - the old one is rusty and I need more than one'. Typical man, can't do anything by halves - has to start his own Mince Pie factory instead.
He started weighing out the ingredients with our younger son, but after a while the child was bored and sloped off to watch TV. Then he decided he couldn't work the zester so got me zesting and juicing lemons and oranges whilst he sloped off the to shop for almonds......Needless to say I ended up finishing the Mincemeat. It's made now - complete with a very large slug of Brandy and is 'maturing' until the weekend when, I'm pretty sure, husband won't be able to leave it alone and will start making Mince Pies.
We have also been tempted to make our own Christmas Pudding this year - good ones are really expensive considering what's in them and the Times last week had some good links to recipes for microwaving them, thus avoiding the 6-8 hour steaming process which has always put me off. I'll let you know how we get on this weekend with that project!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

I hate Ally Pally

no not really, I'm just jealous. I went online yesterday in search of some luxury yarn for my SoSeSaSwa partners but every store I went to had cleared out their online inventory in order to take it all to Ally Pally!
There's nothing in my stash that I am prepared to part with so I am stuck until everyone updates their shops after the weekend - how cruel is that?

P.S. was trying to knit mittens for Operation Christmas Child last night but I've lost my sewing up needle again......ARGH!!!!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Busy Doing Nothing

Well it feels like I am anyway. I could write a very long list of all the tedious little things I have been doing over the last week or so, but you wouldn't be interested, really you wouldn't. I have been VERY busy frogging though
First I cast on for these
And frogged them when I realised my palm was wider than the glove
And frogged again when I realised that the start of the fingers was way too low
And frogged for the final time when I realised that the fingers were going to be too short and that I really couldn't accommodate all these differences into the pattern because I don't get enough thinking time.
My question now I get three lots of Frogging Points on Knit Wars or just one?

Fresh from my success at Glove Knitting I moved on with enthusiasm to Corsica and after completing a swatch I plunged straight in to knitting the cabled waist panel. Each pattern repeat is supposed to be 4.5 inches wide and 6 inches long. Mine were 4.5 inches wide and 4 inches long!!! I frogged back to the beginning and started again - managed to get the length up to 5 inches per repeat. Frogged again and cast on with bigger needles - now I have 5.75 inches and I'm going to have to make do with that. I'm completely fed up with the damn cabling pattern now and can't wait to finish the waist band and move on to the rest of the sweater.
How many frogging points do I get for this?

And finally, they say troubles always come in threes, so here is my third knitting disaster of the week - Danbyholm. I'll add a photo or two shortly (issues with the camera and the USB ports again) but lets just say that although the finished sweater is a thing of true beauty on the hanger, once I put it on my body it looks fugly.....I cannot bear to wear it, the sweater will have to be frogged........more Knitwars points for me!