cookie monster!

Well I did end up making ciabatta this weekend. The holes weren’t quite as big as the last time I made it but I did notice the dough was not as wet this time either. I also used the traditional bigga instead of my sour dough starter. It is still light, airy and delicious!

It went lovely with harira, a Moroccan soup, that we had last night. It is a nice thick soup, almost stew like, and is full of flavour. It is supposed to be made with lamb but since we have so much beef we used a hunk of stewing beef from our freezer.

I ripped out what I had done on the Dashing fingerless mittens. The cuffs were far too long for what I would need and I most likely would never wear them. So I’m adjusting the pattern so that the cuffs are smaller and I am also adding a thumb gusset.

I also had a craving for cookies last night so I made us some chocolate chip cookies with milk and semi-sweet gourmet chocolate chunks (Sobey’s was featuring them once upon a time). Here is a picture of a not so elusive cookie monster eating one.

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quick knits and chicken

The knitting has slowed a bit since we moved but it has not stopped. I am making good progress on the Leaving sweater’s front but I have a hole in my knitted garments that needs to be filled especially if the weather is going to be warming up a bit but not enough. I have decided to cast on a pair of fingerless mittens for those days where it is too warm for mittens but too cold to go without anything on the hands. It is the Dashing pattern and it is made with aran weight wool which means for a pretty quick knit. Perfect for a “I want to finish something quickly” mood.

Last night I decided to experiment with a new recipe from Cooks Illustrated for Peruvian Garlic-Lime Roast chicken. It turned out delicious. The skin was crispy and the meat including the chicken breasts were juicy and flavourful (the marinade is also rubbed onto under the skin of the chicken). The recipe recommends a vertical roaster (which I don’t have and have no intention of running out to buy) but the thing I am starting to like about Cooks Illustrated is they will usually give you a an alternative that you are likely to have in the kitchen. In this case it was a tall boy can of beer half empty.

The key to juicy meat and crispy skin is cooking it at two different temperatures (it’s what Cooks Illustrated told me and now that I’ve done it I believe it). The first bake is at 325F for almost an hour. You then take the chicken out of the oven and crank it up to 500F. Once the oven has finished pre-heating add a little water to your baking dish so the drippings don’t smoke and put it back in for about 20 minutes. Sean and I agree that this is going to become a popular favourite as it has a lot of flavour and a nice spicy kick! 

Today we are making some ciabatta as we are going to get back into making bread once a week (and by we I mean I will make it and Sean will eat a good portion of it). Hopefully I will remember to take a picture. I will leave you with picture of some lovely tulips Sean brought home his week.

Sweaters in progress

I have noticed as of recent I always need to have a sweater on the needles. Usually one for me and one for Sean. Sweaters did not use to be my first pick to knit but there are so many interesting patterns out there and so many books to aid you to design your own. For awhile I was enjoying designing my own sweaters but then I discovered Anne Hanson’s sweaters so I started knitting sweaters from patterns. I should also mention that I enjoy wearing them as I like to be warm and wool definitely provides warmth!

This is my newest sweater that I have cast-on (another Anne Hanson number). My henley with a twist is almost done as all the big pieces are finished and the front and back are blocked (sorry for the lack of picture of those pieces blocking but the camera cable is still packed away in a box). All that is left is to block the sleeves, sew it together and knit on the neckband. Those steps were put on hold due to us moving which is why I allowed myself to cast on the newest sweater.

And here is the progress on Sean’s 2011 sweater. The colour is gorgeous!

I would have liked to extend this post and talk  about my finished sweaters but that might have to wait for another post when we have settled into the new place and I can find my external hard-drive easily. On the upside of moving we could hear the birds singing this morning when we woke up. It felt like we were in a house instead of the 2nd floor of an apartment building.

Shale Baby Blanket

Pattern: Shale Baby Blanket by Jared Flood

Made for: Karyn’s baby girl (due date is late this month I think)

Yarn: 4 skeins of  Tanis Fibre Arts Green Label Aran Weight in Sand

Needles: 4.5mm circulars

Gauge: close to indicated but didn’t really care; it is a blanket after all.

Started: January 3/2011                 Finished: Feburary 21/2011

Modifications: don’t think I did quite as many repeats as the pattern recommended before running out of yarn

This was an easy to knit up project for a baby even if it is a little bigger project than I would normally knit for one of my expecting coworkers. I really wanted to knit this pattern and my coworker wanted a baby blanket as it would still have uses as a couch blanket once the baby (or babies have out-grown it). It was pure luck that what I wanted to knit was what she fell in love with and fits her tastes perfectly.

She is planning on having more than one child so I thought a neutral colour would be a smart choice and the Sand colourway by Tanis is nice and neutral but still has some interest from the shifting neutral colours and a hint here and there of pink and blue.

It grew considerable upon blocking and this yarn was very easy to handle wet and easily blocked out the way I wanted it to. The feather and fan pattern is one of my favourite simple lace patterns.
Part of me doesn’t want to give this blanket up but the other part of me is happy it is going somewhere where it will be used.