random catch-up

1. There has been a lot of good eats from Royal Irish Soda Bread with whiskey butter to risotto to cuban beans and rice.

2. I have been spending the last few Sundays at the Purple Purl. I may have bought some yarn and I definitely bought some blocking wires. I’ve also done quite a bit of knitting but don’t have a lot of pictures of said knitting.

3. Piper and I are enjoying the lovely weather this evening sitting on our balcony enjoying a delicious dinner of crackers, cheese and berries. There may be some beer included in that meal (but only for me).

4. Piper got a new toy. A Pak-o-bird which means she can now safely go on walks with me. Will post a picture as soon as I have Sean take a picture of me and Piper showing how it is used.

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.

Tree Day

Yesterday Sean and I went out to Oshawa with his parents to hunt down our tree’s. I of course forgot my camera. When we got back I went grocery shopping to pick up the ingredients for our Moroccan dinner, including the tagine to cook one of the dishes. We had carrot and cumin salad, spicy eggplant and tomato, roasted peppers with goat cheese, country bread and tagine chicken with preserved lemon, olives and thyme. Needless to say there are lots of delicious leftovers.

After we were stuffed like turkeys, I put the lights on the tree and added the decorations that Sean’s mom gave me (I think she heard about my tree last year with only the lights and a single decoration). Sean had asked his mom for his decorations and he used those to help decorate my tree (they are the majority of the decorations).

a brief knitting update

First things first, I finally have a picture of Sean’s 2009 xmas gift, which until now I have not had a picture of the finished product.

Last week Sean wanted to make a good tomato sauce with meatballs. This is the picture Sean took when we reheated the leftovers for a meal last weekend.

Dad’s second sock is coming along nicely. I just have to finish knitting the foot section and then move onto the toe.

I’ve also been working on the blanket which is getting just massive. From my estimations it is big enough for the edges of the blanket to just cover the width of a queen-sized bed. A little bigger and it should be time to cast-off.

I’ve also restarted working on my fiddlehead mittens. The almost complete one was finished sometime last winter. I’ve started on the second one and then once that is complete I pick up along the edges to knit the inside lining. These should be excellent winter mittens with all those layers.

Trick or Treat

Since there is nothing much new to show you in the knitting arena as I am still working on the same holiday knitting I have been working on for a while I will show you some of the food we have been eating since the last time I posted.

Last weekend was UFC so we made a Guinness chocolate cake to enjoy while watching it. It is an excellent recipe and makes for a very moist tasty cake with excellent cream cheese icing. The boys really enjoyed it.

Last night we made cranberry apple pie to use up the apples before the went too soft and the bag of fresh cranberries from Sean’s mom. Can you spot the happy face?

We also made gnocchi from scratch yesterday. We made some cream sauce with goat cheese and veggies and placed sliced turkey breast on top.

I spent this Halloween afternoon at the Purple Purl knitting and hanging out with the ladies. There were cupcakes to decorate and many of the ladies dressed up.

While I was at the Purl I picked up some yarn for Sean’s 2011 sweater. It is some Tanis Fibre Arts Green Label Aran Weight in the Midnight colourway and will be a nice simple sweater this time

Plugging away

It has been a very busy weekend. I made a pan of brownies on Saturday but of course forgot to take pictures. This new recipe I have tried is rich and fudge-y and does not stick around for long. We made stuffed peppers filled with orzo, vegetables and feta to go with our steaks before heading out to watch UFC with the boys.

Today I made mini-butter tarts for birthday celebrations at work and beer bread buns for lunch and dinners this week. We had samples of both and they are both excellent. The gorgeous colour of the bread comes from Guinness and not the choice of flour.

We are making pizza for dinner tonight. I was in charge of making the dough and Sean was in charge of the toppings. He had to get his fingers in the shot.

I have been concentrating on knitting a chemo cap for a friend of Sean’s family. His mother offered to buy the yarn if I would knit it.

I have also been knitting more on the hap blanket than I probably should but it is so nice and mindless while being incredibly soft. I’ve cast-off the garter stitch centre yesterday and then promptly picked up the stitches around the edges and started the lace edging. Sean wants this blanket to be nice and big and suggested that if we ran out of yarn before it was the proper size we could run to the yarn store and get some more, which is a pretty good idea. I’m afraid it won’t make for good photographs until it is cast-off now that it only resembles a giant blob.

Blocking

I finished knitting all five pieces of the sprossling sweater on Thursday so today I set out to block all the pieces before assembling and adding the edging for the collar and button bands.

Before I started I had some leftover pizza from last night with a homemade dipping sauce for my crusts. It was delicious.

I had these squares that supposedly form a child’s play mat (but really it’s huge and who can argue with under $30 when the “knitting” version is so much more expensive for the same square metreage) that I layed out on the floor. They are excellent because they are (a) not the floor and (b) can stick pins in them. Besides I barley even used half the blocks to lay out this sweater!

I covered the mat with a sheet just in case the mat colours may bleed. And then I pinned out the sweater pieces to the necessary dimensions.

This is the first lace sweater I have made and one of the few ones done in pieces. OH MY GOD. The amount of fiddly work necessary to get it all pinned out nearly drove me CRAZY. I loved knitting up this sweater but I can honestly say I hated the blocking part of it! Thank goodness I stopped by the LCBO on the way home and picked up a lovely bottle of wine since the bottle of my grandfathers wine (the bottle of Merlot in the picture below) that I popped open earlier this week was pretty much gone. It definitely made the blocking process much more tolerable.

Off topic: My lovely boyfriend brought me a gorgeous flowering plant yesterday and since it is so beautiful it deserves a picture on the blog. I love flowers!