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.

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.

Toasty Warm Mittens

Pattern: Fiddlehead Mittens by Adrian Bizilia

Made for: Me

Size: small

Yarn: Tanis Fibre Arts Fiddlehead Mittens Kit in Blues.

Needles: 2.75mm

Gauge: ????

Started: Dec. 6, 2009           Finished: Jan. 24, 2011

Fairisle is not my strongest suit especially when the floats are a bit longer than 3 or 4 stitches but it was definitely worth it for these mittens. They are lined so they are toasty warm (but it also means you have to knit a whole other mitten to go inside the one you already knit). These have been dragging on for a while but that cold spell really got me to work on them since I didn’t have any exceptionally warm mittens for my hands but now I do. They also are pretty good at keeping the wind from nipping through which is no small feat for knitted mittens with no felting.

I’ve received several compliments on them including some from random people that have no idea they were hand knit!

all over the place

There have been several projects on the go that have yet to be mentioned on this blog so I thought I would give an update on what is going on in my little knitting world. I have been knitting the lining for my fiddlehead mittens which I have shown a picture of in the last post. It has been a bit slow going due to all the other distracting knitting but this coldish, snowy weather may bump it up in priority.

I received some lovely gift certificates to the Purple Purl and treated myself to a few lovelies. The first was a Tanis green label fingering yarn kit for the Infinity scarf  in greens. I have cast on and have made decent progress on it as it is mostly mindless knitting and the colour changes make for great motivation.The other lovely I bought is Tanis green label aran yarn and enough of it to make myself a sweater.

Once I had completed the Sprossling I started on another Anne Hanson sweater called Henley with a Twist with that lovely Sundara sock yarn I had purchased earlier. I have completed the two sleeves and the back, so the only thing to finish is the front (and once it is finished a third Anne Hanson sweater will be cast on). 

The last project I am going to mention today is a the Shale Baby Blanket by BrooklynTweed for a coworker who is expecting a girl in March. If I stick to completing one pattern repeat a day I should have no problems finishing this by the end of February. 

a new year

Well it’s a new year and so far it isn’t that much different than than the last one. I don’t do New Year’s goals or resolutions; why set yourself up for failure. However this year I’m going to try ‘intentions’. Most of my new year intentions were started in the end of 2010 but since I am planning on continuing them into this year I thought it would be a good time to state the knitting related ones on this blog.

My first intention is to clean up my projects and to get better at finishing them in a reasonable amount of time. I have started slowly going through my projects and frogging the ones I know I will not finish to recover the yarn. I have already frogged several projects that I know I will not complete and am slowly going through my stashed projects to make these decisions. I would like it if over the next few years I could get the number of projects on needles to or under 10 at a time. I also intend to get better at documenting my projects in Ravelry.

The second intention is to find all my yarn stash and document it in Ravelry. A few months ago I bought some plastic bins and transferred my stash that was in drawers to these bins and have been slowly going through each of the bins and adding those that are not already in Ravelry to it. I have one bin left although it is the only one that is not full and then I will have to go through my apartment to find any other skeins I might have stashed away in various places. The reason I am doing this is so that I will know what I have so when I find a pattern I like I can easily find out if I have a yarn suitable for the project and if I have enough of it.

On that note I have finished the outer layer for my fiddlehead mittens. I just need to weave them in and pick up for the inner layer although I’m debating on whether to block them first like the pattern says. I’ve also discovered I’m not a huge fan of fairisle especially if the floats have to pass more than 4 stitches. I’ll leave you with a picture of them and will catch you up on all the other knitting projects in a later post.

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.