Friday, 31 August 2012

I did it myself

This week: knitting, recipes, kindle stuff

I have at last developed a measure of self confidence to try to create rather than slavishly follow patterns and recipes.  Obviously some efforts are not as successful as others, but this week my two creative efforts were successful
In last blog entry I mentioned discovering after heel socks.    After thought heels on socks are widely known as a type of heel, but all the patterns I came across said either waste yarn technique, or cutting was involved.
I like the look of the heel and it is created easily and no gussets etc, but wanted to incorporate the heel as I went along rather than go back when the sock was completed.
My method works on cuff down or toe up socks.

So here is my heel…

For cuff down,  It is achieved by putting half the stitches used onto a holder and then casting on the same number of stitches just put on a holder.  Start knitting in the round again for three rounds and then decrease as if knitting a toe.  When the decreasing has reached the desired number then either Kitchener or turn inside out and three needle bind off. 
To continue the sock put the needles held on the holder on to a needle and then pick up stitches from the cast on edge of the heel and continue in the round to the toe.  So if the sock starts with 60 sts, 30 are the amount put on the holder, and 30 are the amount picked up from the cast on edge of the heel.  If anyone wants more explicit instructions with pictures just contact me.

Recipes this week are “cheesey bread rolls” and “creamy sauce” which is base for a number of dishes.

Cheesey bread rolls:
12oz strong flour (white or brown or mix the two)
3 oz margarine
1 sachet of easy yeast
½ pt milk tepid
4 oz cheese or vegan cheezly grated
1 tsp sugar and 1tsp salt

Add yeast, sugar and salt to flour
The margarine can be added by rubbing in, or by melting it and adding with the milk
Knead for 10 mins and set aside to double in size covered.
Knock back the dough and roll out into 4 large or 6 smaller oblongs.  Put grated cheese in centre third of  each oblong and fold over an end piece of dough.  Add more cheese to the folder over piece and then finally fold over the remaining third.  Then roll out the dough to an oblong. Sprinkle top with cheese
Put aside to rise and 20 mins later put in oven 7 for 10 mins.
Cool on a rack

The creamy sauce recipe is versatile as it can be used as sauce to go with pasta, or if cheese is added it can be used as a base for a macaroni cheese type dish as in the pic.
Creamy Sauce
2 onions, 4 medium or 2 large cucumbers peeled, carton of single cream or vegan equivalent, 3desert spoons of  margarine
Remove seeds from cucumbers and sprinkle with salt and set aside for an hour.
Rinse cucumbers and cut into chunks
Saute onions in the margarine and add cucumbers.
Put lid on saucepan and leave on very gentle heat for about 45 mins, incorporate the cream and stir well.
This sauce is then ready to pour over pasta.
Saute onions and cucumber as before, but instead of cream add a cheese sauce.  Then combine the mix with cooked pasta and bake in oven 5 for about 25 mins.  I topped mine with cherry tomatoes and sprinkled more grated vegan cheese on top.

Decided I would read about its famous son Samuel Johnson who wrote the first English dictionary and whose birthplace is in the centre of town  So downloaded free book
Bit heavy but interesting biography, and gives interesting glimpse into the period of the time. 
Another book I have dipped into this week is Behind Jane Austen's Door by Jennifer Forest
Again a free book when I downloaded it. The book visits room by room a Regency house and delves into what life was like for the residents, it draws on the Jane Austen characters and their dwellings.

Friday, 17 August 2012

If I had known that before!

Life could have been so much easier if hindsight was clutched in my fist the day I was born.  But then maybe I would have missed out on some interesting episodes on various journeys to achieve goals.  So lesson number one is “modernity doesn’t always equate to easiest/best”.  I like to think I am not a stick in the mud, but sometimes Granny knew Best.  So the remainder of the blog is based on the idea that Granny Knew Best.  (knitting, recipe, ebook etc)

I have a collection of knitting books, some of which are over 100 years old, and yet I have chosen to ignore some of the techniques in them in the mistaken belief that more modern must mean better!  Such a case is the “After thought heel”.  I have been knitting socks for years now and thought I had developed the easiest format in the universe to make them.  I then found modern references to  what is now known as “After thought Heel”.  It is simplicity itself and produces a good heel very very easily.  I then found this method in a book printed in the 1930s, and realised it is not a new technique at all, even though it was not known by the name “After thought heel”.
It is versatility personified, works fine with cuff down or toe up patterns, and no little holes where adjoined to the foot.  I always do reinforced toes and heels and this method lends itself to that too.  Yes, I am a convert!  Loads of instructions are available for free and a quick google will show the way.  If anyone particularly wants the method I use please contact me.
Granny was not afforded the year round choice of fresh vegetables that are available today and made use of seasonal vegetables, and also most of them were locally produced if not produced in her own garden.  Although this recipe is not totally local it is seasonal.
 Fruity Crunch
A salad full of textures with a really tasty dressing
The word “shredded” can be grated for softer texture, or cut into matchsticks
Main ingredients are: 1 large raw beetroot peeled and shredded, Raddichio leaves, 2 large raw carrots shredded, 5 sliced radishes, orange segments or tangerine segments, Additional ingredients all of which can be added or just one or two:  sunflower seeds, alfalfa, dried cranberries,  sliced bananas, any salad leaves.
Dressing: Mix well together: 3tbs best olive oil, juice of a large orange, half tsp mustard powder, salt, pepper, 1tsp sugar.
Mix all ingredients and toss in the dressing.

Granny did not have to hand a supermarket stocked with a bewildering array of chemical cleaners, but she did know that her larder was stocked with items that were not only culinary but would keep her house sparkling clean too.  Lemons, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda etc.  What Granny did not do was fill her home with chemicals that could sometimes be potentially harmful.  I found this book
Interesting in that it explains the different chemicals used in household cleaners and their effects,  and  then goes on to give recipes for cleaners made out of every day larder items. 
Admittedly I got the book for free as it was listed in
I have their daily newsletter.  But it could be worth checking now and then on Amazon to see if it is free again.  And this site is ace for up to date free ebooks.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Do unto others

This week it is mainly a domestic update. So bypass the boring bits and scroll down for podcast recommendation etc.
 Went to visit my mother on Wednesday who has lived in a Residential care home since 1999.  I hasten to add that she remained there at her own request and likes it.  She now has dementia, but still does have lucid periods and is proactive in participating in all the activities made available.    
She has been adamant for many years now that my father who died in 1958 visits her, and according to her also that he has frequent conversations with the gardener in the shed!
She started a conversation off saying “I haven’t seen much of Frank lately” and that he had not been to see the gardener recently.  I said to her “You do realise he isn’t alive don’t you?”  To which she replied “Of course I know he is not alive, but I cannot tell the gardener that, it might upset him”!  So she apparently still tries to live by some on the tenets she instilled in me of being kind to people.  Well, to other people that is. (There is of course, an exception to every rule). She has no qualms about introducing me to a person to whom I am not known by saying “This is Sandra, she is NOT the clever one”.  (I have a living sibling who can revel in the glory that she IS the clever one)!

My mother is 97 and adamant that when she is 100 shewill be a recipient of a telegram from the queen.  I think it is a good thing we decided she was not to be told as I was, in September 2010 that she had less than six months to live!  At that time she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which fortunately has subsided due to the medication she was given, albeit no chemo or radiotherapy.  She is blissfully unaware of this hiccup in her hitherto robust health record.  Every one at the home has to make their wishes known regarding their treatment in their final days.  She told them she definitely does want resuscitation if the occasion arises, and that she has no intention of dying anyway.  I for one, believe her. She broke her hip a couple of years ago and is adamant that she will strive to improve on her mobility, and has not succumbed to a wheelchair. 

It goes without saying that Riley is exceptional.  I am not a modest Nan where he is concerned!  He now has an infectious grin, and brings sunshine with him when he comes to visit.

Oliver is the DIY cat.  He has had an operation to remove a blockage.  This meant he had a neat row of stitches down the length of the abdomen.  Well “had” being the operative word.  He has assiduously unpicked these stitiches which are not due to be removed until Monday coming.  So besides his post operative check at the vets, he had to go and be checked regarding his diy stitch removals.  Unfortunately because he is deaf he didn’t listen to the vets instructions on how he should be quiet for his recuperation.  I cannot believe how quickly he recovered, and today he is on a mission to gain access to the cable box in the tv cabinet.  Oliver has also shown an unhealthy interest in electrical wires and cables, and now when using my laptop I have to remove the mains lead because he thinks it is part of his diet.  

Podcast recommendation.
I have been listening to some quiz podcasts, and they are a mixed bunch!  Some are cures for insomnia for sure.  The one this week that I have subscribed to and definitely will listen again is
Upbeat and friendly and interesting content. 

The second recommendation this week is not an audio podcast but a thought provoking site to visit. The site does have visual/audio clips and I scrolled down and chose the “I’m an Animal Lover” clip to start