She bring me love, love

January 28, 2010 § 5 Comments

… or in this case, deliciousness.

Seriously, I should just bite the bullet and rename this blog Gluttony and Foodwhoring.

Sorry for the recent lack of knitting, honestly. But somehow, cooking (not even really eating, mostly just the cooking) relieves my pre-exam stress more than knitting. Knitting, these days, seems to cause stress instead of getting rid of it. And blogging about my lack of knitting and the recent overabundance of relatively fancy and time-consuming foodstuffs is another perfect method of procrastination. So, yeah.

Anyway. So last night, we made Feuerzangenbowle. Which is where you take red wine, put a bunch of spices and orange juice into it, heat it, pour it into a big ol’ bowl, set a rum-soaked sugar cone on top of that… and light the sugar cone.

Yeah. It’s just as bad-ass as it sounds.

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Plus, when you pour some more rum over it, the flames go from otherworldly-blue to, well, flame-colored. Guess what Saskia did as long as it was still burning.

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And once the sugar cone has melted and dripped down into the red wine, and once the flames have stopped licking around the rim of the bowl… you drink it. And get really drunk really fast. But it’s awesome. Even if our fortunately-soon-leaving roommate was there (but nothing’s so bad after a couple glasses of this stuff)

And then this morning, to sop up any remaining alcohol, I got out the very last vestiges of the chili from the other day, added a handful of chopped rocket, and another handful of shredded gouda cheese, to make something I call ‘Chili Salad’ but is really just chili and rocket and cheese. Cause rocket is my current favorite ingredient for everything, from soups to salad to little rolls of cheese and ham and mayonnaise with rocket in the middle.

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And most importantly, had another go at making tortillas. This time, I replaced half the flour with corn flour, which gave another dimension of deliciousness to the tortillas. They’re not particularly pretty, but especially in this case, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

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And when the chili salad and the tortillas came together to form chili-salad-and-tortillas – man. I could’ve died happily. Plus, with less white flour, the whole thing almost counts as a semi-healthy-if-you-squint-a-little breakfast.

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Oooooh yeah. That right there, that’s what happiness is made of.

(In the background: Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent. She’s the author of Self-Made Man, one of my favorite non-fiction books ever, and her second books is an engaging read, too. After last week’s Supernatural being set in a mental institution, I wanted to learn more, and when I heard that Norah Vincent had gone to three different loony bins undercover and written about her experiences – well, how could I have resisted buying that book.)

Now, excuse me. The kitchen is trashed, and I’m hoping it’ll take me at least an hour to clean it. Anything to procrastinate.

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Flesh and bone by the telephone

January 27, 2010 § 4 Comments

It’s been quiet around here lately, mostly because my life is even more riveting than normal – which is to say, not at all.

Exam phase is approaching in huge, terrifying steps, even though I wasn’t even aware it starts next week until Saskia freaked out the day before yesterday. And then I freaked out subsequently.

And then, incongruously, I fell into a bit of a country phase. I’ve been reading The Pioneer Woman on and off for quite a while, mostly because of her recipes. But recently, I’ve pretty much been devouring her site. I made Apple Caramel Sticky Buns twice in one weekend. I bought her cookbook, and made her chili, along with some tortillas, last night. Then I had some of the leftover for breakfast this morning, along with some cheese and rucola.

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I downloaded the American Recordings by Johnny Cash. I got out my cowboy boots from when I did western riding years ago, finally broke them in good and proper, slept a night in damp leather boots in the process… and now they’re the comfiest boots ever. And slimmer and lighter than my Dockers, too, which is definitely a good thing.

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Thank god I don’t have enough vocal input, or I’d probably be knee-deep in developing some kind of Southern accent.

Not much news on the knitting front – I’ve unpicked the duplicate stitch from the Weasley Sweater, and I have dye and salt here to do iiiiit this weekend. I’ve started on the raglan, I’ve knit a cute little cap.

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Unfortunately, it’s not something I’d ever wear. Oh well. It’s not warm enough for the current weather, anyway.

But overall, when I’ve had to occupy my hands, I’ve mostly been winding yarn. Sock, lace, nummy thick Alpaca that was smooth as butter in my hands… this sudden interest in one of the most mind-numbing exercises known to man stems mostly from the fact that I don’t know what I want to knit. Or rather, I think my desires are too specific: I’m kinda feeling like lace, or yet another hat, and I cannot abide any more socks. Or them damn colorwork Ruba’iyat mitts. But the lace I want to knit should kinda be like the Swallowtail Shawl, except not like it, cause I’ve already made it twice, and will I ever find a pattern as perfect as that one? One that works with the amount of yarn I have here, in the colors I have here? I’ve ordered some moss-green lace yarn, just to be on the safe side.

I’m kinda thinking though, with 100g of moss green merino lace yarn, I could do a semicircular, i.e. half, version of the Balmoral Thistle Design. I have the book here. As a scarfy thingy.

So, yeah. Nothing productive going on. Just sitting, waiting, procrastinating. Watching indecent amounts of Supernatural and, lately, the Vampire Diaries. Which the mother of my roomie calls ‘Vampire Dairies’. Lactose intolerant, beware!

PUDDING!

Johnny Cash’s version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’ is divine.

Stay in the kitchen when the kitchen gets hot

January 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Grey’s Anatomy is back on! I hadn’t quite realized how much I’d missed the weekly drama. While enjoying Lexi walking in on Callie and Arizona in the shower (mmmh) and Cristina kicking ass in the OR and Meredith angsting on Izzie’s behalf, I whipped this up:

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It’s a little sugar bowl cozy to go with my tea cozy! Good thing I have no more Nimbus, or I’d probably continue with a cream jug cozy, teacup cozies and a pan cozy for my pan. Then again…

Also, I made the bestest dinner ever last night, chicken with peanut sauce and coconut rice. I’d love to share a photo, but if there’s an appealing way to photograph thick peanut sauce, I haven’t found it yet. However, my new, shiny, cast-iron pan is doing pretty good in my kitchen:

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And the chicken, well, it went something like this:

Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Coconut Rice

Ingredients (serves two)

2 chicken breasts
1 cup of rice
1.5 cups of water
desiccated coconut
1 yogurt
150 g peanut butter (roughly)
2 TBS soy sauce
100ml water
Sambal Oelek
Oil (I used olive, sesame would probably be better)
salt, pepper

*

Wash and cut up the chicken breasts.

Cover the bottom of a small pot with olive oil. Pour the rice in, stir till all the grains are covered in oil. Add water and a pinch of salt, bring to boil. Cook on low flame till all the water has evaporated and the rice is done (around 15 minutes). After about 12 minutes, add coconut to taste.

While the rice is cooking, heat up your frying pan and fry the chicken strips. Season lightly with salt, pepper and garlic. Just a hint of curry might also work well with that, but if you’re gonna do that, don’t add it in too early, because curry gets bitter if it burns.

In another pot, mix peanut butter, soy sauce and water. Bring to a boil, then slowly add in yogurt, stirring constantly. Season with sambal oelek until you get a nice, slow burn. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, just stir in a little more water.

I had too much oil in my pan to just mix the peanut sauce and the chicken before putting it on a plate, so I just poured the sauce over chicken and rice. Serve however your want, as long as it’s hot.

You can also leave out the chicken; just the rice and the sauce are delicious together.

I have waited so long

January 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

Today is a day I’m catching up with stuff I’ve been putting off for a while. Like darning, changing my sheets, upending my hamper and looking what’s what, studying vocab, organize away all the random half-balls of yarn I have hanging around everywhere, vacuum… all those little household chores I cannot fucking stand.

However, with the hamper-upending came the discovery that I have about 10 pairs of handknit socks more than the five or six I wear on a regular basis, they were just sort of forgotten in my big ol’ hamper. Also, I own more underpants than I can remember buying, ever. I need to do more laundry.

Another thing I also need to do is stop procrastinating when it comes to darning. After sleeping on it for six weeks or so, the teeny tiny hole in my bedsheet got so big there’s now a two-inch seam in the middle of the sheet. It’s a good, sturdy one, but damn.

The second life lesson of the day is that I am really, really awesome. Anyone remember the Wilf’s Hat that I did? Well, I made another one, widened the cables, shortened the intervals between cable rows, and did some perfect crown shaping. Usually, that’s my weak point, I can’t figure out how to incorporate it gracefully into the pattern. But I charted a bit while watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and laid a lifeline I didn’t end up needing, and I’m pretty damn charmed by what I whipped up.

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Excuse me while I go sit in the corner all smug about how the small cables run straight up all the way and the big cables cable one more time before gracefully running into a point and then there’s only one more row before the whole thing is done. Truth to be told, I’m pretty much insufferable right now.

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I’ve already charted everything out, but I’m still waiting on what the girl who did up the first chart says before I (hopefully) wrestle it all in a nice, tidy PDF and put it up here.

The yarn is Lang merino something-or-other. I don’t like it quite as much as the Lana Grossa merino, and I don’t like the color quite as much as the bright red, but it’s still an okay yarn and I don’t need two bright red hats. (Not that I need any more hats, period, but… y’know. At least none of those turned up in the hamper.)

Also, this little thing also makes me feel very smug and crafty, even though technically it’s a travesty, because, a crochet holder for DPNs? There’s gotta be some law against that. Still, it’s kinda handy.

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Now, more cleaning and darning and folding laundry and possibly even some cooking, to wear down that damn smug smile in my face.

Plus, Grey’s Anatomy is starting back up! And next week, SPN too!

Till I try I’ll never know

January 9, 2010 § 3 Comments

Double post day!

So, the lunch after my grandma’s funeral was held at a local restaurant. It’s an oldish, family-run thing, and we go there for all celebrations that need catering and a bigger room than we can provide. My sister works there on weekends, they’re all super-nice, and… they have sheep.

Which means that once or twice a year, there’s a big veal buffet, where there’s tons of liver and steak and meat balls and filet and ribs and basically everything you can make out of a young sheep. Which is awesome, seriously.

But it also means that they have sheep. As in, they have mother sheep. Who have lambs. With the weather being as it is, some of the weaker twins born overnight have died this year, but when we were there, there was a lamb in the other room, next to the heating. A friggin’ lamb. That was born last night, and was too weak, and wouldn’t suckle, so they brought it in and got the vet and fed it a bottle of milk and put it in a box with straw in it.

A newborn lamb. A little, black, newborn lamb. About as big as a big cat. Only with ridiculously adorable floppy black ears and a fuzzy head and tired black button eyes. With a little blanket over it.

It’s the first time in years my first impulse was ‘awww’ instead of ‘ooh, tasty!’.

Also, when the sheep get shorn next summer? I’ve asked about getting a kilo or two of fleece. They said yes, cause they don’t do anything with it. Yes, they’re meat sheep, but… dude! I’m excited! Now I’ll just have to buy carders and all that shebang.

Oh the weather outside is frightful

January 9, 2010 § 5 Comments

So, I didn’t go back to Leipzig. My grandmother passed away two hours before the new year, just when it started snowing. Today was her funeral, and I’m going back tomorrow.

We always have terrible funeral weather. My grandfather’s funeral three years ago, it was raining like crazy, this time around, it was snowing even more. But the way and at the age people die in my family, it’s usually a pretty upbeat occasion once the actual funeral is over and everybody goes to eat together. It’s a way to get the extended family together, after all.

Anyway, I bought some yarn the other day so I wouldn’t have to lug around a sweater on the train… unsurprisingly, it’s knit up already. I have no self-restraint. The merino also felt really really good on my hands after all that cotton.

What did I knit? Well, anyone see the Christmas/New Year’s episodes of Doctor Who? With Wilf’s awesome red cables-and-bobbles hat? A visual reminder:

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Well, I was very much enchanted by it, and so was Anushka who charted the cables-and-bobbles design, and I volunteered to test-knit it. What a sacrifice.

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And if I may say so myself, it’s looking pretty damn good! I only changed a couple of minor things. Oh, and the bobble count and position. And the stitches cast on, because a DK hat with 60 stitches? Is not, under any circumstances, gonna fit on my head. I think I’m gonna knit this one again, though, with a pretty major difference: the width of the cables. It’s okay now, but with the widely spaced cables, the single-stitch cables look kind of cut-off, so I’d do it with a two-stitch cable next time. Judging from the photos, it might be a two-stitch cable in the original, too.

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But still. Pretty hat! And I’m very much grateful for somebody else charting it. (Also, I wanted to make a pretty version with KnitVisualizer, and when I was finished… I discovered the demo version doesn’t let you save stuff. WTF.)

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Also, after thsi baby, I’m kind of in love with bobbles. Bobbles! Simple pleasures for simple minds, I know, but they’re kind of awesome and… bobbly!

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