Friday, 28 September 2012

Breakfast at Cafe Small

A couple of weekends ago I dragged myself and J out of bed when the raucous noises coming from the boys room seemed to be escalating more than was necessary. I went through intending to tell them that I was going to make breakfast and discovered that they were having a wonderful time making their own.

It all looked so delicious it was quite disappointing to go downstairs to some cereal and a bit of toast.

I think I'd like breakfast at Cafe Small every day!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Dreich day

Hello Today is dull and dreich and dismal. I got caught in the rain this morning and the wind is whipping into every corner and crevice so I thought I'd show you some snaps of my garden that I took last week and never got round to posting...

I think one of my apple trees is a little confused. It is hedging its bets and flowering as well as friuting. It's probably an omen of something or other.

We have a party every year to harvest our apples and to give away the vast majority that we can't use. It is only 2 1/2 weeks away and what with one thing and another I haven't even begun to think about it! Hmm job for next week - more list making...

Most of my roses have either rotted in the bud or been bashed to death by the wind so I snapped this one then snipped it for inside where I have half a chance of enjoying it.

It's amazing how much colour you can still find if you look carefully.

I do like leeks even though mine are always a bit feeble, not helped this year by being neatly snipped off at ground level by some pesky voles when they were just getting going. A rather beautiful ginger cat has started to frequent our garden sometimes and since then we have had less problems with voles...

Off to try and finish my Christmas shopping now. No really!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Perfect autumn walk

This weekend we went away - up North as they say in the South of Scotland and as we still say even though we are in the North of England. We went with a group of friends to Tyndrum.

On Saturday morning we woke to hard frost and bright sunshine. J was kind enough to agree to taking our Smalls out with some of the others while I and some of the other girls walked a very small stretch of the West Highland Way.

We walked from Crianlarich back to Tyndrum through a perfect Scottish landscape and a perfect autumn morning.

I think Makka Pakka came this way before us.

And maybe King Arthur.

I do like autumn you know.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Perfect Pizza

We had great fun on Sunday making our own Pizza from scratch. We followed Hugh's recipe in Every Day and it was amazing.

The Smalls really enjoyed helping me make the dough although ten whole minutes of kneading lost their interest a bit.

They were astounded that it had risen all by itself while we made the tomato sauce.

They each made their own with their own choice of toppings.

Liberally applied the cheese.

And voila! Way more pizza than two Bigs and three Smalls could possibly eat. I think it would have been a lot for five Bigs, but it was good reheated the next day too.

They declared the wine to be Yu'y although I disagreed...

But everyone enjoyed Neapolitan ice cream with two kinds of sauce!

I can highly recommend it as a fun way to pass a couple of hours and to produce an amazingly delicious meal. We'll definitely do it again, although with about 2/3 the dough next time.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Essential preparations

So we are moving half way round the world and have a 35 page to-do list. Where to begin? With the essentials of course! Log on to the Boden website, scan the sales, and buy a new frock.

It came today.

I did spend a few minutes trying to photograph myself wearing it but it was either blurry, squint or had the flash reflected in the mirror so I gave up. I am supremely pleased with it though.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Literary dilemma

Reading is a great pleasure to me. I do it almost every night before I go to sleep even if I only read a couple of pages before I feel my eyes closing. However, today it is slightly stressing me out. Not in a bad way but in a 'feel like I am not doing what i ought to do' way.

I borrowed this book from the library last Tuesday but haven't opened it. The blurb is encouraging. It sounds funny, not too much of a page turner (they make me stay up too late), not too much suspense (I hate suspense), not distressing (or as the publishers say: poignant). Perfect. But I haven't opened it.

This book arrived in the post about three weeks ago and is the next book for my newly formed book group but I haven't opened it. This is only our second book, I chose it based on a Radio 4 review and it sounds funny and interesting. The book group is meeting on 27th (15 days from now). But I haven't opened it.

This book arrived this morning but I haven't opened it. It is one of the few books we could find about our new temporary home and I am hoping it will encourage us that we have chose to decamp to an interesting place, not scare the hell out of us and make us wonder what on earth we have done before we have even begun. But I haven't opened it.

The reason I have not opened any of these perfectly attractive books? - I am rereading this book for about the millionth time, very slowly. I could put it down and pick up one of the others but I haven't. It's not like I need to know the ending - I could practically write it. It is just that it is the literary equivalent of macaroni cheese, Mama Mia and John's big jumper and with all the unknowns out there at the moment I am really enjoying it. Even the bits I don't really like.

Oh, and I hate having more than one book on the go at a time. Too much pressure!


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Waffle cushion pattern

I am jumping in at the deep end and writing up my first pattern - for my waffle cushion. I have finished the front and embarked on the back and simply cannot wait any longer!

I used: New Lanark Mills DK 4 x 50g balls. One each of Sky, Blossom, Copper Blue (Green) and New natural. Anything you totally love would do!

3 3/4 mm knitting needles, 3mm crochet hook.

For each mitred square:

Cast on 30 stitches using a stretchy cast on.

R1 and every odd row: k
R2: k13, slslk, k2tog, k13 (28 stitches)
R4: k12, slslk, k2tog, k12 (26 stitches)
R6: k11, slslk, k2tog, k11 (24 stitches)
Continue like this until
R28: k1 slslk, k2tog, k1 (4 stitches)
R29: k4
R30: slslk, k2tog
R31: k2tog
Cast off remaining stitch.

Make 16. If using 3 colours for the squares make 5 in two of the colours and 6 in one colour. Or use four colours and make 4 of each. Or some other combination that pleases you.

Edging each square:

Using your border colour crochet around each square. 1htr in each of 14 stitches along each side, 3htr in each corner stitch.

To join the squares:

Arrange the squares in a pleasing fashion. All facing the same way or not - what ever you like. Pick up the square at the bottom right corner and the one above it. Holding them back to back insert the hook into the right hand most stitch of each edge, slip stitch along this edge. Without cutting the yarn pick up the two squares immediately to the left of the first two and continue to join. Continue in the same manner across the bottom eight squares. Cut the yarn. Join on two more rows of squares in the same way. Turn your work at right angles and join the squares in the other direction.


Cast on 80 stitches.
R1 and every odd row: k
R2: k1, slslk, k to last 3 stitches (74), k2tog, k
R4: k1, slslk, k to last 3 stitches (72), k2tog, k
R6: k1, slslk, k to last 3 stitches (70), k2tog, k
Cast off all 74 stitches loosely.

Make 4.

Crochet the four border pieces to the edges of the squares using a slip stitch, sew up the mitres at the four corners.

Sit back and admire the beautiousness of your creation, feel its fabulous texture, inhale the lovely woolly smell...

Then figure out what to do on the back since by now you will have hardly any of the border colour left.