Friday, 24 January 2014

Butterfly Progress

 This week I progressed this far with the cowl: it's length is now 58 cm, I have 8g left of the first ball of alpaca in pale blue and about 31g left of the first ball of NORO TAIYO sock.
I'm really glad the bright green and more turquoises have appeared now because I was getting quite concerned about the dull blues and burgundy at first. The photo which had grabbed me showed only the very bright green and turquoises and this impelled me to go buy the yarn...
 In the top photo you can see the colours are just about starting to ''repeat'' themselves in a similar sequence now.
 There are very many lovely subtle and varied colours in just one ball, quite justifying the cost of this lovely Noro yarn. The tweediness is great but the tendency to curl back on itself not so good.

The colours are difficult to capture, sorry this shows photos with and without flash.

There's one more lot of bright green - used to be called ''aqua'' in Canada  in the last 31g.
Lots of burgundy happening right now...

We had a few sharp cold frosty nights this week which meant scraping the car in the morning...
So pretty though, all that feathering?

And last weekend in a rare sunny spell I walked Lucy ( Pips is in season) on the Phoenix Way.

The floods are receding slowly, the ines by the ring road are still lakes, with swans and gulls swimming on them. One morning this week was stunningly BEAUTIFUL with white frost and a white hazy fog lying over the hills and fields, but I was driving to work and just will have to remember as there wasn;t the time or the opportunity to stop and take photos.

Was in London yesterday and saw this amazing glass globe..
Had to walk from Victoria to Westminster to get home as I'd been to 3 Bridges near Crawley and arriving back at Victoria the underground was closed due to flooding. Walked to Westminster to catch the Jubilee line. Westminster Abbey was looking very dramatic floodlit in white with the London Eye in blue and the House of Parliament in a golden glowing amber.
Alas due to trains and lateness I got home after 8:30 pm too late and too exhausted to go dancing.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Busy weekend but little crochet

 The butterfly cowl is progressing albeit very very VERY slowly....
It's slow and a tad tedious and boring, the only thing keeping me going is the colourchanging Noro yarn with a colour surprise every few rows, but the twist of the Noro and the tangling, and so much de-tangling to do- ach AYE! the hairy blue alpaca grabs the twisty Noro yarn and before you know it there's a huge mess.
 My fabulous FITFLOP mukluks arrived fresh from the sale and I am a happy bunny for at last my feet do not hurt when walking outside....AT LAST! I had found that the fitflop mules were lovely indoors so this was a guess, but it proved correct.
 These are going back though as I can't wear them to work!!! I thought they were black suede and in the notes it said leather upper.... They are HAIRY!
 Visited mum today, we chatted for 2 hours! It was all the driving: 160 miles that was a but tiring.
 This was Caspar in draft, my MSc assignment got in the way and I did not complete him on 6th January as planned. I like his head-gear but his robe is too pale, the wrong colour and the shawl collar doesn't work!
It just doesn;t look right so he's being re-done.
 he even looks a bit down in the dumps?  He's having a large shallow bowl of myrrh with handles that dangle off his hands, later.
 Meanwhile I have to redesign a new robe and make it, his face will be adorned with a moustache and a goatee I think too?!
 We all relaxed with the last episode of SHERLOCK tonight, open fire, new socks from Santa ...
 JJ on his laptop in ''my'' new chair and I'm on the new pouffe which with cushions makes a wee sofa in the corner! Legs up on the chesterfield.
And crochet of course!  You can just see Lucy on the sofa to my right?

Monday, 6 January 2014

New Year's Eve traditions : DUTCH food! TWO recipes

 Ok well maybe not strictly Dutch, but I did grow up in a home that has a toastie-maker contraption and melted ham and cheese toasties were a hot favourite!
 This one is much smaller but easier to use and less heavy too...JJ brought it home as a surprise.
On New Year's Eve we always had ''OLIEBOLLEN and APPEL FLAPPEN'' and these do not translate easily though my dad used to joke about'' Holy Balls '' most irreverently and apple beignets to use the French option. It's to say goodbye to the Old Year in good and proper fashion with food to share with all the neighbours in the street. And not forgetting the fireworks!
This year we were meant to be in LONDON for the fireworks BUT of course I was too ill and by the 31st Dec, JJ had also caught the bug and was sounding and looking very poorly indeed. Waiting for 3.5 hours in - predicted and forecast- heavy rain on the South Bank to see 10 minutes of fireworks was not something JJ wanted to do in the end so it did not happen alas.
To cheer two VERY DISSAPPOINTED teenagers up I said I'd make this traditional food, which they'd had in Holland years ago and LOVED.
 Here's me making the dough for the Olie bollen...
 Here is the recipe which I found online and translated: This is supposed to make 35 balls...
from www.  but it was in Dutch.
20 grams of yeast (or 3 sachet dried yeast which are 7 g each in the UK) - 500 ml milk - 500 g flour - 1 egg - 10 grams of salt- 100g currants - 100 grams of raisins - 
50 grams 
candied peel - 25 grams orange peel - 1 apple - , sunflower oil.

NB I left out the apple and used 250 g of a bag of mixed raisins, sultanas, currants and mixed peel from the COOP.
I used semi skimmed milk and plain flour.
I also added about  a 60 ml scoop of castor sugar to the dough before proofing it and BOY ! dId it RISE!!!


35-40 pieces
Wash the raisins, drain well and pat dry with a clean towel. Heat the milk until lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in a few tablespoons of lukewarm milk.Mix the flour with the salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.Pour into the well dissolved yeast. Mixing. Stir in the middle of a smooth batter the flour gradually with the lukewarm milk It is possible that all the milk is not required. Add the raisins, the chopped citron and orange chips and peeled and cut into chunks of apple. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the batter in a luke warm place to rise for about an hour. 

BEWARE OF THIS STAGE as the dough really does DOUBLE in size or more!! I did not leave a big enough bowl and had spillage in my airing cupboard.... Messy!
Heat the oil until it is piping hot (180-190 ° C).  Using two spoons OR a small 60 ml scoop slip small amounts of the batter into the hot fat and fry the fritters cooked and golden brown. Take them  OUT with a frying spoon or 
slotted spoon and let them drain on Kitchen Paper. Present the raisiney balls sprinkled with sifted Icing sugar.

 THIS is what they look like, not ''balls'' at all but amorphous glorious shapes of yummy fruity yeasty splendour! 
And we also loved our macaroons...

 And also the apple beignets needed to be made: This time it's peel, core and slice your apples and dip into a batter to deep fry:

Tony's Appel Flappen (Beignets))

2 cups All Purpose flour
1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
1 Cup warm milk
Pinch of salt
1 Egg
4 Apples. Royal Gala, Renets, etc.
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder. Add the egg and warm milk and make it into a sloppy cake-like batter.
Peel and core the apples, and slice them to about 1/4" thickness. Then put the sliced apples into the batter and fry them in the hot oil on both sides until golden brown. Don't make the oil too hot or the apple will not cook all the way through.



Apple beignets


Publish Date: Dec 23, 2005
Beverages & Breakfast
for 15 ‘flappen’
125 grams / 5 oz. sifted self-rising flour
1.5 deciliter / ½ bottle (dark) beer= 150 ml in UK terms... I think! I used Banks Bitter.
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
3 grams / ¼ tsp salt
3 large tart apples
1 tbsl vegetable oil
oil for deep-frying
Appelflappen go well with oliebollen to experience the full extent of that real, old-Dutch New Year’s Eve tradition. The recipe in fact is for so-called apple beignets. Appelflappen can be compared to ‘apple turnovers, made with filo pastry. The verb ‘flappen’ can be translated as ‘to turn.’
Peal and core the apples and cut them in 1 cm / ¼” slices.
Using a whisk, mix the sifted flour well with the beer, make sure there are no lumps. Add the egg yolk, salt and vegetable oil and mix all ingredients well until the batter is smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg white foamy and stiff. Fold it a few times through the batter.
Drag the apple slices through the batter and deepfry them till they are golden brown.
Serve hot and sprinkle with icing sugar.
(Substitute one or more apples with an equal volume of pineapple rings or quartered bananas.)

And while JJ and I were in the kitchen making these, the girls relaxed and laughed at Joan Collins.

 And at some point my special glass from Newcastle upon Tyne University bearing the crest of the three lions, was broken alas but in Holland we say:
SCHERVEN BRINGEN GELUK which roughly tranlates that broken glass or china bring luck and good fortune!!!

 And on 2nd January we finally saw the sun for a wee while in Aylesbury as I walked across the canal when I took Pippa to be groomed. That was a lovely lucky walk.
I have said it and will say it again: WISHING EVERYONE A BLESSED AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!