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5 posts from July 2009

31 July 2009

Adventures in Knitting - Stripes

One thing I have been able to do a lot of recently is knit. 

Part of the reason for my recent knitting obsession is that it is the perfect hobby to combine with looking after a four year old.  The Minx has got to the stage where I can take her to the wading pool or playground without having to be too attentive, but I still need something to stop myself internally combusting through boredom.  Knitting is perfect as, unlike a book, I can keep one eye out for the Minx, chat with friends and pick it up and put it down when I need to.

Here are a couple of small finished projects, and I’m also just finishing up a cardigan, the first garment I’ve knitted for myself since I was at college, of which more anon.

My Gaia Shoulder Hug.

The lace wrap I began in Portland is still less than half way completed, mostly because it requires a lot of focused attention and is not the right sort of knitting for playground duty. But in the meantime I have finished my Noro wrap.  I realise that this might not be to everyone’s taste, but I like it a lot.  Not that I’ve had any chance to wear it in the recent Seattle heatwave.

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Note to self:  Next time you pose pretentiously for photos it might be a good idea to wear a bit of makeup.

Secondly I knit a quick pair of yoga socks for my friend Laurie who is training to be a yoga teacher.  These were quick and fast and cute and I may need to make some for myself, if I ever manage to go to yoga regularly that is.

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Project details as ever on my Ravelry page.  Do come and be my friend.

Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly

Oh I’ve have been a very naughty blogger recently.  I’ve been struggling a bit keeping all the balls in the air while the Minx has been on summer vacation and to top it all Seattle has been having a mini-heatwave this summer culminating in a record-breaking temperature of 103 degrees yesterday (that’s 39.5 degrees in real money) .

I realise this is nothing compared with what many people elsewhere in the US go through, but you have to remember that most places in Seattle, including our house, don’t have air conditioning. So we’ve been getting through it with a combination of cool baths, evening swims in the lakes, sleeping in our new tent on the roofdeck, moaning about the weather and generally finding it difficult to achieve anything.

There’s some potentially exciting stuff going on in the background though, of which more later, and I’m intending to relaunch the blog somewhat when the Minx goes into full-time education starting in September! I’m such a bad mother, but I really cannot wait…

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In the meantime, here are some pictures I took of the lavender festival in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula.  Sequim (pronounced ‘Squim’) is in the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains and has a uniquely dry micro-climate for these parts, which is apparently very similar to that of Provence and has become the centre of a burgeoning lavender production area.

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16 July 2009

The Soups of Summer – Roasted Corn Soup

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After our Fourth of July party we found ourselves with a ton of grilled sweetcorn on our hands – whenever the Husband gets near a naked flame he grills like a man possessed. 

A quick search online took me to this recipe for a sweetcorn soup with roasted corn guacamole, which appears to be a slightly modified version of this soup from Epicurious,

Below are the original instructions. We just scraped the corn from plainly grilled corn cobs and used them for the both the soup and the guacamole. The soup was delicious though our version made with roasted corn was probably not as smooth and silky as the original (this did not matter in the slightest).  The real revelation though was the roasted corn guacamole, which was utterly superb and will be playing a big part in our future summer repertoire.

Corn Soup with Roasted Corn Guacamole 

Roasted corn guacamole

2 cups frozen corn, defrosted

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 lime, finely grated zest and juice

1/2 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, finely chopped

1 avocado, pitted, chopped

Soup:

3 cups frozen corn, defrosted

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, stemmed, chopped

salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Roast the corn for the guacamole: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil. Put the corn kernels on the baking sheet and toss with oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Spread the corn out evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until the corn turns a golden brown. You want the corn to caramelize and get a little crunchy. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare the corn for the soup: Put the kernels in a blender. Combine the oil and the garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the blender and puree until smooth.

Pour the corn puree into the soup pot. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the roasted corn, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and jalapeno. Gently stir in the avocado. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into a bowl. Place a generous spoonful of the guacamole in the center of the bowl. Makes 4 servings.

I love summer soups, so will try and get some more recipes up here before the summer is out.

15 July 2009

Adventures in Knitting – Designing?

Just saving these pics of a metallic Alexander Wang cardigan (available here from Shopbop) as inspiration.

I love it, and its top down raglan construction is not dissimilar to a cardigan I’m currently working on.  I’m wondering if I could adapt my current pattern to become something like this, maybe knit with this silk and stainless steel yarn.  Of course I could knit it out of spun gold and it still wouldn’t reach the $495 price tag for the original.

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09 July 2009

Hey Cupcake!

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Sorry for light bloggery recently - it's the interminable school vacation here and while we're having lots of fun in the sun, there really isn't much opportunity to get to a computer.

Last weekend, as usual, was filled with preparations for our annual Fourth of July firework party on our roofdeck, for which I ended up baking 113 mini-cupcakes, two huge clafoutis with cherries from our tree and one enormous strawberry and raspberry pavlova (which I will blog about separately).

Here are the cupcakes in action (with a glimpse of one of the clafoutis to the bottom right of the bottom image)

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Here is the view on a gorgeously warm and balmy moonlit night.

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And here is the ISO button on my camera breaking just before I was going to take pictures of the main event.

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