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All posts for the month March, 2015

Straw into gold

Published March 20, 2015 by Storm

I found an old notebook the other day, curiosity got the better of me (not always a good thing) and I found myself thumbing through. I’d been toying with fairy tales from a different perspective, I’ve done this on and off for as long as I can remember but don’t usually succeed in getting my ideas down in a way I’m happy with. Amongst the half formed ideas and random phrases I’d scrawled I found the bones of a poem; I doubt it will ever get the polish it deserves so here it is as first penned and not really finished, simply because I’d forgotten writing it and was intrigued to find it.

Straw Into Gold

Straw into gold!

How the fools mocked

her father’s outrageous claim.

And who spins, anyway?

Straw into gold!

_

Straw into gold!

The intellectuals

assumed tat was bought cheap,

marked up and sold on.

Straw into gold!

_

Straw into gold!

Flax into linen.

We’ve forgotten the secret

in our so called

civilised world.

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March 2015 Cat Appreciation Day

Published March 15, 2015 by Storm

The eldest of our cats is the one most likely to play with the kitten but sometimes he wears her out. Miss Red has a variety of hiding places she retreats to when the kitten gets a little too much.

In the uppermost of a pile of boxes,

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 in the bottom of the cat tower,

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in the box our old street tom used to love,

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and, if the kitten is worn out as well, in the accidental blanket fort.

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In Memoriam

Published March 12, 2015 by Storm

I don’t have a pint of scumble, nor a bananana daiquiri but I do have a banana wine and ginger spritzer of which I think Nanny Ogg would approve (this particular batch of home-made wine being almost as dangerous as either of the aforementioned beverages) and which I raise now to Sir Terry Pratchett. Today the world lost one of the greatest and most loved authors of my lifetime.

More eloquent minds will no doubt write greater tributes than I and there are a multitude of Discworld quotes which seem apt to mourn Sir Terry’s passing. I want to focus though on the author’s note at the end of Nation, 

“Thinking

This book contains some. Whether you try it at home is up to you.”

Countless eulogies will be written, countless Discworld costumes donned, and countless works of fan fiction penned as, together and apart, fans join in collective mourning. I think the greatest thing any of us can do in memory of Sir Terry is think.

February Baking

Published March 11, 2015 by Storm

I’ve just finished a cross-stitch project I really want to write a bit about, but I’d best not yet as it still needs to reach its destination. Instead I’m going to try and re-ignite the baking inspiration which has gone into hibernation this month. Last month I tried plenty of new loaf recipes, this month I don’t seem to be quite organised enough.

Spelt and Bulgur Wheat Bread

From The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking, which is becoming a well thumbed volume, this used a combination of white wheat and wholemeal spelt flours with the interesting addition of bulgur. This made a tasty loaf and the bulgur gave an interesting crunch to it. It was definitely best fresh though, as it dried out quite quickly; if I make it again I’ll use the dough setting on the bread machine and bake it in the oven as rolls, which should keep a little better.

Raspberry and Almond Teabread

From the same recipe book, not a bread at all but a cake for sharing. Not too sweet but beautifully moist and very easy to eat. I should feel guilty about out of season raspberries but sometimes you just need a treat, especially if you have a friend visiting who also deserves treating. Cake is good!

The Panasonic instruction and recipe booklet which came with the bread maker provided the rest of February’ bread recipes, and a good pizza base.

Apricot and Almond Loaf

If you have this recipe and haven’t tried it you need to do so! A higher protein bread, thanks to the ground almonds, this was wonderfully filling as a breakfast loaf. Toasted with butter and honey it was a real indulgence and I wish I’d had some marmalade to try it with. It was also surprisingly good with a hard, mild goats’ cheese. This loaf may cause me to stray from my aim of baking a different loaf every time I bake this year, just writing about it I want a slice.

Honey, Sunflower and Spelt Loaf

Another very indulgent baked offering. This should have been 50/50 white and wholemeal wheat flours but I didn’t have wholemeal wheat so used wholemeal spelt instead. A delicious and versatile bread I’d be happy to eat every day.

Pizza Bread

Being vegetarian I skipped the pepperoni the recipe called for, I know I could have used a vegetarian version but I’m not really a fan of fake meat, otherwise I followed the recipe as written. What a treat! The olives I used were stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes but I’d like to try it again with a mix of those and garlic stuffed ones. Probably not a loaf I’d want daily but it was tasty and made fantastic fake pizza, like cheese on toast but with tomato purée spread between the bread and the cheese.

Now to decide what to try baking next.

Old hat, new tricks

Published March 4, 2015 by Storm

Having decided that every knitting project I started this year should include a technique new to me in some way, I found myself needing to knit a second hat to a pattern I’d used just before Christmas. The question was how to integrate a new technique into something I’d done before. I’d recently bought two books in The Works, Knit Step By Step and Crochet Step By Step, so decided to try the Twisted Double Cast On shown in the former. If I’m honest I didn’t get it quite right! I got a cast on edge which wasn’t going to unravel but instead of the very stretchy cast on promised I got an edge with much less stretch than my usual Long Tail Cast On; however, I think I can see where I went wrong so I will have another try before too long.

I was more successful with a second new technique I tried. I’ve always used magic loop when knitting hats in the round, the only method I knew of knitting a tube with a smaller circumference than the length of my circular needle. On this hat I was just finding magic loop really irritating; so much time wasted pulling the spare length of the needle’s cable through twice per round, and it wasn’t really a long enough cable. I decided to see if it would work just having one loop for the spare length of the needle, sure enough it did. Of course I knew I couldn’t be the first to use this technique so the next challenge was to find out what it was called; Ravelry to the rescue, another knitter made sense of my description of what I’d done and was able to tell me it’s a technique called Travelling Loop.

I didn’t think to take any pictures to illustrate the techniques I was trying, but here’s the finished hat (as modelled by Mog).

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