Polenta

As the only person that reads this regularly is my brother, I decided I would be that person I hate and blog about what I’m having for dinner.

I was re-organizing my cupboards, as one does, and discovered that I could put all but one cup of the corn meal in a big glass storage container. Then I set out to find a recipe that would use one cup of corn meal, so I didn’t have to figure out where else I could store it.

Tonight I’m having Polenta, from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/savory-polenta-recipe/index.html this recipe.

I have to admit, I may have skimmed the directions, and then taken some *ahem* liberties.

Firstly, I didn’t have a red onion, so I used a spanish onion. Secondly, I needed to finish the garlic, so there are between four and five cloves in it. Thirdly, I might have missed the entire “Preheat the oven” and “bake in the oven” part when I was skimming, so I did not preheat the oven, nor did I put it in the oven. I just cooked it over really low heat on the stove top for a while until it tasted good. Fourthly, I have a scale for yarn, but not a scale for food, so I just added cheese until I got bored with adding cheese. I’m not sure how much is in there. Fifthly, I topped it with cheese, and tossed it in the fridge.

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I haven’t decided yet if I’m just going to eat it, or cut and fry it up.

Sriracha Cheese Bread

It’s time for another baking review! Today I’m making Sriracha Cheese Bread

I appear to be following the recipe only in loose terms. I didn’t have honey, so I used sugar. I didn’t have bread flour, so I used regular white all-purpose flour. I didn’t have a proper measuring cup, so rather than put in 1/4 of a cup of warm water twice, I put in 1/2 of a cup the first time while I was proofing the yeast. 

I  had a hard time rolling the dough so it would fit in the pan, and I’m not sure that I love the orange colour of the dough. It seems a little more dog-vomit than pretty orange, but that might change in the baking. 

Now post-baking, this bread is amazing. It’s a great colour and texture. You can’t really see where it was rolled. The cheese also disappears into the bread. The next time I make it, I may roll some of the cheese into the roll, so that there are lines of it though the bread. 

Baking reviews

Clearly, I continue to only blog in spurts. I decide that I want to blog and then give it my all for a few days, only to get totally distracted with something else new and shiny.

As we get back into spring in Halifax, I find myself baking more and more bread rather that buying it. I have spots on Ravelry and in some of my notebooks to keep track of what I like and what I don’t like about yarns, patterns and spinning, but I don’t have a place to keep track of what I’m baking and cooking these days.

I hate to be one of those people who post photos of food on the internet, I do want to keep track of what worked and what didn’t in the event I want to replicate my breads.

Last weekend, I made Beer Bread. I have to say, this recipe was great. It was heavy without being overwhelming and didn’t taste like beer at all. It was great. It made a round loaf around 8 inches in diameter. The bread lasted a week, from Saturday to Saturday, and might have lasted longer if it wasn’t so delicious. It was still soft and very tasty after a week, the edges weren’t drying out.

I think some of the keys to success were that I proofed to yeast by having the bowl sit on top of the stove while I cooked salmon. I think part of my recent problems have been that I haven’t been proofing the yeast enough and keeping the dough warm enough though the process. I don’t know what it is about this apartment, but it seems like I need to proof the bread a very long time for it to rise. Maybe it’s the ocean level thing?

The only thing that I would do differently in the future is that I would make it in loaf pans, so that I could make sandwiches with it.

Sweater Knitting

Although I have my standard socks on the needle, most of my knitting energy is going into sweaters right now.

I’ve knit a couple sweaters before, but this year I’m focusing more on buying yarn in sweater amounts (okay, some sock yarn has followed me home because I’m running low, but that doesn’t count, right?). I like being able to knit big, long term projects, and just have a couple small projects on the go for knitting class or in bars and things.

The sweater that I’m loving and adoring is the Hedge Fence Pullover by Elinor Brown for my significant other. I’m knitting it out of Briggs and Little Wool is Light Gray. It’s a really beautiful blend of dark wool and light wool. I love the texture of the wool, and that’s it a more rugged wool that I think will survive forever.I know other people don’t love this yarn because it’s pretty harsh but I love it for this project.  IMG_0803 I’m working the sleeves two at a time because I like them to match.The Vancouver Fog gloves reminded me that sometimes the gauge gods decide to frown on my knitting. I want both sleeves to be the same length and same size so I would rather work on them at the same time and have them match even if they don’t match what the pattern wants.

I have a lot of knitting time this weekend as reading week starts, and hope to get the sweater close to done by the end of break.

Languishing on the sidelines is a sweater for myself that I cast on shortly before this sweater, but that I haven’t been as in love with. It’s been sitting on my side table for months looking at me with shame and recrimination. I’ll get back to it! I swear.

IMG_0750It’s the Dark and Stormy Sweater by Thea Coleman

 

Valentine’s Day Colours

I’m not really a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but I recently dyed up some bright pink merino wool and this seemed like the right time to spin it up. I’ll let the colours speak for itself.

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It’s a 2-ply yarn, which weights 41.1 grams and is 103 yards. This is the best yardage I’ve gotten ever!

I spun it at a ratio of 14:1, which is probably the highest I’ve ever worked on. It was fast, which should help me to under-spinning than I had been doing recently. This is also one of my first times trying spinning from the fold, which I found was really evening out my singles. I think the evenness held through in the final yarn, but I under-plyed in some places and over-plyed in others, so I’m not sure what is from the singles and what is from the plying. I hope I continue to get more even with time.

I’ve been working on my 2-ply recently, because I’ve found that I’ve really been under-plying. Sometimes I like the effect, but I need to work on having more control over the actual spin, and intentionally under-plying rather than just doing it accidentally.

Knit-a-long Socks

Just a quick update for today: I’m participating in a Knit-a-long for the Business Casual socks by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts. The lovely host of this KAL iscelticcaston! Please check out her blog and join us in this KAL. I’m knitting with hand-dyed yarn. I bought the yarn when I want in England, and it was natural undyed merino. I have since dyed it a robin’s egg blue with flecks of darker blue and pinks, because it reminds me of spring! My goal is to have these socks added to my collection before spring comes, and given the weather outside I’ve got lots of time!

One thing that does slow down my knitting for this project is that I mostly knit them in class. I have several big projects that live at home, and these live in my backpack and get less overall work time than I would like.

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2012 – a Knitting Year in Review

Although my last few posts have been about my spinning, I’ve also worked on a lot of knitting projects. I always find it interesting to go back and look at what I’ve knit over the past year, because every year brings about a radical change in the kinds of projects, fibers and techniques that I work with.

Although I was really busy with school in 2012, I also diversified my knitting.

The tl;dr list of things I did in 2012:

  • Two-handed stranded colour work
  • Shaping for sweaters
  • Cabling without a cable needle
  • Participated in my first KAL
  • Knit my first shawl
  • First patterned socks
  • Test Knitting

In the Spring, I decided to learn how to knit with one colour in each hand. I’ve always held my yarn with my left, and could never get my brain around holding the yarn with my right until I had one strand in each hand. It just sort of clicked. I still have issues with throwing the yarn when I only have one strand, but I can work two-handed colour work fairly easily! This was my first of many colour work hats over the course of the year, from the Three Tam pattern on Knitty.com.

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Although I cast-on in December of 2011, I also knit my first shaped sweater in the Spring of 2012. It’s the most loved sweater in my closet, and the start of what I hope to be an annual tradition of making sweaters for my birthday.

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I also learned to cable without a cable needle. I started learning on the Brambles Tam, again from Knitty. The lesson was really reinforced later in the year when I participated in my first KAL with the Think 1 Geek 2 podcast. We knit the Watson Socks, which has lots of small cables and made it worth learning fast so I didn’t have to fiddle with a cable needle. These were I think my first pair of patterned socks that I actually finished, even though they took me ages!IMG_0230IMG_0232

Around the same time, I also made the Vancover Fog Wrist Warmers for my brother, which were also heavy cabled. It was one of the examples this year of the gauge gods hating me. They are knit in the same yarn, on the same needles and yet they are more than an inch different in length.IMG_0794

I decided in the Winter that it was time to make my first triangular shawl. My Grandmother had brought me yarn when she came back from Australia many years aog that was 100% Alpaca and not entirely my colour. I decided to make a simple shawl out of it, and now it’s one of my go-to winter scarves so I don’t freeze my face off.

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I also knit my first pairs of pattern socks. I’d knit plain stocking stich socks before, but this year I really got to expand on that and make pretty patterned socks with pretty yarn. I think I’m going to talk more about them in another post though, so no photos of them yet.

I also got to test knit for Kate Atherley’s accessory book, which I also don’t have photos of, but was a really fun experience.

In conclusion: 2012 was a great year for my knitting, and I hope that 2013 continues to be as awesome!