Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Making it up as I go along...

I am a little bit proud of myself. This weekend I managed to knit a pair of gloves for the Little Man, completely to his specification WITHOUT an actual pattern to follow. That is a written, tried and tested by somebody else kind of pattern anyway...

It was definitely cold enough for gloves when we went out on Saturday but rooting through the hats/gloves/scarves box (aka Little Man's dressing up box) and could not find one pair of gloves that matched AND fitted him so he ended up with a pair of fluffy mittens which spent most of the day in his pockets not on his hands which meant he spent most of the day with cold hands!

'I want some like yours mummy' he said pointing to my wrist warmers, 'but not sparkly!'

So I let him pick some yarn. After steering him away from the lime green acrylic - there are some places I just won't go! - he chose a nice blue-grey with coloured flecks. We took the yarn home and I set to, ploughing through my patterns to find what he wanted. Nothing.  Had a look on Ravelry for free downloads and couldn't find anything there either.  So I bit the bullet, grabbed a pen and some paper and made my own pattern.

He wanted a longer cuff than normal (kids gloves are always too short at the wrist don't you think?), he wanted a thumb but he didn't want fingers. And he want the top left open, 'So I can eat sweeties without getting fluffy bits in my mouth!'  I wanted to knit them in the round using double pointed needles so there was no sewing up afterwards...

I used a basic mitten pattern as a starting point for number of stitches to cast on and also for shaping the thumb gusset but after that I kind of made it up as I went along (writing it down so the other glove would match of course!)

I can't begin to tell you how satisfying it was once they were finished (in one day too!) and Little Man put them on, then didn't want to take them off!  He proudly showed them off to his teachers when he went back to school yesterday.

And now I am proudly showing them off to you!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn Glory

I don't know what the weather was like your way over the weekend but on Saturday we were treated to the most glorious sunshiney day that was a welcome respite to the damp gloominess that has greeted us each morning for the past week or so.

We went over to Newent for the day and had a lovely time hanging out at the Shambles, taking a stroll round the lake, feeding the ducks and having a mooch round the charity shops.

The trees around the lake were looking pretty spectacular, the fiery colours enhanced by the clearest, brightest blue sky you could wish for...

 Fiery orange and crisp turquoise - the best colour combos can be found in nature!  (OK so this pic has been *slightly* enhanced. But only coz the camera on my phone simply couldn't cope with the dazzling colours!)

My favourite picture of the day. I love the way the light filters through the tree canopy and the path disappears over the ridge inviting you to follow...

We had a lovely time exploring the little tracks that wind around the lake - for a park that is sandwiched between two housing estates, the town centre and the main road to Gloucester it was remarkably peaceful and really felt like we were in the middle of the forest!


 Later on I stocked up on some lovely charcoal grey aran yarn to make a cosy cabled patchwork blanket I have been wanting to knit for several years. It will be a project for next year - or maybe something to start in the Christmas holidays once I have all the present making out of the way  (more on that in another blog ) 

And what was waiting on the door mat when we got home?

The perfect ending to a perfect Saturday!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Veggie Box Meals - A Friday night curry

We are starting to get into the routine of school here now, although we still haven't quite got the hang of the morning bit yet and it usually involves a bit of shouting at each other 2 minutes before we have to leave!

One big change I have noticed is that the Little Man's appetite seems to have really perked up and plates are being cleared every night instead of just when it's cheesy pasta for tea . . .  I put it down to all the extra fresh air and having opportunities to use his brain more!  I'm not complaining. It's nice to know that my cooking efforts are not wasted, and unlike his Daddy, who would happily live on beans on toast and pizza forever more, Little Man is happy to give my veggie box recipes a try.

This scrummy curry went down a treat!

Veggie Box Curry

One large onion, chopped finely
One large potato, diced
A couple of carrots, sliced
Diced flesh of small squash
One small cauliflower chopped into bite size florets
A tin of chick peas, drained
A carton of passata (sieved tomatoes) or a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes
Some curry paste (I used Balti paste but Rogan Josh works well too)
Veg stock cube or 2 tsp Marigold Vegetable Bouillon

A big pan with a lid to cook it in!

Fry the onion in a little vegetable oil until it soft and golden, then add the potato and carrot and stir in some curry paste - add as much or as little as you like. I used a generous tbsp - enough to provide some spicy flavour but not so much to put the Little Man off!

Add the passata/tomatoes. Give it a good stir then add the cauliflower florets, squash and chick peas.

Crumble in the veg stock cube and add a little water to loosen up the mixture then put on the lid and leave to simmer for half an hour (or until all the veg is tender) stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed.

Serve with rice (a plain version of the baked Gourmet Rice recipe here works well - just use chopped onion and some pilau rice seasoning with the rice) or naan bread.  For a milder version add some natural yoghurt to the curry just before serving, or put a pot on the table for those who want to add it themselves!

Little Man tucking in to (cold) photoshoot curry... it's THAT good ;-)

As it's just the two of us eating this it went a LOOOOOONG way - a tub in the fridge for later in the week and a two servings in the freezer for those days when I just don't want to cook. It's a great way to make the most of your veggie box as you can add just about anything - sweetcorn, beans, peas and greens could all go in quite happily. You could use fresh tomatoes (skinned and chopped) , sliced courgettes, mushrooms and peppers too - just remember some vegetables don't need to cook as long as others!

I am adding this recipe along with others as I find them to my Pinterest board 'Veggie Box Recipes'. This week I got some surprise broad beans in the box so I have been searching for some 'not-too-summery' recipes to use those in - I love them double podded with pesto and pasta and a bit of Parmesan cheese, but it's always nice to find a new way of eating a favourite food!

Why not have a look, for some Veggie recipe inspiration (although not necessarily Vegetarian, I hasten to add!)? I would love it if anyone wanted to join in pinning their own veggie box recipes - just give me a shout and I will add you as a pinner for that board! 

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