Sunday, 23 September 2018

Quelle Surpise!

What a lot of talent on Strictly last night, along with a couple of nerve ridden celebs, I was really surprised. I had not expected it to be a particularly  good show and only knew a few of the contestants. That Strictly First, a quickstep in the first show was truly am az ing along with several other dances.
I cast on my first official Strictly Sock, one pair was finished before it even started properly tut tut.

These will be part of Fran's birthday gift. her Dad dyed the yarn. I am using her "recipe" and a centre pattern in the Old Shale stitch.

I did manage to bend the rules and knit for most of the evening.
Ali of the Little drops of Wonderful podcast, who is running the sock-a-long is allowing wips. 
Soooo as well as starting these I also finished off a pair of DK socks which will be part of Fran's Christmas gift, I cast on several pairs in August and got them all to the same point. It will take very little time to get each pair finished while I watch the daily catch up show. dk knits up so fast and with only 48 stitches the rounds whizz by.
 One of the rules is to bend every rule and get as much sneaky knitting in as possible. I am all for sneaky knitting.

Dinner last night was home made pizza, loads of veg, a home made tomato sauce and some yellow sticker Mozzarella, it was reduced fat but did the job very well.

Tonight we will have fish pie, with a sweet potato topping, sweetcorn and broccoli. There is a Pineapple Upside Down cake, I found some pineapple that I froze a few months ago, and Greek Yogurt for pudding if we need one.
The pineapples had been reduced to 30p, less than the cost of a small tin of the cheapest value anywhere, so I emptied the shelf.

The day started dry, then wet and just now the sun is glimmering, almost shining, but the forecast is wet. 
I hope for better tomorrow as I am off out visiting for the day. 
driving in rain holds no appeal for me.

A few hours have passed since the last paragraph. The dogs were walked as the sun came out to play. Washing was done and pegged out, soup was made. i went out to get the washing in just as a mini wannabe tornado wooshed through the garden and my whirlygig went down like a felled oak tree. luckily it landed on the fence and no washing was damaged or even marked.

Off we went to Ponty to look for another in Argos, I should have gone to Ammanford and tried Wilko, there was a road block with 3 police vehicles and 1 small car just off the entrance to the retail park. When we finally got through there was nothing other than a cheap as chips puny little thing that I wouldn't trust with my undies.

I will be going via Ammanford tomorrow so will have a look in Wilko's, fingers crossed that I find one as i do not fancy trekking to Swansea or Carmarthen.

Now I am flustered, hot and bothered and I still have the bed to make, it may have to wait till after dinner.

I am off to walk Ben and Herbie while the sun shines, oooooh nearly forgot, I have (hopefully) my last appointment early next month to get my mouth back in order. It will be so good to be able to crunch through salads again.

                     TTFN                                   Pam

Friday, 21 September 2018

Slop in a pot.

When I worked in the Deli food factory that was our pet name for all the soft salads, rice, potato, pasta and various bean and veg mixes bound in a sauce.

That is also what we have been eating this week, casserole type dishes and some really delicious soup. the idea was to go through the fridge and use every bit of veg therein.
It almost worked, I have a few sticks of celery, a yellow pepper, a few carrots and a swede and half of a big celeriac that were both reduced to clear on Wednesday and irresistible.

I love those old fashioned winter warming dishes but enough is enough. I need something more formed (not too hard as the mouth is still not healed) but I want a plate and a knife and fork in front of me, rather than a dish and spoon.

The problem is that my mind has taken a back seat and won't even come up with a single suggestion, the SO is no better.

I quite like the thought of pastry but then crisp Yorkshire Pudding and Roasties have a certain appeal.

Whatever it ends up being there will be mushrooms involved.
I love mushrooms and add them to every possible dish, I often pick them up with a yellow sticker on for pennies and then slice and freeze. The last few weeks there have been none to see and I worked my way through the ones in the freezer. I usually keep a couple of tins in for times when only a mushroom omelette will do. A couple of weeks back I was in Farm foods and spotted bags of them so one went into the basket.

Never Again, I tipped some out to use 2 days ago and the amount of water that came out of them was scandalous. I have just tipped the remaining 310 grams into a sieve, over a bowl, to thaw.
I will be weighing both mushrooms and liquid and will let you know the results.

I anticipate sending a "snottagram" off later in the day. in fairness the packaging does say to cook from frozen for "best results"
The microwave cooking instructions say to add water!! 
Boiled rubber anyone?

I also know that mushrooms do give off quite a bit of liquid, but this is dark and aromatic, not obviously water. From my food production background I deduce that these have been soaked in a major amount of water during the process. Mushrooms are akin to sponges in that can take up huge amounts of water.

Oh dear, I think I had a "soap box moment".

BUT, the sun is shining, the wind has dropped, it did escalate during the afternoon and evening and record wind speeds were recorded over the Gower peninsular last night.

I have a small shopping list, top of it is fresh mushrooms as once thawed and weighed I am not sure that I will want to eat those FF ones. They were fine in the soup, I did chop them very fine as they were a bit rubbery though.

Now I am off to throw all the windows wide open and give the house a good airing, I may even risk a load of washing to peg out. There is a small pile of socks to be hand washed so they will definitely be out there soon, very soon.

                       TTFN                                           Pam

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Tiny is not for me.

I have had some emails from the Tiny House Society offering some collaborative posts.
I do sometimes look at Tiny Houses, I am a bit nosy you know,  I find them intriguing and quite interesting. I have picked up several tips on storage, I have sofa's with cavernous storage underneath, and some ideas on placement of furniture.

But, and it is a big but, the idea of trying to fit my crafting stash alone into that size space makes me break into a cold sweat. Not to mention my kitchen contents, and I do use every single item in there. Much of my equipment has multi use, the wok is perfect for a batch of soup, (sunshine soup for lunch today) or for a pasta sauce.

Last night,s dinner, cooked in the wok. I did break up the fish steaks, the SO had his with pasta.

Here it is in the wok.

I could lose some of my knives, Haha, as though that will happen. I worked long hours to afford the best knives that I could find and they will outlive me and still be razor sharp.

The bread maker is a one use item, I see no gain in making cakes or jam in it, but it gives me wonderful bread at low cost and no waste.

The maslin pan has not been used for preserving this year as I made far too much last year. It has however cooked a few large joints of gammon that would not fit into any other pot. 

I have sent off a reply declining the offer for those reasons, I will not be a hypocrite and promote something that I do not and will not ever use. 

I want to be free to write whatever pops into my mind and not have to answer to anybody.

That said I do mention some of the places where I buy yarn and fabric from. I would not do this if I did not buy from them. 

I like to be as prompt to pat as I am quick to kick when a product or service is not up to scratch.

I watch several podcasts based on yarn and fabric, I hear some of the presenters say that "this is my favourite yarn ever" about a skein that has been given to them. The next episode they have a brand new "softest, squishiest, absolute favourite yarn in the world".
That is not my way and I often wonder if those people ever listen to what they are saying.
The main exception to that is Kay from the Bakery bears, I have watched from the first episode and never heard that type of statement. I have in fact heard her mention that type of thing and vow never to do it herself.

I shop at Tesco, Home Bargains, Farm Foods and Pound Stretcher because they are my closest shops. They all have their pros and cons. I have heard a few disgruntled comments about certain shops and my reply is simply "if you don't like it go elsewhere".

Oops I seem to have jumped on the soapbox without noticing. sorry but sometimes my fingers and mind runaway with themselves.

I did set out with an idea of what to write about but this has now run screaming from the room, if it does return I will use it tomorrow.

Today we have more rain but very little wind, apparently it will be fine and dry next week. I do hope so as we both want to spend time in the garden.

Bingo I just caught that subject as it tried to slink past me.

Email. The laptop has had a bit of a hissy fit and emptied my inbox and deleted everything in my address book and contact list. I did have a couple of back to back updates so perhaps its nose was put out of joint.

I have been struggling with accessing the patron only content of the Bakery Bears. The wonderful Dan has been a great help and, fingers crossed, all is now back to normal.

I am so not tech savvy that I am pleased to take help wherever I can find it. Sometimes the help proffered is more confusing than the original issue. Just like some knitting patterns, and recipes come to that, the person who produces the tutorial/video/pattern assumes a level of knowledge far beyond what is reasonable. after all if you knew a great deal you would not be seeking help.

I tried to contact Patreon to find out what was wrong, I could only get a generic reply telling me how to navigate the login page.
Fine, but the issue was that the login page would not load. 
That was not recognised as a request for help as it did not fit in with the list of help queries. 
So Not Helpful.
Anyway what ever the wonderful Dan has done it worked and all is well.

Now I am off to get the kettle on. all this writing and getting hot under the collar is thirsty work.

It may be that a slice of cake will slip onto a plate, on the other hand I may be able to resist.
we did have a bowl of wonderful soup each for lunch.

"Every veg in the fridge" soup plus 2 little chillies off my large plant, they are so colourful and go from green to purple to red. They are also quite fiery and to be treated with respect.

                        TTFN                                     Pam

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

WIP shrinkage

One down, 8 to go, pairs of socks that is. The garments in waiting can wait a bit longer.

This pair are now tucked away in the sock drawer, perfect for wearing with boots on dog walks when it is frosty.

This is the next WIP to get my attention, I had completely forgotten them. The yarn has been here for a few months and I cast them on within hours of the delivery. Then Fran asked for something and they haven't seen the light of day from then to last night. I had knitted the toes and finished the increases, so a few rounds went on last night while we binge watched Killing Eve.
 Not a bad watch but a few loose ends to carry over to the next series.

Apart from the garden being a no go area, all of the great outdoors really, thanks to the tail end of storms that are shedding their water content all over the show. Life has continued ticking away gently here.
The normal chores, a bit of random baking and some extra polishing. That is merely to keep me moving and reflect whatever natural light that is trickling in.

I had assembled a pile of things to donate so we went off to Ammanford this morning and dropped those off. While we were there we had a nose round Tesco and picked some barganicious shopping. Packs of 5% minced beef were reduced along with some Sirloin steaks at less than half price.
I can see chillies, pasta dishes and Yorkshire Puddings filled with mince and veg in our future. I make all of those on a regular basis but with half price meat it seems to taste even better.
 Raisin and Cinnamon bagels (for the SO) and some wholemeal baps for much less than I can make them are now safely in the freezer.
The SO likes a fish finger sarnie every now and then so when I spotted packs of 4 Large breaded fish steaks on a promotion for £1.50 I snapped up 2 boxes. They will be easier than fingers to put in a roll.

There was a mega naughty buy, a Zillionaires Shortbread at half price caught the SO's eye and he promptly turned into a little boy! Puppy dog eyes and a wistful expression were turned in my direction, in the trolley it went. A chunk of that will be going to W to soothe his sweet tooth. I don't like it at all, not even if I make it myself far too much of a tooth curling sweet overload for me.

My shopping list has been decimated for Friday so I will possibly do a quick tinned and dry goods stock take and have a shop up on those.

Tonight's dinner is cod steaks in a tomato, onion and basil sauce. I will serve it on a bed of Savoy cabbage and cook a little pasta for the SO. 
I will just sweat off some red onion and garlic, throw in a chopped red pepper and a tsp of dried basil along with a tin of chopped tomatoes. I may sear the fish or it may go straight in with a handful of fresh basil for 5 minutes. A simple, easy and very tasty dinner,I use quite a bit of dried basil in cold weather meals as it adds a note of warmth, the heat of chilli would swamp the fish flavour. 
In summer fish dishes I tend to reach for French Tarragon or dill.

That's all for now, it is dry and bright so an extra walk is in order, just in case of bad weather later.

                     TTFN                                     Pam

Monday, 17 September 2018

A quick grovel

Dear Sheila,
Who is too busy to iron tea towels.
I made a boo boo.
I sent your comment on my socks to spam.
I take full responsibility, nobody jogged my elbow. Herbie did not throw himself at me, Ben was sleeping his dinner off and the SO was not in the room.
Fingers crossed that I have not consigned any future ones to the same fate.

I could blame my tummy, there are a take on Chicken kievs in the oven, these are stuffed with pesto and coriander.

Pam xx

Happy, happy post.

Monday morning, warm, slightly wet and windy. Housework day. The day when furniture gets hauled around, the vacuum cleaner goes into warp speed and the whole house has a miasma of polish, Zoflora  and bleach.

I love it.

But this Monday was even better than all that times 5.

The Postie brought me a little parcel of squishy loveliness.

I only ordered these the other day from Rosie's Moments.

This is 50% Merino 50% silk. The colour is garden flowers.
It will be a gift, once knitted.

It came with a lavender bag and this cute little sheep progress keeper.


This skein is 70% superwash Merino, 20% Yak and 10% Nylon.
It will be knitted into socks for the SO, I did tell him that it was Pink and Purple and I am sure there was a look of relief when the parcel was opened.

I am itching to get them cast on but have resigned myself to knitting through the sock WIPs first.
I have 7 pairs on the needles, my fuzzy ones and 6 pairs for Fran. They are to be part of her Christmas present, and the start of a new Tradition, I have got them all to the start of gusset increases so it will be a fairly quick job.
I have been galvanised into this plan of action by a new Craft Along. I have been watching The Project Bag podcast and Gemma has started this off to help her work through her own WIPs.

Just what I needed to get me focused and pointed in the right direction.

This has to be a quick visit ,coffee break, as I still have the bathroom to bottom and another load of laundry to do. I would normally leave it till I could peg out but the forecast is pretty dire and it is all the sofa throws and cushion covers. I have no room to keep those bulky items except for the bathroom or utility room floor. That is so not going to happen.

See you tomorrow, all being well.

                          TTFN                              Pam

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Socky Wocky Doo Dah

What a glorious day, if you are a duck maybe. I guess that even Ducks get fed up with the rain.
I got up to leaden skies that seemed to be skimming the roof line, out of that came drizzle, pouring down, a bit more drizzle and then the heavens really opened.
I did manage to get Herbie out for a quick walk, more of a mad dash truth be told. Ben took one look out of the front door, shook his head in amazement at my foolishness, turned round and marched to the back door. It was obviously garden time for him.

The SO and I were in agreement, sofa surfing was the order of the day. We did do all the normal chores first though.

I did the fridge sort and tidy, there is now a wonderfully aromatic veg curry cooling down, tomorrows dinner.

A puff pastry lattice filled with salmon and bechamel sauce is in the oven, along with a sweet potato in it's jacket, we will share that. A small tray of chopped courgette is in there also and there are carrots, broccoli and cauliflower steaming on the hob. I am looking forward to that.

fast forward..... just as I typed the last paragraph the timer pinged and dinner was ready. It was delicious.

I have been knitting, of course that is what rainy days were made for, and one sock is finished and it's partner started.

The yarn is Drops Delight Print, a very plump 4 ply with a halo.

I knitted the gusset and heel in eye of partridge stitch and it is really soft and a bit bouncy. These are going to be lovely and warm in my boots when the cold weather gets here. I only wear short socks with boots as I either have trousers or thick tights on.

I have enjoyed my lazy day but hope that there are not too many of them. I like to keep busy and soon get fidgety if I am idle.

I need to check to see if a walk is on the cards, Ben will keep the sofa warm for me but Herbie needs to burn up some energy.
I feel much the same, I need a walk and some fresh air. If it is still hammering down I will wear my dryzabone and see if I can wrestle Herbie into a coat.

                    TTFN                                               Pam