Thursday, 31 December 2009


Oooh, is it the Future yet?

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


My first attempt at mitred squares. These will possibly be coasters or I might join them up into.. something.

Mitred squares appeal to me in the same way that the log-cabin knitting did - clever but easy! Actually it's more than that, they're just very satisfying somehow. They feel more like my natural medium than, say, lace. Lace is untidy to me in so many ways - not just how it looks until it's blocked (and sometimes even afterwards) but in its creation. All those rows with different numbers of stitches, the distortion inherent in the process. Granted there's distortion in mitred squares, but ahhh, there's symmetry too! Mitred squares are like simultaneous equations (which were my favourite thing in maths), they prove themselves and have balance.

All hail the mitred square!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A multicultural cure for what ails you

Chicken soup is supposedly the Jewish penicillin - tattie soup is the Shetland equivalent. Traditionally tattie soup is made using reestit mutton, but as a student I had no access to such a delicacy* so started substituting with chicken, mixing the best of both worlds. Far from traditional it may be, but in my opinion it works very well. Generally speaking I hate soup. But I love proper tattie soup, and now I love my own chicken tattie soup.


1. Chop up an onion and gently soften in oil over a low heat. Meanwhile cut two or three largeish potatoes into cubes, and chop a carrot and maybe some neep (Swede) if you have any. You could add more of the other veg if you prefer, it's personal taste - I tend to limit the carrot as it can make the soup very sweet. Which some people love.

2. When the onion is soft add stock (I use chicken stock made from stock powder because it's easy) and bring to a boil. Then add the tatties, carrot and neep if using.

3. Chuck in some chicken. I either use leftovers from a roast chicken or if I've not done a roast recently I boil a chicken portion (leg, wing, whatever) in. If it's on the bone obviously you'll have to fish it out once it's cooked to remove the meat from the bone. But that's kinda fun.

4. Add half a teaspoon (or more) of mild curry powder. This just gives it a bit of oomph.

5. Simmer for ages. Then simmer some more. I like it to reduce down a bit so it's almost verging on being a stew.

6. Serve, preferably with crusty bread and a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice. The idea of adding citrus juice (the multicultural bit) came from a Bulgarian friend of my parents who served lemon juice with fish soup. I've no idea if Bulgarians do this with any soups other than fish, but it goes really well with chicken tattie soup as it cuts through the comforting richness of the soup and gives it a bit of zing.

It need hardly be said that it tastes even better reheated the next day, as today's lunch was.

* Halls of residence would probably frown on heavily salted lumps of mutton hanging around the place.

Friday, 25 December 2009


Apparently I was on the 'nice' list! Lucky me!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Holly and the Ivy

And the various other bits of greenery I found in the garden. So that's my very first wreath, and I'm pleased with it. I'm not into flower-arranging perfection - and a good thing too!
It's a B&Q silver willowish basic wreath to which I attached, with garden wire and knitting yarn and optimism, the afore-mentioned various bits of greenery, some silver pine cones and some mad glittery red twig things. And I didn't swear once.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Comfort and Joy

I was slightly organised today and hung various scarves up in the porch to keep them from falling off hooks onto the soggy doormat. I had a moment of knitty joy admiring my work (excluding the gorgeous red pashmina - my brother brought that back from India). I love scarves!

Further to my last post on this blog all those months ago, I've been watching Kirstie's Homemade Christmas - aah, comfort telly! Inspired by that I'm having a go at a wreath tomorrow. Should be interesting. That's after icing the cake - I love doing that! I can't wait to see how it's turned out this year. It's based on a Sue Lawrence Christmas cake recipe but with a few tweaks - the omission of cinnamon, cloves and mixed peel because I loathe them (I replace the spices with extra ginger and the mixed peel with extra dried fruit), and swapping the brandy for whisky. I marzipanned it last night and the whisky fumes were delicious. *drool*

And later the boy and I will be baking 'cookies' of some description - the usual recipe we use is really more like a shortbread recipe rather than a chewy, gooey cookie but the book calls it a cookie so a cookie it is to him.

And, and, and... No, in fact most stuff that needs to be wrapped has been, the food shopping is done (we're low-key with the Christmas food) and all the cards that can be delivered have been delivered. Could it be that we're done? The frenzy is over?