Some random updates…

It’s been a while since I last did a post that didn’t require ultra long paragraphs of any sort, just bits of phrases and sentences containing random thoughts.

…I bought six kilos of yarn for the store. Sales have been good this month – thank you Man Upstairs! – and I’m excited about trying out new bases as well as dyeing techniques!

…I’m getting better with my knitting. I finished my first project for 2011 and am working on my second & third one – another beanie and this time, a pair of socks.

…Stalking yarn shops is definitely not good for my wallet but I don’t intend on stashing up on more until I’m done destashing. Might jump to reorganising my stash since…

…I seem to have caught the organising bug. I cleared out my circular needles and arranged them in a ring binder. Trouble is that because I have too many, I need an arch file now! Next up would be my DPNs. My straights are fine – they are sitting in a tube so no worries about that.

…I might start on my sewing again but perhaps in March or late February when the post-holiday blues have gone for good!

…Move over, Strongest diet pill over the counter, because I bought myself a 2kg pair of dumb bells to use during my workouts! The flu bug knocked me off for a week but I’m back again and so far, the last two months have been good. I’m still maintaining my weight and it’s become almost second nature to me to eat less for dinner although Chinese New Year may just put a damper on my diet plans. (I plan to go for evening walks with Eva when I’m there – just need to remember to bring her mozzie repellant!)

…Having said that, I’ll be off to KL and Phuket for the festive break – of course with Eva!!! Chinese New Year, here I come!

🙂

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WIP: Comm: Koolhaas

Believe it or not, I am actually done with my first WIP of the year which is the Knotty but Nice beanie. I got Nil to try it out and it fits him, so it means whoever the recipient is, it should fit him as well. I’ll blog about it in detail once I finish weaving the ends in as well as lightly blocking it. But right now, I’m onto my second WIP of the year and it’s another hat – this time for my brother.

Since Nil will be off to Switzerland for a meeting for the next few days, my nights will be pretty quiet so I got myself a new Korean drama (“Pasta”) – quite interesting, really – and decide to do nothing else but knit, maybe blog about IT degrees and other topics (Tiger Mum Amy Chua?), bake up some mini quiches (I’m thinking of a chicken-broccoli quiche) for Eva and perhaps, just perhaps, do some knitting if my parcel from the US arrives. Can you believe that I have eight parcels due within the next few days? I hope I don’t miss out on any while I’m gone!

For my second project, I’ve decided on some Manos yarn which is made up of 50% merino, 50% wool. It’s pretty smooth and springy, which makes it great for something which requires some warmth and a bit of stretch. Since my brother wanted it to be colourful, I picked a variegated colourway – lots of different shades of maroon and blue-purple. Initially I wanted to use the yarn for something else but I didn’t want to go through the hassle of ordering in yarn so I used this. I reckon it’s good for stash busting and Nil would agree with me!

So yes, I’m excited about knitting like this – it’s been a while since I knitted AND finished something! So YAY! Now back to my reviews on those IT degrees!

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WIP: Comm: Knotty But Nice

Comm: WIP - Knotty But Nice

It’s no secret that I haven’t been knitting since I gave birth. My needles have been kept hidden away and my stash just out on display. About two weeks ago, someone contacted me asking if I still knit and if I could churn out a couple of beanies and scarves. I said yes without much thought since I really do knit. What I didn’t count on was that the person wanted 12 knitted items and by mid-August.

The organiser in me immediately got around to working out a schedule-plan. I was lucky that a fellow Singaporean Raveler was heading back from Australia and she also happened to be the owner of a yarn shop that carried the yarn I was looking for to use in the projects. So I got her to get a couple of skeins for me. On top of that, I bought a few from 100purewool.com as well as from other people’s stash! I reckon I have enough to form a blanket. Thank goodness for Ravelry and destashing!

The picture you see above is the start of the first beanie. I’m about halfway through already – am happy to say that – and have been knitting at least two to three rows per night. It’s slow progress since I caught the cold from Eva over the week. I’m hoping to finish it before Chinese New Year and get started on Beanie No 2 and scarf no 1. Am seriously keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to make the deadline. Wish me luck!

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Provençal Vegetable Tian

Provençal Vegetable Tian

For the vegetarian in all of us, this dish is heavenly. For a working mum like myself who likes to pump her kid full of veg, this is god-sent (just like sites for people looking for unique wedding presents for couples). Just slice, arrange/line up and pop into the oven for a quick bake – all of which can be done in between clearing the kitchen!

While the original recipe called for sautéed onions with garlic or leeks, I omitted this step because I didn’t want to do any cooking on my Pyrex dish and neither was I keen on washing more pans. So as a replacement, I just grated over some garlic and sprinkle mixed Italian herbs over. You can use fresh herbs but woe to me for not having any on hand. Still it makes for a good vegetable dish and reminds me very much of the animation Ratatouille. (In fact, it could be just this dish that he served up and not ratatouille!)

Provençal Vegetable Tian
Adapted from The Garden of Eating’s Provençal Vegetable Tian

2-3 large cloves garlic
2 small zucchinis (one green and one yellow)
1 small eggplant
4 small tomatoes
Some dried mixed Italian herbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C.
  2. Prepare the vegetables by slicing them into coins that are around 2mm thick. Try to keep the thickness even otherwise some slices would cook faster than others – the problem would be the undercooked veg!
  3. Line the baking dish – I used Pyrex – with rows of vegetables alternating between the wet and dry ones – I did green zucchini, then tomato followed by yellow zucchini and finally the eggplant. Continue until you run out of space (I managed to get a good four rows of veg in my baking dish)
  4. Sprinkle over some finely chopped garlic, mixed Italian herbs, ground black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Cut and butter a baking paper (to cover the veg so measure & cut before you butter it) liberally before place it buttered side down onto the veg.
  5. Baked for 35-45 minutes until the vegetables are soft (not mushy). Serve with a side of meat or grain like couscous or pasta. Good for freezing/storage as well.
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Stashing woes.

Silk-Wool Lace in Electric Blue

One good thing about running a handdyed shop is that you get to bulk up your own yarn stash from your own dyeing. Well, that and the fact that you can aim to get the colours of your choice. Why I say aim is because what you desire often isn’t 100% what you get from the dyepot. Above is one of the silk-wool yummies I have called my own although Nil is trying to get me to sell whatever I can – FAT CHANCE!!!! It is just too lovely to pass up!

I have put up the two below for sale at the shop but am getting tempted to dye up another batch just for keeps. The trouble with all this is that I’m way behind on my knitting – am building up a stash faster than I can knit!!! The yarn above plus about four skeins of Manos and another seven skeins of Malabrigo for a commissioned knitting project (more about that later) is definitely going to add to my budget. Still, I must thank the person behind the commissioned knitting. I get to shop for yarn guilt-free!

I’m hoping that once the knitting bug catches on (and it IS catching on), I’ll be back onto the knitting bandwagon. I owe Nil a couple of socks and at least two sweaters which will go well with some shirts that he has!

Silk-Wool Lace in Pumpkin
Superwash Cash-Wool Sock in Denim & Suede

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Simple homemade waffles

Homemade waffles

I have never really been a waffle or pancake person but since marrying and moving abroad, I discovered that you can eat other things apart from noodles, bread and rice for breakfast. The very simple yet delicious waffle is a good example – you can eat it plain or drizzle it with honey/chocolate or spread butter and jam over it…whatever tickles your fancy. Nil likes it with chocolate, Eva is just fine with a light spreading of butter and me? I like it with some jam, please. Like pancakes, waffles start off with a pretty generic base, making it an awesome crowd pleaser.

Since bonus came in just around Christmas, I decided to invest some money in a waffle maker instead of spending nearly SGD2 per waffle each time any of us wanted one. I figured that being able to make them as and when I like as well as store some was enough reason to get a maker. I opted for the Kenwood SM360 sandwich maker which came with three interchangeable plates – one for sandwich, one for grilling and one for waffles. The instructions were very simple and there weren’t any recipes so I had to rely on my cookbooks. I found one (despite googling and going through all those posts on iphone 4 and what-not – don’t ask la), tweaked it a little and got start cooking up some waffles.

Along the way, I discovered that the temptation to peek while the waffle is cooking is terribly high and each waffle takes up at least 1/2 cup of batter. Taste-wise, Nil swears that it’s delicious. Well, the fact that he finished one despite not wanting one at first should be testament that there is always room for a waffle. LOL.

Simple homemade waffles

1 large egg
1 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsp demerara sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Method

  1. Preheat waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add in the other ingredients and mix well – do not overbeat.
  3. When ready, spoon in the appropriate amount of batter in the maker and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Serve fresh with fruit or butter, jam, honey, chocolate syrup, etc.
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