Thursday, 26 July 2018

Recipe: Grilled Salsa

One of the aforementioned Camp America friends that I am still in touch with on Facebook shared this way of making salsa a whole year ago, and I only remembered I was going to copy it when she reshared it from her memories this week. I did it the same day. No time to waste on forgetting it again.

It's ridiculously easy. You select your vegetables. This is five tomatoes, two chillis, one yellow pepper, one red onion and four cloves of garlic. Cut up the toughies but leave the garlic in its skin.

Put them on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and I added salt here but I probably wouldn't bother next time. Put the whole lot under the grill for about 10 minutes. Turn the peppers and onions once. Don't bother with the tomatoes.

I was in such haste I almost forgot to take a picture of the grilled results.

Once everything is softened and grilled, slip the skins off the tomatoes and pop the garlic out of its skin. Bung the whole lot into a food processor with a big handful of chopped coriander (I used stalks as it was all we had).

Pulse briefly. I gave this five short pulses in my Kenwood and it was done. You'll know how chunky you like it, obvs. I did read one comment from someone who said they keep blending and eat it as a soup. I think that would work nicely.

I left the seeds in the chillis on this one and it has a nice kick to it, but not too strong. You can vary your veggies according to your taste. We made this to go with fajitas but then also ate it with lamb kebabs and in turkey wraps. So good. I recommend.

Throwback Thursday

Having the floor replaced has forced the Z household to do some significant clearing out of stuff. This is all very liberating. The poor charity shop won't know what's hit it, and today I have listed things on ebay for the first time in probably a decade. Excited to see that there are already eight bids on 15 items that have been gathering dust on my dressing table for years.

Anyway, with that spring-cleaning head on, I have photographed some things ahead of getting rid of them, so I will memorialise them in my blog, so they can live forever in memory.

Camp America was one of the best things I've done. I went to a Girl Scout camp, Camp Black Hawk, in Wisconsin for the summer of 1998. I learned a lot, particularly about how black attracts mosquitoes, how to dive a lake looking for a body (thankfully this was only ever a drill), how to use a campfire pie oven, how to make people feel happy and good, and how to hide a bottle of tequila and a pack of cigarettes just off-camp so that it wouldn't get wet or spoil. I swam with a giant turtle. I saw the Northern Lights. I learned all kinds of watercraft. I saw the Spice Girls in concert (Ginger had just left, devo'd). I went skinny dipping for the first time in my life (no kids on camp at the time, I hasten to add). I managed cut off from the world for two months, sleeping in a tent, with only actual paper letters and the very occasional email, when I could convince the senior to let me use the computer on site. I made friends for life. It was amazing.

When I signed up to Camp America and they sent me the welcome pack, this label was included. I didn't use it because it looked flimsy, but I have, nevertheless, kept it all this time. In fact, it might not have made it into the bin yet. How often can one thing so small bring back such a range of memories?

Yellow never was, and never will be, my colour.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Weekend WIP

I finished the first sleeve for this a couple of weeks ago, amid much lamenting and whinging and complaining, as is my wont. Nobody wants to be knitting angora in the biggest heatwave the country has seen since 1976. I promised myself a new linen cast on after the first sleeve was done.

Well, then we went and had the floor done in the living room, which accounts for roughly three quarters of the square footage of the ground floor of our house. The contents of said room are still stuffed into the spare room. Behind it is all my yarn. So, it was either cast on the second sleeve or not knit at all.

I put it off for two weeks, but the second sleeve is now on the go, as you see on the right of the picture. I wouldn't have time to finish a new linen for this summer anyway, although was I was wearing this yesterday and thinking how much I'd like another one.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Sunday selfie

When I started marking public exams and people told me I was crazy, I'd always shrug and say, 'Yeah,'s horrible for three weeks, but it's only three weeks, it's not part of the summer holidays and then you can spend the money.'

This week marks the start of the seventh week of this year's exam season. I have a post it note on my computer monitor that says, 'You wanted this job'. My resolve never to react to pressured situation by getting stressed has been tested to its absolute limit. Here was my reaction to a work friend sending pictures of him and our colleagues on a speed boat in Capri last week.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Wonderwool 2018

At the risk of sounding very old, this year is absolutely flying by. I shouldn't be surprised; I have been very busy, which is scientifically proven to make time pass more quickly, but....still! Wonderwool was already over a month ago! Phew.

We stayed in a different place this time, since our usual bunkhouse had been snapped up. It was an outward bound centre aimed at schools so it was slightly less comfortable but in slightly more spectacular surroundings, being on the edge of Brecon forest, and with the added benefit of being on the Bristol side of Builth.

A picturesque nearby tree. It's the sort of place that would have been good for a walk is I was disposed to such things. There was a single track road in and out, populated by Houdini sheep and a small herd of goats fronted by an angry ram. There were many sofas and a good wood burner. I'm already looking forward to going back.

I was quite restrained on the yarn front. I was going to attempt to not buy anything, but only in a half-hearted way. Here are the goodies:

  • Five skeins of Triskelion Hama DK, a BFL/silk/cashmere blend, in Navigator. It was on their sale rack. Sally saw me coming, as usual. 
  • Two skeins of Riverknits BFL 4-ply in Starry Night. THE COLOUR! It looked so good knitted up in a little shawlette with twinkly beads. 
  • More Riverknits - a last minute impulse buy of a rainbow gradient kit. I don't think I will ever find anything good enough to knit with it. There are 960m, though. It's basically a jumper. 
  • Some buttons from Brimstone. Of course. 
I also bought a couple of patterns - a book of small bird patterns from Sue Strafford (still need to knit up the giant blue tit from the kit I bought x years ago) and the sweater pattern for this -

I was thinking the Hama would be a good base for this but heaven knows what I'd pair it with. 

There was also a needle felting workshop with Jenny Barnett again. April and I went to make woodland creature badges. I didn't stab myself, which I consider to be a win. 

And my Wonderwoman jumper garnered a few compliments, which are always nice to hear. And the weather was lovely!

Not so good for everybody in attendance, though....


Sunday, 13 May 2018

Weekend WIP

With Wonderwool looming and no time to cast on for something new, I went back to something old, with positive results. I finished the other side last weekend, what with the bank holiday and all, and made a start on the sleeve today.

My intention had been to complete the neckline first, as I mentioned back in November, but then I realised that the top of the sleeve forms part of the neckline, so I'm just getting on with it. I'm only doing one at a time, in a break from the norm, but starting two off together when there is short row shaping to create a curved hem was just too much. I am hoping that this will fly past since it's just st-st in the round. Of course, now it's too warm to wear it again, but oh well. I am trying to be strong and not cast on a new linen top for the summer until one sleeve is done, at least. The second sleeve would make good travel knitting.

Weekend FO: Ooo Wonderwoman

It SHOULD have been a weekend FO post three weeks ago, but then I washed it for blocking so I didn't have any pictures, and then, yknow, busy.

Wonderwoman cares nothing about multiple chins!

Pattern: A heavily adapted Julissa (Scoop neck version)
Yarn: John Arbon Knit by Numbers, all half price faulty skeins (except the white which I had to buy full price). I weighed it at the end and it's 425g, so surprisingly economical on the yarn.
Needles: 4mm and 3.75mm
Mods: Well, where to start? Obviously the colourwork is all to my own charts, but even then I didn't exactly follow my own charts and there were various mistakes made that I just fudged my way through.
I modified the design of the sweater with a longer body and a shorter rib; I increased to a larger size after the waist shaping, in what has become my usual pear-shaped practice with top-down sweaters; I basically ignored the sleeve instructions and cast on more stitches than I was meant to, to ensure the drag from the intarsia didn't pinch; I knitted twice as many rows for the neckline as I was meant to, because I wanted to ensure there was no off-the-shoulder slippage.

I am overwhelmingly thrilled with the result. A sweater so long-planned, and it came out as well as I had hoped. There are bits I'd change - maybe I should have tried to intarsia a star on the underside of the sleeves, across the seam; I made a couple of mistakes with the cuffs that I was too lazy to rip back. However, I wore it to Wonderwool and had lots of positive comments, as well as from the lovely cheerleaders at knitting group. So, I think I can chalk it up as a resounding success.