Saturday, December 18, 2010

So accomplished

There's nothing like cooking a perfect turkey to make you feel like an accomplished cook! Even better when it's the first time you've done it!
(Although maybe it was just beginner's luck...) (also, please ignore the rack on which the turkey is sitting - I couldn't work out how to get the turkey off it and onto the plate - so we just moved the whole thing!)

We had friends over for christmas lunch today and we decided to try doing a turkey. I've never really been a huge fan of turkey, as pretty much every turkey I've had in the past has suffered from dry turkey syndrome. Not my turkey! So moist and juicy and tender. It really was the best turkey I've ever had, and I'm not just saying that because I cooked it! I did make sure I got a nice crispy bit of skin too.
I've got two christmas specific recipe books (Nigella and Donna Hay) so I read up on their turkey recommendations. Nigella soaks hers in "brine" for two days beforehand, which wasn't going to work for me for various logistical reasons. So I went with Donna Hay, but following Nigella's timings for my 6kg bird.

What's the secret? Well, I don't know why my turkey turned out so well, but I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, so I guess that's the secret. Lots of butter between the breast skin and meat (tell you what, carefully separating the skin from the meat with your fingers is a very odd business, only beaten really by then stuffing dobs of butter back in there!). Sit the turkey on a rack in the baking tray, and fill the bottom of the tray with chicken stock, and baste every hour or so with the stock/juices mixture (would have done half hour, but couldn't fit that in with the other prep jobs I had to do!).
And there wasn't much left, always a good sign! We should have enough pickings for turkey bubble and squeak for lunch tomorrow I think! Thanks to Fiona for doing the veg, Sue for the dessert and Jack for the champagne - truly a great joint effort christmas lunch.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Red red reddy red Rudy

I decided I wouldn't torture myself (or my friends/relations) this year by doing any Christmas knitting - with one small exception - I'm not sure why I made this exception, maybe subconsciously I'm trying to demonstrate to non-knitters that knitting is (a) cool and (b) useful. Although I suppose "cool" and "useful" are all relative!

Anyway, I made this for my parents group secret santa (we had a Christmas get-together on the weekend - nice - because we got to meet the dads - well, except of course for the couple of dads that come to group every week!)

Pattern: Rudy by Elaine Fitzpatrick - an easy knit/purl bib with Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. The pattern is free but is written - so I spent a little bit of time charting it before I knit it - so much easier to follow. I particularly like the short row shaping at the bottom edge, to give it that nice curved edge.

Instead of doing i-cord ties for the bib, I knit a neck strap with buttonhole in garter stitch and sewed a button on the other side - I think buttons are (slightly) easier than trying to tie a bib on a wriggling baby.

Yarn: Peaches and Cream worsted cotton - in red (but of course!) - about 50g

Sticks: 4mm bamboo straights (old skool!). Bit tight knitted worsted cotton on 4mm sticks, but it does make a good thirsty fabric, which is what you want in a bib. And it won't really stretch either, also good for a gift for a non-knitter!

Time: 25 November - 4 December 2010

Little Sophie was the lucky (?) baby who received this gift (which I wrapped with a couple of books - can never have too many books for babies and kids, I think). Her mum seemed to really like it, and told me at group the week after that she was going to make it into a little Christmas lolly bag once it's use as a bib was done, by sewing a piece of fabric on the back. Which I thought was an excellent idea!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's called procrastination...

So back in July (omg, was it really July??) I asked for opinions on a hat I'd made.

It took me until mid-November to put into action my decision - which was to keep it - I turned the brim up and stitched it in place with a few small stitches. I thought about adding a big button for trim, but decided I could use a brooch (and change it as my mood takes me).

I think it's ok...
Pattern: A Better Bucket Hat by Amy Swenson, with modifications by raveller Solaris.

Yarn: Colinette Iona in Ginger Cinnabar - about 70g and because I didn't think I'd have enough of the Iona, Malabrigo Worsted in Sealing Wax - about 25g. I used the Malabrigo for the turned under part of the brim (which is knit first). I think, as it turns out, I would have had enough of the Iona, but I quite like the contrast of the orangey red Malabrigo with the ginger Iona.
Sticks: 4.5mm bamboo 40cm circular and bamboo dpns for the top of the hat decreases. I forgot to change needle sizes for the body of the hat, which would have made it a bit less slouchy. Oh well...

Time: 10 July 2010 - 16 July 2010 (for the knitting) - then another, oh, 10 minutes on 14 November to sew in ends and stitch up the brim! Yep, it's called procrastination, and I am an expert at it!
Modifications: the popular mods by Solaris are designed to make the brim stand out a bit more than the original pattern - I'm sure it would have worked for me if I'd only read them properly and changed needle sizes! I also did a provisional cast on to make the fixing down of the turn under brim easier (knit it as you go, rather than seaming it at the end).

And it only took me a month after finishing it to actually blog it! At least I can wear it next winter! And it's one WIP down in my WIP-athon, weeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Keeping Track - November 2010

A day late, sorry! I took advantage of a break in the rain we've been having since (it seems like) forever, to take some photos for this post, because there have been a few in's this month. Fortunately, most of them were gifts, and gift yarn doesn't count, right!

This lot was my birthday present to myself:
I accidentally (heh!) hit a wollmeise update a month or two ago, and managed to score a couple of colours I've been wanting for some time - Sabrina and Ruby Thursday. And a couple of Vamp (a newer red, which I couldn't leave behind) and to make up my order to 5 skeins (most economical for postage!) I got a skein of My Old Blue Jeans as well. Why not!

And this lovely group comprise gifts from some lovely friends:

The large ball on the left is Cashmere laceweight, a bloggy prize from Jen. Across the top is handdyed laceweight from The Granny Square in Newtown, a gift from JP. Underneath that is alpacky laceweight from MissFee, and the small blue skein and larger skein below it is Margarita's handspun! How clever is she!

And this lot I bought - so it does count - but you know, it's a discontinued red 8ply cotton from Bendigo - I just missed buying some before they discontinued the colour (darn them!!) and I happened to mention this to JP and she came through with the goods!! She had a spare few balls and was happy to destash them to me, weeeeeeeeeeeee!

And since they are big balls (heh! Why yes I am a juvenile at heart) - 200g each - that makes a lot of 50g equivalents in the "in" column. Not that I regret it at all!

In: 12 x 50g
Out: 5 x 50g
YTD: +36.5 x 50g balls (or 3.5 balls per month!)