I’m slightly late to the Stir up Sunday tradition this year. I decided on a flour free cake and used this recipe for Healthy Christmas Cake. For the observant amongst you, you will see a nutty fruity topping on the cake. This is due to me using part of a fruit cake kit with presoaked fruit that I had lurking in the cupboard. It was in the box and I thought it would look pretty 🙂
Katerina is testing out her new gift. I hosted a little Syjunta gathering yesterday and one of my guests donated a tassel to her.
The Schlossmachers are here! This always marks the start of Christmas for me.
I ended up meeting them in London instead of our original plan and it did mean that we could visit the Good Yarn Stall at Spitalfields Market.
So much beautifulness.
We saw llamas
And mini woolly Katerinas.
I accidentally discovered a feature of my new phone
And we had a brilliant Sunday dinner. See you next year! Sad times for Tamyra, Claude and Katerina who have missed out but next time.
It is ridiculously difficult to knit with Claude and Katerina around. Whenever, I get knitting out, a weird crazed expression comes over their faces and they cannot leave me alone. Trust me, I’ve tried. So knitting has been difficult and blocking more so.
I’ve had to resort to saving my knitting activities for a cat sitting stint. Ironic? Yes, I know.
I started this Textured shawl in 2013 and I loved the spinning of the yarn, the plying and the knitting. I had one bobbin of yarn left and worried a little about if it would be big enough or there would be yarn enough. Of course, the bobbin and yarn were like crack to those kittens. It was the worst sort of yarn as the kittens are quite keen on the natural fibres.
I got to a stage where I was finished as far as I was concerned as I didn’t want to spin any more yarn as that would be a whole new adventure for Claude and Katerina.
I have been looking forward to seeing what the blocked version was like. If you’ve been on Instagram, you would have had a peek at this detail.
It was great to have the space and absence of pesky kittens to get this blocked properly.
The yarn really opened up and despite the little curls, I thought the shawl looked pretty wonderful.
I managed to get a little photo shoot in my friend’s garden
And my friend’s cat Hugo came for a look at what I was doing but not a paw touched the shawl. I was impressed.
Out of the two kittens, Katerina is probably the most yarn loving. She growls when she steals and won’t let go of any purloined yarn.
She is very good at looking sweet and innocent.
We know otherwise, don’t we?
I got with modern times last week and got a cheap Singer sewing machine which was considerably reduced and had great reviews. As much as I wanted a Janome or Bernina or other delightful powerhouse, my budget wasn’t going to stretch that far right now and I wanted to celebrate a little since I’ve got another part-time contract – this time for 11 months but I get all my worker’s rights to go with it rather than the temp contract I’m on now.
Louise very wisely brought me a pattern for pillowcases when I was learning with pao’s grandmother’s handcrank Singer and I figured that it was the best way to try out the new machine. I loved these pillow cases I’d made before.
I confess my heart had gone out of the idea of sewing after this little guy died as I knew how much he’d enjoyed himself and entertained me.
So on Sunday, I had an unexpected afternoon of leisure, I thought I’d see if Claude would step into Sirius’ pawprints as Most Helpful Cat Ever (Not with scissors).
He was fairly interested but the noise was a reasonable device to keep him from straying too near.
He liked to sit on the table with the fabric etc but wasn’t too bothered about cutting (phew). He is better as a paws off supervisor.
I’d had these three fabrics in my little stash for a while but no motivation to make something so they jumped out at me. I had been saving that little waving cat for a special project.
And here it is! I am very happy with the machine and how smoothly it runs. Time to put the sleeves on my dress now! (Yes, I know 2.5 years is a long time to procrastinate about sleeves but 2017 seems to be about finishing)
I had quite a collection of odds and ends of bread cluttering my freezer and I wanted a nice way to try and use them up. I like bread pudding and wanted to make something savoury this time. I found this recipe for a savoury sausage and cheddar bread pudding and wanted to make something similar. It makes a lovely brunch dish and I served it with a pepper sauce. You can make this the night before, then you can pop it in a cold oven and after an hour lazing in bed with your Sara Paretsky and a cuppa, you’ll have a great brunch ready.
1 small loaf stale bread or around 500g of bread odds and ends (I used a wholemeal seeded loaf)
1 medium onion
3-4 rashers of bacon, chopped
1 medium courgette, chopped
1 package of sausage meat (around 300-400g) – you can cut off the skins of sausages if you don’t have sausagemeat
Sprigs of rosemary
2 large handfuls of cheddar cheese
12 or so cherry tomatoes
2 cups milk
Butter for greasing casserole dish.
Salt and pepper (but if you decide to use some peppercorn sauce then leave this out)
Soften your onion in a frying pan with a little oil or butter. Add bacon and fry until crisp. Add chopped courgette to soften.
Add the sausage meat to the saucepan and fry until browned, breaking up large pieces to a crumble texture.
Cut up your loaf into small squares. Grease your casserole dish and layer with bread, cheese, tomatoes, sausage mix and then finishing up with a layer of bread.
Mix eggs and milk together and pour over the bread mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and put in the fridge for a few hours (overnight if you wish).
Put dish into a cold oven and set to 180C. It will be cooked after about an hour.
I serve it with a peppercorn sauce from a packet mix. It is reminiscent of the breakfasts I’ve had in the USA of sausage and biscuits so the pepper sauce is pretty nice.
Here is the lesser spotted photo of all three cats in the same room. We are making progress!