Friday 26 July 2013


I am really pleased with the poncho I made after the pattern I got from Fru Tunheim's blog. I know I have a propensity for small and quick projects, but with thick yarn and crochet hook no 7 it really didn't take more than a couple of days to finish. Remember these balls of yarn? I still had 'tons' of it leftover after my knitted cushions and as part of my decision to reduce my yarn stash before I allow myself to buy anymore, I thought it would be a good idea to use the cream yarn for the poncho... Alas, it was not enough. So, I also used up the grey ball of yarn and I am really happy with the project and the fact that these two huuuuge balls of yarn have now been used up and turned into something useful!

Just a couple of strands of yarn to fasten and then it is good to go! Ok, I admit it was a very warm project to work on as we have had record temperatures here with many days with well over 30 degrees, but it was so inspiring to see how quickly the project grew! Hopefully, the nice weather will carry on and it will be some months before this poncho will be needed!

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Thursday 25 July 2013

Tried and Tested: Hot in the Heat: Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Chilli

I am not very fond of too spicy food, but both my men are, so I thought I would surprise them with a dish of spicy pulled pork and sweet potato chilli. My recipe is taken 'a little from here and there' and by the sounds of my men I think this will be requested again in our house. I just add some extra dollop of sour cream or yoghurt to adjust the heat to my taste. This recipe will feed 4 VERY hungry people or 6-8 with more normal appetites. For once I noted down what I used and here is how I did it:

Brown 1,5 kg pork shoulder steak cut into chunks and set aside

Cut 2 onions into slices and fry gently with 4-6 garlic gloves (don't burn the garlic as it will taste bitter).
Add 2-4 chillies and deseed them if you don't want it too hot.
Add the following spices to the mixture and mix well:
1tsp cumin
1tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground gloves
1tsp cinnamon
1Tbsp sugar

Add 2 cans of tinned tomatoes and 500 ml of good stock as well as the juice of an orange and a lemon.

Add the meat back to the mixture and let it simmer under a lid for 2 hours. The pork will at this stage be easy to shred apart if you so desire.

Clean and peel about 500gr of sweet potato and cut into cubes and add to the pan. Let it cook for another 15 mins without the lid. Then add two tins of kidney beans or mixed beans and let it cook for further 10 mins.

Serve with fresh bread and a good dollop of Greek yoghurt or sour cream and either with fresh coriander or parsley.


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Friday 19 July 2013

Learning a New Technique: Daisy Stitch

I am constantly looking for new challenges, but I am too impatient to start any new large scale projects. A friend of mine had a her birthday earlier this month and I was thinking of what to get her when I thought about MAKING something for her. She is a great cook and loves to spend time in her cosy, country style kitchen, so I thought a pair of oven mittens would be the right thing and a not too large project!

I picked up this yarn called 'all season cotton' and found a knitting technique new to me called Daisy Stitch on a blog. The blog is in Norwegian, but at the end of it is a small video which should make it clear how to make this stitch.

I made the oven mittens with 26 stitches and alternated the colours so the stitch would be more visible. I made two identical squares which I crocheted together back to back to ensure they would be thick enough and then crocheted a simple border around it.

My friend seemed to be happy for the two she got and I have already made one for myself.

I so love a quick project!

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Thursday 18 July 2013

Summer Evening Crochet Project

Long summer evenings outside in the garden.... We are fortunate there are few annoying mosquitoes here, so the relaxing atmosphere of the evening can be savoured late into the night. The neighbours are doing the same, windows are open all around and you hear more of what is going on. Music is playing and few seem to care much about getting up the next morning...

Sitting in the garden I crocheted this new glass cover for a tealight partially using the fan-pattern i found on a blog (sorry - in Norwegian). I used very thin cotton yarn and crochet needle no 2.

1. Omgang: legg opp 3 luftmasker og fest med en kjm.

2. omg: 3 lm (som fungerer som første stav). Hekle så 13 st ut ifra ringen (så det blir totalt 14 staver). Avslutt med en kjm i tredje lm på første st (som er de 3 lm).

3. omg: 3 lm, så 2 st mellom hver maske fra forrige omg, totalt 28 st. Avslutt med kjm i tredje lm iførste st.

4. omg: 3 lm, så annenhver gang en og to st mellom hver maske, slik at du i denne omg øker til 42 st. Avslutt med kjm i tredje lm på første stav.

5. omg: Fortsett som beskrevet i 4. Omgang til basen blir stor nok til glasset du bruker. Pass på at du ender opp med totalt antall staver som er delelig med 6+1.

Fortsett så med viftemønsteret som jeg fant her:

Rad 1 : 1 FM i den 2. st, *3 LM, hopp over 3 st, hekle 1 FM i hver av de 3 neste st, gjenta fra * og slutt med 1 FM i hver av de siste 2 st.

Rad 2 : 1 LM, hopp over 1 fm, * 5 ST i 3 lm-buen, hopp over 1 fm, 1 FM i neste fm ( i midten av de 3 fm ), gjenta fra * og slutt med 1 FM i 1 lm.

Rad 3 : 3 LM, hopp over [1fm,1st], * 1 FM i hver av de 3 neste st ( den midterste st av de 5), 3 LM, hopp over [1st,1fm,1st], gjenta fra *til den siste gruppen, 1 FM i hver av 3 st, 2 lm, hopp over 1 st, hekle 1 FM i 1 lm.

Rad 4 : Hekle 3 LM, hopp over den første fm, 2 ST i 2 lm-buen, * hopp over 1 fm, 1 FM i neste fm (den midterste fm av de 3 ) , hopp over 1 fm, 5 ST i 3 lm-buen, gjenta fra * og slutt med 3 ST under 3 lm.

Rad 5 : 1 LM, hopp over den første st, 1 FM i neste st, * 3 LM, hopp over [1st,1fm,1st], 1 FM i hver av de neste 3 st ( den midterste- av 5 ) , gjenta fra * og slutt med 1 fm i den siste st og hekle 1 FM i den 3. av 3 lm.

Gjenta radene 2 - 5

You can spruce up any old jam jar this way and they look lovely both outside in the garden and inside later in the autumn.

Just make the bottom as large as you need for the jar and ensure the final number of stitches of the bottom is dividable with 6+1. I have seen many bloggers make the covers higher than the jars, but for the sake of fire safety I prefer to keep them not higher than the jar I am working on. It is a quick and easy summer evening project.

Hope you are enjoying the summer wherever you are!

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Wednesday 17 July 2013

Tried and tested: Banana Bread

We are loving the hot weather that has finally arrived. We have had several days with temperatures soaring over 30 degrees. Ok, the nights are a bit sticky, admittedly, but we are NOT complaining!

My days are quiet and rather uneventful, just enjoying the heat sitting under the lilac tree and trying to get back to my normal self. Must admit I am a bit impatient and the pain I experienced after a cautious swim yesterday was not very encouraging, but still, I am making progress. Just a very slow one...

We are all craving fruit and vegetables in the heat, but I had some bananas that had reached the height of ripeness, so making a banana bread was the only solution. It turned out very moist and delicious. You can make it with buttermilk, but you can also substitute this as suggested below if you don't have any:

285 plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
110g butter, plus extra for greasing
225g caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
4 VERY ripe bananas, mashed
85ml buttermilk (or normal milk mixed with 1½ tsp lemon juice or vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bake at 180C

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt) into a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well. Fold in the flour mixture.

I baked it in a normal bread tin which I greased well using Cake Release which I got from Lakeland. Bake the cake for about an hour, or until well-risen and golden-brown. Let the cake cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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Tuesday 2 July 2013

Sometimes Life Changes Suddenly...

It has been a VERY long time since I wrote anything on the blog. Life suddenly changed when I at short notice had to undergo a rather serious procedure a couple of weeks ago. I am pleased to report that I am doing well and trying to enjoy my summer of recovery.

Being rather house bound to start with, I expect a summer filled with craft projects of various kinds. And that is not bad at all...

Talking about craft projects: I attended a wedding in Oslo at the beginning of June before my ordeal started and the bride had requested a shawl in case of a chilly day (before anybody asks - no, she did not wear orange!). I found a pattern on the wonderful website Garnstudio. The site offers patterns in several languages and I made the shawl above (finished the day before the wedding - yes, I know - cutting it fine...). The pattern (here in Norwegian, but it can be had in other languages as well) can be found here
I used the yarn suggested, Drops Kid-Silk and to be honest it was like working with the threads in a spiders web. That said, it was well worth the effort and I wouldn't mind using the yarn again on a suitable project.

I am almost done with another new project - a very pink baby blanket (also found on Garnstudio) for a little girl due to arrive in September! Pictures will follow once the mother-to-be has approved the size of the blanket.

So, blog friends, a bit philosophical ending to today's entry - Carpe Diem seems appropriate to say.
And remember to value beauty around you and the good things in your life.