An quick update and a new FO!

I am so sorry not to have been posting lately. I have had personal reasons with which I won’t bore you all. However I have a cake recipe sat in storage waiting for me to finish tweaking and get some decent photos taken.

I also have some lovely FOs to share one of which I will put up today. My red shawl is complete!

Look! Pretty innit?

Red wool thread shawl

Red wool thread shawl

I am really happy with this. I had to frog and re-work the last three rows about four times in order to have enough thread but in the end it’s worked out nicely.

Blocking this made a huge difference. It increased about a third in size and the lovely open texture of the single crochets made itself clear. (Yes I have the world’s loosest tension.) I also finished the grey cardigan in my WIP Weds post and frogged the blue one. I know some people will be disappointed but as I said in the post I do actually already have one like it and it was really a second attempt. I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I have steam blocked both cardies now and will put up photos soon.

Blocking red thread shawl

Blocking red thread shawl

Red thread shawl close up

Red thread shawl close up


Aubergine Fried in Gram Flour

Fried Aubergine

Fried Aubergine

Crispy, salty, melting, soft and ooooh so moreish these were a flash of inspiration that made my little day.

They’re also pretty simple to make so hooray for that!

You will need:

  • 1 aubergine (eggplant)
  • 5-6tbsp gram (chickpea) flour
  • enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan to about 5mm deep
  • salt and pepper to taste (you can also add some ground chili or cumin or whatever you fancy)

Instructions:

Slice the aubergine across into rounds less than 1cm thick.

Mix the salt and pepper in with the gram flour and place in a shallow dish wide enough to fit a slice of aubergine into it flat.

Scrunch a few sheets of paper towel and put these onto your serving plate so the fried pieces have something to drain onto.

Aubergine slices

Aubergine slices

Heat the oil until it is shimmering but not smoking. You can test it with a piece of stale bread which should go brown in 30secs or so.

Place a slice of aubergine into the seasoned gram flour and press down. Turn it over and press down again so it is coated. The natural moisture should be enough to make a light coating stick.

Knock gently on the side of the dish to remove the excess flour and place in the hot oil. Repeat until the pan is full. The slices shouldn’t touch.

When the tops of the slices are changing colour and becoming translucent in places flip the slices over carefully. Don’t splash yourself!

Fry until both sides are golden brown.

Remove shaking to get rid of excess oil. Pat each slice with the paper towel then leave to drain and cool for a few seconds.

Serve as quickly as possible with a hot, sharp tomato salsa or just a wedge of lemon and some salad.

Notes:

Gram flour is available from lots of Asian and increasingly from mainstream supermarkets. It’s made from ground chickpeas and is use in all sorts of Indian snacks. Too much of it can have a well-known embarrassing leguminous effect so go easy. That said it is great for making all sorts of little fried things like this and may be useful for people with a wheat intolerance. It’s also high protein so vegetarians and low carb dieters may find it a handy product to have around. It does have a specific flavour of its own, somewhat vegetable. Personally I like it but you may prefer to disguise it with lots of garlic and spice. It doesn’t substitute well for wheat flour in all things so check your recipes.


Work in Progress Wednesday Take 1

Top of chevron lace cardigan

Top of chevron lace cardigan

Tami’s Amis started a Work in Progress Wednesdays Meme which I thought was a good idea.

I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make this is a regular feature as my work life is picking up at the moment but I thought I’d join in this time as it sounds fun.

At the moment I have all sorts of work mid-hook. I really need to get cracking and finish a few of them but I have been trying to learn patience from my knitting friends and make some more substantial and satisfying garments.

There are two cardigans. One is a navy blue chevron lace cardigan based on this pattern from Without Seams. It is a second attempt because although I like the first attempt I wanted to adapt the pattern a little. It’s a very simple adaptable top down pattern.

The second is a top down slip stitch crochet cardigan with a decorative yolk and a plain body. I am currently trying to decide whether it will have sleeves.

First attempt at slip stitching

First attempt at slip stitching

Both of the above are in horrid Robin acrylic DK. I don’t use this yarn except as an experimental yarn. I lack confidence when it comes to bigger garments with shaping and so on so I have shied away from using nice yarn until I feel I’ve got the hang of this a bit better. I had (along with so many others) a very expensive mistake in my past which I may tell you some time if you ask nicely.

That said the slip stitch cardy looks remarkably classy even so. Something in the texture is bringing out the best in the yarn. It’s creating a depth and variation of colour that doesn’t actually exist.

I’m somewhat thrilled to have discovered slip stitching because it’s a way of making crochet more solid and drapey. It has a subtlety that normal crochet lacks and can make things that look not dissimilar to knitting. So yay for more variety of styling in my craft! Also yay for knit look garments that take less time than knitting. (Although they are still slower than ordinary crochet.)

Sexy red lace

Sexy red lace

Then there is a lace thread shawlette. It’s pure deep red wool and is a straightforward lace shawlette. I have been a little bit uncertain about this from time to time as the lace was less delicate than I had originally hoped. Also I  haven’t been able to keep track of the stitch count very effectively so there’s been some ruffling and cupping to contend with.

Still it looks pretty good actually on and I’m feeling more confident that it’ll be pretty once it’s finished.  When I get to the outer edge I’m going to add some more lace to that too. I’m really hoping it’ll block out well.

Although the shawlette and the slip stitch cardy are all improvised I’m not going to be putting the patterns up. I don’t want to have to work out sizing for the cardy and to be honest I can’t remember how I did the shawlette. They are all just going to have to be one offs.

Hurry up and dry!

Hurry up and dry!

I have another project on the go which I can’t talk about because I think it’s going to be a gift. It just depends on how it turns out. I’m having lots of fun with another new technique but I don’t know whether it will be good enough to actually give to someone.

Finally I have unravelled a cashmere cardigan of mine that got moth holes and anyway never really suited me. The colour was way too bright. I’ve dyed the yarn with a navy dye and am currently waiting for it to dry. So this is a pre-work in progress.

If I really concentrated the chevron lace cardigan could be an FO in no time but I’m enjoying it less than the lace and the slip stitch so I’m being lazy with it. The gift has some complicated aspects that have held it back a little but I need to grit my teeth and give it another go. The slip stitch is just a mindless project great for sitting in front of the TV and the red shawlette fits in a bag and is good for when I’m out and about. Of cours what I suspect will happen is that I will finish none of them but will instead start on something with my newly dyed cashmere…