Red red head scarf

Word up! Do you remember Larry Blockmon, the lead singer of group Cameo? No? How about the guy in the late 80s  who sported a rather in-your-face  shiny red codpiece. Ah yes. Here he is…

Ok. So here is the headscarf I made which in a certain light reminds me of that codpiece.

It’s curling as I haven’t blocked it yet. Recently I had my very long hair cut off into a flicky  hair cut with a fringe. I have no idea what possessed me as I’m not a fringe girl (unless we are talking great sci-fi show Fringe that is). I’ve been making a few hats of late but they didn’t look right so opted to make this.

Yarn: Anchor style creativa – red. Small amount of Flirt dk purple

Hooks: 6mm and 4mm

UK terminology

I began with the 6mm hook to make a simple triangle of double crochet stitches created by adding a two dcs into the last chain of each row. Once I was happy with the length (which took about 4 tries over a few days to figure out), I added a single border of dcs along the other edges of the triangle so that I could flip it around to have columns rather than rows going down my head.

Then I started on the band, switching to the 4mm hook. There is a chain of 40 added to each corner. For two rows, I dc’d into each of these then did crossed trebles along the triangle. I finished with a border in purple along all the edges.

I like it a lot though the bands are a bit thick. But it does the job of keeping the fringe off my head which is the key thing. And it’s bright red and purple…my two fave colours.

  

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The great yarn eater clutter container

 

Wow, this container used 5 balls of wool (or should I say 5 skeins of yarn as it’s cotton). It’s a bit of a freeform project in that I just made up the pattern as I went along. I like the outcome though I’m not keen on the colour. That doesn’t matter since it’s going to be put in a drawer to control some of my clutter.

Yarn: RYC cotton jeans mull, 5 skeins

Hooks: 6mm and 5.5mm

Stitches (UK terminology): magic loop, double crochet (dc), slip stitch (ss), treble crochet (tc), front past the post treble (fpt)

R1: Using larger hook. Make a magic loop with 6 dc, do not join (6)

R2: inc in next stitch, repeat in all stitches do not join (12)

R3, *inc, dc in next stitch** repeat from * to **, do not join (18)

R4: *inc, dc in next 2 stitches**, repeat from * to **, do not join (24)

R5: *inc, dc in next 3 stitches**, repeat from * to **, do not join (30)

R6: *inc, dc in next 4 stitches**, repeat from * to **, do not join (36)

R7: *inc, dc in next 5 stitches**, repeat from * to **, do not join (42)

R8: *inc, dc in next 6 stitches**, repeat from * to **, do not join (48)

R9: *inc, dc in next 7 stitches**, repeat from * to **, ss to first stitch (54)

R10: dc in front loop only all way around, ss to first stitch (54)

R11: Switch to smaller hook. ch2, tr in each stitch around, ss to first stitch (54)

R12: ch2, turn, fppt in treble below, repeat around (54) (I turned because I didn’t want to do back post trebles)

R13-20: ch2, fppt in treble below, repeat around (54)

R21-24: dc in each stitch around, ss to first stitch (54)

R25: dc in front loop of each stitch around (54)

R26-29: dc in each stitch around, ss to first stitch (54)

Finish off. Weave in ends. Stuff with clutter. Have a long lovely drink as this is a killer on the hands, especially the thumbs.

 

Probably not practical, there are rows inside the container which are like little seats in an amphitheatre. If I was going to put this container on display, I would try to get the edges stiffer by using some sort of starch. I’d also try to dye it a dark red as the current colour is not to my taste.

Cassava (Mogo) – roasted (or fried!)

Roasted cassava, chilipaperchains 

I didn’t take a solo picture of my purchase but the cassava are the the long brown veg at the back of the fat Sicilian aubergine. Gujuratis love mogo especially fried as fat chips or cut into thin slices and fried as crisps. Growing up my parents would eat the fried chips as a snack with lemon juice, salt and heaps of chili powder. I love the taste which is less sweet than a parsnip. They are a doddle to cook too. To prepare, wash the veg, then chop off the ends. You can cut the brown outer layer off with a knife but to save as much of the white inner you can peel the skin off. I did this by making a very shallow cut along one side then peeling the skin back. As soon as I did, I got a whoosh of the wonderful mogo smell. In truth the peel of this came off very easily whereas the other didn’t. Also, when I cut the ends off I was able to see black veins through the white flesh. A quick web search told me that the black veins mean it’s going off so sadly, I ditched that one.

Cassava Dodgy cassava Sliced cassava Par boiled cassava

  • Once peeled, wash again to remove any grainy bits and then slice into your preferred chip size, going a thin as a crisp if you like
  • Before cooking, I parboiled the mogo as it’s quite a hard veg. Only boil until it’s a bit easier to put a fork into the flesh – as in the fourth picture above where it’s slightly translucent at the edges
  • Drain the mogo and let it dry
  • Tonight, I really, really wanted to fry them as chips but I didn’t have enough groundnut oil so I decided to roast them instead. Like roast potatoes, it’s nice if you give the parboiled mogo a bit of a shake to make the edges roast nice and crispy
  • Place in an oven proof dish and toss about in a generous amount of oil
  • Cook until the outer skin is crispy golden brown and inner is soft (like a jacket potato). The amount of time to cook depends on the size of the chips and how young the mogo is (younger mogo takes longer as the flesh is firmer)
  • As I wanted my little one to try it, I served the roasted chips with a little salt. However, if they were for me, they would be deep fried and covered with lemon salt and chili powder!

Oven roasted Sicilian aubergine with tomato and feta

As mentioned in my last post, we have had a bit of a revolution in our local Morrisons which now sports a funky new veg section. Including one with a lot of different aubergines – there was Dutch, smaller rounder Indian, purple and white aubergines and a Sicilian aubergine. The latter is just gorgeous looking – check out the vibrant purple and the lovely round shape. I’ve never seen one before and though it cost me £1.69 which is expensive for an aubergine, I couldn’t resist.

According to the Think Sicilysite, the Romans were suspicious when first shown the purple black fruit by Moroccans and dubbed it the “apple of insanity”. Ilove that! That site has some great recipes but as I didn’t have the ingredients, I did my own thing. And my goodness, it was DELICIOUS so have a go. Ingredients:

  • 1 Sicilian aubergine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4/5 spring onions,
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic
  • 6-7 sunstream tomatoes (or any full flavoured vine ripened tomato). Was about 120g
  • 1/2 chili flakes
  • A small amount of salt to season
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 5/6 fresh basil leaves

Cooking:

     

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (180 for fan)
  • Wash the aubergine, cut off the stem then slice into 1cm discs
  • Arrange the discs into an oven proof dish and coat with generous amounts of olive oil (I used at least 3 tablespoons)
  • Roast in oven for about 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, top and tail the spring onions, peel outer layer if manky and slice up green and white parts finely
  • Remove outer layer of garlic and slice finely
  • Wash and chop tomatoes into quarters
  • In a heavy based pan, add 2 tbs olive oil and fry the onions and garlic
  • When they start to caramelise, add the tomatoes, chili flakes and season slightly. As feta is quite salty, you can leave out salt if you wish
  • Remove the aubergine from the oven and pour the onion/tomato mix over the top. Then crumble up the feta and place back into the oven.
  • Roast for a further 15 minutes, then tear up the  basil  and chuck it on on top. Place back in the oven for about 15 /20 minutes until aubergine has cooked through (check every now and again to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom or burning on top).
  • Serve with warm bread, with pasta, on toasted slices of bread as bruschetta or just on it’s own. Delicious!

Morrisons – market street

Our local Morrisons has just had a bit of a refit. Now it sports a new florist area, children’s clothes, a pharmacy and a shiny new market street with loads of veg, a greengrocer area, a deli area, a butchers area and a bakery. I was a bit gobsmacked when I went in to see veg that is now kept on iced compartments to keep nice and fresh. There was asparagus standing on their ends in a tray of ice cold water. Lots of “ethnic” veg including Chinese, Thai and Indian ingredients that I find hard to source in Livingston.

Each area had useful information which had me loitering around for ages. I swear to god, I could have stayed all day reading about different types of lettuce, aubergine, cauliflower (including the oh so pretty Romanesco) It’s not all veg either, there was lots of fruits including quite a few varieties of apples, some fresh coconuts (cocktail anyone?), and loads of strange looking fruits.

Some of the stuff on display was not  fresh. They did the refit over a long weekend, and had obviously just put out old veg.  However, I hope this is because they hadn’t managed to get fresh stocks in for the reopen rather than a trend. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, like their meat and fish, you could see a label telling you who a grower was and when an item was picked.

Whatever your thoughts might be about big chain supermarkets killing the local independent high street retailers, I am glad that I no longer have to go over to Edinburgh as often to stock up. The question is are there enough foodies in Livingston and the surrounding areas to sustain the level of variety the store has? Livingston farmers’ market failed – however, it was placed next to the massive shopping mall where shoppers are more interested in clothes and other non-food items.  Another question is whether the store staff have the expertise that the independent florist, grocer, baker, and butcher had in terms of handling stock and advising customers on how to use it – sadly I think the answer is going to be “No” – as nice as the staff are, they aren’t going to spend the time the old independents did in building customer relationships and pride in their produce.

Anyhoo, I walked away with some bitter gourd (keralas), cassava (mogo) and Sicilian aubergine. I’ll be covering the latter two in my next posts.