Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hat envy

Do you ever watch a movie or tv programme and find yourself drooling over something a character is wearing? All through Love and Other Drugs all I could think about was how awesome Anne Hathaway's jumpers were (and how awesome Jake Gyllenhaal looked without a shirt too...). I watched No Strings Attached and daydreamed about Natalie Portman's stunning trench. And a couple of weeks ago I watched an episode of Bones and while I should've been swooning over David Boreanaz's strong jaw line and all around handsomeness, instead I was looking at this.

I couldn't find a better picture since I should be walking out the door to work right this instant. It has a ginormous pompom on the back of it. I am completely in love with this hat. A quick search of ravelry and low and behold, the patterns already up - click here.

I'm itching to get home and cast this on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crabapple jelly

When I was a kid, mum used to preserve peaches in big glass jars that sat on the top of the shelf all winter. They were incredibly delicious either by themselves or even better with custard or in a peach upside down cake. Now that tinned peaches are so cheap, I guess there isn't really much point, unless you are lucky enough to have a peach tree in your backyard. Unfortunately I don't, but I did go back home for a visit last week and found the crabapple tree covered in ripe fruit, just asking to be made into jam. And so, here is my first ever (quickly followed by second ever) attempt at making crabapple jelly.
First we picked the fruit from the tree, rinsed it all well and pulled the stalks out.

Then we chopped all the fruit in half, just cutting out the hard core bit at the bottom of the fruit (keeping all the pips and what not for pectin purposes), and discarding any fruit that was getting a bit fuzzy or had a big maggotty worm camping inside it. It was roughly 1kg of fruit.

Then we put it in a large pot, just covering the fruit in water but not so much that the fruit starts to float. Here the recipe says to add a stick of cinnamon. I didn't. Then bring it to the boil and simmer for half an hour. After that you need to put all that fruit into a jelly bag and let the liquid drip overnight (careful not to squeeze the bag or the liquid will go cloudy).
Dad rigged up this contraption using twine and wooden spoons - number 8 wire mentality there. For the second batch Mum made good use of a bar stool. Note: if you tip the bowl on its side in order to get it to fit into the middle of the bar stool, you will need to ladle all the liquid out. At least I know where I possibly inherited my ditziness from :-)

The next morning there should be around a litre of liquid sitting there. Simmer the liquid for 10 minutes, removing the skin at the end, then add 1 cup sugar for every cup of liquid, stir it in until dissolved, and then simmer a further 10 minutes. Remove the skin and pour into sterilised jars.

 Then it's all ready to eat or gift or eat some more. Preferably with a cup of tea and a freshly baked scone. "Easy peasy", as Jo Seagar would say.