Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dumpling Kitchen

About 5 years ago I made decent dinners. Ok, maybe they weren’t decent, but they were at least varied. Sometimes it was enchiladas, sometimes quiche. I also vaguely remember that a corn dish was another favorite. And then of course the very occasional banana bread.

But since we moved to England it’s nearly always pasta. Most of the time I throw in carrots or greenbeans, and the sauce is normally from a bottle, or a can of tomatoes stewed with onion and curry powder. In any case it’s mainly the cheese on top that makes it edible.

But something happened a few weeks ago. I don’t know if it was a temporary cooking depression that’s now past, or if I’ve subconsciously decided that life’s too short for bad food, or maybe my Twitter obsession is starting to wane (not likely).

In any case my cookie experiment last week was a direct result of that change. Soon after that I actually looked in a cookbook (gasp) and found a really simple pasta sauce made with milk, cream cheese, and cheddar (and I throw in some salt and curry powder). And today I’m making … dumplings!

I think I’ve had dumplings on the brain because of Dumpling Hall. The recipe can be found here.

In any case here’s a picture of them. They weren't quite cooked all the way at the time I took the picture, but a few had already sunk into the nether broth world, and I was afraid if I didn't take a picture immediately there wouldn't be any dumplings to actually see!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 5 of the Hadrian's wall walk

Today was Day 5 of our Coast to Coast walk.

We started on Lemington Road, where we left off last week.


An impressive abandoned building (this is just a small portion of it).

All of a sudden we found ourselves out of the city with a nice view of the river Tyne.

Here I am enjoying my first Cadbury Egg of the season by one of the Mileposts. I had resisted them up until today, but Jessamy and I made up for it by splitting three during the course of the day. I'm thinking of stockpiling them so we can have a steady supply for the rest of the year.

The first gate!


Continuing along the path.

The cottage where George Stephenson, a pioneer of the steam-powered locomotive, was born and raised. Although there is a top floor, his family (mom, dad, and 4 siblings) lived on the bottom floor, in a single a room. It is open to the public, and for a small fee of 2 pounds a woman in period costume will tell you how crappy it must have been to live there.

Hagg Bank Bridge the first wrought iron single span arch suspension bridge built for a rail crossing in the UK.

The first time on this walk where a horse hasn't been on the other side of a fence from us.

Caught the train at the Prudhoe "rail station" back home to Newcastle.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 4 of the Hadrian's wall walk

Today was Day 4 of our Coast to Coast walk.

It was raining during the morning and early afternoon, so we were afraid there would be no walk today. Then around three a bit of sun started to peek through the clouds and we decided to chance it.

We walked to the quay side, where we left off last week.


It quickly turned into a busy street with warehouses by the road, and stayed rather unscenic for a while. There was no rain, but also no sun, and a biting cold. All of a sudden this path:


And this menacing building which surprisingly isn't actually abandoned.
Scary Place

At one point we had to make a decision. Continue along the cycling route, which is the route we have the directions for. Or, take the Hadrian's Walkway, which looked nice and green. We took the walk way. The path eventually ended, which left us with only a vague clue where we were. We knew the cycleway continued West. So West we went, hopeing we would eventually find it again. I'm glad we did get a bit lost, or we wouldn't have known that we had wandered into the community of Dumpling Hall.
Dumpling sign

Around mile 4 we started to get tired. Fortunately we saw a bus go by that would take us to Newcastle, so we walked to the next stop. On the way we saw a sign for the cycle path! So now we know where to start again tomorrow. We got on the bus across the street from the Lemington Glass works. Which I've since found out is one of the most important industrial monuments in the North East. Who knew, I just took a picture because I thought it looked interesting.
Glass cone

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So many cookies

A few days ago I had decided to make cookies.

In my search for recipes I stumbled upon a New York Times article which said that cookies tasted better after 36 hours after refrigeration. I decided to give it a try, so I made cookie dough on Monday night. I cooked the first batch immediately, then Tuesday morning, Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning. They aren't the most photogenic of cookies unfortunately. They looked fine in the oven and sometimes fine when I took them out, but then they flattened.

We didn't notice any difference between each batch, but maybe our tasting memory just isn't very good. Though it was a nice excuse to eat a whole lot of cookies.

Day 1:
Day 2 am (I took them out too soon, and had to pop them in):

Day 2pm:
I think we were well into eating them by the time I took this picture.

Day 3 am:
Ended up cooking these a little longer.

What I did notice though was that the consistency of the dough changed after 24 hours, and then again after 36. The dough became a little more crumbly and hard, but that made it easier to form into balls.

So it was quite fun making all these cookies, but unfortunately I've already noticed that my trousers are a little tighter than normal. Oh well, such is life.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 3 of the Hadrian's wall walk

Well, didn't get much walking done today. We were still a little tired in the morning, so Jessamy worked on homework until noon while I cleaned and did a little knitting.

Our excursion into the outside world started with buying buttons at John Lewis, then a necklace and headband at Accessorize (I think the last time I bought a necklace for myself was about five years ago!).

Then we backtracked a little from where we left the Coast to Coast walk yesterday, so that we could buy warm donuts from the Sunday Market.


We continued a little on the trail and walked along the river Quay (pronounced Key).


Do you know what this bird is? We don't.


Our feet were already getting tired again by this point, so then it was back home again. So really, only about one mile of the trail done today, but no regrets.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday knitters meets tomorrow

This week's Sunday Knitters will meet tomorrow, which is Sunday!

The Sunday Knitters will meet 3/22/09 from 2pm-5pm (when the library closes) at the Glendale Main Library, 222 E. Harvard, at the corner of Louise and Harvard in downtown Glendale. We will be upstairs: head all the way into the library, past the circulation desk, and take the big staircase on the left. The room is the first one on the left at the top. Alternatively, you can take the elevator, on the left as you walk in the main doors, up to the second floor, and head toward the last room on the left.

The library has small parking lots in front and side, with lots of handicapped spots, though. There is also a large, covered parking structure on Harvard right across from the library. Parking is free (up to 3 hours) with library validation.

The cost for the room is $8, so please bring a dollar to offset the expense. The room was reserved this week by Maureen Reagan.

We are welcome to bring dry snacks. Beverages in closed, covered containers or bottles with screw tops are okay; cups and opened cans are not.
Although the library has been working out nicely, we are still looking for more permanent space.

Day 2 of the Hadrian's wall walk

Today we went on our second day of our Coast to Coast walk. It started off at the same scary roundabout where we left off last week.


Then there this multi-lingual sign.

Took a bathroom break at Segedunum, but didn't go into the museum as we'd been there before.


Which way do we go? We opted for "Hadrian's Way".

A walk along the river.

I think we had walked about 7 miles so far and we were already a little tired at this point, so we sat down along the river, rested and ate a sandwich.

A nice view of our hometown. Jessamy is holding "fish and chips" flavoured potato chips (or crisps as they say here).

Thought we needed a treat for having walked about ten miles that day.

Then we left the walkway and went into the city, and then to home. 11 miles down, 163 to go!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I hope you had a nice St. Patrick's Day. We celebrated by sharing a can of Guinness.

No one at work was wearing green. Jessamy had warned me that that might be the case, so I also went in non-green attire. But, starting around noon I could hear (I work in a university campus) celebrators egging each other on. And when I left work there were tons of students in the quad area with similar, if not matching, green shirts, and the same hat (possibly a sponsor?).

I haven't gotten any further on Jessamy's sock because I'm working on a secret project. I can't tell you what it is, or show you a picture of it, yet, but here's a picture of the yarn.

Oooh. It's fine milk cotton by Rowan. 70% Cotton, 30% milk protein. When I had gone shopping for the yarn I had wanted something washable. I was looking mainly at cottons, and thinking about the organic cotton, but then I saw this and the nice colors and, well, forgot about the washable thing. This yarn is so not washable that it even says do not soak or leave wet. It's very soft though, and I've had no problems knitting with it, but the spin is very loose which can get annoying. It is a Rowan yarn, so David is about to special order it if you're interested in it.If you're on ravelry it's in my project page.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Coast to Coast walk begins

Jessamy and I started our incremental coast to coast walk today. We started at Tynemouth, walking over barnacle encrusted rocks to dip our finger in the North Sea.

There's the North Sea, in the background is a pier with a lighthouse at the end.

Then we found the start of the C2C route (right behind Collingwood's Monument in case you were wondering). The route started with a pleasant path along the sea, then the trail went into a business area, a residential neighborhood, and an industrial area.

But the route was well marked, and we only had to look at a map once (at the end of the pleasant path along the sea, if you must know). Parts of the walk seemed new, like this (that's a really bright looking industrial ship in the background).
And then there was the strange waterfall.
We ended up walking 3 miles of the route 174 mile route, and took the metro to home at the Percy Main stop. I think, what with the walking to and from the transportation, we walked 5 miles today. Not bad. My legs/feet don't hurt so I think we're aiming for a longer walk next week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

See food

My knitting was put aside for a few days to make this:
A lunch box. Well, technically a lunch plastic bag. It's my 4th sewing project, if I include hemming some PJ pants. We recently replaced the shower curtain, and this was the bit we cut off because it was too long. I hadn't quite realized when I sewed it together that there was a shiny part and the flip side was matte, hmmmm. I had also envisioned it with the seam on the inside, but the finished product didn't stand up correctly like that. I'm planning on sewing velcro onto it, for the closure, and had actually bought some for this purpose a few weeks ago, but I've looked everywhere I'd expect to have put it and the velcro is nowhere to be found. I finished the bag this morning, in time for a test run for today's lunch, and the bag was functional, as I had hoped.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The future is getting nearer

Jessamy had her first interview for post-graduate work yesterday, for a museum in Massachusetts. She also received yesterday an invitation to another telephone interview for later this month, I believe that one is in Philadelphia. And I think both are for one year. Meanwhile she sent off another application earlier this week.

The future is getting nearer.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Pomatomus socks continued

Managed to finish the leg on Jessamy's socks, and you can see I've started the heel flap. The pattern is pretty easy, except for some confusion around the 12/13/14 rows of chart A where the k2togs start slanting the other way. But mainly that confusion was down to me not having the yos in the right place.

It's looking so far like it will turn out nice.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

aeipathy for aeipathy

Ok, so this isn't knitting related, but I just adopted the word aeipathy from http://www.savethewords.org/

It means a continued passion; an unyielding disease.

Lets see how often I can sneak it into a blog post.

Special order page

I've been working on making it easier to placespecial orders through us.


It's in its very early stages. I'll be adding more yarn on a weekly basis. But feel free to email us (that.yarnstore !at! gmail.com) if you want to order something that isn't listed.

And if you have any suggestions, send them along, they will be appreciated.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sunset socks

Working on socks for Jessamy. The yarn I'm working with is Araucania, kettle dyed, I got it from the LYS in York.

I usually only make things for myself in shades of blue or grey, and I probably wouldn't have chosen this color myself, but I am warming up to it.
The pattern is Pomatomus, a classic pattern from Knitty.