I’ve been doing some more preserving this week… peach preserves and cherry jam! Both turned out quite well, I think. The peach preserves are from the Food in Jars blog (sliced and preserved in honey with lemon zest) and the cherry jam is the basic fruit/sugar/pectin/lemon juice formula from the inside of the pectin packet. The cherry jam is lovely on toast and the peaches are perfect mixed into some yogurt… I imagine they’ll both taste even better in a few months when good produce is scarce!
Have you been making any jam or preserves lately? I’m on a bit of a jam making spree right now so if you have a favourite recipe or flavour, I’d love to hear about it!
Knitting :: A tiny baby cardigan for H’s brother’s baby (nicknamed the blueberry). The pattern is Linnie (thanks for all of your input about patterns last week!) and the yarn is Viking Baby Ull in colourways 368 and 369. I realised after I had chosen the yarn that the colours are rather reminiscent of blueberries… so it’s a blueberry cardigan for a blueberry baby!
Reading :: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve been really enjoying non-fiction books about food and gardening/ farming/ preserving lately, and this one seems to be highly recommended. I’ve just started it but I’m enjoying the writing style so far.
Drinking :: A surprising amount of tea, considering current temperatures! Favourites recently include plain English Breakfast and Just Peachy and Saigon Chai from Davids Tea (Just Peachy is sold out online, but some stores still have it if you want to try it!).
Watching :: Season 1 of Flashpoint. Most of you know by now that I’m a sucker for crime shows, and this one is fairly well done and filmed in Toronto! I don’t know if I’ll watch all 6 seasons (the show ended a few years ago), but I’m enjoying working my way through season 1 at least. I also picked up Lark Rise to Candleford at the library awhile ago- I’ve heard great things about it and I can’t wait to start watching it.
What have you been knitting, reading, drinking, and watching lately?
My garden finally produced enough cucumbers to make pickles, and even though these are my first pickles, they turned out really well! The recipe is from one of my current favourite canning books and is definitely a must-try. The yield is small (4 pint jars), so it’s easy to make a batch and tweak the amount of dill and garlic. I’ve included the recipe below- let me know if you try them out!
Ingredients: (For soaking overnight)
3 lbs (1.5 kg) pickling cucumbers (about 6-8 large)
8 cups water
1/4 cup coarse pickling salt (For the brine)
2 cups white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
2 cups water
2 tbsp coarse pickling salt (For the jars)
2 tbsp dill seed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
Cut off the ends of the cucumbers (if you are sure which is the blossom end, you can just cut it off rather than both ends- it will make your pickles lose their crunch!) and cut the cucumbers as desired. Smaller cucumbers can be left whole, or larger ones can be quartered or cut even smaller. In a large bowl, stir 1/4 cup salt into 4 cups water until dissolved. Add 4 cups of ice water and the cucumbers and let bowl sit in the fridge overnight or for 12 hours. Rinse with cold water.
To make brine, in a medium saucepan, combine white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Into each hot jar, place 1 1/2 tsp dill seed and 1 clove of garlic. Pack cucumber into jars and pour in the brine, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Check jars for bubbles, screw on sterilized lids, and process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Sealed jars are shelf-stable for 1 year and are best eaten at least 2 weeks after canning. We find the flavour is best if the jars sit for 24 hours after opening before eating them.
Happy Thursday- I hope you are all having a lovely week so far!
I’m still working on my hitofude cardigan… I’ve got one more lace pattern repeat for this section (which is, if I’m reading the pattern correctly, the sleeves). The construction of this cardi is so interesting that it’s like a surprise each time I read and knit the next part of the pattern. The whole garment is knit in one piece, no seams, without breaking the yarn once. Such a creative design.
I also need to cast on a new project soon… I know two people who are having babies in September, so I picked up this fingering weight yarn in two shades of purple at Romni Wools when I was in Toronto last week. Do you have a favourite baby sweater pattern (preferably that would work in 2 colours)? I was thinking maybe this one or this one.
I haven’t been reading a ton of non-academic stuff recently, but I have been cooking a lot and trying out recipes from a bunch of different cookbooks. I love that I can take cookbooks out of the library and try a few recipes before deciding whether or not to buy the book! Here are a few of my recent favourites:
I finished these PJ shorts a few weeks ago but I’ve just gotten to uploading the photos… aren’t they so perfect for summer? I actually started this pair for me, but they’re a bit small, so they’ve become a part of my sister’s PJ collection. The fabric is a cute floral print from my mum’s stash, and the pattern is from Liesl Made.
I’m hoping to do a bit more sewing in the next few months, so I’d love to know- what are your favourite online sources for fabric and notions?
On another note- I haven’t found a site I love for tracking my sewing projects. I’ve added this one on both Craftsy and Kollabora- do any of you use either? Which do you prefer?
I’m sorry it’s been so quiet here for the past couple of weeks… I’ve been working a finding an apartment for September! We signed a lease earlier this week (and good thing too, because somehow it’s already August!).
It’s hard to believe that there are only a few weeks left of summer, especially because there are so many things to get done – what are your plans for your last month of summer?
I turned 20 today, which I’m pretty sure must be a mistake because there is no way I’m old enough or responsible enough for that. Mistake or not, though, I had a lovely day with some of my favourite people! Dinner and a movie (the Avengers) with H and G last night (thank you for the yarn, earrings, and fabric tape!) and dinner and cake with my family tonight. My mum made an amazing cheesecake with strawberry sauce. And although I had to work today, my coworkers gave me cookies and my boss gave me a few roses from when she was finishing the display of flower arrangements. Overall- a pretty awesome start to my twenties!
Yarn details- Cascade 220, colourway 8885 Dark Plum. (Rav link)
Earring details- From this artist, although this pair isn’t listed in her shop right now.
Knitting :: Although it’s in the boring, really-long-row stage, I’ve been squeezing in a few rows on my Spring Boneyard shawl whenever I can. I’ll probably do one more colour repeat and then cast off- it’s getting to be long enough.
Reading :: This House is Haunted, by John Boyne. I read most of this when we were camping a few weeks ago, and I’ve only got a few chapters left. It’s not something I would normally pick up, but I love the historic setting. I also started reading Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry on that trip. I’m only a few chapters in, but since it’s my first Mistry novel, I’m excited to keep reading!
I finished The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather this week, and I really loved it- the combination of essays and recipes was exactly what I needed for a quick summer read, and I have so many of the recipes bookmarked to try!
What have you been knitting and reading this week?
I’ll do a proper garden update soon, especially since everything is changing so quickly, but for now, two new happenings- mint harvest and a few new herbs. The spearmint is spreading quite quickly, so I’ve hung some of it to dry. I haven’t had much success with air drying in the past, but there’s so much mint that it was worth another try. I think it would be so nice to be able to make tea from dried mint in the winter months.
The garden centre near our house is selling a lot of discounted plants that have been in the centre for awhile- if you’re willing to pick through to find some healthy plants, there are some lovely herbs for great prices. I picked up some rosemary, pineapple mint, and a plant labelled “curry”. Based on my reading, I’m not sure whether the flowers or leaves will actually be useful for food, but the yellow flowers were just too pretty to leave behind. I also loved the smell of the lemon balm, but I wasn’t sure of its uses- if you grow it, what do you use it for?