My poor dear neglected blog…how I have missed you…I’ve been a little busy…don’t look at me like that…I’m sorry.
It’s been weeks since I wrote anything here. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to.
Yarn Magazine: working on a large garment, a small garment and a column for the June issue. Also pondering patterns and columns for future issues
South West Trading Company: asked me to redesign my Plaited Wrap for them in one of their yarns. Since I own the copyright to that design now I’m free to sell it again if I want, which I have done. They are getting the pattern and the finished knitted garment in their Therapi yarn. It’s finished and I’ll post it tomorrow. (I’ll also review the yarn at some stage.)
Ravelry: I’ve started a pattern store on Ravelry (a social networking site for knitters). So far there is one item for sale, the End of the Rainbow Jumper. Like the Plaited Wrap, I own the copyright again and can sell it. You can download the pattern for $5 US. At this stage I think you need to be a Ravelry user to use this feature. I have been getting other patterns ready for sale as well. That involves knitting, photographing, preparing a pdf and proofreading each pattern. Huge thankyous must go to Barb for helping me photograph and proof read (in return for eggs and babysitting).
Knitty: I’m going to take the plunge and submit a pattern to Knitty (an on line knitting magazine). I have spent hours and hours searching for the perfect yarn for the project. All I wanted was an 8ply wool yarn with a bit of nylon in it, or a sock wool in nice solid colours that is available internationally, that doesn’t cost a fortune. Sigh. St Ives was my first choice, since it is internationally recognized and available in Australia, but that has been discontinued. Wildfoote was an option but very hard to find a store in the US that will ship to Australia. Araucania is the perfect weight and composition and available in Australia but I’m not prepared to pay $26 a skein, especially when I’ll need two. After hours of trawling the internet I finally decided to go with a yarn that is virtually unknown in Australia but well known OS, beautiful, affordable (except for postage which I am assuming will be hideous) and just right I think. The yarn in question is Nancy Bush’s Footpath sock yarn. I spoke to her in her shop (The Wooly West) in Utah and we arranged the sale. At last! I will keep you posted on how things progress with Knitty.
Dyeing: I’m still doing bits and pieces of dyeing. This week I’m going to be dyeing in some nice autumn colours and some pinks and blues. I’m planning to have a table at the Hills Spinners and Weavers open day on 31st May at Littlehampton Hall in the Adelaide Hills.
The Guild: the Handknitters Guild of SA, of which I am secretary, recently had their exhibition. I’ll post a few photos below.
MAKE YOUR OWN STOCK
Stock is wonderfully useful stuff in the kitchen. I like to keep a stock of stock in my freezer and this week I’ve been stocking up and making some.
Why make stock? Bought chicken stock and beef stock powders have their place but they are very salty. Ready made stock that comes in cartons I find bitter and salty. Some dishes such a French Onion Soup or risotto have stock as a main ingredient and the bought stuff just won’t do. I’ve tried making French Onion Soup with ready made beef stock and with homemade beef stock. The difference in the flavour is astounding. Ditto for a good risotto. The thought a beautiful risotto being ruined by bought stock almost makes me cry. For real depth of flavour with no bitterness or artificial stuff and the right amount of salt in your cooking, home made stock is fantastic. It’s cheap to make and is a good use for leftover bones and carcasses. What follows is how I make stock.
What you need: 2kgs chicken bones or carcasses, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 2 stalks celery, garlic, a small handful of bay leaves and/or other dried or fresh herbs, a few peppercorns, oil, water
Cut the vegetable into pieces and sweat (cook gently, covered) them in a large pot in a little oil for about 15mins. Add all the other ingredients and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours. When cool, strain and put it in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the top and become solid. Take off the fat and discard. For more concentrated stock, boil hard until it has halved in volume. Freeze in containers. To make stock using a leftover roast chicken carcass: put the carcass in a saucepan with a carrot, an onion, a piece of celery, some herbs, garlic and pepper. Cover with water, bring to boil, simmer for an hour or two.
What you need: 2kgs of beef bones, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 2 stalks celery, a dollop of tomato paste, a few peppercorns, a small handful of fresh or dried herbs, oil, water.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (celsius). Brush the bones with oil and cook in the oven for an hour. Put the bones in a large pot. Pour some boiling water on to the pan they were cooked in and scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Add the water with the bits to the pot with the bones. Add the other ingredients and cover it all with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 hours. When cool, strain and put it in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the top and become solid. Take off the fat and discard. For more concentrated stock, boil hard until it has halved in volume. Freeze in containers.
I like to freeze stock in 500ml containers since that is quite a convenient size for the two of us.
I like to make “stock cubes”. When your stock has been strained, boil it hard to concentrate it. You want it to be at least half the volume it was, if not a third. When cool, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Loosen the cubes and keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer. If you want a little bit of stock for a stir fry or something like that you can add a “cube” very easily. This way you can add depth of flavour to your cooking without the “fake” taste you get with powder.
I prefer not to add salt to the stock so that I can add the right amount to the finished dish. You can also make vegetable stock and fish stock. Vegetable stock involves sweating or roasting vegetables until they are brown and then adding water and boiling like other stock. Fish stock uses fish bones but you should never simmer the stock for more than 20 minutes.
Happy stock making everybody.
Coming soon…Lots of laceweight yarn for sale, and a couple of yarn reviews
Please visit me at Ravelry. My user name is SarahGolder. Please also note that you can now pay for my yarns using Paypal. All you need to do is let me know that is how you’d like to pay and I’ll send you a Paypal generated email with a button to pay.
A few photos of the Handknitters Guild of SA’s exhibition follow.