Crocheting a Lampshade

Well, not from scratch, that sounded a bit misleading. I’m not saying it can’t be done, mind you  – considering that people crochet complete coral reefs and underwater worlds, I guess anything is possible.

But no, this is just a little up-cycling project. It was some time last year when I found this beauty (in the eye of the beholder, I know) down by the trash cans in the back yard, obviously discarded by someone who didn’t love it anymore:

IMG_4412.jpgI brought it home, put in a light-bulb, and it even worked! So there I was, getting all nostalgic, thinking what an adorably wonky little old lady lamp, awesome, where should we put it … and then my husband came home and hated on it, being all oh look what the cat dragged in, where even did you find this piece of crap, or something unflattering like that, and threatened right away to toss it back where it came from. Unless, he said, and this is why you gotta love my husband, unless you crochet it a different lampshade, maybe.

We kind of left it at that for a while. A lot happens over the course of a year. Good things, bad things, people get married, you travel, friends move away, lots of work, two kids in school, you know how it is. I’m not even sure when, but at some point the lamp ended up in the storage room, a place of unbelievable chaos, disorganization and confusion. When my husband heroically set about restoring order in there a few weeks ago, he unearthed the lamp and threatened to get rid of it if I didn’t start with that project right away.

At first, I wasn’t really sure how to go about it. I wanted to crochet something, but I’m not very experienced when it comes to crocheting in the round, not larger projects anyway. When browsing, I got lucky once again on fabulous British crochet master Lucy’s website, attic24.  I read through her tutorial, which seemed straightforward enough, got out all my leftover yarn and jumped right in:

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Granny clusters are a very forgiving pattern, and since this lampshade cover will be a snug fit, that is a good thing. I probably could have chosen less vibrant coloring, but it has been so dark and gloomy here in our neck of the woods lately that I relished the bright colors. This is as far as I’ve gotten:

IMG_4414.JPGA few more rounds, and then a red and orange border, I think, and maybe some pompoms like the ones I made for my beloved friend A.’s blanket 2 years ago:

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I’ll be able to show the finished lamp in the next couple days – can’t wait for it to be done. I may have to hit the flea market on Sunday, to find another lamp and do another!

Signing off today with some sweets: My tenth-grader teenage squad gathered in our kitchen yesterday to make jams for the upcoming Winter Fayre at the Waldorf school – all vegan, because of the commendably increasing vegans ratio among the young. Did you know that both regular and really good vegan lemon curd are astonishingly easy to make? For the vegan variety, you obviously use neither eggs nor butter but margarine, coconut milk and cornstarch instead. Check it out: I’ll bet you won’t even be able to tell the difference from looking at it, and although the vegan spread obviously doesn’t have a buttery flavor, it’s yummy, tart and sweet all the same, just as you like your lemon curd.

Wish me luck! The next two days are going to be really busy, and I hope we’ll sell tons of waffles with homemade jam…

 

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The Reuben Pizza, a Happy Coincidence

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In the kitchen (as in life in general), happy accidents can bring about the best results. So back when I still ate bacon (regular pork bacon, ham, streaky rashers, call them what you like), I would sometimes make sauerkraut quiche. I’m usually not fond of sauerkraut, to put it mildly. I know it contains a ton of vitamins and saved many a sailor from scurvy, but I just don’t love it, with one notable exception I first ate in New York City a few light years ago: The Reuben Sandwich. A Reuben is usually served on rye and contains Pastrami, Sauerkraut and melted cheese, which may sound like an odd combination at first, but I find it, for some reason, absolutely irresistible.

But back to that quiche. This was before we had kids, and as both children will touch neither quiche nor sauerkraut with a ten foot pole, I’ve basically stopped making it, because duh. And then for some reason I was reminded of it when grocery shopping last Saturday, and on an impulse I bought some sauerkraut, grabbed some smoked turkey breast (my go-to bacon substitute) and a carton of eggs. I was going to make that quiche for my husband.

As I looked up the short crust for quiches, it came back to me that I used to not make a short crust but rather a robust yeast dough for this particular recipe, and then I thought of the veggie quiche with the rye crust I made in the summer, and then I was reminded of the Tarte Flambée my fabulous friend M. made for us 2 weeks ago, remembered that even my picky daughter hat eaten it because she got her own slices topped like a pizza Margherita – and it sort of all came together in my creative cook-y brain. I was going to try and make a sauerkraut pizza, on a rye dough, and make my daughter her own,  Margherita style.

That’s how it went, and I made a yeast dough of: approx. 300 g rye flour, 200 g wheat flour, water, 1 p yeast, 1 1/2 Tbsp salt, 2 Tsp sugar and a generous slosh of olive oil. Then I set about prepping my sauerkraut. I hadn’t bought a lot, maybe 250 g, figuring it was only my husband and me who were going to eat it.

So first, I sliced a shallot and 200 g smoked turkey breast. I put 1 Tbsp dried caraway seeds in cooking oil and roasted them gently for a minute, then added the shallots and turkey breast strips, and finally the sauerkraut, some salt, sugar and black pepper. I let it stew/roast, adding water every once in a while so it didn’t burn. After an hour or so I turned off the heat and waited for my pizza dough to rise.

In the meantime, I added 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, 200 g cream cheese and just a dash of whipping cream to the sauerkraut, as well as a bit of salt and pepper, and grated a large handful of Swiss cheese.

Then I rolled out the dough really really thinly, maybe 2,5 mm. I laid it on a baking sheet and spread the sauerkraut mix on top in a thin layer, topped it off with the grated Swiss and put it in the oven, baking it for about 15 minutes.

I got the pizzas out when the crust was light brown and the cheese melted – and the rest was history. My boy took one bite of my sauerkraut slice and immediately abandoned his salami and marinara sauce pizza in favor of the more exotic variety … a very happy accidental recipe indeed. How about you? Any awesome coincidences in your kitchen lately…? Let’s hear about them.

Signing off today with a few happy pics from today’s birthday bash my daughter threw her friends – check out our latest piñata, yo.

After a Hiatus

It feels like forever since I wrote a post, probably because it has indeed been a while. It’s not even the fact I was busy, although things certainly were a bit crazy the last couple weeks. But the truth is, I didn’t really have anything to say. Not sure I do today, so this may turn out a pointless ramble – guess we’ll just have to see.

For those who actually care: what has been going on with us? I finished a book translation. Reason to be happy, definitely, as well as exhausted – my co-translator and I unwittingly made our lives more difficult than necessary by agreeing to submit the book chapter by chapter – not the greatest idea our editor had there, as it ended up being more work for all involved, writers, editor and graphic designer. We’ll know better next time. Either way, it’s a wonderful book, it’s going to be published before Christmas, and it was a joy (as well as a pain) to work on. Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook, whatever the publishers decide to call it in German – it’s a treasure, and I highly recommend it to anyone spirited enough to brave the knitting charts. Look, even I managed a swatch ;-).

My husband is back to freelancing, after almost two years with the same company. He’s in the process of getting back in touch to let people know he’s available once again, doing the networking routine, having coffees and lunches and reaching out to his contacts. Not his favorite, and I don’t blame him. As everybody knows, these things rarely happen overnight, and there’s a strong element of being in the right place at the right time involved to boot. So he’s in what you might call a perpetual state of aggravation. Again, not blaming him, but we all feel it.

The kids have enjoyed 2 weeks off from school. Lots of sleeping in, very little activity and as much fresh air as they were willing to stomach. The weather has been all seasonal (meaning shitty), and we’ve been holing up at the cottage and feeding the wood-burner. Watching movies, baking, making lasagna and chicken soup, carving a fabulous Jack O’Lantern. Oh, and our spoiled city person of a kitty turned out to be a creature of instinct after all, intrepidly catching two (!) mice in a row. Maybe I’m projecting, but to me she definitely looked smug ;-). Thank God there seem to be no more, for now, and no, I did not take pictures.

In between several frantic absolutely-final proofing cycles, I’ve been knitting socks. Tedious, in a way, but soothing in its familiarity also. I’ve kind of lost my mojo for the Dotty Blanket for now. Maybe it’s a summer thing? I’ve noticed I have a tendency to kind of forget about colors once the summer’s gone. Once it’s cold enough outside for me to require wearing a coat, all I’ll wear is black, grey and sometimes deep red. Maybe I’m hibernating.

Apart from the book, I put in quite a few hours of work at my daughter’s elementary school. We seem to have led a sheltered life: there was hardly ever anything to do as a parents‘ rep the first three years. The kids had a (dedicated and very professional) sweetheart of a teacher, and all was running perfectly smoothly. Now, there are a bunch of – how should I put this – different? new teachers, and the kids‘ first experience with being graded was not pretty. Bravo, educational system, well done. My heart breaks for those kids who don’t have parents with enough time on their hands to pick up the school’s slack at home, which is in effect was they expect us to do. Talked to the German teacher to whom it hadn’t even occurred before that there was such a thing as motivating the kids, or trying positive reinforcement instead of bad grades and putting pressure on them. He’s from Bavaria, ’nuff said. (For non-German readers, this means an ultra conservative, very strict, modern-pedagogics-be-damned school system with such a chip on its shoulder for churning out supposedly superior student material. The rest of Germany considers this to be a huge crock.)

Other than that, most of my friends seem to be going through rough patches. Depression here, breakups and relationship trouble there, pubescent teenagers all over the place … sigh. We’re fortunate in those respects: we’re healthy, reasonably happy most of the time, and our own teenager is treating us with kid gloves, considering. He still has a penchant for putting himself in dangerous situations (roofing!!!), but he’s his friendly old self most of the time, he’s not taking any drugs (I think), he does the work for school (some of it at least), and I actually like his friends. Phew, for now!

So, only a few weeks left to this year. Regarding politics, as we approach the end of 2017, we’re no better off than end of last year, are we? Chancellor Merkel seems to be one of the few rulers of this world left who’s not a lunatic, although after elections it’s evident what a large number of her former voters have chosen to root for the idiots on the right fringe, rather than support her patent voice of reason, humanist approach. I suppose that leaves a lot of room for improvement in 2018…

I’m not going to write up a recipe today, but I will show you a picture of the Linzer Torte I made for my friend Ch’s birthday last week.

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The angels just happened to be one of the two cookie cutter choices I had here at the cottage; the other was an Easter bunny. And since it was the 24th of October, and not exactly an Indian summer kind of day, I just thought it was more seasonal. It has no hidden significance whatsoever, neither regarding Ch’s character, much as I love him, nor my perception of self, much as it may be wonky.

These are the stripies I finished today, for the young lady who made me this wonderful T-shirt for my birthday. She’s quite the graffiti artist, wouldn’t you say?

You guys take care of yourselves. Let me know how you’re doing, and what your crafts projects are. My next will probably – can you guess…? A cable poncho :-)).

Party Food

Last Saturday I threw my friends a party, and as per usual, I did most of the cooking myself, because I can. Buffet style made the most sense, because a number of friends were contributing food. I was pleased with the spread, and soon enough everybody was happily munching their way through salads, dips, wraps and meat or Falafel balls; a number of people asked me for recipes, so I thought I’d write up a couple things.

Minty Meat Balls

IMG_1914To me, meatballs are such a generic, unremarkable thing that I was kind of surprised to be even asked about them. Some use lamb, some use a pork and beef mix; the batch I made last Friday was from a beef and lamb mix. They turn out best, I think, if you add to the ground meat: minced shallots, garlic, eggs, mustard, tomato paste, very finely chopped fresh mint and parsley, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper and bit of sugar. Making meatballs is a truly tedious task, and I had to put the radio on and even enlist my teenager’s help for an hour when he came home from school. There must have been about 400 meatballs all in all, so I was busy for a solid 2 hours; I can tell you we won’t be having them again any time soon, though. I’m over meatballs for now … But people really enjoyed them. So – I hope you will too.

Seasonal Fall Pesto

IMG_3964IMG_1900.JPGPesto is always only as good as its ingredients. The fresher the herbs, the better your Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts, the better your Pesto will be. I added some arugula, parsley and mint to the mix, some sunflower seeds and Turkish hazelnuts, and I didn’t use a lot of garlic but plenty of olive oil. It turned out nice! (Basil is obviously the basis, but you knew that, right.) Puree with a blender, season with salt, pepper, dash of sugar. And you’re done!

Sweet and Spicy Cilantro Dip

IMG_3965This is a light, summery sauce I sometimes make when we grill, and it works as a salsa dip too. For the party, it was designed as a dip for the meatballs and/or Falafel.

Sauté in olive oil but don’t let brown 2 minced shallots, add a can of tomatoes, a couple tablespoons tomato paste, some minced lemon peel, a bunch of chopped cilantro, tablespoon of chili flakes, salt and quite a bit of sugar. Stew for a while, add spices to taste, and – a thing I would not ordinarily do to a tomato sauce – puree. It’s good hot and cold.

Happy Accident Vegan Pasta Salad

A pasta salad is a pasta salad is a pasta salad, you say? Not this time it wasn’t! I had been thinking of my picky little eater when making it, but instead, it mostly ended up on my vegan friend C.’s plate, because I had accidentally not added any Parmesan cheese:-), and what a good thing! Obviously, we’re conditioned to always eat Parmesan cheese with pasta, unless it’s a dish with seafood or fish (Spaghetti Vongole with grated cheese? No way!). But it was so good with the roasted pine nuts that I didn’t even miss the cheese, which is probably why I forgot to add any. There’s no picture, but you can probably imagine what it looked like anyway. Ingredients were: Small pasta, olive oil, bit of garlic, 1 tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded and cubed, roasted pine nuts, fresh basil, salt and pepper, all mixed together in a bowl.

Pretty Big Lemon Pound Cake

img_1575A word on creaming butter. I may be carrying owls to Athens, and you may roll your eyes at me and think DUH!!! as you read this. To me, it’s a big deal, for I remembered something very important this past weekend. I know that my dad always used to say ‚when you think you’re done beating, continue for another 10 minutes‘. He was referring to egg whites, I think, but it makes even more of a difference when creaming butter. Lemon pound cake may not be the most exceptional thing in the world, but then again, when made with love and patience, it can be a melt-in-your-mouth-tender piece of buttery, lemony indulgence. I had enlisted my youngest cake lover’s help for making the batter. She’s an enthusiastic baker, much as she finds cooking boring, and I made her cream the butter and sugar. Then a friend called, and (quoting, as I always do, my dad), I had asked my daughter to continue with her task for a couple more minutes. Then I walked away from the noise of the electric mixer to talk to my friend, forgetting everything that was going on in the kitchen over our conversation. When I came back, my poor kid was still creaming the butter, and I have to say it was really spectacularly fluffy! It made for such a wonderfully light and tender cake that I’m going to keep in mind that some things do take as long as they take, especially when it comes to baking.

We dug out my gran’s old copper pudding mold, which always makes for such pretty cakes, with its whorls and ridges – and it was a really really nice center piece for the buffet table! For the batter, I used 500 g butter, 350 g sugar, 100 g ground almonds, 400 g flour, 1 1/2 p vanilla, generous pinch of salt, lotsalotsa grated lemon peel, 6 eggs and 1 p baking soda. We carefully buttered the mold and dusted it with flour before spooning in the batter, and baked it in a 180 °C oven for like 1 1/2 hours, I swear it took forever because it was so huge.

And that’s all I have to say today, stitch readers and food lovers :-). I’m signing off with a picture of the crochet project I started by the beach in France – a baby blanket for the latest addition to the family, young J. in A. May he have a sweet, snuggly time with it.

Take care everyone, and if you’d be so kind and let me know how you made the following dishes, that would be dope:

the hokkaido pumpkin thing

the veggie quiche

the gingered carrots

and (in my daughter’s name)

the raspberry dessert 🙂

Thank you!

Oh, Rocky…!

Sweet Transvestite

If you grew up any time after 1975, there was probably no way you missed it. Be it in a movie theater, on TV late at night, or on video/DVD – when I was young, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was literally everywhere. Remember Tim Curry’s iconic smoky, dramatically made-up eyes, deep red lip gloss, the cross-dressing burlesque getup, and the glittering heels …? Oh my! I don’t know about you, but I crushed on him so hard! Obviously, at 15, I was way too young to get even half of the innuendo in the dialogue, but the movie’s whole playful approach to morbidity and decadence spoke to me loud and clear, as did the music. I loved the main character’s no prisoners (nor boundaries for that matter) attitude towards sex, and I could relate (as probably many, many other teenagers) to his credo of ‚don’t dream it, be it‘. Obviously, in the movie, it’s what kills Frank N Furter in the end – but as teenagers are invincible as well as immortal, that’s just details, right…?

Maybe that’s why I never really bought into gender stereotypes so much, or maybe the movie tapped into my disposition towards rainbow colors, I don’t know. It’s probably unsurprising that I unapologetically enjoy steamy gay romance novels, that I love all the characters on ‚Queer as Folk‘, and that I ship Kurt and Blaine from ‚glee‘.

But what brought my doing the time warp down memory lane on? The other weekend, we re-watched Rocky Horror with our teenage son and his girlfriend, who are now the same age I was when I first saw it. I don’t really know what the kids thought, about the movie, and about us, afterwards. Watching this particular movie with them made me feel a bit weird, to be honest, like breaking the Fourth Wall or something. I never watched sexual content with my kid before, jeez. I know it’s not porn, but there are a few kind of … um … suggestive scenes in that movie, and I usually keep my obsessions _to_ myself. But anyway, now it’s done, and they probably – like me as a kid – didn’t get all of the subtext anyway. And of course I’m all about being authentic with my children, so there.

But isn’t it interesting to see how you can still be so caught up in the magic of a movie, after having loved it for decades? Isn’t it reassuring that there still are films like that, even in this short attention span TV show format dominated day and age?

And since I’m already deeply into the overthinking, the fact that I still found Tim Curry as Frank N Furter hot after 35 years got me pondering what makes us ‚like‘ actors via their screen characters in the first place. Obviously we don’t know them from Adam, bless them, and they have absolutely no business sharing with the world who they really are. Still, I can never help reading up on actors I ‚like‘ whenever I get attached to a character on a show or in a movie – easy enough to do these Internet days. More often than not, actors will seem vastly different from the people they play, and still, it makes me have to sort of go through a detachment process sometimes, reconciling their screen persona and what they reveal of themselves when they’re interviewed as ‚themselves‘.

It can get complicated! Say, you love a character like Spock. And then you see Leonard Nimoy being this friendly, serious dude who is a married man and a dad – mind-boggling, right? Does it make you love Spock any less? No, but you may need to accept that Spock isn’t real, and that can be sort of painful – it’s not easy, being a fangirl ;-)).

And then, some of them also seem way less interesting or likeable than their screen characters. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that sometimes they come across as self-absorbed, vain or boring or, or even as a bit on the dumb side. But I have to confess that watching the wrong interview with an actor can make me stop liking a character, and literally stop watching a show altogether: instant detachment happened! Does that make me a highly disturbed individual, I wonder? Or a bit on the shallow side, myself? What do you think? Have you experienced this kind of thing yourself? Hope I’m not alone …

Anyway, we’re back from our summer vacation (which was wonderful, but that’s another post), school’s in full swing, and so is my latest book translation – a very good knitting book on cable patterns. I won’t be doing much else for a few weeks now, and may not post a lot here because I need to sleep. I just had to get this one out of my system, because it’s been on my mind.

Signing off today with my favorite picture from this summer, obviously showing what I love most in the world. Take care, everyone!

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Summer Break

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I’m sensing a pattern here: Total exhaustion before any summer vacation, and long time no post here in blogland. It’s certainly challenging to be a parent representative in 2 schools, especially right at the end of term. Teachers to see off, presents and speeches to be given (not my favorite part of that job, as a true introvert), last minute teacher-parent problems to be dealt with, summer fayre at my son’s school to be pulled off, summer party at my daughter’s school to be attended, farewell parties for 2 teachers at 2 schools – and always, always baking for all of these events. I swear I’m sick of cinnamon buns now :-(((.

The pic above is what we have to look forward to this summer, and I really can’t wait. It’s a sleepy little port in Brittany, and we’re renting a gorgeous apartment on an old property run by friends of friends.

For now, kids and cat and me arrived at our cottage Friday night last week. The weekend was gorgeous and we got to swim in the lake, kids got to spend a lot of time outside, and I got to find mushrooms, always such a treat for my scavenger’s heart.

IMG_2903Few things make me as happy as mushroom picking. It reminds me of my childhood (the good parts), and it’s deeply gratifying to me, walking in the forest and finding delicious food there to boot. Today, my sweet friend N. and I went to the chanterelles spot (they don’t grow just anywhere), for my daughter is a bit of a ‘shroom snob and will only eat those (they’re the little yellow ones in the basket).IMG_2956.JPGThat’s the upside of this unusually rainy summer, I guess – mushrooms go crazy, as do the plants in my husband’s vegetable patch:

My birthday’s coming up this weekend, and I _had_ planned a nice summer bash on the lawn in front of the cottage – but unfortunately, the weather forecast is telling a different story. Looks like my fiftieth will have to take the proverbial rain check. Maybe I’ll celebrate after the summer break so everyone can show off their tans, or I’ll just throw my sweet husband a party in December so we can be a hundred together :-).

In work news, I’m done with The Cookbook now, and it was not easy to let it go after so many months. It felt really good to be part of a project I was completely behind. Usually, I’m working by myself, and I’m fine with that. But it’s also very cool to be able to talk about work with someone who gets it, and not just in general but because they’re also really invested in the same thing. Those who get to work like that all the time are to be envied. And – a thing to keep in mind for choosing future projects.

The next book is going to be a collaboration also – and I’m again fortunate enough to work with a friend on a thing we both enjoy – knitting cables. The book is lovely, and the patterns seem complex and beautiful – and yet again, we’ll sort of establish a new linguistic code as we assign a new set of abbreviations that make sense to knitters. It’s out of necessity rather than anything else – the book’s a bit small for all the info it contains, and the pages are crammed even in English. So for the users‘ reading comfort, we’ll try and give them a set of technical terms that are intuitive and make sense. We have to try and stay within the given layout of the source text, which is a challenge because German texts are _always_ a bit longer than their English counterparts, and we still want people not to have to use a damn lens to read their patterns, so we’re trying to stay with the given font size.

I’ll bet you never really thought about things like that before, have you? Well, that’s what you have us translators for, among other things. Look forward to that book if you’re a knitter – it’s going to be a good one, I promise.

IMG_2955In the meantime, I’m well into my first week of vacation, and it’s starting to sink in that I actually have time off. This morning was the first I actually managed to sleep in, and it felt really nice. It was a rainy day yet again. I cooked for the kids, played backgammon with my son, went mushroom picking with my friend, gave a quote and wrote an invoice, did some minor corrections, and now I’m blogging the night away as my daughter is asleep and my son is busy mainlining The Mentalist of all things.

IMG_2897Check out the wildlife – this stag beetle was leisurely strolling by the other morning just as we were finishing breakfast. It was about 8 cm long (including the antlers if you call them that on insects), and scary as all hell to me. My son was brave enough to make it walk into a tall water glass, slap a postcard on and carry it across the street into the woods. I was not sorry to see it go. May it have a good life on the other side.

Oh, crafts? Well, I’ve been playing with the Dotty Blanket again. I saw a project that uses a different squares pattern that the Granny I started working with, IMG_2810

on Little Woolie’s Instagram account. It’s there on her blog too, you can go check it out. She’s an Australian crafts artist I follow, and she has done a really amazing job with her Wheels within Wheels blanket on a heather grey backdrop. I liked that, and tried with the single crochet squares, but it ended up eating so much yarn, not to mention time, that I lost faith again and returned to my Granny Square style. I made little piles of the different colored dots to see how many I already had and how many more I’d need … and as you can probably guess, I’ve got my work cut out for me. This is not a quickly made blanket … but anything for the little lady, and I have a couple more weeks of vacation to go, so one day at a time.

Here’s the last very cool thing I saw in town before we left – once again, by an unknown graffiti artist – and I think whoever did this really rocks:

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Have a good summer, everyone.

Lunch, Anyone?

I’ve written about that vicious cycle before (so much work – imminent starvation – translating cookbook); I swear I’ve gained half of my excess weight because of my specializing in that particular genre. Doesn’t bode well for the future, does it???

Trepidation of impending obesity aside, here’s what I whipped up today after wandering into the kitchen in search of food. For lack of a better term (for it took all of 20 minutes to make, and stews, in my mind, usually take hours and hours of, um, stewing) I’m calling it

No-Fuss Chickpea and Tomato Stew

IMG_2736As you can see, I topped it with Feta cheese and some fresh basil. I thought it looked very pretty, and it was also very good. Here’s how I made it.

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 TB olive oil

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 can chickpeas

Salt & pepper to taste

Pinch of sugar

1 handful fresh basil and oregano, chopped

Gently sauté the vegetables and herbs until the shallots are translucent but not brown, add tomatoes and season the sauce to your liking. Let stew for a few minutes, then add the drained chickpeas and let them heat in the hot sauce for a bit. Chop or crumble your Feta cheese, pour stew in a bowl, top with crumbled or cubed cheese and a bit of fresh basil (mainly for the looks, sauce is yummy just as it is), grab a spoon and eat :-). Quick & easy, as lunch should be, in my opinion.

Dropping out of Blogland again for now with a quick wave and a few pics of last week’s ninja crocheting – I made my first (and probably last, you’ll know why when you see it!) amigurumi for my sweet niece M.’s birthday, as well as a colorful mandala as a bright little personal addition to the white peonies I gave to my wonderful friend M. for her birthday.

It has to be noted, that while I managed the mandala by myself, the unicorn was only finished on schedule because my rock star of a son took care of the finishing and assembling. That boy can sew – soooo much better than I, and unlike me, he’s patient enough to do it, bless him.

Have a great week, everyone :-).