No Politics, Just Crafts

I’m very consciously avoiding refreshing the polls page every few minutes. Can’t concentrate for s… today, so might as well talk about other stuff instead.

I bought the yarn for the socks above at the supermarket – couldn’t resist the pull of the warm orange, and decided I need the socks as a bright spot for the dark months to come. They make me very happy! I don’t usually go in for the industrially pre-dyed patterned yarns, but I love the socks anyway.

They were finished Sunday night, after an eventful day that involved driving a few hours, vehicular knitting, visiting the shelter and bringing home yet another feline family member.

This is Mogli. He’s winsome and mischievous, and he is making a little girl very, very happy :-). Look at that impish little face with the huge ears!

I’ve always enjoyed knitting socks. It’s gratifying to me because it doesn’t take a lot of time, and you can do most of it without paying too much attention. Looking at your socked feet is nice, too – and of course they keep your feet warm, always a plus in ancient buildings like the one we live in.

Initially, I was going to make these for myself

but ended up making them a wee bit too small, and so handed them over to my daughter, who loved the color combo as much as I did.

The amazing fall break week off I gave myself seems to have initiated a crafts energy boost, and after all the socks, I’ve taken up the Waffle Blanket once more. The status quo is this:

That’s fifteen (!) balls of yarn in, the orange being the sixteenth. That blanket will not be a lightweight, that’s for sure. But I’m pleased with the look, and I’m not even agonizing about size and colors anymore. I now have enough yarn to make five color blocks if I want it longer after all. Every blanket is a journey, and this one is no exception.

My Stripy Sweater from last year has undergone final design changes. Planned as a square shaped affair,

it wasn’t really right for my figure, drawing more attention to my chest than I feel comfortable with, so I sewed an elastic in at the bottom edge, and it now looks and feels good to me.

Since the washing machine (and my son who is not yet familiar with the hand wash cycle) effectively ruined my daughter’s favorite pink sweater, I’m planning to make her a new one for Xmas. I’m looking at two weeks off between projects this month, so I’ll get a nice head start on it.

Work-wise, I’m fortunate enough to have been booked for sequels and follow-up projects until April next year. I’m as good as done with the demon urban fantasy that kept me busy over the last few weeks, and have an absolutely fabulous cookbook to look forward to as well. Also, several gorgeous free copies to give to my friends.

Today is a sunny fall day, and there was a first light bite of cold air in the morning. Every time I walk among the beautiful fall-colored foliage we have for a few weeks, I’m reminded of a story my parents used to read to me when I was little: Frederick the Mouse. It’s about a field mouse who does things a little differently from all his fellow mouses – which in the end is a gift to everyone, his family as well as those who get to enjoy this awesome classic among children’s books.

Another nice thing to think about is the fact that it’s pumpkin season. For me that means the Hokkaido variety, which I prefer to Butternut or other winter squash – I enjoy the creaminess and the potato-like texture. Now, I could eat soups every day, and not only when it’s cold out, and pumpkin soup has to be one of my all time favorites. The same is not true for my family, alas. But yesterday when I thought about what to make for dinner, I had an idea. What if, I thought, I were to add little spicy meatballs to the soup? I thought it might be nice if they were to taste a bit exotic, and since I had fresh cilantro and ginger in the fridge, I went with that. I added a little rice, don’t ask me why, it was a spontaneous decision, and then they turned out like pretty little hedgehogs, completely by happy accident:

And what do you know, everybody loved the soup! Even my daughter who hasn’t touched it for years asked for seconds, which I consider high, high praise.

Pimped-up Pumpkin Soup

2 small Hokkaido pumpkins, cleaned, seeded and cut up

3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 stalk celery

1 small parsley root, peeled and chopped

1/2 clove garlic

250 g ground beef

1 egg

1 handful broken rice

1 piece of ginger, 2 cm, peeled and chopped

1 handful mixed fresh herbs (I used cilantro, parsley and dill)

salt, pepper

vegetable broth to taste

1 cup cream

First, sauté in olive oil 2/3rds of the shallot and half of the ginger. Pour on water, and add the pumpkin, parsley root and celery. Add broth, salt, pepper and maybe a pinch of sugar to taste. Put to the boil.

Now prepare the meatballs. In a bowl, combine 1 egg, the herbs, the rest of the ginger and the shallot, garlic, salt and pepper. Puree with a stick blender. (I do this because my daughter dislikes it when meatballs contain chunks of onion or the likes. It’s completely optional, you might as well chop if you prefer.) Add the ground beef and the handful of rice. Combine to a solid mass, then form small (like 1,5 cm diameter small) balls.

In the pot, watch out for when the pumpkin starts to fall apart, then take the vegetables out of the broth with a slotted spoon. Set aside.

Now add your meatballs to the broth and cook for about 15 minutes. When done, fish out of the broth with your slotted spoon and set aside.

Put the vegetables back in the pot and puree with your stick blender, adding cream and spices to taste.

Finally, put the meatballs back in the pot, turn off the heat, put the lid on and let sit for a few minutes, while you cut up bread or lay the table.

And then – enjoy an autumnal bowl of fragrant, creamy, rich goodness.

Glad you joined me for a little walk away from the news! Let’s hope they will be good. And thank you for dropping by.

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