Monthly Archives: May 2014

Cotton Christening Blanket

Cotton Blanket 1I had only ever crocheted using wool as the yarn, and wanted to give Cotton a try.  It seemed to me that the detail of the stitches was more apparently with cotton so presented quite a different look to wool.

I decided to go with a Granny Square blanket so toyed with some ideas and finally settled on a pattern which I blogged about a short while ago.  That in itself was an new experience because I had somewhat ‘winged’ the pattern and when I drew it out it was complex enough that I wasn’t confident that someone else would be able to follow it.  Thanks to AmigurumiBB who trialed it for me, I ironed out the awkward bits and posted the final version:  “Stunning Cotton Granny Square

Cotton Blanket 3Well, several months later (Yip!  It took me that long!) I have finished the blanket.  What a mission!  The granny square was so detailed that on average I only made 1 per evening.  Mind you, I did make some other bits and pieces in between, such as the gorgeous baby blanket for a friend of mind and Minon hats.

I stitched the squares together, rather than crochet them.  I really like the border that I went for…but that’s probably another post sometime later……

I hope you like the blanket.  My next issue is wondering what to do with it……..

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One of the great things about heading into Winter…..Feijoas!

Grape Stomping 5 (copy)Over here in New Zealand we are heading into Winter.  For the many, many wine makers here that means a flurry of activity of grape harvesting, pressing etc etc.  We have some friends who own a boutique vineyard is the beautiful village of Matakana, which is just north of Auckland (close enough that many commute every day into the city for work).  We have helped out our friends over the years by picking grapes (all done by hand), bottling (I got the job of pushing the pedal that put the corks into the bottles one at a time!), and just last weekend we were asked to help with the ‘stomping’.

Grape Stomping 5 (copy)Last weekend, early Saturday morning we headed to the vineyard where my husband got to stand thigh deep in a mixture of grapes and the beginnings of what will become stunning red wine (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec).  After the boys had siphoned the bulk of the wine into barrels, the fun bit began; stomping.  All the grapes were put into a special ‘basket press’ which I climbed into to walk on the grapes to get more of the juice out.  This step is done prior to the use of the mechanical press to eliminate potential mess of the excess juice spraying out the sides of the basket.  All our hard work was rewarded with our lovely hostess and long time friend serving us a traditional roast beef lunch……with of course fantastic Gillman Vineyard wine!

Feijoas 1So, what’s all of this go to do with Feijoas?  Nothing really except that they had a Feijoa tree on the vineyard so I took home a few kilos of them. 🙂  I actually had a quick Google of Feijoa, because a lot of immigrants I know don’t seem overly familiar with them.  It seems that they are not grown in many countries, and certainly not grown as a garden plant in the volumes like we do here.  So, if you haven’t tried one, I highly recommend you do if you ever get the chance.  They are delicious!

Feijoas 2With 3kgs of Feijoas, the obvious thing to do was to turn them into chutney, and the best recipe I have is a Roasted Feijoas Chutney recipe….not only because it’s yummy, but also because you roast them with the skins on making whole process far more bearable.  You can find the recipe here.  Note that you have to start the night before!  I lined my roasting dish with tin foil, but I won’t do that again as I don’t think it made any difference to the cleaning up process.  I also couldn’t fit it all into my roasting dish initially, so I used a second tray and after an hour of so I poured one into the other.  Before putting into the jars, I tried to get all the cardamom pods out, but couldn’t find them all.  Oh well 🙂  Someone might just get a burst of flavor! Feijoas 3