yay for summer!

it's finally here and life - when we're not getting sick or rushing around like lunatics - is perilously close to my urban ideal. walking hand-in-hand with baby down the alley to the bakery, spontaneous backyard entertaining of out-of-town guests, and knitting with the neighbours (amylovesred from ravelry lives just down the block, as it turns out). last week we had surprise brunch guests, and the women were all in pretty summer dresses, and as i was calling out the kitchen window to see if anyone wanted more coffee, i had a happy 'fifties housewife moment. if only we could have the aesthetics of the 'fifties and the social freedoms of today at the same time! sigh

anyway, i just finished another summer dress to add to the slowly growing collection. i would love to have a dozen! today's dress has a bateau neckline and inverted box pleats at the bust and skirt. the skirt pleats are done in a solid green cotton accent - in part because i should have bought more of the lovely main patterned fabric! - but i think they're a nice touch. the main fabric is "grassy plain" part of the echino collection for kokka. it's a linen/cotton blend with a border print and it is absolutely stupendous. i'm feeling very doris day. yay for summer!



is it officially summer yet? it certainly feels like it is... weekend was spent gardening (constantly), brunching, bbqing, and generally enjoying the weather. once again, we've gone through the agony of lifting concrete tiles and rediscovering the earth below (let's hope we never have to move again, i don't think i could stand to do that a third time), flowers in planters, window box installed on front porch railing, vegetables planted in back yard, and herbs ready to be installed.

now i'm ready to do some sewing - i have been unable to find the yellow shoes of my dreams, so i'm looking at a re-con project. details soon.

also, barbecue! in honour of our friend nic's intolerance of sugar, we did sugar-free ribs and potato salad - trickier than it sounds. 90% of bbq sauce recipes, including those that purport to be "sugar free" involve worcestershire sauce, which is full of the stuff. so here is the recipe that worked - it was perfect except for the fact we would have liked more! next time i'll double it.

sugar-free ribs

2 kg back loin ribs
1 can unsweetened pinapple juice
2 tbs oil (i used the oil from some sundried tomatoes)
1 onion, grated (you will weep)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
8 oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt (i used himalayan pink salt)
a couple of grinds of black pepper
a few shakes of cayenne

bring pineapple juice to a boil in a large stock pot. add ribs; return to boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for one or two hours.

cook grated onion in oil over low heat until caramalised - about half an hour. add garlic and cook a few minutes more. add remaining ingredients stirring well.

ladle a cup of pineapple juice from the stock pot into the sauce, stirring well. simmer ten minutes.

drain the ribs and coat with the sauce. allow to marinate for an hour or two.

bbq on a hot grill, brushing with sauce. because the ribs are already cooked through, you don't have to worry about killing anyone with underdone pork - crisp up the outsides quickly, and they'll still be juicy and tender!

potato salad

4 slices bacon
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 egg
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs vinegar (i used white balsamic)
4 green onions, chopped
lots of fresh dill, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

cook bacon till crisp. drain on paper towels and crumble.

add the bacon fat to a roasting pan with the potatoes; toss to coat. roast for 45 minutes at 375F. allow to cool.

combine egg with mustard and salt in a blender. while blending, add oil in a constant thin stream till thick. add vinegar.

combine all ingredients in a big bowl and toss. yum!