the crunch

it's coming. in just 2 weeks, i'm going to have a table at my first ever craft fair!

it's happening at withrow park clubhouse on saturday 13 october, and it's a fundraiser for fair toronto, a group i'm involved with that works to improve accessibility to toronto's parks & rec programs. so far i have a bunch of hats, and a bunhc of fabric to make other stuff, and a desperate need for more time! yikes. also thinking of printing out some knitting patterns for sale. and i'm going to be selling some handspun for a fellow raveller!

ok enough time-wasting. need to get to work!


marvellous moore

about a month and a half ago, i mentioned watching the last time i saw paris and enjoying having a look at the young and handsome roger moore. he's great eye candy. but even better when he isn't trying to act, as in this pattern book from the 1950s, found here via how to become a professional knitter! even better, although the copy of the original pattern which robin linked has now been sold (surprise), the website offering it has lots of other great vintage patterns for sale, and some free patterns too!


piecaken: part 3

this morning i had the task of icing and assembling. i started by making a double-batch of classic vanilla frosting, and then went to the cakes. they were a little sad looking, the chocolate one was awfully sunken in.

when i went to move it to a plate for assembly, i discovered the awful truth - due to the fundamental structural instability of the thing, the middle had glopped right through the rack it was cooling on, and straight onto the counter! argh. i scooped up the overflow, stuck it back where it belonged as best i could, and covered all flaws with frosting. all hail frosting.

didn't have a decent camera at work, so my only photo of the inside is a quite poor mobile snap. but you get the idea! a coworker estimated it's 600 calories a slice. he had two. so did i. then i felt ill.

recipe to come tomorrow once i have recovered!


piecaken: part 2

next time i get one of these crazy ideas, please stop me. i'm always biting off more than i can chew.

so this morning i got up, had a shower, made lunches for the kiddo & me, got breakfast, biked to work by 8 o'clock, left for lunch at 11 o'clock so i could bike over to the school to pick up the kiddo from kindergarten and take him to afternoon pre-school, then back to work for 1 o'clock, found out about a new last-minute horrible work thing i need to get done for monday, worked on that, emailed it to myself at home to work on more, biked to the preschool, picked up the kid, rode him home, did the final step in the glace cherries, made a lasagna from scratch, worked on a jigsaw puzzle with the kid (fine motor skills + hopefully helping with his tendency to make his letters flipped or rotated), ate lasagna with family, started makind cake batter, went upstairs to get the kiddo to brush his teeth and discovered an "accident," got mop, offered encouragement & training in how to mop, re-mopped myself for effectiveness, brushed the teeth, bathed the kiddo, read him a story, finished cake batter, put cakes in oven, dialled in to national conference call for non-profit group, took cakes out of oven, allowed to cool, flipped one out onto a rack and realised that it is still bloody liquidy on the bottom, argh, returned cake to pan (not easy) and thence to oven, texted husband to ask to get sugar at 24-hour grocery since i used it all up on the cherries and don't have any left for frosting, etc. etc. etc...

you can tell the vanilla/peach is the one i flipped onto the rack. sigh. we can fix it in post. aka icing.

piecaken: part 1

i need to bring a piecaken to work tomorrow! and only really figured it out yesterday. oops. so last night, i made pies.

it was a comedy of errors really, since i went out to buy peaches and cherries, and realised i was out of gas, and got gas next door to sobey's and thought "i should just go there but i don't want to," and went to fiesta farms but they didn't have cherries (even though they had them last week!), so went back to sobey's but they didn't have cherries, so i went to loblaws which i hate more than anything and they didn't have cherries, so i said "whatever, i'll get them in a jar or something," grabbed my peaches, was on the way to look for cherries when i remembered i needed smaller pie plates, and loblaws didn't have any! do went back to fiesta farms. hate the world.

but, pie.


still with the cherries, and something more ridiculous

i'm on day five of the glace cherries recipe. soon, soon! just did my first boil of the cherries, here they are waiting for their syrup for a 12-hour soak:

another thing i'm starting tonight: piecaken. i first heard of it from a co-worker, a few months ago. then, he was hit by a car, and injured badly. i promised him a piecaken on his return to work. so today, the buzz in the office was rob's return, and i asked "when is his first day back?" and was told this friday. eep! so pastry for pies is in the fridge resting, after dinner i'll run out and get some cherries & peaches and get the pies baked tonight. tomorrow, the cakes. friday morning, assemble, then drive to work. departmental meeting at 10 o'clock. yikes!



just realised i have never linked the greatest fruitcake website of all time: mondo fruitcake. then of course i couldn't find the link and had to hunt it down. so here it is for posterity, and here is a direct link to the prettiest fruitcake of all.


xmas is in the air

started making these yesterday! glace cherries (to go with my candied peel in a fruitcake, eventually), starting from scratch with fresh local produce. i had worried that i had somehow missed the local cherries, or that the crop had failed entirely due to the freakish spring/summer we've just had. but no! i found ontario cherries, and i am turning them into sweet goodness. slowly.

a word of caution: this is one of those recipes that says "on day five..." so you have to sort of plan your life around them a bit. they don't need much time spent on them each day, just some straining, measuring, boiling of syrup, etc., but it's not something to leave till the last minute, or start when you're going to be terrifically busy.

so far, i am just grateful that i haven't attracted a horde of fruit flies. grateful and amazed.


meatball! meatball!

taking a little break from cooking day. coconut stuff for the coconut chicken is done and in the fridge. tomato sauce is simmering. fabric for craft fair has been bought, washed, dried & folded. candied orange peel and meatballs have another 15 minutes before i have to run.

but speaking of meatballs, i have to share my particular meatball trick. i have a consistency thing. i crave it, but find it difficult to achieve. so i've developed a technique that works for meatballs, or peanut butter cookies, or anything you need to roll into little balls.

the trick is this: in whatever bowl you're mixing the stuff in, prod your stuff with a spoon until it is even and flat on top. then, take a long knife, and cut it into quarters. lift out one quarter of the dough/meat/whatever, and shape it into a disc. cut that in quarters. each quarter can then be rolled into a log, and cut into however many pieces are required. we're three in our family, so i am making the right number of meatballs for 3 people to have 4 dinners (48 meatballs). this way you avoid the annoying "i have 4 people and 7 cookies" problem. maybe i think about this too much.

what i usually think about when i'm making meatballs is this (skip to 1:13):

meatballs (enough for 12, or for 4 dinners for 3, or 3 dinners for 4)
1 tbs olive oil
2 large onions
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb italian sausage
1 tbs oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup dry breadcrumbs

chop onions and saute in oil till soft.

combine with meats, seasonings, and egg.

add cheese and crumbs, work in.

shape into 48 meatballs. bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 375f. serve on top of spaghetti with tomato sauce. and don't sneeze.

tomato sauce (enough for 12, again)
2 tbs olive oil
4 large onions
2 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
4 cloves garlic
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
20 large ripe field tomatoes
salt to taste

chop onions and saute in oil till soft.

chop celery and carrots finely and add to onions. cook till soft and just starting to caramelise.

crush and add garlic along with herbs and vinegar.

chop and add tomatoes. bring to a boil, then simmer till thick and reduced by about half, about 3 hours.

season to taste with salt.

what i like to do is, get 4 empty yogurt containers (the big ones, 750g), put a dozen meatballs in each one, then fill with the sauce, then stick in the freezer until it's time for dinner. defrost/reheat in a covered pot on the stovetop while the spaghetti is cooking. voila!


in a fit of typical biting off more than i ought to be chewing, i've signed up for a table at a craft fair! it's a fundraiser for fair toronto, so a good cause and all, but still. this is supposed to be my cooking day, but i'm half-tempted to take this rare all-by-myself opportunity to go and get some fabric and whatnot. i have a few hats done already, which is good, but i know i can sew faster than i knit, given the time to myself! i figure leftovers will go in my long-abandoned etsy store (i'll link to that when there's actually something to link to), and was thinking of printing up some knitting patterns for sale, too. hmm.