Tuesday, 24 July 2007

World's slowest knitter struggles with multi-sock method

I haven't been particularly well, which may explain why I'm struggling with the multi-sock method of knitting. Either that, or I have bitten off more than I can reasonable chew. Nothing new there, admittedly. I cast on, I got through the toe-increase rows. Hopefully I will soon have the energy to pick the pathetic little scraps of knitting up again.

I worked until stupid o'clock this morning on some test data, went into work fully intending to stay until 14:00, then rush home and take my remaining telconferences from bed. I left work at 18:30. And the software for which my test plan and data were supposed to be so desperately required... will not be ready for testing until Friday, if then.

As to the unwellness, I suspect bronchitis. I haven't had it for about 15 years, but the gentle squeaking in my chest and the feeling of breathing through soap bubbles seems vaguely familiar. My immune system is crap. I can't decide if it needs gentle nurturing or a kick up the arse.

In the interests of the former, I have been cooking a little: I actually got some time to cook this weekend as feeling like shit meant I didn't go anywhere and I was avoiding test data production and CV writing on Sunday afternoon.

My beloved other half bought me three gluten-free cookbooks a couple of months ago: I have wheat, corn and soy sensitivities, so gluten-free is a good place to start, but takes further ingenuity to make it work. I highly recommend Bette Hanagan's Easy Gluten Free Cooking (ISBN 978-1-84454-369-4), if only for her flour mixes and her explanation of what can be substituted for what.

I miss quiche. This isn't too bad a substitute.

sweet potato quiche 'pastry' plus ham and onion quiche filling

500g sweet potato (kumera)
1 tbsp olive oil
100g grated cheese (half parmesan, half cheddar works ok)
50g rice flour

two small or one large sweet red onion, diced
150g good quality ham, diced
3/4 cup of light crème fraîche (or milk, or yoghurt or cream...)
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and chop sweet potato into similar-sized pieces (2 - 3 cm) and boil until squishable.
Drain and mash. Add olive oil, half the cheese and rice flour.
Mix together until they form a wet dough-like substance.
Press into a 20cm springform pan, ensuring that the base is completely coated and sides are at least partly covered.
Bake blind for 10 mins at 180°C (moderate oven).

Saute onion over medium heat until translucent and cool.
Add rest of grated cheese, ham, crème fraîche and eggs. Beat together, season to taste.
Pour onto blind baked base.
Cook at 180°C (moderate oven) for 30 mins or until set and lightly browned.

Best served cold, tends to fall apart when hot.

I also made the Apricot bread from Bette Hagman's book with rice flour only. Not bad, but rather bitter: I think I put in too much orange peel. I'd like to substitute apple for the apricot next time to see how that would work. I miss apple bread.

Non-basil pestos are great, especially if you get a rainy summer and the basil goes black. This week the supermarket had the most amazing bunches of extremely healthy common mint, and I found some decent coriander hiding in an unopened crate. Mmmmm. Spicy.

fluffy geek's perverted pesto

Two handsful of mint leaves - either the big strong common mint, or vietnamese mint if you can get it.
Four handsful of coriander leaves (I cut off the really chunky bits of the stalks but leave the rest in)
Two handsful of pine nuts (100g). Cashew nuts are also good.
A chunk of parmesan about 1" x 1" x 2"
1 good sized garlic clove
a hefty pinch of salt
Olive oil

Throw into a food processor bigger than mine (I did mine in two batches and the mint nearly defeated it even then...) I roughly grate the parmesan in using the grater disc, then add garlic, pulse, nuts, pulse and then leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Then add olive oil and blitz until you get your desired texture. Some people like it more soupy than others.

P.S. Oh, but I do like the Addi's I bought for the sock project. I have a suspicion they might quietly breed in my knitting tool drawer while I'm earning British pounds and the price doesn't seem so scary.

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