Friday, 30 April 2021

A little catch-up!

Happy Friday, Lovelies!

It's been a while since I last visited Blogland but as some of you may have noticed, I've popped into Instagram regularly. I think I'm starting to feel a little less uncomfortable there. It's still sort of scary! Somehow, though, blogging feels more hidden. It's as if you're living in a cosy stone and wood writer's cottage, overlooking a vast shimmering lake, and in the distance, tree-covered mountains with snowy peaks make for a dramatic rising- sun backdrop. Surprisingly, you're not entirely alone. Occasionally someone stumbles across your writers hideaway by accident, because they've wandered too far from their picnic in the woods. Some stay a night, others a few days. A few become permanent guests! Blogging feels more like that for me. So, after almost three months, I have a few lost picnickers sitting at my kitchen table and we are sharing a pot of coffee and a plate of freshly baked scones. I relate my news ( or no news! ) and you, I hope, will fill me in with what's been going on in your world?

News 1. news. I am STILL working on the Chrysalis Throw Mystery Make-Along! HOWEVER, I am finalising  "the corners" and hopefully, the last bits PART 6, will be released next week. Here are a few stunningly gorgeous colourways. I hope they inspire you to tackle this design. It looks complicated but as always there are detailed video instructions and advice from our wonderfully helpful group Members over at our Workshop HERE. If you don't already have this pattern you can find it HERE.

                                                      CREDIT: Katherina Wolff

                                                        CREDIT: Rene van der Westhuizen

                                                        CREDIT: Maria Simonetta

                                                         CREDIT: Yunita Puspa Wiriani

                                                      CREDIT: Marjolijn Zweeren

News 2. Spontaneously, one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I rolled up the pool cover and tossed it into the recycling. Well not exactly "tossed"...more like huffed and puffed and luged! Next, I scooped into a small bucket, our 3 x Goldfish ( Jaws, Nemo, and Dory ) who'd resided happily in a blue plastic kiddies pool for several years. I transferred the three to our 4m diameter x 1.2m deep pool ( unused for two years! ). Following this; the purchase of 20 x Goldfish in varying sizes and colours ( unnamed thus far ). Next came 3 x Water Lillies ( white ) and 1 x Dwarf Papyrus plant. All got plonked into the former "Swimming Hole", which now goes by the name of "Fishy Pond". Coffee breaks and lunch are now enjoyed at Fishy Pond. The Goldfish are thriving. All is well. I bought a special coffee mug to celebrate!


News 3. Winter has finally arrived! I hear that snow is on the way too. So there's been a lot of lazing about in pyjamas, reading books and generally telling everyone that I'm hibernating even though the weather is still sunny and hot most days. Laia, Roxy and the Cats definitely feel the chill in the morning air and don't surface until 10am. This makes for lovely quiet and peaceful mornings. Does anyone know a good spell to hasten Winter's speed?

New 4. We discovered a historical park, called Arderne Gardens, just 15 minutes from our front door! Mr HooksnTales has lived in Cape Town almost his entire life and did not know about this inner-city jewel. I teased him about that but it was really lovely to discover something new, together! Especially after spending MONTHS isolated in each other's company during our first and second lockdowns. We made a point then of exploring green spaces where we could walk the dogs and somehow missed this treasure. If you click on the link you can read more about the fascinating story of Arderne Gardens, its 175yr-old history, and the garden's connection to Hiroshima.

News 5: I FINALLY learned how to make Seitan! Vegetarians and Vegans will immediately know what that is but for those of you who think I've spelled ( no pun intended ) the Dark Lord...move on over! Seitan is an ancient food, a pure protein food, originally made by Buddhist Monks. It's basically the process of separating wheat gluten from wheat starch. The gluten is then flavoured and cooked as you would meat. For years I avoided making Seitan because it looked complicated ( sounds familiar seeing as I never learned how to crochet until later in life for the exact same reason! ) but let me tell you, it's easy peasy as anything. My first batch was absolutely delicious! I shared this to FB but I only have a handful of friends on my personal FB page so many of you would have missed the share. Honestly, if you are allergic or sensitive to gluten then avoid this but otherwise, even if you do eat meat, give it a try. It's sort of magic that you can turn flour into (fake) meat!

My recipe:

RECIPE FOR SEITAN: ( not for those who can't tolerate Gluten )

1kg White Flour ( all-purpose, not self-rising ).


Add all flour to a large bowl.
Add enough water to work into a dough ball ( about 2 to 2.5 cups ).
Knead for 2 minutes.
Cover with cold water ( from the tap ).
Allow to stand for 2 hours.


Transfer your dough ball to a colander and rinse under running water until water runs clear. Takes about 10 minutes. Use your hands to knead and pull the dough ball to help the separation. The water will be very milky to start with as the starch is separated from the gluten.
Your gluten ball should end up about 3rd of the size of the original dough ball. It will have a slightly darker colour and be "sort of rubbery ". This is pure gluten.

Pat gluten-ball into a "patty" shape. Add the "patty" to a pot of simmering stock ( onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, spices, etc + water ) making sure it's just covered by the broth. Allow to simmer for 1.5hrs. Your stock should be reduced to 1/4.

Store your cooked gluten in the broth for up to a week.
Can be diced, sliced, or remain whole ( think Roast Chicken recipes ). 
Slices can be pan-fried, diced seitan can be added to stir-fried dishes.

Super high in protein, no animal fats, so no cholesterol.
100% delicious and Vegan ( of course ).

So that's about all I have to share for now. Most days are " ground-hog " days and I'm sure many of you Lovelies can relate!

Our GIVEAWAY today is a surprise pattern! If you like surprises then don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you do comment below! I'll be giving away 5 copies of a lovely, useful pattern!

I hope with all my heart that you are well, taking care of yourself but most of all, staying safe!
Hugs as always.
💗 Jen