- I DID IT. I survived the first birthday of the year! Which of course is never just one day; it’s FOUR celebrations all in all, three of which require baking (the other one is breakfast), three of which (not the same three) require assorted planning and preparations, and all of which are definitely Work. I am so longing for the day when the kids decide they’re too big to need parties but I don’t know when that’s going to happen; Claudia is very very into her parties and spends half the year planning them. Dammit.
More is more, and 5-year-olds don’t really care about thematic consistency. They just like sprinkles and Lego Batman.
- I do most of the birthday prep and planning and baking and all that, which at times feels a tad unfair – but every actual party I’m reminded that it is 1,000% worth the trade if Armin handles the party games. Which he does both creatively and enthusiastically, and I don’t have to do anything. It’s beautiful. I even got to sit and knit while they did their thing.
- Have not been terribly successful in my plan to get outside first thing every day. There’s been weather and work and, like, stuff. Of course, all of those things are always true, so in an ideal world I’d be dauntlessly sticking to my morning-walk-or-run guns. But you know what, that’s okay. The plan is still there. I’ll do what I can do, and when I don’t, that’s fine. I’m really not interested in beating myself up over it.
- I’m working on a big design that’s a bit weird – as in, unusual shape and construction; I made a doll-size mock-up but I genuinely don’t know if it’ll work on a real human body. I have yarn support and the yarny would love to have it ready for Edinburgh, which I told her would be pretty much impossible. But… it might not be? The actual knitting is going pretty fast. The grading is well set up and I’m writing as I go, so by the time the sample is finished, it’ll be just about ready for editing. It’s not very likely I’ll meet the deadline, but it is possible. I think. I had to pull out all my progress after a few days for perfectionist reasons, but then caught up within 24 hours because YAY TUESDAY (long school day, 8 hours to myself) and yay Knitflix. All of which means… firstly, woo yay that I sometimes get to spend a day on the couch and call it work! But also, suddenly there is weird pressure: I think I can I don’t know I can but I think I can oh gods don’t screw this up…
- I have another deadline within a few weeks of this one. A completely self-imposed deadline, but it matters to me. So this is very much the All Knitting All The Time chunk of the year. I think it’ll be a good chance to see how productive I can really be when everything’s in place. The moment of truth! Or, well, the months of truth, I guess. Quite a long moment.
2-4 (!) / #52recipes: Nigella’s carrots and fennel with harissa. Yes, yes, I cooked them from the book as per the specifics of my challenge, but then looked them up online for your benefit, aren’t I nice? Scroll down, I promise it’s there, and it’s absolutely worth cooking which is why I bothered with the link. First time I’ve tried harissa – I carefully left it off the kids’ veg and added only to mine, but oh my, what a difference. These were good even so (the naartjie bits caramelised beautifully!), but the harissa made for a full, rounded, warm and wonderful flavour. Must repeat.
Also Nigella’s salt ‘n vinegar roast potatoes with polenta-fried fish. Fish a total failure – not sure if there wasn’t enough egg wash, or the oil wasn’t hot enough, or what, but it all just collapsed in the pan. And I noticed that Armin, who had the piece of fish with greatest polenta crust integrity, left most of that crust aside. So that’s a no, then. Potatoes were probably the best roast potatoes I’ve ever made (although I preferred them without the apple cider vinegar – I’m just not a fan of that smell), so maybe there’s something in this odd steam-instead-of-parboil idea. All the above from At My Table.
Also fudgy chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing from the Party Cake Builder recipe in the new Smitten Kitchen book. (Basically this one, but smaller and without the fudge buttercream.) Totally genius idea: about 4 different flavours of sponge and icing, details on how much of each to make for whatever size and shape of cake you need, assemble at will. And the actual cakes of course are perfectly easy and reliable.