Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Weekend review

I had a lovely weekend. I'm starting to feel like I'm making some progress so just need to keep it up now.

I went to the farmers' market and got my pork chops. The farmer, (I have got to find out the name of his farm, I keep forgetting to make a note of it) told me two weeks ago that his pigs would be slaughtered the following Wednesday but would then need to hang for at least a week before being butchered. So, this Saturday they had pork chops which were absolutely delicious. They also had a special offer on beef so I got two bags of mince and one of diced beef and made the best stew I've made for a long time on Sunday night which is my lunches for part of this week.

My stew:

Organic beef pieces (Irish)
Organic carrots (Irish)
Organic onion (Irish)
Red onion (has been in the cupboard for a while, can't remember if it's organic but I think so)
Organic beans (not sure what type, bought them at market, they are Irish though)
Bisto granules
Worchestershire sauce
Olive oil (about 2 teaspoons)

Browned meat in the olive oil then transferred to casserole pot. Cooked onions until softened in the remaining oil/meat juices and transferred to pot. Made up a mug of bisto and added, then added about three mugs more of water and a good splash of worchestershire sauce and a small amount of freshly ground black pepper. Threw in chopped carrots, onions and beans, brought to boil for about 15 minutes then left simmering on lowest heat for an hour or so, then left in pot with lid on for another couple of hours. The meat was sooooo tender. Yumm.

The last three items are not organic or local but I have them in my cupboard and will only replace them as they run out. They are things I will have to make a decision about whether to keep using or not as they really are not produced locally.

I also boiled up some potatoes (non-organic but Irish) to have with it.

And I made soup as well which is making up some lunches this week too. I was having a good cooking weekend - the soup turned out really well too although a bit salty for my taste as I used a new organic vegan bouillion instead of my own chicken stock and it was very salty. My brother however said it was just perfect and he's normally giving out because I haven't used enough salt and pepper.

In other news this weekend I found a wool shop and bought some wool (well, it's 85% wool, 15% viscose - made in Italy, I must do some research on Irish wool) and needles and started knitting. I couldn't think of what to do to get started but wanted something simple, preferably with no pattern to follow. It's my sister's birthday next week so I decided to just make a scarf for her because that also gives me a deadline and forced me to get started straightaway rather than staring at the wool for months! I found once I had the needles in my hands it did sort of come back to me and I was able to cast on okay. (I have to admit I realised I'd forgotten how to cash off though and had to google it.) I knit ten lines and then switched to knit one row, purl one row. I've only mixed up the sides twice and each time realised before I'd finished a whole line so didn't have too much to undo. I haven't dropped any stiches as far as I know because I've counted every few lines and almost always had the same amount. Twice I'd managed to gather an extra stitch but I remember how to decrease so just fixed it at the end of the line. I do still have three unexplained holes though - it looks just like I dropped a stitch but I still have enough stitches so I don't know what happened. I'm just going to keep on thinkg that it adds to the charm of it. I made it probably a bit wider than necessary so now I'll have to go back and buy more wool on Saturday to finish it to a reasonable length - I'm using size 9 needles and 50 stitches across - I have no idea how many lines it'll end up being but will finish it with ten lines knit. I bought five 50g balls and have just started knitting the fifth one. My brother has seen it and already requested that I do one for him next.

Apart from cleaning the house (always feels good when I do a good job on that) I was also able to get out into the garden and make a start on my composter finally. I forked out the area I'll be using but need to borrow a spade to dig a hole deep enough to wedge the pallets securely into. I also got some chicken wire and cut it (I now own a wire cutters and feel very handyman-like) and nailed it to the inside of the pallets as a precaution against any large rodents. Have never had a problem before but better safe than sorry. I also bought a honeysuckle (an almost dead one but had one healthy looking branch and was only .15c, how could I resist) and planted it out. Hopefully it'll settle in and grow up a spare piece of trellis on the shed next year.

So all in all I had a nice relaxing but productive weekend. And ended up with enough food prepared that I don't need to be stressing about it during the week while trying to get to work/choir/Tupperware meeting etc. etc.

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