If things have been a little quite around here, this may help to explain. We're in week 6 of renovation on our new apartment - and this is the state of my dining room. Renovations are cyclical. You buy the apartment in decent condition then you slowly destroy everything you don't like until the apartment is no longer livable, then you slowly build your way back to something livable, then to something beyond you're wildest imagination. We're in the slowly building your way back to something livable stage right now. By Friday, holes in ceilings should be repaired, walls should be finished, debris should be cleared and floors should be refinished. Wish us luck...
Mid-week photo update on Wednesday for the curious.
Back in September, I waited anxiously for the new Fall season of television in the United States. I would not necessarily call myself a big TV-watcher but watching US television helps me feel more connected to the pop culture of my friends and family on the other side of the Pond. My latest half-hour of mind-numbing comedy was discovered through an Irish colleague: the wonderful BBC show The Office. I ran through the two seasons of DVDs in mere days but quickly fell in love with the American version as well. The Office (US version) was available for purchase on iTunes and I dutifully paid my $34.99 to download the latest episode, waiting impatiently until the weekend to indulge in the latest escapades at the Scranton office. Season 3 ended with a classic Pam & Jim cliffhanger and when September rolled around, I checked back often to iTunes to see when the Season 4 pass would be posted....In total despair over not having access to the season premiere, I hunted around google to see when it would be posted and came across articles stating that NBC and Apple had not reached an agreement to continue the broadcast of The Office via iTunes. You can watch The Office from NBC's website but only if you have a US IP address...but I live in France. Total devastation.
And then I happened to be on YouTube and what did I find....someone has posted the episodes of The Office. The weekend is decidedly looking better and better.
...look what I've been up to.
The February Baby Sweater for little Molly who was born on the 19th.
It just needs buttons. I had bid on some beautiful vintage mother of pearl buttons in cream on Ebay but lost. Guess I'll just have to wait for another round of bidding.
Saartje's booties for a pregnant friend from my book club. I had some leftover yards of the gorgeous Handmaiden Ottawa that I used to make my sister's Clapotis and thought it would be perfect for little girl booties.
I made these last night with watching the latest Bourne film (yes, I just admitted that!).
Now to find some cute buttons to go with it. I'm thinking a bright color. Any suggestions?
I'm about 70% through the second sock. These are my first socks (you can't count the Jaywalkers that I completely abandoned to the bottom of the knitting basket) and I am so proud of them. Using the Socks 101 post on knitty really helped me go through the anatomy of a sock and I feel much more comfortable now to conquer something a little more tangy.
What to look forward to?
As the cool weather sets in, I've been itching to start myself a new scarf. Ravelry has proved to be inspirational. I have a couple of ideas - Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style, Muir from Knitty Fall 2007, Icarus Shawl from Interweave Summer 2006 and the list goes on.
What do you have in your Fall line-up.
Just as I was leaving work this evening (around 11pm), I checked my email. Lo and behold, an email from the girls at Ravelry. I could finally join the club!
It is now 2am, I should have been asleep for nearly 2 hours now...Ravelry is addicting. Someone help!
After two weeks in nearly 100°F weather on the West coast of the United States, the cool, crisp air that greeted me as I stepped past the heavy wooden doors from my office courtyard into the street this evening came as a surprise. By 8pm, the sun had already set and the city was enveloped in darkness. These are telltale signs that Fall is upon us which seems morbidly out of place given that we never had a real summer.
Thankfully I finished Nathalie's endpaper mitts just in time for the cool weather to begin.
Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Rowan 4ply soft in Espresso and Wink
Amount used: less than one skein of each
Needles: 2.5mm double points. The pattern says to use smaller needles for the ribbing but I couldn't be bothered and I believe it turned out just fine.
Knitting these mitts was my first encounter with fair isle and two handed knitting. Intimidated at first, I quickly adapted to the rhythm of the pattern although my first attempts were exceedingly tight and I ripped several times. The Italian tubular cast on the and the kitchener rib bind off were also fun techniques to learn. Click on the links to see some bloggers who put together some excellent tutorials.
Ribbit and I took a little trip to San Diego last week to visit some family. It was nice to leave gloomy and unseasonably cold and miserable Paris (and those 17 hour days I had been working) for palm tress and Mexican food.
We happened to leave on July 21. This date has particular significance: the release date for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I had pre-ordered dear Harry several weeks before our trip -- I had started collecting the US versions of Potter and wanted to own a complete set of US versions, rather than buying the UK version so readily available on this side of the Atlantic.
But the Charles de Gaulle airport was awash with Harry Potter fans - can you think of a better way to spend your 8 hour flight to NYC? Taking a stroll up and down the aisles of our Boeing 777, I counted no less than 18 people reading Potter -- adults and children alike.
I devoured the previous Potter in just 1 1/2 days. This time I decided to prolong the pleasure and finished it on the plane ride home...
Of course, like some fellow knitters, this seriously cut into my knitting time but I still have a few finished and in progress projects to show you if I can ever manage to get home before the sun sets.
To those of you who finished, what did you think?
You can read all about our fabulous meal on my sister's blog Tomato Soup
Last Thursday being a holiday in France, I was actually able to cook during the week! I had been craving spicy curry lately but Indian offerings in Paris leave a lot to be desired. And in any case, we are trying to cut down on eating out since we started keeping track of how much we actually spend per month on restaurants!
One of my maternal grandmother's favorite expressions when dining out is "I can make this for a quarter of the price at home, and it would still be better..."
Last year I decided to take this approach to Indian food and bought a cookbook, took a trip to the little épiceries in the Passage Brady and bought all sorts of exotic spices like black cumin, cardamom pods, star anise and fenugreek to grind up into my very own masala and set to work in the kitchen to make samosas from scratch and lamb vindaloo, Ribbit's favorite. It was one of those dishes, like boeuf bourginon and lapin à la moutarde that are delicious and comforting and sinful at the same time but take six or seven hours of time in the kitchen to make really perfect. I have never taken the cookbook off the shelf since...
One thing I believe this experiment did teach me, though, were the building blocks of Indian cuisine. What I gleaned was that the essential components to a good sauce are ginger, garlic, and onion pastes, a masala mixture, and ghee. From these essentials, I threw together an abbreviated chicken curry and added several handfuls of chopped tomatoes to cut the creaminess of the dairy-based sauce.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (if you're using thighs and have deboned them yourself, make sure to remove all excess connective tissues and nerves)
1 cup/1 individual serving of plain yogurt, whole or skim milk (I used Velouté because I had some in the refrigerator)
1 cup low-fat sour cream (crème fraîche)
1 small onion, sliced thinly in rounds
4 cloves of garlic, pureed
4 teaspoons pureed fresh ginger
three tablespoons curry powder (curry powders vary in intensity with producers, if you have the time and the ingredients, it is best to grind your own powder)
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped or a small can of chopped, stewed tomatoes, without the juice
several whole cloves
olive oil or ghee
chopped cilantro for garnish (I used basil because my cilantro hasn't sprouted yet)
In a heated pan, add olive oil or ghee. When melted, add garlic and ginger pastes and sliced onion. Sautee on low heat until onion is translucent, making sure garlic and ginger pastes do not burn. Add chicken and cook through, about 7 minutes. Add yogurt, sour cream, curry powder and cloves to the chicken and onions; set on low heat and simmer for twenty minutes.
At the same time, think about making your basmati rice. I like to add cumin to the rice spot for an extra flavor.
The best part of the meal, besides being a super healthy, natural and fairly low-fat dish? When you add up the price of the ingredients, the meal for two comes to about 7€, including rice. Which is about 20€ less then it would cost at your standard Indian restaurant in Paris. This is something my grandmother would appreciate!