First week back at work, which was obviously not so much fun since the job is ending. But it ended on a slightly improved note, with a project to keep me busy for the rest of the month that might actually be slightly meaningful. Maybe. At least it’s a project. Meanwhile, I have been:
Reading Kate Atkinson, still.
Knitting those handwarmers, at speed of light, and of course now Elfling wants her own matching pair. Sure, why not, I have leftover yarn and they really are speedy. Sadly I’ve also been reknitting the loop; my initial reaction to the first version was “Wow! Surprisingly awesome!” – but then a few details bugged me. Mostly, it was good enough to be worth publishing the pattern; but the pattern wouldn’t be good enough in that form. So, a rewrite/reknit. It’s irritating me. I think the result will be cool, and it’s not exactly slow, but it’s irritating and not going as fast as I’d like. Also started a pair of socks for bus knitting (not that I’ll have much bus time any more – working mostly from home till end of contract), because I’ve joined the Poshies sock challenge (7 pairs in 2014).
…You know what, I just can’t. I do kind of like recording what I’ve done through the week, but frankly that’s for a private journal. It’s so unbelievably boring. Let’s go back to last year’s favourite format. Random 5 coming up!
1. The Maximuffin is one! One year of awesomeness. Still shockingly lacking in nice photos, which is a sadness. We celebrated with Armin’s family and a rather nice (though craterrific) flourless cake. (The Dude himself has gotten over his wheat allergy, but Grosi – Swiss for grandmother – has just been diagnosed with gluten issues.) Recipe, adapted from Sophie Michell:
8 egg whites
300g ground hazelnuts and/or almonds (I used a mix)
300g caster sugar
Grated zest of 2-3 clementines
Handful of dried cherries (optional)
Icing sugar, some clementine segments and decorations, if required
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a deep 20cm cake tin. Mix the ground nuts and sugar thoroughly (you’ll need a BIG bowl), then stir in the fruit. Beat the egg whites till soft peaks form and fold into dry ingredients. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown on top. Leave to cool.
Mix some icing sugar (I have absolutely no idea how much, I just tipped some into a bowl, not too much) with clementine juice (I literally just smushed a few pieces between my fingers until I could mix the icing easily – going for a fairly thin icing but not as runny as a glaze). Spread over cake and decorate. Or let your kindergartener decorate. If you’ve followed my directions, rather than what I actually did (adding the cherries too late), you shouldn’t have my problem with the centre collapsing; but if you do, stick some icing cars around the side and pretend it’s a racing track. Worked for me.
It’s good, I promise, and well worth trying for a gluten-free treat. Although not quite as good as the Queen of Sheba flourless chocolate cake, which is totes amazeballs, and no, I will not apologise for that phrase. (There seem to be a lot of recipes going by that name. The linked one is the simplest, and so good, I can’t be bothered to try any others.)
2. Christmas trees make awesome bonfires. Ever thrown a pine branch on a fire? So many sparks!
Note the actual firemen handling the burning of trees, in manly man fashion. Couldn’t have just anybody chucking trees on the fire, no sir. Mind you… they do have those groovy gloves that let them adjust the trees in the fire when needed; and the trees do have a way of suddenly going FOOOM.
Isn’t this a much, much nicer way of disposing of trees than just leaving them out with the recycling? So much nicer. There was a sausage party, too, in the barn. (This all took place on a farm in the village; before Christmas they sold trees, after, they burned them!) Sausages and bread free, but Fr5 for potato salad. Go figure.
3. Sunday brunch is an all-day date. Did you know? Maybe it’s a Hamburg thing. Armin always waxes very nostalgic about the brunches he enjoyed with his Hamburg friends, when he did apprenticeships there back in the day. Now we’ve started brunching with our neighbours from Hamburg (conveniently, they have two very sweet kids about 6 months older than each of our two), and the only time it’s lasted less than 5-7 hours was the time we had an immoveable date that required us to cut things short after just 4 hours. So rude of us. Anyway, today three of those hours were spent learning a new-to-us board game, Kingsburg. (I’m always a bit slow at learning games; triply slow with the language barrier.) I maintain this game should be rechristened Winterfell, because winter is coming, and it brings attacks by demons or zombies or goblins…
4. On Friday I got to play by myself, almost all day. It were amazing. Bit of shopping, including a visit to Vilfil; it’s an absolutely ludicrous shop, reminiscent of those crowded secondhand bookshops where you feel in constant danger of being crushed under an avalanche of product, with the added annoyance that none of the yarn has pricetags – you have to look them up on pricesheets swinging from the shelves. Not unfriendly, and the selection is amazing (especially compared with my local shop, the charmingly named but less charmingly stocked and staffed Wulle Huusli). But not the most browsing-friendly experience.
5. Also on Friday, after shopping and coffee and knitting, all by myself (bliss!), I finally saw Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Not the most satisfying movie. Now I’m wondering whether I would have been as impressed with the first movie if I’d read the books first – but I really think this was just a bad adaptation. Too many clumsy attempts to shoehorn in details that really suffer for it; better to have left out the “people are starving in District 12″ overeating bit, for instance. Too much emotional complexity reduced to telegraphese. Annoying. But! Amazing knitwear. So that’s something.