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Monday, 27 August 2012

Chard!

We sowed some chard this year and it has been a huge success!! We've been eating it all summer. Himself bought a plug pack of I think 8 plants for 5 euro so I think we did well. I might try grow it from seed next year. I think it's about the only thing that has done well in the garden this year, along with onions and my herbs! The summer has been so wet that the slugs and snails have taken over and nibbled their way through everything! Because of the cats and the little man I don't like using slug pellets but the beer traps barely make a dent in the population in our garden. They particularly liked my strawberries and French beans! There was an on going battle to pick the strawberries before they got them and well the French beans, only half my plants survived their first day in the garden. We planted them one fine evening and by the following day 5 or 6 plants were basically stalks! Maybe next year will be better for my little garden.

Anyway back to the chard. As there's only so much chard you can eat in a week I decided to freeze some yesterday. I started off with a big bowl of freshly picked chard.

Next, the chard was washed well to remove any dirt and bugs (we don't use pesticides so I didn't want any surprises and thankfully there were none!). I cut off the stem and removed the centre rib, then chopped the leaves into about 1 inch pieces.


Finally, I blanched the leaves in a big pot of bowling water before plunging into cold water to stop the cooking. I did it in several small batches so that after the leaves were added to the boiling water the water would return to the bowl within about 30 seconds. I drained the leaves well and popped them into the a freezer bag. The end result was this.....


This was all done under the watchful eye of a supervisor! Nothing gets past this guy....


There's still plenty of chard to be produced by the garden yet so I will probably doing this again in another few weeks. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Productive Weekend

It's been quite a productive couple of days in my kitchen. Firstly, my friend Jen arrived to our regular lunch (and baby) meet up yesterday with a large bag of basil for me. Which got turned into a jar of yummy pesto when I got home.


Then still on a bit of a herb kick I raided my herb garden. I don't know if it's the weather, lots of rain with some sunny days thrown in, or if it's the fact that my herbs, apart from my rosemary, were moved from pots into a raised bed this year but they have grown like crazy. I swear my chives are about 3 foot tall! I can't use them quick enough so last night and this morning, I chopped up a load of chives and parsley before freezing them for future winter use.



 Then this morning I got bit by the baking bug. I made a loaf of gingerbread, a iced lemon traybake and some coffee and walnut cake. As there was so much I froze half of each cake un-iced. I'll defrost it next weekend when the girls come round for lunch.


And finally, two dishes of macaroni and cheese with bacon and courgettes. One for tonight and one for later in the week. This way there will be one night during the week that neither myself or himself will have to cook dinner after work!


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Update

I have been trying to write this post for about 3 weeks now!! Well I'm finally getting around to it so I figured I'd update on what I've been doing since the last time I posted.

I'm just finishing my third week back in work after 10 months of maternity leave (it's actually 11 months since I took annual leave before my maternity leave started). Little man is being looked after by my sister which is a blessing. But every morning I leave him with a heavy heart. The first morning was the most difficult. Since then, it has been better, while my heart is still broken leaving him, I haven't cried since that first day. The hardest part is that he gets so upset and clings to me when I'm leaving him. I know that he's fine within 5 minutes of me leaving and has a great time for the rest of the day but it's still a horrible feeling leaving him like that. The hugs I get from him when I pick him up in the evening help fix my broken heart from the morning though. I keep myself busy in work so to take my mind off things though.

While the Olympics were on in London the Ravellenic Games were run on Ravelry.  As I was just returning to work when they started I only completed and entered 2 projects into the games. The first went into the Hand-dye High Dive! I dyed some Knit Picks Bare with Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid. I named it Capri as the clear blue colour reminds me of when we visited Capri on our honeymoon.



Secondly, I knit another Aviatrix hat for the little man. I love this pattern. It's written for a range of sizes and yarns. The construction is wonderfully simple, knit flat using short rows to shape it. I knit it up in a matter of days. I just need the perfect button.



I've recently started a log cabin style blanket for the little man. I have 5 balls of Knit Picks Brava Sport and I'm just going to keep knitting until I run out. How big the blanket will be by then is anyones guess. It's a bit of a long term project and I work on it a bit everyday on my commute to work while himself is driving. I've done a few more panels since I took this photo but I'm loving how it's turning out.

In non-knitting news the little man dropped his monkey out of his stroller a couple of weeks ago on our way home from meeting friends for lunch. Needless to say there was a panic when I called in to my parents house and realised that Monkey was no where to be seen. Leaving the little man with my Mam I raced back along my route and thankfully I found him. Some very kind angel had picked him up and placed him on top of the wall near the church to wait until I found him. I've since found a solution and Monkey now has a nice new seatbelt for when he's travelling.


Ok I think that's enough of an update for now. I'm off to have a cup of tea before bed!