About evaowl

there is life out there!

Fig tarte

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Not really Winter, not Spring yet. Time for cleaning your freezer. This is not a Brussels’ sprout tart – hehe – but a fig tart! A friend of mine has fig trees and so I use to prepare  fig preserve for my sister – she loves it – and  freeze fig halves during the winter season. I use to serve them with blue cheese and Prosecco, if I am very inspired I wrap them in pancetta, fry them and then serve them with blue cheese and Prosecco – boring, ah?

But when it is time, I love to bake fig tarts. I cover the shortbread base with home-made fig preserve, add the frozen fig halves and some chopped almonds. A grated orange zest and off into the oven at 200 C for half an hour or so. Not too sweet, tasty, a perfect breakfast treatimage

 

A mostly needed gentle hug

How to put it gently and not sound creepy? I don’t know, but the fact is that Gromit, our first family dog, an old one, rescued from a family (human) who suffered a murder attempt, slipped from sleep to wherever mighty dogs run in the afterlife.

No need to add that it was hard, very hard to accept. We somehow believe he will live forever. Despite his age, his fur turned white, his fading appetite. We knew,of course we knew, but we still won’t believe it possible.

Life is not what we like it to be, it simply is, and so Gromit is not here anymore. We should be happy, rejoice even, because he simply never woke after his sleep.

Gromit is to be remembered as the dog who had a name before he was even born. In our family we had two TV programmes fit for the kids: the first was Pingu, the second Wallace and Gromit.  Pingu had no intelligible language – this is not true, of course, the underline was very subtle – Wallace and Gromit gave the kids the first taste of english.

Like all kids our two had a mad desire for a pet. A dog! We then lived in a  small flat, a brisk change of town and school to help our son cope with his allergies. No way to keep a dog in there. Then, for the allergy reason, we moved to the country and there was no denying them the dog. The name had been settled for years: Gromit. The dog who is wiser and brighter than his owner. And off I went, searching for him.

I was a cat woman, never had a dog, no experience at all, more: I was afraid of them! But a mother is a war machine when needed and so off I went, with two things in mind: a) the dog must not smell when wet (I cannot stand the stench), b) it must be a “rescued” dog. Italian law did not allow me and my partner – me and him married after 25 years of partnership because there was no law to secure our underage kids, thank you so much – to adopt a child, we will at least adopt a pet.

I visited and cuddle a selection of puddles advertised by the local newspaper, then I end up in a small home where they gave away two tiny dogs, a male and a female. I fell in love with Gromit-to-be at first sight, and when we drove to bring him home my husband asked me: are you sure the dog lives here? Here where?  We are both journalist, you must understand this. And he covered a criminal story in that very place. A relative came to the house, shoot with a gun at the house, missed the young granddaughter  of the owner, killed a dog instead, and run away across the border. In our places it is possible to run to another country, happy we… Headlines for weeks, but i did not realize it when I first visited. My husband, who had to cover the story, was shocked. But Gromit came home with us, for good.

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And so the story goes till February the 9th, when Gromit – as said – drifted away as peacefully as we all hope to. To put it right, there will be no other Gromit in our household. When our retired greyhound was put to sleep due to an aggressive cancer, we adopt another poor soul, but this time we decided not.

Gromit gone, end of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A serial knitter cooking book

Let us talk about time. Last week I somehow edited my first knitting pattern ever. I am ashamed to tell you how I struggled to put the “creature” together, so overwhelmed by the alien technology I am supposed to master living in  A.D. 2017, using smartphones to interact with the wide world. The truth is that I am far from any 2.0 or 3.0 human entity.  When I started school, in 1966, I learned to write using an ink pen (read any reference you will find: historical writing instrument!). Then I entered the journalist profession, again in historical times…. my writing had to be prepared for the tin printing machine. This being enough said.

Anyway. The pattern is out for you to grab (it is free) and knit. Tin(y) gloves on Ravelry


As said, working on patterns is devouring my time, so my cooking suffers a bit. That’s why I am so in love with roasted veggies. Today will be parsnip-potato-peperoni roast with poached eggs. With a precious hour left for me to knit my next project, a destashing, mostly garter sts wrap with a twisted border and a special closing.


Buon appetito!

Orange and almonds cake (my way

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I could make a fortune with this recipe, but will share it with you instead. To enjoy when oranges are in season. Will only recommend you not to cheat about the organic orange. If you don’t  have one – one is all you will need –  then peel your orange before starting. It will lose in taste, but you will not end up eating baked pesticides and  waxes. My oranges and almonds are from the organic farm Agricortese, just in case you will learn something about the Ribera region.

  • For an average cake you will need:
  • one organic orange, cut into pieces eventually de-seeded
  • 50 gr of unpeeled almonds (organic as well)
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 gr plain flour or a mix of your choice
  • 250 gr of sugar
  • baking powder
  • small glass of sunflower or mild olive oil
  • small glass of milk or substitute

a mixer with blades – this is mandatory

Pre heat your oven at 180 C. Put the orange and the almonds in your mixer and blitz untill you have a paste. Add the eggs, the dry ingredients and then – with blades on medium speed – enough oil and milk to reach a cake consistency. Not too runny, but better runny than stiff. (a Michelin’s star recipe, I know, I know)

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The batter looks like this when put into your baking tin. As for this, do as you please… grease and flour the tin, line it with parchment, with reusable foil  – like me – or simply go for a non sticky tin. I have none.

Put into your oven and lower the temperature to 160 C and….   baaake (as in GBBO) for almost an hour. At the end you will have a soft, delicious cake, full of flavour but without fuss. No need for icing, powder sugar od layers of jam. Just this.

 

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Hišice and tutorials (hišica, hee/shi/tza, small house)

First day of fine weather after two long weeks. I’ve been struck at home more or less from the day I quitted my regular job, but I just enojed the feeling of having nothing to do – not really, but no one was putting me under pressure and this was so great I had to breathe in the whole thing. But both the dog and me need a good walk at least once a day, so off we went.


She is Pika (Peeka), means dot in Slovenian. When we took her from the shelter she had Daphne written on her adoption papers, but it was such a posh name for a tough girl like her, that we changed it. No one ever called her Daphne anyway, from the day she was left in the middle of a street, almost two years ago. 

On the right you can see a rare example of local shepherd’s hut. Once, well after WWI , they where a common sight in our area, now they are almost gone forever, just a pile of lime stones. This one was rebuilt by students from the University in Ljubljana. They came here with their tutors, including a visiting professor from the UK, and worked on the project during one summer. The result is a true pastirska hišica – literraly shepherd’s hut – in all its splendor. This one was quite big from the start, the others you can stil spot around are smaller. Big enough for the shepherd – the one and the only – to sit iside this structure made of stones and nothing else. In case of rain, storms or wind, he crowled inside and waited.


During the walk I tried to spot signs of the incoming Spring, but all I can find was a spot of red


The green you see is ivy so it does not count. If we talk of colour then here you have an example of the most shabby photographer of all times…. me! I was taking a pic of my lazy increasings, but only after the photo session (haha)I noticed that my nails reflected strange shades of orange, due to my habit of peeling oranges the primitive way. Poor me….

Gloves

It is about time to make dreams come true. Better said, to make dreams become written patterns for  other people to read and – possibly – knit. But what if the pattern you fancy does not mean anything to the so-called Wool tribe? (credit for the Wool tribe to be given to Mica and Jo the ladies behind EYF aka Edinburgh Yarn Festival) image

So here is my entry for the blackerpodkal, gloves in their glorious Cornish Tin blend, right from the stash. For me this yarn is unbeatable for gloves and mittens, but this is just me and my cold fingertips speaking. What really does bother me is if the cuff on the right, with its Estonian braid will be worth the (knitting) effort and beat the cuff on the left with its plain knit and purl pas de deux.

Any member of the Wool tribe is kindly asked to express a preference. it will be much appreciated by my poor me.

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I also have another issue… the finishing of the fingers. Shall I opt for the pointed version or go softly with round decreases?

No doubts about the thumb though. I’ll use the one with central increases, because you don’t have to think about right and left hand when in a hurry. You just must remember this when knitting in different patterns, because it could happen (I can tell you from personal experience) that you will mess the patterns and end up with gloves extravaganza.

Need an example?

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I can tell I was playing with them a lot…. the final pattern will have longer cuffs, a more agile thumb and an open grid on the inner part of the glove. In case you are interested, the pattern is a traditional one, used for cross stitching  in Austria, a textile museum’s find. I used to sketch down patterns seen visiting museums, now I can use the smart phone – when permitted – but still have my sketch books at  hand.

While waiting for some comments, I’ll go on cooking in my tiny kitchen with a view on an equally small garden where Spring was announced by the first blackbird.  image

On the wall a framed illustration by a dear friend Romeo Toffanetti

Turning pages

      Let us talk about Nadia. She is the bright lady behind Terra di Ciona. She used to work with pencils and colors, now she is growing organic food, baking delicious bread and superb croissants. So delicious that I put them on my precious antique embroidery to show off.


      Her was also the most sweety peaches I’ve ever had the fortune to turn into jam, cheese,  preserves and a cakes. She also delivers her goodies right to your front door, once a week. Quite a girl, I must say.

      Of course there is some knitting to talk about, too. The Tin(y) gloves are on their way. Will knit the fingers, then try the other glove omitting the yarn over braid and placing some good purl rows instead, just to see how it works out. So far I like both the texture and the colour match, even if I am not a purple kind of girl…. as I once told the owner of Kathy’s knits yarn shop in Edinburgh. I was honest, true, planning my future knitting,  but she had her tresses dyed in a fierce purple-pink shade, so I ended up like an idiot. 


      Gloves will be very welcome in the next few days. Freezing cold again. And windy. Knitting time bonanza.

      Take a pic of your roasting tin

      Taking photographs of your meals is a great task. Do you care about this? Answer 1: not much. Answer 2: I am veg. Answer 3: your desk is untidy. But the main  subject is not the pork. It is the knife. Because with a really good knife you can do magic. True. Tomorrow I’ll have a story to tell, about a designer who turned backer and will make my  day with her croissants.

      Knitting is easy, writing a pattern is not

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      From the very first day I was not with my mind at my desk at work, for historical record 1/1/2017, I started making patterns. Really. I let myself slip into my bed after a soothing afternoon watching Netflix or BBC – I am into Orkney being the omphalos of the civilisation on the Island and I love it – and then I wake up at around 3 AM whit a pattern written and knitted in my mind, The time I understand I’am in bed, the pattern is gone and so the knitting. Not so brilliant, but far better than waking up paniking about   missing news and even unfinished Uni. I was deeply into this for year. Now I am out, thank you so much.

      Anyway, after dreaming it I try to make something of my nocturnal visions. Somehow if you knit you put things together. All I’ve learned in those years knitting patterns written by talented designers stays with me. And then it bursts into something nice or totally wrong, but it grows. I did not invent nupps or twisted stitches or yarn over braids, but they sure can be used in zillions of ways. Like the bean leaf chart… Ubalehekiri as written in Folk knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush – one of my first knitting book ever purchased. Have you noticed how many patterns are coming out right now with this almost forgotten design?  What I try to say is that it is amazing how you can use in a creative way something that already exists. As for what I am plotting right now, I’ll give credit to some amazing people I met in the last couple of years. They opened my eyes and they are written in golden capital letters in my heart.

      Now a bit of politics, if you don’t mind.

      As I have been working in a national media company for half of my adult life, I know what being politically correct means and I will not break the golden rule now. But I feel I have to make a statement: I am Slovene, but I will not take Melania under my umbrella. I am a woman and still will let her stay under the rain. Sorry Mel, it has nothing to do with your marriage, I just did not  digest your decision of changing your family name in Knauss because Austria was more fashionable than Slovenia…. You must understand me, dear soul, I was a Slovenian girl born in Italy when local fascists used to abused us after school. Violently, you know this or you had never heard about us ? (read ass if you please, it really does no difference, our ethnical minority is not doing well right now) . I have a Slovenian family name and I make other people pronounce it right. They do, you know?

      Well. This had to be said, possibly singing “democracy is coming to the USA” by my beloved and sadly departed Leonard Cohen.

      With all my love. Kisskisskiss in purple.

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