Menet v2

Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

As you know I have been knitting two Menet cardigans for gifts whilst re-working the pattern to give an option for long sleeves. Well I finally finished them a couple of days ago, gave them a wash and then waited for the weather to brighten a little so I could take some photos. This morning, in between showers, there was a few minutes of vague brightness so I took advantage while I could. I would still have preferred it to have been a little brighter but what’s the chance of that here, I could be waiting weeks!

Menet with sleeves
Menet with sleeves

One Great Niece likes her colours bright and girlie. The other is too young to choose, so I chose for her. Menet with sleeves 1I love this turquoise. As I never go for particularly bright colours for myself, this gives me chance to knit in some different colours for a change.

Ready to be wrapped
Ready to be wrapped

Done, dusted and ready to be wrapped up.  Must be one of the earliest Christmas presents I’ve ever had ready! Along with adding the instructions for the long sleeves, I have also re-worded the pattern a little and jigged things about a bit which has improved the clarity of the instructions. I will be updating the file on Ravelry this afternoon, so if you have already purchased the pattern you will receive an update.  All new purchases will be sent the new updated file.

You would think that after moaning about knitting all those sleeves, I would give it a rest for a bit. Wouldn’t you? Well, my next project is a cardigan from Jared Flood called Ranger.  I’ll show you pictures when I have a little progress.  Guess what the pattern has you knit first? You guessed it, sleeves.  Obviously, I know that you don’t have to start with them just because they are listed first, and I did think about starting with the body.  But, then I considered the idea of getting them over to begin with – and ploughed straight in. So, more sleeves then!

I have also been trying out a (new to me) gluten free flour mix from Glebe Farm here in the UK.  It’s a very basic mix of just rice flour, potato starch and xanthan gum.  I bought some to try because although I love the mixes I use, I make all our baked goods gluten and dairy free now, for everyone in the house, not just the intolerant ones. It’s easier, and honestly, nobody really notices any difference. It’s also healthier but I won’t go into that now. So, I really need a cheaper, easier alternative for everyday baking saving the finer more expensive mixes for special bakes.  Doves Farm make a really good mix which I used to use but it has a lot of corn in there, so a no go for me now. I started with a cherry cake.

English Cherry Cake
English Cherry Cake

English Cherry cake. Recipe converted from one of Mary Berry’s. I used a little more flour than the wheat flour equivalent in the recipe but it looked promising when it came out of the oven.

Light and Fluffy
Light and Fluffy

Looked even better when I cut into it, although the cherries had sunk quite a bit.  The cake was light and fluffy, a little too light really which was probably why the cherries sunk.  It didn’t stay around for long, which was lucky as by the next day it was just a little dry but still good with a cup of tea. There was just a hint of a crunch with the rice flour as this mix isn’t super fine but it wasn’t unpleasant and it certainly didn’t deter anyone. I even gave a piece to someone who has never eaten gluten free before and  I think they thought I was having them on about it being free from.

Next up I used it for my new pastry recipe I’m working on. I wasn’t going to show you this today, but I couldn’t resist.

No matter how many different recipes I’ve tried,(and believe me I’ve tried more different recipes for pastry than one person should have to make in a lifetime)  I just couldn’t get a good – ‘almost behaves and tastes like gluten’ –  gluten and dairy free pastry. So in the end I decided to do some experimenting of my own.  I am still perfecting it so you don’t get the full version today I’m afraid but I am so pleased with it I’m going to give you a teaser.

Gluten and Dairy Free flaky pastry
Gluten and Dairy Free flaky pastry

I plan to make some sausage rolls with this over the week-end and get the final recipe written down properly.  I’ve made this twice now and both times it has behaved perfectly. It rolls out without breaking, and it bends, so no patching up cracks and NO hard edges. The batch in the photo above was so flaky that it left lots of crumbs on the plate that look like puff pastry crumbs.

Recipe soon.

Mindie

A walk in the garden

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

My health has not been as good this week, I am not sure why,  I’ve learnt to go with the flow over the last year;  I don’t like it, but have learnt to go with it.  I am trying not to let this latest setback bother me too much although truth be told it frustrates the hell out of me. As a result progress on most things has been slow or at best erratic. The new design has sleeves and is progressing up the yoke.  The Menet pattern is so close to being done that I should just publish it but I can never let go until I have read, re-read, walked away for a day or two and then read again. Even then, from past experience I know that you almost always miss something. The good news is that the test knitters are very happy with the pattern and design and have commented on how easy but effective the yoke is to knit. They also like the fit which is something I fretted about a great deal so I am very relieved about that. If I can get things together I am hoping to have it nailed over the weekend.

With an absence of visible knitting progress I thought that we would take a walk through my garden and have a look at the flowers that have been hanging on till the last.

Antirrhinum 3
Antirrhinum 
Antirrhinum 2
Antirrhinum 
Antirrhinum
Antirrhinum

These Antirrhinum, or Bunny Rabbit flowers as we called them when we were children, are great self seeders in my garden.  They pop up all over the place quite often in unexpected places but I let them do as they will.  Some small seedlings were given to me by a neighbour and some I grew years ago and they have been here doing their best ever since.

Honeysuckle - (Lonicera)
Honeysuckle – (Lonicera)

The Honeysuckle has been feeding the bees all summer and is still flowering its’ heart out. To appreciate the scent though you need to wander into the garden at dusk when it is at its best.

Perennial Sweet Pea
Perennial Sweet Pea

This poor sweet pea plant is a real fighter.  I grew it from seed some ten years ago and since then I have moved it at least three times.  Each time it takes a deep breath and re-establishes itself within the season, flowering until the first frosts.  This year I had to hand the grass cutting and strimming over to DH and found that he had been strimming it to the ground each week thinking it was a weed!  Once I pointed this out to him though it was only a few weeks and this plucky little plant was back as usual holding no grudge whatsoever.

 

Clematis Nelly Mosser
Clematis Nelly Mosser

Similarly, this Clematis has had several homes over the years but still manages to pull through.  I have no idea how old it is as it was here when we bought the house over ten years ago.

Green Tomatoes
Green Tomatoes

I am hoping that these will manage to ripen before the end of the season but am not holding my breath.

Spring Greens
Spring Greens

Finally, these spring greens should be in the allotment by now, the ground is dug for them but I just haven’t been able to go.  Hopefully they will go in next week in time to establish properly before the winter.

These two suspicious looking characters joined me in the garden today for my walk.  I think they were hoping I would stay a while.

Morgan
Morgan
Trilly
Trilly

Well I think that is about it.  I’m off for one of these,

Chocolate Chips Cookies
Chocolate Chips Cookies

I may just have nailed the chocolate chip cookie thing (and you thought I’d given up – not a chance!). I need to taste a few more before reporting though, just to make sure!

Mindie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn

I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

Part of a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien
 

It has been a beautiful summer here and I find it is much easier facing the cold mornings and evenings now, having had some warm summer weather between winters! Over the last few years here, our winters have more or less run straight into the next autumn without a summer in between!

Our mornings here have been looking very much like this,

Autumn

and the evenings have just been beautiful,

Autumn Evening

today we have cloud – back to normal then!

The chilly mornings have had my thoughts turn to warmer garments, as I know the whole knitting community is, and I have been swatching in some cushy wool / alpaca yarn.

Something textural with just a little colour I thought, and after a while came up with two interesting but slightly unusual stitch pattern combinations that compliment each other well.

Sample

I changed the colour to something a little more seasonal and let it take shape as I went on.

Patterning

Working bottom up, I am nearly up to the point where I need to knit a couple of sleeves to join with the body.  I have put in a rather large front pocket with plenty of room to warm your hands in and have a nice idea for the collar too. I hoped to be further on than I am but have also been tempted by this yarn that I found at my local LYS that is just calling out for some more attention.

Tweed yarns

It is a lovely tweed yarn, 97% British wool (spun in Yorkshire) with 3% viscose which I assume is the tweed neps. This yarn has very little spring to it but has a beautiful crisp handle that I find irresistible. I couldn’t resist buying one ball in each colour just to try them all out and keep thinking that they may look good all together in one garment, but that may change.

I blame the autumn weather, you just want to be able to knit everything at once.

I picked a whole host of wild blackberry’s and made one of my favourite desserts, blackberry and pear crumble.

Blackberry and Pear Crumble
Blackberry and Pear Crumble

I am still working on the final recipe for the topping.  I am intolerant to oats, even gluten free ones, so have been looking for a good alternative for my usual gluten crumble.  I’ve tried all the usual suspects such as quinoa flakes, which I like, but we here are partial to coconut and this latest version has dessicated coconut along with some chopped nuts to give it extra crunch.  The coconut toasts beautifully but I think I need to increase the fat content a little as this was quite crumbly and I also like my topping to ‘stick’ together a little. Fussy eh?

Cyclamen
Cyclamen

I am also working on the final draft of the Hathor pattern while the test knitters finish theirs and hope to have it ready to publish soon. The colours they have chosen are just beautiful and are up on the pattern page if you are a Ravelry member.

Mindie

Change is good

or so I keep telling myself. Change is one of the certainties of life.

Someone once said “There have been some minor changes and a little tweaking of the project”

I’m pretty sure they weren’t talking about knitting but still… if the cap fits.

Child's Menet Cardigan

I started out with the intention of having this project more like a pinafore dress, but along the way I changed my mind….and changed it again.  I like the pinafore idea but with this stitch pattern and yoke design I just thought it wanted to be so much more.

Menet Red 3

There are limitations to using three different alternating colours when working seamlessly in the round. Namely that there is just not a good enough join where you change colours.  Each colour comes from three rounds down and although you twist the old and new colours together, the join just doesn’t have the integrity to it to hold the knitting together. Not enough to stand up to any stretching anyway, which is what you would get if this was a sweater. So after a lot of swatching I came to the conclusion that this had to be a cardigan or I needed to put buttons all the way down the yoke, at the back or the front, and then join in the round to knit the body. With this particular pattern I didn’t like the button idea, to me it just didn’t look right with the highly patterned yoke so I have gone for the cardigan.

Nemet – V2

Menet Red

I’ve written up the pattern and am just working one more sample as I want to get the button band just right.  I am also knitting the next one in a different yarn just to see if that makes a difference.  Picking up stitches through the yoke pattern and getting it just right to marry with the moss stitch button band has proved to be difficult, there are a lot more rows in the yoke than there are stitches in the button band and I want to be able to put exact button band instructions into the pattern, and have them right.  The only way to do this, although I have estimates, is to actually try it out again and perhaps again.

The chest sizes I have written up so far are from a 20″ to 30″ chest in two-inch increments. The pattern should cover ages of approx. 6-9 months up to 9-10 years.  I will be working on some adult sizes next week and giving that a go.

Menet Red 2

If you would like to have a go at test knitting this for me please do get in touch and as soon as I’ve made the pattern presentable I will contact you with the details.

The colour combinations for this are endless and for the next one I’ve chosen slightly less bright colours for the yoke with a cream body, but as I said there are endless possibilities and I have some darker more autumnal colours for the adult version as well as a lighter spring combination.  I can see my fingers will be very busy over the next couple of weeks as I have also promised to finish a UFO for a very dear relative of mine.

Still, lucky I have plenty of these on hand to keep me going then.  I changed this recipe from a gluten and dairy containing one and am so pleased with the result.

Gluten and Dairy Free Cupcakes

Orange and lemon cup cakes.  Gluten, dairy, corn and soya free, but they do contain eggs and refined sugar.

As I want my cakes to be as light and airy as they can without any grittiness, I used a version of Cybele Pascal’s gluten-free flour mix for these.  Rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. Cybele uses a super fine brown rice flour for her mix which we cannot get here in the UK, so I use super fine white rice flour or Chinese rice flour instead. You can easily get it in most Asian/Oriental food shops here, it comes in a white packet with red writing and a red elephant on the front.  I pay approx. £1.05 for 450g so it’s not very expensive considering and the flour is ground as fine as cornflour.

There is no way anyone would be able to tell that these are gluten and dairy free, no way.  They are just soft and light without the slightest amount of grit or dryness anywhere. Exactly the same as the gluten and dairy version.  They do have a lot of eggs in them though so you just can’t sub them out; unfortunately these do need the eggs to make them what they are.

 

Orange and Lemon Cup Cakes

Pre-heat oven to 170 C (338 F)

200g of dairy, soy free margarine (I used pure sunflower)

200g of caster sugar

4 free range eggs, medium

200g superfine rice flour, potato and tapioca starch mix (see above)

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp of gf Baking powder

(if you want corn free mix your own as I do: 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda)

Zest from 1 Orange

Lemon curd, or Lemon icing to decorate

Muffin tin lined with cases.  (I used natural, bleach free ones)

METHOD

Mix the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy, add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly, the mixture will probably curdle but don’t worry. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and xanthan and fold into the margarine, sugar and egg mixture along with the zest.

Spoon into muffin cases until 2/3 full.  I got 14 out of this mixture so baked in two batches.  Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 mins or until a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack and then decorate as you will. I cut out cone shapes from the top and put in some lemon curd or jam and turned them into butterfly cakes but plan to put some lemon icing on the rest. You have fun with whatever icing etc. you wish.

Orange and Lemon Cup Cake

Make Hay while the Sun Shines

We have some summer here. We’ve been waiting a while. The weather man on the  local news said that it’s been seven years since we had such a spell of hot weather here in Devon. Seven years. I don’t know if he is right and I can’t be bothered to look it up and check, but it does feel nice at last to be able to walk around in summer clothes in the summer!

I am still on my cooking quest but have come to a temporary lull as I wait for some specialist ingredients to arrive. I’m trying out a different flour mix from Gluten Free On a Shoestring.  I have both of Nicole’s books and am awaiting the new one on bread to come out; even though I am yeast intolerant I understand that there are some yeast free recipes in there. All I can say is that her yeast free English Muffins are to die for, they have such a good flavour on their own but even better with jam or a poached egg. As a whole I don’t even bother with gluten free ‘bread’ recipes. Being a bit of a baker for years and making my own bread, bagels etc. the gluten free alternatives (even the ones I can eat) are enough to make me feel ill. The nearest I’ve come to a sandwich up until now are the gluten free flour tortillas from Jeanne’s – Art of Gluten Free Baking. These make great wraps and are the best I’ve found so far and, believe me, I’ve tried a few over the last 10 years I’ve been baking gluten free, first for my son and now for us both. I use lard in place of the butter and they come out just perfect, even better if you leave the dough in the fridge overnight and make them the next day. Try them, you won’t be sorry. Anyway, where was I? Yes, so, to make one of Nicole’s flour mixes you need pectin, not just any pectin but a particular kind. I’ve ordered this and it should be with me sometime this week. I have high hopes. I’ll let you know.

I did make this though

Coconut flan

You will find the recipe from the Real Food Forager. It is called the GF Coconut Multi-Fruit Tart, although as you can see I used only strawberries to top it as that is all I had. All I can say is that I had to fight to get a bit of this.

P1000126 Knitting then.

I promised to show you what I have been knitting and would I let you down? Well, yes I did last time – but not today. In the absence of a small child to model this you get to meet Agatha, don’t ask, I don’t know why I called it that, it just came to mind.

Menet
Menet

This is the first draught of the pattern I’ve called Menet.

Menet 106As I can’t stop playing around with things, I’ve decided to put some short sleeves onto this,

Menetand am knitting another in a different colour way to see if I like the sleeved version better.  I also have some lovely Wool/Alpaca mix yarn that I would like to try out for an adult version for the autumn.

The design is very simple and the stitch pattern easily remembered so it knits up pretty quickly. Menet is knitted seamlessly from the top down with minimal finishing. There is a button band at the back on the small sizes for ease of fitting (you can’t see in these photos), which is added at the end. This one is sized for a two-year old and took just less than four balls of yarn. The extra two colours used in the yoke could be knitted out of odd balls of yarn, only a few metres/yards are needed of each.

Keep your fingers crossed for the weather, tonight I’m getting the BBQ out for the first time in ages, it could put an end to the nice summer!

Failing miserably

Now, I know that I said that I would have the start of a new design to show you by this week – well I was wrong. I have been a little side tracked and just don’t know where the time has gone, really, it feels that this week has only had three days, where the other two went I have no idea.

Firstly:  I had a birthday this week which, unusually for me, took up a whole day.  Oh, that sounds odd doesn’t it.  Birthdays do last for a whole day, obviously.  I should explain.  I am very ‘relaxed’ about birthdays. We celebrate them with presents and a cake, lots of smiles and hugs etc. and sometimes a special meal but we don’t go overboard.  I know people whose birthdays seem to last all week – something special going on for days – I can’t do that I don’t know why, something in my upbringing that has stuck fast I suspect. Plus, due to unusual circumstances here with other things taking priority, I haven’t actually celebrated one for the last two years. So this week I was treated to a day out and a lovely meal in a pub to round the day off (one that serves gluten free meals). Lovely.

Secondly: I have also become a little side tracked with chocolate chip biscuits/cookies.  I am trying to find my perfect one.  I like my biscuits to be crunchy, not chewy; flat and relatively thin not thick and mounded; like the size and shape of the ones that come in packets, but a whole lot better obviously. Oh, and pretty allergy friendly. I can’t buy gluten free biscuits because they always have other things in them that I’m intolerant to such as corn or maize flour and besides, I mostly made my own before anyway as they are so much better for you so I don’t see the need to change this.

When you have been cooking for many years, you naturally build up a ‘stock’ of favourite recipes.  The important go-to recipes that you like and cook over and over again. From time to time you try new things; some things you only cook once, some are added to your list of favourites and it goes on. I have a good selection of biscuits in my ‘stock’ but none of them now conform to all of my diet requirements, which are quite a lot I know. So, I’ve been on the hunt for new ones and at the moment it is chocolate chip biscuits.  I’ve already tried a few.  All taste good but so far all have at least one thing that stops them from becoming perfect (for me). Trouble is, so far this hunt has been a little hap-hazard in its’ execution.  So for posterity (and the fact that I can’t always remember what each recipe was like) I’m going to document them here. One recipe each week (how many biscuits can a girl eat each week? Don’t answer that, I know) and hopefully I will find my ultimate chocolate chip heaven.  Feel free to ‘chip’ in (oh dear!) if you have a suitable recipe that I could try. (1st Recipe below.)

Thirdly: (note to self) Knitting Gauge. It is an important thing.  Very important if you want something to come out the size you expect it to, even more important if you are trying to mix two very different types of stitches together in the same piece and you would like them to marry together without stretching or puckering.

This is what happened with my knitting. I checked gauge. Then I checked it again and again.  Then I forgot that my gauge differs between flat and circular knitting, not by a lot, but enough, and the whole thing went wrong.  So, I’ve had to start again.

My problem is this.  The picture of the stitch pattern I showed you last week is a yoke.

Yoke

And, unusually, this yoke is more like a big collar in that it doesn’t go all the way down over the shoulders like they usually do.  More on the difficulty of that later. My problem at the moment is that this slip stitch pattern has to marry with an area of stocking stitch that is knitted flat, then joined and knitted in the round. To make them marry the gauge needs to be right. And mine wasn’t.  Strangely, this pattern has the same gauge at the edge that my circular knitting has. Circular stocking stitch- knitting rounds of only knit stitches – quite often gives you a tighter gauge than when you knit stocking stitch flat and incorporate a row of purl stitches every other row.  Not always but mostly. This happens with other stitch patterns as well but here I’m focusing on stocking stitch.  So, although I had measured gauge on the patterned and circular sections, I had not done this for the flat section, forgetting that they can be a little different. Stupid mistake. Still, at least it’s only knitting and can be ripped and re-knitted.  If I couldn’t re-use the yarn for this each time I’ve ripped back, well, I hate to say how much I would have gone through by now. Once again, hopefully, I’ll have a completed item to show for next time!

Chocolate chip biscuits – recipe 1

Free From: Gluten, dairy and eggs

Not Free From: Nuts or sugar

This recipe is one of my own that I adapted.  It originally comes from a very old and out of print book entitled –Readers Digest Complete Guide to Cookery. A huge book covering everything from boning a chicken to making puff pastry; more of a technical book than cookery book although there are one or two recipes in each section using the techniques covered.

INGREDIENTS

150g Gluten free flour, (I used Jeanne’s mix)

1/2 tsp Salt

125g Butter replacement (I used Pure)

75g Caster sugar AND 75g brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg ( I used 1tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 tbls water)

1/2 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tsp hot water

125g Pecan nuts, chopped

175g Dairy free chocolate chips

 

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 374°C/190°F/Gas 5.  Line baking tray with parchment.

Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, beat in egg replacer and

then vanilla and baking soda mix. Stir in the flour and finally the nuts and

chocolate chips. The mixture is quite stiff. Drop small teaspoon sized pieces

onto the baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden

brown.

There is a note in the original recipe that says not to underbake the biscuits as they should be crispy. The original looked like this:

Original recipe

Mine however, turned out like this:

My own version

Just a little different looking wouldn’t you say? But how did they do? Well,

On the plus side, these taste lovely.  The addition of nuts in with the chocolate gives them a nice flavour and an added texture.  They were quite solid and not too sweet. However on the down side they don’t really fulfil the flat/thin and crispy requirement.  They didn’t spread much in the cooking at all choosing to stay thick and lumpy.  Now I know that you can’t expect things to just work out if you are changing important ingredients in the recipe as I have.  And these didn’t hang around in the kitchen for very long, everyone ate them, dietary requirements or not so that does say something.  If I try the recipe again though I will need to work out how to make them spread out more.

Back to the drawing board for now. I’m going to try another recipe later today and I will let you know how I get on but for now I think I need to do some knitting.

This week..

Starting off this week with this picture of one of my favourite plants..

P1000017

This is a Wisteria that I planted some years ago.  It was just a stick 12″ (30cm) tall when I bought it.  OH and his friend sat in the garden and laughed when I told them that they typically grow as high as 65 ft (or 20 m) and can spread out as much as 32 ft (10 m).

‘What, from that – you’ve been conned’ they both said.  Well, they’re not laughing now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This picture shows it growing over an arch above my head – which isn’t difficult I admit as I am barely 5ft tall – but I assure you the arch is well above my head.  I am cheating a little as this picture is from a week or so back, the flowers have just about faded this week and the leaves are taking over.  It flowered for a good three weeks or so this year; it was beautiful and the scent just filled the garden.  Last year with all the rain and cold weather we had, a good deal of the buds just rotted and dropped off.  I thought it may happen again this year with it being so cold this spring but ‘the stick’ (as it has become known in our house even though it is much more than that now) made it through.

Wisteria can take many, many years to flower and I didn’t expect to see too much from this one for a few years but it showed a couple of flowers in just the second year. I now know that if the plant has been grafted it flowers much sooner that ones grown from seed, which I am glad about.  I also read that in some parts of the US it is considered invasive, I guess that the climate here stops them escaping into the wild and becoming a problem.

Also this week, finally I have some of these..

First lettuce of the year.

Very late for a first lettuce I know.  I was rather slow in getting these started this year, partly because the weather here was so damn cold – I just didn’t think they would grow before the slugs got to them – so I left it later than I have before.  They soon catch up though.  We should be eating these in a week or two’s time.

On the cooking front, I’ve been trying a new recipe for these..

Mmmm.. biscotti

These little gems are gluten free chocolate chip biscotti (without the chocolate chips!) from http://www.artofglutenfreebaking.com/. Jeanne’s recipes are truly wonderful. She is a genius as far as I am concerned.  I have her book and each time I try one of her recipes I am more in awe.  They work and are good to eat. So good to eat, even my youngest, who is always suspicious of anything in the kitchen nowadays (because things in my kitchen aren’t always what they seem) will eat them.  In fact, everyone in our house eats Jeanne’s recipes, allergies or not. So much so that they never hang around long and I quite often end up cooking more just so I can get a look in. The recipe for the biscotti along with a myriad of others all as equally delicious are on Jeanne’s site.

The only down side that I could say about Jeanne’s recipes is that a lot of them use eggs.  In my opinion, you do need eggs in a lot of things, especially gluten free, to make them work.  Eggs make baked goods bind as well as rise and do good things for the texture.   Now, this can be a bit of an issue for me. I can and do eat eggs.  I am not allergic to them, just mildly intolerant. I used to have more of a problem than I do, now, on the whole, eggs just make my eyes a bit puffy and baggy. I know, at my age how can I tell! Let’s just say they look worse than usual then shall we? And although I know a time will come when I’ll probably look like that all the time, I would like that time to be as far away as possible. There is another issue to be considered and that is one of irritation and inflammation.  For those of you who know anything about food intolerances caused by leaky gut (which is what I have developed) it is not good to cause your body any more problems than is necessary in an attempt to let it heal. So, although I do eat eggs occasionally, I try to limit them to main meals on the odd occasion when the meal just wouldn’t be the same without.

In that vein, I have tried Jeanne’s recipe without eggs.  I replaced the eggs with flax eggs.  Flax eggs are used in allergy and vegan recipes to replace eggs, mostly with great success. You simply mix one tablespoon of ground flax seed with three of water for each egg you wish to replace.  The picture below is the same recipe but with flax eggs and chopped walnuts.

Gluten Free, Egg Free Biscotti

The result… OK, but not nearly as good as the egg-ed version.  As you can see the biscotti are more dense than the ones with eggs.  They are also less crunchy than the original version and look slightly undercooked.  Also, somewhere along the line they have developed a slightly odd taste that is a little like artificial sweetener.  I can only assume this is from the flax, although I haven’t experienced it before.    They are edible though and won’t be wasted.  Next time I think I’ll try a powdered egg replacer and see how that turns out.  If not I’ll just make them with eggs as they are too good not to have in your biscuit tin!

Knitting then..

As I said last week, I have been working on a couple of new patterns.

This is my current design project and one that is giving me a few problems.  I am getting there though and hope that by the end of today to know whether the whole thing is going to work out.  That’s the problem when you have a vision in your head as to how you want something to look. You can sketch and swatch as much as you like but until it’s knitted up, you just can’t tell if it’s worked or not. Well, I can’t anyway. It takes time.  Sometimes when you embark on a new project and are only a little way in it all looks a bit unlikely, then further on it starts to come together and somehow transforms into something much better.  It is easy to give up too early on a knitting project thinking that you don’t really like it when actually, once the piece gets to a better size, it improves hugely.  This can happen the other way round though, where you can be in love with something right up until the end when somehow you suddenly can’t see what attracted you to it in the first place.  A bit like some people really!  I think this scenario happens with some patterns when the item is cleverly marketed on an attractive model in a beautiful setting. You fall in love with the feel of the garment rather than the garment itself.  Once knitted, it looses its’ appeal.

By next time I hope have a picture of the completed item – unless I fall out of love of course!