Sunday, 31 May 2009

Rhubarb Yoghurt Cake

FingersandToes posted this great recipe for Rhubarb yoghurt cake on her blog. It's very easy to make and tastes delicious. I used soy margarine and soy yoghurt and it turned out fine. The cake was very moist without being heavy and has a spicy crunchy topping. It didn't last long.

I need more rhubarb!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I <3 the BBC

I've listened to that much BBC Radio 4 over the last few weeks that I thought I'd finished it.

But then it came up with another nostalgic gem, Alan Bennet reading Winnie the Pooh. I don't have the same level of affection for Pooh Bear as I do for Roald Dahl or Paddington but the works of AA Milne were still an important part of my childhood. I curled up with a cup of tea, knitted the hood of the Totoro Jacket I'm making for my friends two year old boy and listed to Bennett's consolingly doleful voice tell me about the goings on in the One Hundred Acre Wood. I wonder what whimsical wonders my friends boy will look back on with fondness when he's grown up. Or will he be scarred by me dressing him up like an animee character?

If you haven't seen My Neighbour Totoro I'd highly recommend it, even if you don't have small children. It's a very sweet film from the makers of Spirited Away, directed by Hayao Miyazaki whose animations have an ethereal quality I adore. I visited the Studio Ghibli Museum on my last trip to Japan and have various Totoros in nooks and crannies around my flat. Kawaiiiiii (Japanese for cute, heard several times while visiting Studio Ghibli).

Another win from the BBC is on tonight. I'm calling it David does Ida but I know that's wrong on several levels. Ida is another missing gap in the evolutionary record of primate development and is a very exciting discovery. Evolutionary biology is one of my hobbies so I'll be watching Sir David explain the importance of this fascinating treasure.

Monday, 25 May 2009

The small girl smiles

One eyelid flickers
She whips a pistol from her knickers

You can read all of Roald Dahl's brilliant Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf here. It's my favourite of his Revolting Rhymes. I'm pleased to say it's still alot of kids favourite poem going by the BBC2 documentary Off by Heart which was on earlier this week as part of the BBCs poetry season. It was a delightful film following 12 smashing kids as they competed in a poetry recitation competition. Seven out of twelve chose Little Red Riding Hood as their poem of choice and it was great watching the variety of performances, most of which made me laugh out loud.

Another Roald Dahl airing was on Radio 4's Archive on 4 and is available on the listen again feature for a week. He was just as funny in real life as his writing suggests. He's my favourite kids author, I devoured his books when I was a kid and The Twits is in my top ten works of fiction.

I think there are a lot of important lessons in The Twits. If you haven't read it yet, why not? A word of caution for new readers, spaghetti will never be the same again.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Gardening therapy

After the extreme boredom of yesterday I've been a hive of activity today.

My knee has been loads better thanks to lots of ice and elevation so I was determined to make it to our local farmers market this morning. In addition to the usual fruit and veg we picked up a few plants for our hanging basket so I spent the afternoon tinkering in the garden.

As well as sprucing up the hanging basket I planted some radish and carrot seeds in the back window boxes. These didn't do to well last year as the carrots didn't germinate and the radishes bolted. I think I was too late planting them so hopefully they'll do better this year.

A few weeks ago I soaked some soy beans before boiling and kept a few aside to see if they would germinate. Obviously they did. I ate a few in a stir fry and saved a few to grow on. It will be interesting to see if they produce any beans. I'd love to grow my own edamame.

I did spend some time resting my knee in-between the action. I listened to a good play on Radio 4 which carries on from the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressell while knitting. My camera needs sorting out so I'm lacking in knitting photos at the mo. Maybe that's a job for tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

On boredom and what to do...

I had my knee operated on two and half weeks ago. The first two weeks flew by, partly thanks to opiates and partly due to Mr Gingerknits working at home so I had someone to yell at when I wanted a cup of tea.

I've set up a separate knee blog (which is already woefully neglected) so I won't bang on about the aftermath of knee surgery here. What I will bang on about it how very very bored I am. Now I'm off my crutches in the flat Mr G has gone back to work but I still can't get very far outside. The influx of get well wishes has reduced to a trickle amd although I am still getting weekend visitors the week days have started to drag by. Knitting helps, as does BBC radio 4 and of course Ravelry, however I have discovered my threshold. My brain needs more activity.

I've been thinking on what I'd like to be good at in life, as well as knitting. I've dabbled in holiday Spanish but would like improve so I don't make mistakes such as telling a pharmacist he had diarrhoea instead of me. Hmm, thinking about it do I want to lose such beautiful holiday memories of insulting natives. Actually given my inability to learn grammar, even in English, I think I'll still make mistakes but with more vocab.

After a quick search I found the Open University's Open Learning website which has hundreds of free short courses ranging from Modern Languages to Babylonian Mathematics to Textiles in Ghana. I'm a tad overwhelmed at the mo and want to read everything. Some list making and planning is in order but hopefully it will help banish my boredom demons.

I'm also going to engage in some stash busting calculations as inspired by my friend Mostcurious from the AAC group on Ravelry. Hopefully this will inspire me to finish my WIPs (Works in Progress).

I'll think of a few more boredom banishing goals over the weekend.

Watch this space...

Friday, 22 May 2009

Knitting for the Tropics?

I've just heard the happy news that a university friend is due her second child in September. I'm normally a dab hand at baby knits, they're quick and fun to knit. I usually make small cardigans, wee woolly socks or booties in cheery colours.

The problem I have is my friend lives in Darwin in the tropical Northern Territories in Australia. The temperature rarely drops below 30C and was in the 40s when we visited. Her 3 year old daughter lives in summer dresses and sleeveless tops without a hint of a cotton cardie.

So, what do I knit for the new arrival? I'm thinking it will be in cotton, maybe a blanket which can double up as a towel and play mat. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Are you a fifth columnist?

We got our government Swine Flu leaflet through the post today. I wasn't feeling nervous about pig flu til I read it. I will be very miffed if I get porcine flu as we had human flu over Christmas so having it twice in 12 months would be most unfair.

Anyway, the leaflet is full of obvious common sense stuff like use a clean tissue if you sneeze or cough and wash your hands often. It's not rocket science, however after observing a new mother on the bus to the hospital sneezing into her hand then holding the bus pole I've trying not to touch my face when out and about.

Public health scares are nothing new. I've been looking at old public health ads and found some classics from WW2.