Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Comfort Food

Maybe because the weather turned nasty again today, maybe because it's been a long while since I've made good use of my casserole dishes, but today Olly and I were craving comfort food. And for me that means TexMex. Not to be confused with Mexican or even Southwest cuisine. TexMex is one part produce that grows in abundance in the Rio Grande Valley (avocados, limes, peppers!), one part Mexican-influenced spices, and 33% church fundraiser cookbook-style/American simplicity.

My very favourite dish is King Ranch Chicken. It takes its name from a gargantuan expanse of land (825,000 acres according to Wikipedia) that lies between Houston and Corpus Christi - although the origins of the recipe remain mostly a mystery. I've had to adapted this recipe several times over the years depending on available ingredients. England has been slow on the uptake of corn tortillas, but that is changing thanks to Old El Paso and Discovery. I pack massive jar of tomatillo salsa in my suitcase every time I come back from Texas, but I just mainline it as soon as I land so it never makes it into a recipe. Chopped up pickled jalapenos from a jar serve as a substitute. And I married a vegetarian, so Quorn stands in for shredded chicken.

Here it is. My recipe for English King Ranch Vegetarian Chicken.

1 green (sweet) pepper
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp paprika
.5 tsp ground corriander
1 jar of jalapeno peppers
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
4 Quorn chicken fillets
1 packet of corn tortillas
250 grams grated cheese (mild white, like cheddar)
vegetarian stock cube

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.

Dice the sweet pepper and onion, and saute them in a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Mince the garlic clove and chop 3 tablespoons of the jarred jalapenos. Add them to the pan.

Thinly slice the Quorn fillets diagonally. They should be easy to slice with a sharp knife even if they are still frozen. Add them to the pan, along with the paprika, cumin, corriander, and the can of mushroom soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While your wet ingredients are warming through and blending together, grease a medium-sized casserole dish with oil. You will use the corn tortillas as you would pasta sheets in lasagna. Feel free to slice up the tortillas into strips or quarters to completely line the bottom of your greased dish.

Now layer about a third of the wet ingredients on top of the tortillas. Next, sprinkle a third of the cheese evenly over the dish. Add another layer of tortillas. Repeat the whole process twice, ending with a cheese layer on top.

Disolve half of a vegetable stock cube in about 1 cup of boiling water. Slowly pour the stock over the casserole. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake it for about 20 minutes. When you hear the casserole start to boil, remove the foil and allow the cheese to firm up for about 10 more minutes.

This will be a messy dish to serve up. It's a little bit sloppier than lasagna, but it will look lovely with a fresh corriander garnish. Serve with homemade guacamole for extra fattening comfort!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Saturday Stitch Session: Wide Combs

Wide Combs

Cast on a multiple of 14 stitches + 1 edge stitch.

Row 1: P to end.
Row 2: K to end.
Row 3: P to end.
Row 4: *P11, slip 3 purlwise, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.
Row 5: K1, * slip 3 purlwise, k11, repeat from * to end.
Row 6 and 7: As rows 4 and 5.
Row 8: As row 4.
Rows 9 - 11: As rows 1 - 3.
Row 12: P4, *slip 3 purlwise, k11, repeat from * to last 11 stitches, slip 3 purlwise, p8.
Row 13: K8, *slip 3 purlwise, k11, repeat from * to last 7 stitches, slip 3 purlwise, k4.
Row 14 and 15: As rows 12 and 13.
Row 16: As row 12.

These 16 rows  make up the pattern.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Trio Chevron Cushion Pattern

Good sunny afternoon! I'm so happy with the way my trio chevron cushion has turned out. The pattern can be downloaded by clicking on the photo above. While this cushion was knit in two flat pieces, I've decided that my second attempt will be knit in the round.I used Rico Design Cotton DK in Nature, Anthracite, and Melon. The colour way and chevron pattern was inspired by the late 1930's/early 1940's - around the same time our flat was built. I can't wait to knit and sew up more cushions to add to my collection. Now to find a sofa!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Trio Chevron Cushion

trio chevron cushion

trio chevron cushion
It's finished! And I'm pleased as punched with the final product. I'm just writing up the pattern. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Melanie Porter

emma by melanie porter

bevis by melanie porter

charlie by melanie porter

rasha by melanie porter

I came across this Melanie Porter's website today, and I'm speechless. I mean... I can't even manage to finish a tiny little cushion cover this week! These designs are so innovative. New life goal: earn enough money to commission one of the chairs above. Here's an excerpt from her site:
After 10 years working as a knitwear designer for a number of international fashion brands, in 2008 Melanie Porter turned her expertise to furniture, creating one-off contemporary designs from antiques sourced at auctions and markets across the UK.
Trained at the prestigious Central Saint Martin’s College, Melanie’s ability to create exquisite, textured fabrics which are individually knitted and felted for every project has drawn attention from clients and press all over the world.
Each project starts with the frame itself – anything from a Victorian nursing chair, to a vintage occasional table– which is painstakingly stripped back, before being restored and/or reupholstered using traditional techniques. This blank canvas is then covered with a series of hand-knitted panels.
Melanie undertakes the entire process herself and everything, from the restoration and upholstering to the individual, crocheted buttons, is done by hand. The result of this incredibly labour-intensive process is a stunning and unique work of art, destined to be a future family heirloom.
Melanie’s work is now sold at outlets worldwide including Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Wolf & Badger in London.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Fieldtrip: Wells Trading Post

We had two lovely friends visit us from Houston this weekend. Ryan and Julie incorporated a visit to Somerset into their week-long UK and French tour, and we're so glad they did! On Saturday afternoon we escaped the rain by spending some time at the ever-enticing Well's Trading Post. If you get the chance to visit Europe's smallest city, then do set aside some time for treasure hunting! What are your favourite spots for antiques or retro finds?

Monday, 16 July 2012

Monday Morning...

Good morning and welcome back to Unravel and Mend. I owe many people an apology for keeping away from the blog for so long. I think perhaps I was just too ambitious in thinking I could keep up with blogging and moving at the same time!

Olly and I had a great time on Wednesday night in London for his gig at the Hootanany in Brixton. But then the rest of our week was as stressful as a move should be.

Fortunately, our good friends from Houston came to our rescue on Friday evening, and we spent a wonderful weekend with them in Somerset. I'll be posting photo updates through out the week. We still don't have internet at the new flat so I'll be writing posts on my lunch hour at work!

Here's a quick organising tip courtesy of one of my heroines, the all time great Martha Stewart. My aunt sent me the link to this page, and I love her for it! I can't wait to do this project....

martha stewart yarn tins

Monday, 9 July 2012

Blogging Mid-move

Thanks to a rain delay in the men's Wimbledon final, I have a few minutes to blog today. I'm writing from my brother-in-law's flat in London, in full recovery mode from the night before. Olly and I drove up yesterday to celebrate Adam's birthday (and have a band practice). There was a low key gathering at The Salisbury on Green Lanes followed by a raucous after-party here at the flat. I must have stumbled to bed around 6 o'clock this morning after dancing my socks off and laughing my head off all night long. Head and legs are killing me.

The boys are at band practise now, leaving me to hydrate and catch up with the world wide web. In exchange for making a special trip up to the city for band practise, the boys are going to help us shift my piano from our old flat in Shadwell into the back of our Golf! My little pianiette has been sorely missed these last three months that we've been living in Somerset, and I'm very glad to be reunited with her. We're driving home tonight but will be back up on Wednesday morning in a moving van to grab the rest of our furniture and headline a gig in Brixton! It's then back to Somerset to get the new flat ready for our first house guests arriving on Friday!

All of this is to say that we have a very busy week ahead of us, and I won't get much time for blogging. We also don't have broadband at the new flat yet - and Orange say it might take two more weeks to set us up! I will get a lot of knitting in however. Having lived in the UK for over four years, I can't drive on my Texas license anymore. Now that we live in the country I'm learning to drive on the left side of the road and around round abouts and all the rest, and I'm hoping to sit the test by the end of the summer. Meanwhile, Olly's behind the wheel on all of our long-haul journeys and I get to knit!

I set the New Job Wrap aside for a minute, and I'm working on two cushion covers using Rico Design Cotton DK and the Zig Zag Trio pattern posted on last week's Saturday Stitch Session. If I get a cover finished by the end of the week, I'll post the pattern on the blog and on Ravelry by Friday. Finger's crossed!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Tatiana and Ed's Wedding // North Wooten, Somerset

north wooten
rob // mary // adam

village hall

bespoke bolo

wedding party

tatiana // ed // galih
a toast

dessert before dinner

du bellows

let's dance

ay ducane