Sunday, December 30, 2007

Making samosas

First, I would like to appoligise to those of you who have read this ( or part of this) before. Bolgger is being a bit if a prat.

Here in Fredericton, there has been a craze happening. It started a number of years ago at the Farmers Market in the historic downtown. It was the humble samosa. For those of you who have never had one, they are a pastry that is filled with spiced meat or vegetables. The first to introduce the humble samosa were the Patel family. They made a variety of samosas of both vegetable and a variety of meats in a range of spiciness. After a number of years as reining supreme in the samosa market, a new competitor emerged. Samosa Delight. Their samosas were a little different. The pastry was thicker and (some say) the samosas were of a better flavour. I remained undecided. Then one day, Patel's samosas were no where to be seen. The whole family had gone to India for a wedding and were not expected back for three months. That was the chance that Samosa Delight was waiting for. They surged ahead in the customer favour (because they were available) and Patel's samosas were left behind. Three months is a long time to go without the wondrous samosa and many converted. Patels came back and many of their loyal followers returned to their folds, but eventually, Patel's faded away. That left Samosa Delight as undefended champion of the field. And that was when "The Samosa Wars" began. Apparently, Samosa Delights success did not go unnoticed by their neighbours at the Farmers Market. The reason for this was that Samosa Delight's customers were willing to stand in an ever increasingly long line for a taste of these wondrous creations. Which, in turn, blocked the access to their stalls, at which point, the offended stall holders complained to the Market Authorities who decided to put a stop to all of this commercial success.

The Samosa Delight vendors were banished from the interior of the market and left to fend for themselves in the great out doors in what is known to Farmer's Market goers as "Fast Food Alley". Which is basically a venue for Donors, Bear Paws ( pastry's really) various Chinese and Greek Cuisine, and lately Kettle Corn (which is a pop corn that is truly THE best popcorn that I have ever tasted!!!) Their loyal customers will STILL line up, outside people! for some times as long as 45 minutes to get the wonder called "the Samosa".

Us? Well, we are not such a people that will stand in line for any more than 5 minutes tops. I have always been this way. I remember in my early 20's walking away from " The Hill Top", then the hottest bar in town, because there were more that 10 people in front of me. No. Possible. Way.

So, If I am at the market before 7 am (which seems to be the only time to avoid a line up) I just pass the line by and think "Maybe next week".

Until this week when Bill came up with the brilliant idea of making our own samosas. So here is our experiment in samosa making. There really are a ridiculous amount of samosa recipes out there.

Rolling out the wrappers. This looked like it would be a serious Pain In the Ass until I suggested the pasta maker. What a wonderful invention. Heaven sent really.
Here is two samosas ready to be wrapped. We made both chicken and vegetable. Yum.
Here are many, many samosas that are ready for the oven. We decided to brush them with olive oil and bake them instead of going with the normal deep frying method, because, really, does my butt need to be any larger?
And here they are all ready to consume along with a coriander hot sauce. They are not quite as good as the Samosa Delight ones but this is only the second time that we have tried them and I am sure that we will come up with a wonderful alternatively. The vegetable one's have already been proclaimed far superior and the filling may even make an appearance on the table as a vegetable during one of my "Indian Curry Nights" that start to show up this time of year.

Long live Indian cooking. So Yummy!

Friday, December 28, 2007


The holidays are a busy time. On this we can all agree. And sometimes when we are rushing to complete our assigned tasks, we over look some small, but important details. Like that single purple sock that ended up going through the washing machine and dryer. Sigh. If I hadn't decided to knit the mittens out of the leftover yarn, I could have knit a replacement sock. But alas, that is not to be.

Merino really does shrink a lot, doesn't it?
So I have decided to knit a new pair of socks to replace the one so foolishly lost in the washing machine incident. I dug into my "yarns for sale" stash (seeing as I am done selling until the spring) and hauled out two skeins of this dark blue yarn. Maybe I'll have them finished before spring this time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

You know what they say...

about necessity being the mother of invention? Well I can only agree. I was happily knitting away on my mittens the other night and came to the point of needing something on which to put the stitches for the thumbs. I know that I can thread the stitches on some yarn, but I find that a bit annoying. So I decide to go searching to see what I can find. In the bathroom, I hit pay dirt. In the form of heart barrettes that Mira may have had in her hair once for a total of about 30 seconds. They are in perfect shape and very smooth, with a clip that will not let the stitches slip off. They are being moved out of the bathroom and into my knitting kit. I may even make a couple of holes in my needle holder and clip them right on.

And I am able to show you these pictures of my wonderful new stitch holders because I am the proud new owner of a digital camera. My sister, Christine and her husband, Joe were very generous this year and bought me a camera! It was a complete surprise and they even made me cry. I happily snapped a bunch of pictures on Christmas and yesterday, Bill took as turn. Much to the dismay of Grandma. Unfortunately, Christine succumbed to the flu on Christmas day and spent much of the day laying down in a darkened room.

We had a great Christmas and ate too much (of course) and the eating shall continue over the next few days as we work our way through the turkey. And the candies. And chocolate. And.....well, you get the picture.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Too all. And to all a good night.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Am I really ready?

Did you ever think that you were ready for Christmas only to find that you had forgotten something vital? Like thawing the turkey? Or a gift for a sibling?

I don't think that I am in that boat. I think that I am ready. Having said that, I have just jinxed myself and will have forgotten something major, although I, at this point, have no clue as to what that may be.

My sister is in town and she came and gathered all of my kids while I was braving the grocery store this afternoon. It meant that Bill and I had a chance to put groceries away unaided ( I shall be able to find everything this time!) and finish wrapping the last few presents and put the lot of them under the tree. We had discussed this event with the older children before hand. And by discuss, I mean threaten them with bodily harm, or worse, loss of any present that was "accidentally" picked at, bumped, poked, prodded, or unwrapped in any way. Looking is OK. Touching to rearrange, sort, pick at, count, move, or shake, is not. They willingly agreed. They were prepared. Nicole was not.

So, being four and having a tree full of presents suddenly appear should seem like a wonderful affair. Wonderful until you are told that you can't open any of them for another 36 hours! How many ways can you say meltdown? Howling banshees had nothing on that child! She ran to the bed, screaming, buried her head under a pillow, and fell asleep within about two minutes. Phew! That was easy.

Ha! I should have know that it was to good to last. About 20 minutes later, I figure that it is safe to go in and check on her. I rearrange the blankets and remove the pillow from her head. Gently and lovingly touch her quiet slumbering back and leave the room. Bad idea. Two minutes later I am happily knitting away on my almost finished mittens ( more about that later) and who should appear, but a very somber girl with the worst case of bed head that I have seen in a long time. She wants to play a game of cards. My mother taught her the game that we called "war". Basically we split the deck in two and lay down the top card from each pile and the highest card wins. We were playing along quite happily until about the third hand when suddenly, out of nowhere, the banshee made a reappearance. "My cards are all upside down!" She decides. I'm sure that most of you are quite familiar with playing cards and know that it doesn't matter which end is up, you can still read the numbers and symbols in the corner. Well, apparently we are all wrong.

After listening to the howls of indignation in the other room for about 5 minutes, I decided that she was not going to calm down and had to be put to bed. She was relatively cooperative about going to the bedroom. Only kicked me once. And equally cooperative about getting undressed. Not quiet. Just relatively cooperative. She became decidedly uncooperative over the issue of pyjamas. I pick my battles these days and decided that she could win a reprieve on this one for the time being. I, in my sneakiness, would slip some PJ's on her later. When she is really down for the night. As for brushing her teeth? I wouldn't have ventured there tonight for all the tea in China.

The howls and screams have continued through this whole procedure and continue while I crawl into bed to give her some cuddles. This usually works to calm her down. Not tonight. Being a resourceful woman, I have another trick up my sleeve that usually helps to quiet her down. As many mothers do, I will occasionally sing. When Nicole was a baby, my singing put her to sleep and did all of the thing that a mother's singing was suppose to do. When she became verbal she started asking my to stop singing. Hmmm.

So now I can sometimes get her to quiet down by singing. She yells at me to stop and I tell her "I will if you will". It usually works too. Not tonight. After being kicked repeatedly and having my eardrums permanently damaged, I decided to haul out the heavy artillery. I sent in Bill.

And now, my friends, all is silent in my house. And I am thankful for the powers of the papa.

And I was quite serious when I said "later" about the mittens.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Solstice!

Today is the day that many of us have been looking forward to. The shortest day of the year. I don't know about you, but for me there is something about getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark that really bite.

Today is the first day of winter, but I shall forgive it that. It is also the shortest day of the year. Which means...... that tomorrow will have a bit more sunlight. And the next day will be longer still, and so on and so on until we slide into glorious spring! The Equinox! Where the day and the night have come to an agreement. Just that one day, they are equal.

Then the sunlight starts to win. The sunlight rules! Summer comes on, full bore! Flowers and trees and the birds come back. I can forgive the mosquitoes, the birds need them. Summer is about sitting in the back yard with friends and a cold beer. It is barbecues and spinning outside. It is the lake and sweating and swimming. It is no school, no lunches to make, and no homework! It is wonderful!

I love summer and as of today, we are headed back into it instead of away from it.

So join me in celebrating the shortest day of the year, because it gets brighter from here!

Happy Solstice!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Sick. Sick. Sick.
Sunday, Nicole started "not feeling well". Sunday night she started vomiting.

Monday Bill started not feeling well.

Monday night, Simon succumbed.

Tuesday, after school, it was Liam's turn.

Tuesday night, I went down.

And lastly, around 4 am on Wednesday morning, Mira was the last to fall.

Nicole is now back to normal.

Bill is feeling better, but still a bit achy.

Simon is still not 100%.

Liam is all better.

I am still a bit achy and tired.

Mira is still sick.

I'm glad that this happened this week and not next week. I really don't like being sick over Christmas. That happened once, about 6 or 7 years ago. Bill picked up the Sydney Flu. I don't know if any of you remember that particular bug, but I have to tell you that it remains firmly in my mind. It was a really bad one and Bill was sick for two weeks. The rest of us all became sick too, but none of us for so long. The poor man missed Christmas entirely. I took the kids (who were fully recovered by Christmas day, ahh the resilience of youth) to my mothers house and because I was still in that tired and achy stage, I went and laid down upstairs while various aunties entertained my kids.

Actually, this was a bad week to get sick. Bill missed his Christmas department party, Nicole missed her concert, Simon and Liam missed their concert, and I missed my staff party. Oh well. At least we won't miss Christmas. And tomorrow, my sister Christine and her husband Joe are coming to spend Christmas in town! Yeah!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Disappointed Children

Saturday was tree decorating day. Liam and Bill went to the market to do the tree hunting. I had to go to my market so the only thing that I did in regards to decorating the tree was to dig out the boxes of ornaments from the back shed. Bill put up the tree and did the lights so that the kids could decorate it. Usually there is a flurry of children throwing ornaments on the tree, but this year, apparently the boys were not really interested and so Mira decorated most of it all by herself. She did a really great job.

We were also suppose to get a big storm yesterday and last night and everyone thought that schools were going to be cancelled. Alas, it was not as bad as was predicted and the little darlings have to go to school today. I have to go to work. Bill was planning to stay home any way because he has a pile of exams to mark. At least he will be able to do it in relative quiet.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Couldn't wait!

I received a shipment of some superwash merino roving a couple of weeks ago and managed to get a chance to dye some last weekend. My immediate observations are that it dyes really differently from the regular merino. It accepts the dye very quickly and the dye tends to stay where you put it. I am thinking that I am going to have to try some experimentation in the near future to see if I can figure out the best way to work with the superwash. I have about 5 pounds to play with. But first, I want to see how my dye experimentation spins up.

I was also fortunate enough recently to be able to purchase about a pound and a half of raw alpaca fleece. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I should approach this, I would be grateful. Should I wash it first? Card it? Pick it? There is a bit of VM but not a lot. I was told that the fleece was from the back and neck, which I assume is desirable. I think that I may want to dye some of it before I spin it. I do, after all have a bit of the stuff to play with.

And here is what I couldn't wait for. I was going to wait until Christmas before using my new basket, but I needed somewhere to put my freshly dyed superwash merino. The basket is still sitting on the chair in front of my loom which is blissfully empty. I do have a bobbin full of the next scarf all plied and waiting to be skeined off, but I am not feeling any pressure. I may get around to weaving it this week coming up. Or I may not. I still have a good selection of stock left.

Saturday is tree day here. The kids are just about ready to burst. They are looking forward to a two week break from school. So am I. No worries about getting up in time, or lunches, or HOMEWORK! Two weeks of not having to rush. I hope.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Well that's a surprise!

Christmas cards done, sealed, addressed, stamped.

And it is only the 10th of December!

I still have to get them to a mail box, but I need to walk by one tomorrow so I think that I will make it.

Who knew that it was possible for me to actually get Christmas card out before Christmas?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

New Baskets

There is a craft sale in town this weekend. I wandered over yesterday after my market was finished and I found the most wonderful booth. This woman had baskets galore and they were all reasonably priced. I fell in love and although I wanted to bring home half a dozen, I restrained myself to two. One for me and one for my mother-in-law.

The one in the front is a magazine basket and it is for Grandma. It will be filled with Grandma and Grandpa's other presents. Most of which I have yet to buy. How many shopping days until Christmas?

The one in the rear is MINE! and it will be holding my yarns and shuttles next to my loom. I have a basket that I made a few years ago, but it lately seems to be a little to small. Maybe I just need to clean it out more often. My new basket is very sturdy and has legs! I LOVE it! Yesterday after I returned from the sale, I put it on the kitchen table and admired it while Bill went about supper preparations. I have to say that it is nice to have Bill make supper on Saturdays. This doesn't happen every week , but when it does, it is wonderful.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More snow pictures

My mail box. Despite the snow, the phone bill managed to make an appearance today. I guess what they say about rain, sleet, and snow not disrupting the mail is true.
This would be the back yard. The white bump in the foreground would be the barbecue. The neighbours van to the left, and our station wagon to the right.

And here is Mira staring in wonder at the amount of snow across the street. Her and Liam were outside by 6:50 am. It wasn't even light out and they were clamoring to go outside. They spent most of the day out side, although very little of the driveway was shoveled. I think that I need to train them better.


Here is my street at 6:30 this morning. The sidewalk had been plowed. Twice. The road has not. Usually it is the opposite and cars are free to roam and us poor pedestrians are left slogging through snow up to our knees. Needles to say, school has been cancelled. Even the Universities have both been cancelled. Almost unheard of.
My front step. I pushed open the door and stuck the camera out to take this. Yesterday and overnight we had 15-20 cm and today we are suppose to get another 10 to 15 cm. That is more than a foot of snow. The kids are going to have a blast today. More pictures to follow.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What a weekend!

Thank you all for your well wishes this weekend! All of those positive thoughts and feelings went into me having a wonderful weekend.
Every year, I swear that I will take pictures of the other exhibitors and the building ( which is a beautiful old building with gorgeous woodwork and stain glass windows. Below is the only picture that I took. Even though I was there for more than 8 hours. When Sara and I arrived (early) there was a bunch of things to take care of. Like getting the refreshments set up. Thankfully they were policed by a student provided by Memorial Hall. We also had to get the decorations up (Sarah's job) and mark out the booth spaces and label them with the names of the other exhibitors (my job).
Here is my booth about an hour into the show. There was a lull for a few moments and I remembered to snap a picture. And then it was busy until the end. And in no way, shape , or form is that a complaint. I will say that I had a lighter load coming home, for which I am grateful!
And I also wanted to share my Friday with you. Here is the studio at the college just full of first year students putting warps on their looms.
The students first year is a Foundation of Visual Arts program. Which means that they take a lot of colour theory, design, drawing, and history classes along with what are called "studio exploration" classes. The studios that they chose from are Fiber Arts, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Fabric Surface Design, Jewelry and Metal Arts, and Clay. Before Christmas, each student can chose three studios to explore, and after Christmas they chose their major. This year we have four students that whose first choice is Fiber Arts. This makes me very happy. Especially as all of the students are strong and a couple of them are really, really good.
And here is my mixed warp white shawl that is still on the loom. I was able to weave one off on Friday, fringe and wash it Friday evening, and have it on my table Saturday morning. I still have it, but if it lasts till Christmas, I will be surprised. If I still have it at that time, then I won't be heart broken. It is a blend of silk, sari ribbon, cotton, silk noil, rayon, silk/rayon blend, various wools. So pretty.

And guess what I am going to do right now. I am going to watch a movie and do NOTHING!!!!!